View Full Version : Cost and Benefits of Down Clothes vs. Down Quilts?

01-10-2014, 20:51
Hello Everyone,

I would like to start doing more 4-season camping but I do not necessarily want to invest in new zero degree winter top quilts and under quilts to replace my current 3-season 20 degree hammock setup (all Warbonnet).

My thinking is that I would be better off spending my money on a down jacket and pants. The jacket and pants could become part of my clothing/layering system when in camp and then could be worn in the hammock on frigid cold nights. My hope is that when combined with my current 20 degree quilt setup (which I found bearable to 20 degrees in my base layer), that it would now keep me reasonably comfortable to zero degrees. A set up like this would seem to provide a much more multipurpose and versatile clothing system and sleeping system for different temperature ranges.

Specifically I am looking at purchasing the Marmot Quasar Down Jacket (8.2 oz) and Goosefeet down pants (7.5 oz). The additional weight would be about the same as upgrading the quilts and the cost savings would allow me to splurge on some Goosefeet Down Booties too :)

Are there any flaws in my thinking? Your thoughts and comments are welcome?


kayak karl
01-10-2014, 21:17
if you add a pad to the underquilt....maybe!

01-10-2014, 21:31
Down above you is great... Down below you in