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There’s nothing like swinging between two trees after a beautiful day of camping. You already know the importance of insulation under your body, so you’ve done the right thing and gotten yourself some sleeping pads.
But now, after what feels like hours just getting yourself situated, you wake up to a deflated air pad, or your back is hurting from a heavy foam pad.
Guess what? It’s time to start considering the best hammock underquilt, my friend!
What You'll Find In This Artcile
- 1 What Is a Hammock Underquilt
- 2 Why You Need Underquilts for Hammocks
- 3 Why You Wouldn’t Get an Underquilt
- 4 What To Look For or Consider for The Best Hammock Underquilt
- 5 Hammock Underquilt FAQs
- 6 Tips For Succeeding With Your Hammock Underquilt
- 7 Cleaning and Care Of Your Hammock Underquilt
- 8 DIY Hammock Underquilt
- 9 In Conclusion
What Is a Hammock Underquilt
Have you ever slept in a thick, fluffy, basically coma-inducing down feather sleeping bag? Isn’t it luxurious!?
A Hammock underquilt is basically this, but made and structured specifically for your camping hammock. An underquilt most likely will replace your old, leaky, uncomfortable sleeping pads and provide the ultimate warmth as it contours your body when sleeping in your hammock giving you maximum warmth.
Some underquilts will be rectangular, but more are being made that are tapered.
There will typically be a shock cord suspension system that allows adjustability to form that perfect contour around your body.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep in a fluffy cloud cocoon? Wonder no more.
Here are My Top Amazon Hammock Underquilts. You can also jump down to the detailed review below to read more about each one.
Mobile Users, scroll to the right to view whole table
|Brand and Undequilt||Image||Temperature Rating||Material Construction and Weight||Pricepoint||Find It Here|
|ENO Vulcan||35-45°F||30 ounces|
|$$$||Check Prices Now|
|ENO Blaze||30-40°F||24 oz|
|$$$$||See Reviews Here|
|Eno Ember 2||50°F||25 oz|
|$$||See It On Amazon|
|Outdoor Vitals Roost 40 degree 3 in 1||40°F||39.5 oz|
|$||Compare Prices Here|
|Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30°F & 20°F 5in1||30°F (See below review)|
|$||Read Reviews Now|
|Go Outfitters||20°F||54.4 oz|
|$$||See It Here|
|Yukon Outfitters Kindle||35 - 45° F||27.2 oz|
Synthetic Polyester Blend
|$||See It On Amazon
Why You Need Underquilts for Hammocks
Chances are if you are here, you’ve already done some hammock camping. I’m betting you’ve even found the Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock Camping but now want to up your hanging game.
So, you already know that when you are camping in your hammock, it can get shockingly cold at night, even when you weren’t expecting it (think anything lower than 70ish degrees).
You can either fiddle with sleeping pads, or you can go all out and do a Hammock underquilt (more on comparing a hammock sleeping pad vs hammock underquilt below).
There are SO many reasons why you should invest in (or create a DIY hammock underquilt) a quality camping hammock underquilt.
Serious hangers feel that once you get the hang (pun totally intended) of an underquilt (beware, there IS a learning curve! Again, more on tips for this below), it is far superior to pads for warmth and comfort. It’s only one piece of gear as opposed to potentially several different pads (depending on your set up) and you can even find ultralight hammock underquilts for those backpacking it.
In addition to setting it up, once you have it situated, there is so much less fiddling! With a sleeping pad, you often have to make a ton of adjustments and even then, may find yourself slipping off the pad at night, creating a lot of body condensation or having cold spots. No Beuno!!
A hammock underquilt provides serious, luxurious warmth in even the coldest temperatures when done right.
There are all season underquilts as well as winter hammock underquilts designed for low, low temps! Anyone who has hammock camped knows that it’s easy to lose body heat when there is the air circulating below your body. A quality underquilt is going to give you amazing protection from cold but syndrome!
While a sleeping pad may be slightly more versatile as far as WHAT you can use it for, I like that hammock underquilts give you a lot of flexibility in getting your set up just how you want. You can add extra sleeping pads for even more warmth protection, use a top quilt in addition and still use a rain tarp.
Some people will use their underquilts as sleeping bags when not hanging as well.
We’ll get into the specifics of this in the “What to Consider” section, but it’s great having a layer underneath you that is waterproof, be it actual moisture in the air or just your own body condensation.
Sleeping pads can be crinkly, noisy, deflate easily, slide off, and basically create a nuisance if you aren’t real experienced with them. But a hammock underquilt is like ridinng the luxurious Rolls Royce of hammock camping!
Once you figure out your quilt system, you may wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! Which brings us to….
Why You Wouldn’t Get an Underquilt
Ok, so I’ve hyped up this underquilt quite a bit. So, why would anyone NOT go with an underquilt!!??
This is probably the biggest reason for people not grabbing an underquilt. Quite frankly, there are just simply cheaper options with sleeping pads.
But with that being said, most people that say this are talking about “Cottage Manufacturer” Prices of underquilts. If you are open to making some easy modifications, learn how to properly set up an underquilt and know that you are going to “get what you pay for” then Amazon is a great place for beginners or those on a strict budget.
Click here to see our favorite budget sleeping pad or read our Best Sleeping Pads for Hammock Camping Guide here.
Most beginners are trying to figure out their original hammock system and adding an underquilt to the equation can be yet another learning curve. Many hammock campers tend to start with pads, figure out the basics of hammock camping and then upgrade as they get the hang of everything.
However, this is completely up to you. If you know you are going to be in seriously cold weather, or maybe you’ll be camping with other pros, then nothing says you can’t start with an underquilt!
3) Learning Curve and Endless Options
There are SO many options, sizes, weights, styles, DIY versions and more to make your head spin. Hopefully, this guide helps make things even slightly more clear. Even once you finally figure out what underquilt you’re going to land on, once you get it, there can still be a big learning curve to actually getting it completely figured it. (But again, once you do, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing night’s sleep, my friend!!!!)
What To Look For or Consider for The Best Hammock Underquilt
1) Temperature Rating
The first thing you are going to need to decide on is what temperature rating you want for your underquilt. There are a few options for manufactured quilts. The temperature ratings are rough estimates of what temperature you SHOULD be able to go down to and still be sufficiently warm.
(If you’re not sure which temp is best for you, jump down to our FAQs section below.)
You’ll most likely see temperatures of
These temperature ratings are not an exact science. In fact, you’ll hear a lot of people complain about their 20° underquilt and still being cold even at 50°. There are several factors at play:
- The ratings are basically a loose calculation of what insulating material is in the underquilt
- You may be a hot or cold sleeper naturally. This is going to greatly influence how warm or cold you will naturally stay.
- You may not be setting up correctly and therefore have gaps creating cold spaces.
- Build in a 10 degree buffer to your temperature. For example, if you think you’ll be using your underquilt at a minimum of 30 degrees, don’t get the 30, get the 20.
Not sure which temperature rating to get? Keep reading or jump down to the FAQs
You’ll also words like “3 Season” or “Winter.”
As a sweeping generic statement, a 3 season underquilt is good for most people. However, if you are wanting to go very cold (freezing point or below) then a “Winter” underquilt is what you’ll want to consider.
Top Pick Best Winter Hammock Undequilt: OneTigris
Ok, first…take a deep breath. I know, there are so many options here and it only gets even more complex if getting a customizable underquilt or making one yourself. But, for simplicity sake, let’s just go with the three main ones.
It’s pretty self-explanatory as to how long these are. But it gets trickier on deciding exactly which one to get.
This will cover the entire length of your hammock and you head to toe. You’ll be toasty in a full length underquilt for sure, as you won’t have any cold spots (pending no gaps)
- Winter Camping (or very cold temperatures)
- If you know you’ll be going 20 degrees or below
- People who can’t stand cold feet
Best Full Length Hammock Underquilt
A great middle of the road option. This can really shave off some weight yet still provide with plenty of adjustable warmth.
- 3 Season Camping
- People who want serious warmth but need to be wary of weight
- Campers who only really rarely do cold weather
Best 3/4 Underquilt
This is exactly what it sounds like. It is half the size of a “regular” underquilt. These are best for those really concerned about weight. One really simple trick if you’ve got a half underquilt but need that warmth is to simply get a sit pad, like the Thermarest Pad, and put under your feet. Adding an extra layer of reflective gear is also going to help keep those cold spots away.
- Backpackers who need as lightweight as possible
Other Sizing Tips
It needs to fit YOUR hammock
You absolutely need to make sure that the underquilt you are considering is actually going to work with the hammock you have. You can simply contact the manufacturer to double check this. But don’t just assume that all will work.
If You Have A Double Hammock
If you have a double or 2 person hammock, get ready to go full blown Macgyver. There just aren’t a ton of underquilts for double hammocks so you may either have to get two and link them up or create your own DIY customized one.
3) Material Construction
So, just when you thought you were making good progress on narrowing down your choices for underquilts, now I’m going to throw another huge variable at you: What should your underquilt be made of. Here are your basic options:
First, decide on your insulation; Down or Synthetic
Down is usually the top choice for hard core hammock campers. This is going to be your best option for extremely cold (freezing) camping.
Also, if you are a backpacker, it’s simply hard to beat the weight of down. Granted, synthetic is improving constantly, but again, as a general statement, down is going to pack down and be your best lightweight option.
- Your best option for extremely cold (freezing) camping.
- Also, if you are a backpacker, it’s simply hard to beat the weight of down. Granted, synthetic is improving constantly, but again, as a general statement, down is going to pack down and be your best lightweight option.
- Longevity- Down is going to last for years on end when properly cared for
- The biggest con is the price tag that comes along with down
- Down is a bigger pain when it is wet (both out in the field and when at home washing). Granted, when treated with proper repellant (more on this below)
- Washing is hard
Treated with DWR and a lot of the moisture/ wetness issues are resolved
Synthetic stuffing is making great headway into underquilts. Some of the more popular snythetic stuffing is Climashield Apex or Argon and you’ll find plenty of people the love the heck out of their synthetic quilts.
- When wet, a synthetic is most likely going to keep your warmer than down. (True, but that doesn’t mean it’s impermeable to losing loft (and therefore warmth) if TOO wet)
- When wet, it will dry faster than down
- Synthetic is a fantastic option for people whose budget doesn’t allow for a cushy down underquilt
- Handles sweat, oil and moisture better than down (meaning it will clean better as well).
- Great for hikers that don’t have time to let their quilt dry before needing to get going
- If you are going a DIY route, synthetic is probably going to be easier for you than down.
- A lot of people will argue that it’s not that synthetic is less superior to down. They’ll say that down quite frankly just gives more warmth for less weight (which is often a major consideration).
- Another downside to synthetic fill is that it won’t pack as small as a down underquilt.
- Each time you use synthetic, the compression will essentially make you permanently lose (a very slight) amount of loft each use. Therefore, one could argue that the life of synthetic just isn’t as good as down.
Therefore, synthetic construction could be a great option for campers who are in warmer (or at least not freezing) temperatures.
So, if you aren’t concerned about weight and aren’t going in freezing climates, synthetic could still be on the table as a great underquilt.
Cotton Hammock Underquilts
You might see some underquilts that state they have cotton or even “hollow cotton.” In which, you might be wondering “What the heck is hollow cotton!?” (Join the club!)
Most underquilt enthusiasts will argue that an underquilt with cotton isn’t actually cotton at all. Considering if you know anything about fabrics, as an outdoorsmen/women you wouldn’t touch cotton with a 10 foot pole, then it’s almost laughable at why someone would make an underquilt with cotton.
Which pretty much leads us to believe that they are using the word “cotton” in equal exchange for something like “fiber.” Meaning, it’s probably actually not even cotton at all. (Confused yet!?) Regardless, you might want to be wary of “hollow cotton” underquilts.
Next, up in the material department is the shell of the underquilt.
The underquilt shell is the outside layer of the quilt.
First, let’s chat about this, as you’ll definitely want a shell to have Ripstop in either Nylon or Polyester on the outer layer of your underquilt. Ripstop is a special weave that makes it harder for rips and tears to even occur, but if they do, the weave prevents it from ripping further (hence the name “RipSTOP”)
Ripstop Nylon: Nylon has great durability
Ripstop Polyester: Polyester won’t stretch as much as nylon might and is also known to dry quickly
4) Water Resistant
The last thing you need is a soggy underquilt. Look for quilts that are water resistant, but also don’t be afraid to add a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treatment to your fabric. REI has a fantastic write up on when and how to apply a DWR. For example, Nylon just loves to soak up water. If not properly DWR treated, you’ll be soppy and sad.
But quilts getting wet doesn’t just get wet from rain. Your body can create a significant amount of condensation as you sleep which also can be soaked into your quilt at night.
Nobody wants to purchase outdoor gear just to have it crap out on them in the field. One of my favorite ways to check on durability before buying a product is to simply read tons and tons of reviews from actual buyers. What do others have to say about using it out in real life?
Also, look for hammocks made from Ripstop so that your quilt isn’t being torn from branches and what not.
Another thing to keep an eye out in reviews is what are people talking about the stitching of the quilt? Is it holding well?
Look for brands that have good warranties. This really comes in handy when using things like outdoor gear.
Finally, get an underquilt that has a return policy. Set it up as soon as you get it that way if it doesn’t work out, you can still return it and try a different one.
Loft is pretty important when it comes to your underquilt. Loft is essentially how thick or fluffy the inside of your quilt is made.
So, one might naturally think that the thicker your loft, the warmer your blanket. Well, get your math goggles on, because it gets complicated. If you want to really geek out with the numbers, there are actual calculations to help determine the best loft for temperature ratings.
But, even with math in the equation (again, pun totally intended!), other variables need to be taken into consideration. For example, just because I have a properly lofted quilt to go out in 20 degrees doesn’t take into account if I am a warm or cold sleeper or even if I have my quilt set up properly.
So, is loft important? Yes. Do you need to get totally hung up on it unless you are making your own? Probably not. If you are just purchasing, I would check other’s reviews on their opinions about the loft and check the temperature ratings.
7) Fill Power
When it comes to Down, there is a “Fill Power” that determines how much space is needed for insulation. A higher fill power will require fewer ounces to provide equal insulation.
What does this mean and what should you look out for?
Really, what this boils down to is weight. If an underquilt is rated for 10 degrees, that’s that. It can roughly be used comfortably to 10 degrees.
However, a higher fill power is going to make the quilt lighter, which can be pretty important to many backpackers.
So, if weight is something you are concerned about, you’ll want higher fill power numbers.
FYI:Synthetics will have a great warmth to loft ration but with that, comes bulk and weight.
If you are going for a down underquilt, you’ll want to make sure that it has good baffling. (When you look at the underquilt, you will see lines of stitching. Those are the baffles.) Baffles help to keep the insulation in your underquilt well distributed.
Good baffling is going to create the best loft in your material, which is what you need for proper warmth.
There are two kinds of baffling:
- Stitch Through: Essentially, the shell and the lining will be sewn together. The benefit of this method is it is more budget-friendly and is more lightweight. However, there is a compromise of heat retention in this method.
- Boxed: This method creates the maximum warmth, but at the cost of your dollars and weight. Even with this considered, if you are winter camping, you’ll want to seriously consider boxed baffling.
Baffling on the sides of the hammock will also help to “seal” up your underquilt to your body.
You are also going to see lots of different ways to baffle. Some will run the length (almost in lines) down the quilt (my personal preference), some will be almost more gridlike, creating individual pockets of down.
Hammock Underquilt FAQs
1) What Temperature Underquilt Should You Get?
Ah, great question! In fact, this is as hotly debated as which underquilt is best. And as expected, I don’t have the perfect answer for you (sorry, I’m not trying to beat around the bush!)
Many hammock campers will say that a 20° is going to be the most versatile quilt. You can use it year round (you can just vent it more in warmer temps) but isn’t going to be a TON of unnecessary weight for backpackers, even in warmer months.
This is assuming you are just looking for ONE underquilt right now to use in as many situtaitons as possible.
Basically, take a cold (no pun intended this time!) hard look at what kind of camping you REALLY do.
How often do you camp in certain temperatures on the MAJORITY of your hikes?
If you know you are camping in a climate that almost never dips below 40 degrees at night, that’s one thing. Alternatively, if you know that you’ll never be out in zero degree weather, then it’s silly to get a heavy 0 degree quilt!
But if you camp in multiple locations or maybe you live in a location, like me in Nebraska, that has all four extreme seasons then you are going to want a versatile quilt. A “Goldi-locks” quilt if you will! You can always
- Many advise a 10 degree buffer rule, so if you forsee the minimum temp you will use the quilt in as 30 degrees, it may be wise to get a 20 degree quilt set.
- Many also suggest using 3/4 or partial length quilts that are rated above 20 degrees, and full length quilts that are rated 20 degrees and below.
And remember, you can always supplement your underquilt!
- Add pads
- Add quality thermal clothing layers
If this is you, a 20 degree underquilt is a fine option
What temperatures do you expect to use the quilts in?
You don’t hike much
If you don’t hike a ton, but still need warmth, then the weight of a thicker and warmer underquilt shouldn’t be a huge deciding factor. You can therefore simply go for the 0 degree (since that’s going to be the bulkiest and heaviest) and vent as needed.
Will you be using for backpacking, car camping, at home?
– Longer quilts (and lower temperature ratings) result in greater weight and take up more volume in your pack.
– Partial length underquilts can be supplemented with something like a sit pad, which you may already be carrying. Some backpacks have removable CCF pads to provide cushioning for your back and structure to the pack.
2) An underquilt basically looks like a sleeping bag. Can’t I just use my sleeping bag in the hammock?
Sure you can!…..
If you want to be cold.
The problem with a sleeping bag used as a hammock underquilt is in the compression. And underquilt is specifically designed to not compress the loft of the insulation. However, if you just use a sleeping bag, as you lie on it, it will compress, taking out that essential layer of insulation, leaving you cold.
Many-a-people have attempted using a sleeping bag as an underquilt thinking they beat the system.
Almost all of them regretted it at 3am with a cold but.
3) What’s the difference in sleeping pads vs underquilts?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a sleeping pad for hammock camping. One of the biggest benefits of going this route is it’s easier on your wallet.
If you can afford an underquilt though, I’d argue it’s well worth it for both ease and warmth.
4) Can I Create a DIY Hammock Underquilt?
You betcha! And so many people love to. There are lots of guides on how to create a cheap hammock underquilt out there, especially on HammockForums.Net.
However, if you are like me and arts and crafts or even Pinterest gives you anxiety, then purchasing is just the easier option.
5) If I can DIY an underquilt, can I use my sleeping bag AS the underquilt?
You are really convinced you want to use your sleeping bag, aren’t you!?
At least this one is a bit more reasonable, albeit still not a great option. If you do happen to jimmy rig a suspension system to your sleeping bag to get it to wrap around the outside of your hammock and you somehow manage to still keep the loft, then you are still in for some margin of errors.
This method is way harder to get in and out of the hammock and, depending on the temperatures may actually even be too hot. Using down blankets are better in your DIY underquilt than sleeping bags.
If you are wanting a multi-use hammock, I suggest the Outdoor Vitals Aerie 20 degree underquilt. It’s a sleeping bag, hammock pod, blanket, sleeping bag or (with 2) a double sleeping bag.
6) What’s the difference between synthetic and down insulation?
Down insulation is going to be goose or duck feathers (duck being the cheaper of the two), is extremely warm and packs down super lightweight and small. However, there is a pricetag that comes along with Down.
Synthetic insulation is going to be a manufactured insulation, like polyester. It will still provide great warmth (just not as much) but isn’t as comfy and is heavier than down.
If you’ve got the money, most will argue to go with Down, but if chosen correctly, you can still have a phenomenal product with synthetic.
Good Down Alternative Options to Look For With Synthetics:
PrimaLoft: Great warmth without the bulk and since it’s synthetic performs well when wet. It’s soft, highly compressible, lightweight and hypoallergenic making it a great alternative to down, like the ENO Vulcan Underquilt
EraLoft: Another great water-resistant polyester, which is going to dry fast. Has great loft and compresses nicely.
7) When and or why would I want to use a 1/2, 3/4 length underquilt vs a full?
A lot of people think “If an underquilt is all about warmth, why wouldn’t I want a full!?”
As a review:
- A 1/2 quilt should run from about your shoulders to mid thigh.
- 3/4 quilt willl be from about shoulders to knees.
- Full quilt goes from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet plus a few inches.
The easiest and fastest answer as to why you’ll want different lengths will all boil down to bulk.
The bigger the quilt, the heavier it will be. Therefore, if you are an ultralight backpacker, you’ll probably need at least the 3/4 if not a half quilt and then supplement with pads and reflective gear. If you are car camping or not doing much hiking, then I say TREAT YO SELF! Get that full length!
8) What is Down Migration (or “Migrating Your Down”)?
When getting your underquilt properly set up, you’ll want to Migrate Your Down. This means you’ll want to move the insulation (feathers) to where you need the most protection (ie: your back and but).
9 What Is Overstuff?
Overstuff is a bit of overfill insulation, which can extend the life of the down insulation (since it could degrade over the years).
However, too much overfill can actually have opposite effects, so it’s best to be careful with overstuff. This is good on longer trips when the down is getting compressed often when packed so it will loft better after unpacking.
However, just because you have overstuff it’s not going to magically make a ten degree difference in how cold you can camp. Also, TOO much overstuff can actually negatively impact the R-Value of your quilt.
10) What’s the difference between a hammock top quilt and an underquilt?
It’s basically as it sounds. An underquilt goes under the hammock and the topquilt goes on top of the hammock (inside, like a sleeping bag).
The issue with hammock camping is that you are going to get cold from the air below you more so than the air on top, which is why most campers suggest in a quality underquilt.
11) Why Am I STILL COLD!?
There are several factors at play:
- Did you migrate your down correctly (if using down)
- Did you suspend your underquilt high enough to begin with (it should actually be suspended higher than your hammock without anything in it) or do you not have it tight enough?
- Is it snug up to your body
- When inside, are there any gaps
- Did you cinch the tops and bottoms TOO much?
- Do you just simply sleep cold?
12) What is Primary and Secondary Suspension?
Primary suspension is going to determine how far UP the underquilt is.
The secondary is going to slide the hammock up and down along the primary suspension.
13) Do I Need An Underquilt Protector?
Ok, do you NEED a protector? No.
Is it great to have one? Hells Yes.
If you just spent good money on an underquilt, don’t you want to keep it in pristine condition? Here’s a few reasons to consider buying one.
- By taking good care of your gear, it’s going to last much longer.
- Let’s also think about a situation you could find yourself in.
– Some rain came in overnight. You’ve got a tarp protecting you from above, but either the rain is coming in at a side angle or simply, as the rain drops down, it causes mud and muck to splash up….onto that beautiful underquilt of yours. An underquilt protector is way easier to clean than your precious underquilt.
- An underquilt protector can even be used as a great shield from wind. Since the cold, circulating air is what causes one to get cold in a hammock, if you can block cold air, it is going to help with warmth retention.
- Some people even use the protector instead of a quilt on especially warmer night
14) What Is a Wooki?
You might have heard people talk about the amazing-ness of a wookie or Wooki Style underquilt.
No, we have not suddenly switched blog modes here. You are not reading a post about Chewbacca from Star Wars.
A Wooki Underquilt is made by the brand “Warbonnet” and was one of the first of it’s kind to be an underquilt with fabric attached all around it to fit up snug all around the Warbonnet Blackbird or XCL.
People love this because it almost looks like a hammock itself, so all you have to do is clip it up and your good. No fidgeting and fussing. It’s so easy.
Because of this, tons of people have done DIY versions of this and love it.
15) What is a “Cottage Manufacturer”?
If you are looking beyond Amazon, you probably have heard of this term. Simply put, they are small companies (sometimes even just one person) who custom builds your gear, in this situation, an underquilt. This can come at quite the hefty pricetag though.
BUT, the truth is, not everyone has the budget for cottage gear. A lot of hardcore hangers will turn up their nose at Amazon and say they are “cheap underquilts.” But, if you can find a really great Amazon hammock underquilt, it’s well worth trying out before shelling out some serious cash for a cottage manufacturer.
If you know what to look for (and now you do from this guide!) you’ll know how to choose a great Amazon hammock underquilt.
Isn’t it better to have a decent Amazon product than nothing at all preventing you from getting out there?? Amazon can also be considered a great “Buy it and try it” route! Maybe you aren’t sold on one type of hammock underquilt. You can easily try out numerous options before handing over that giant chunk of change to a cottage manufacturer.
16) If I use a sleeping pad, will it block the insulation of an underquilt?
No. In fact, many hangers will have a sleeping pad if their underquilt is rated higher than what they are camping for (for example, they have a 40 degree quilt but this one time out, they are expecting colder temperatures).
Tips For Succeeding With Your Hammock Underquilt
The biggest tip I can give you when learning to set up and then fine tune your underquilt is to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. And then adjust adjust adjust. And then fine tune…again!
Basically, there IS a learning curve to a hammock underquilt, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t getting it perfect at first.
But with that being said, go through the growing pains in your own backyard several nights or at least somewhere close to home that you can bail out if you just aren’t getting it the way you want.
Better to figure it out when you can ditch the hammock for your warm, inside bed than to miserably find out you can’t figure it out while out for a long camping trip.
Hanging Your Underquilt
The first step to success with your underquilt is hanging it properly. Here are a few things to remember to do when setting up.
- Hang up your hammock and when you attach your underquilt, when it is hanging without any weight, pull it off to the side of the hammock. It should actually be ABOVE the hammock itself. This will help ensure that it will not hang too low creating gaps.
- As you pull the underquilt under the hammock, you want the suspension pulling the hammock itself up, this will help keep the quilt tight up against your body. The quilt should be slightly lifting the hammock up.
- Just as another way to get it snug, pull that suspension up tight before even getting in.
- A “bunched up” look may not LOOK right, but it’s going to be better than a gap!
Getting Situated In Your Underquilt
Once you get into your hammock with an underquilt, you’ll start to get yourself cozy. Use these tips to help ensure the best underquilt experience.
- The first thing you need to do is start checking for gaps.
- Slightly cinch up the head and foot end. You can adjust this more if you need
- If there is a cord, pull it up over the footbox to eliminate a gap under your legs
- Pull the quilt up and over your shoulders
- If you have a partial underquilt
- Have it above your feet or else gaps will occur. It should be covering the spots of your body that get the coldest (your back and but)
- Use a pad for your legs and feet to keep cold spots from occurring where there is no quilt
Fine Tuning and Trouble Shooting
- Ditch the typical carabiner geand get an S-carabiner to put on the continual loop of the hammock. Clip and Go! So Easy!
Get an S-Biner Here
- Be sure not to OVER tighten the head and foot end. Cinching TOO tight will do the opposite and actually create a gap.
- During the night if you start to feel cold, use your secondary suspension. This is the cord that keeps your quilt from bunching up. Make sure it is long and adjust when needed.
For Warmer Weather
- Hang the quilt well below the hammock if it is a warm night or if you know that the temperature is going to drop through the night.
- Run a suspension at the head end and as it starts to get cold, simply pull up throughout the night. It’s like an adjustable heater!
- Or you can even set up the underquilt and then shove it off to the side of your hammock. When you wake up feeling chilly, all you have to do is reach underneath you and pull it under the hammock.
For Down Underquilts
- If you have a lot of down, be sure to have a secondary suspension for easier adjustments
- MIGRATE THE DOWN! Get the down exactly where you need it.
- Before even getting in, you can shake and beat that thing. Once in, give it a few good pats and fluffs towards your back and but, which is where it needs to be nice and fluffy!
If you haven’t stumbled upon any of Shug’s Tutorials on Youtube yet, are you even a hammock camper!? Just kidding, but his stuff is SO full of amazing tips and information. Just beware, you might get sucked down a rabbit hole!
Cleaning and Care Of Your Hammock Underquilt
Making sure that you clean and care for your underquilt is going to help keep your gear in top notch for years to come.
You should never leave your quilt compressed for more than a few days. Hang it in a dry place and uncompressed until your next trip. DO NOT store in the stuff sack.
Washing Your Underquilt
When out camping, most likely your underquilt is going to get sweaty, stinky or just plain dirty or mucky over time. A good wash every several years of camping will help give your quilt new life. It’s not necessary to wash your quilt after every trip, but if there are stains, you can always spot clean.
BUT, there are some big precautions to take when washing your hammock underquilt
Can You Wash a Down Underquilt
Absolutely! And you occasionally should! There are two main ways to do this
This is the best option, as it is the most gentle on the quilt.
- Throw your underquilt in the tub with a down cleaner and give it some good swirls, squeezes,kneads, and pumps (But do NOT wring it! This can really damage it!).
- Let it soak for 15-30 minutes and then repeat.
- Then rinse with warm water. A LOT.
- And then rinse some more. You don’t want any soap left inside.
- You can roll the quilt getting as much water out as possible (again- do not wring it out!)
- At this stage, think of your underquilt as a gentle baby. No. Seriously. Pulling or tugging it up and out of your bathtub could create serious damage.
- Instead, scoop up the whole quilt in your arms, as if you were cradling a big, giant baby (yes, that would be a ginormous baby).
DO NOT USE A TOP LOADER
Use a front loader on the gentle spin cycle with cold water and a gentle soap (not a detergent!) or even better, a down cleaner will work just fine, like this one. Avoid softeners and bleach.
Do a second round with just cold water to be sure it is completely rinsed.
You can even put an underquilt in the dryer.
- Again, regardless of if you hand or machine wash, when moving it to a dryer, scoop that whole baby into your arms avoiding any tugging or pulling.
- Tumble dry on VERY low heat
- Throw in a few tennis balls and it will help to restore the loft. Don’t be surprised if it feels like it takes eons to dry. In fact, you may even need to occasionally open up the dryer and break up any clumps in the quilt and then continue drying.
- Just because the shell feels dry, doesn’t mean the down is. If there are ANY clumps inside then it is not dry.
- Several hours (upwards of even 4 or 5) later, your underquilt should be dry (and oh so very fluffy!)
Do NOT take your down quilt to a dry cleaner! They use special chemicals which break down the oils in the feathers and will eventually ruin your perfectly good quilt.
How to Wash A Synthetic Underquilt
Washing a synthetic underquilt isn’t that much different than the down. You still want to be very gentle and careful with the quilt, especially when wet.
The biggest difference is going to be in the soap you use. Be sure to use a fragrance-free soap or one specifically for synthetic materials like Revivex Pro Cleaner or Woolite (Fragrance-Free).
Avoid detergents, softners and bleach
If you choose to handwash in the bath, the tub should be absolutely free of ANY soap or residue that could get into the insulation.
Reapply Your DWR
Sometimes, heat can deteriorate your rain repellent, as can time and wear. Occasionally, you’ll need to reapply your DWR.
DIY Hammock Underquilt
If you are particularly handy and crafty (kudos to you, as I am NOT!) or you are so completely broke (ah, now THAT I can relate to!) then you may want to look for a cheap hammock underquilt by way of a DIY underquilt.
If you are wondering how to make a hammock underquilt, there are actually quite a few hammock underquilt patterns available on HammockForum.Net. You can get anything from a rectangular pattern to even wookie remakes.
Another particularly helpful tool when doing your own hammock underquilt DIY is this Differential Cut Calculator
Wow, that was a TON of hammock underquilt information! What other questions do you have?
Have you used different underquilts? What do you look for or what have been your favorites?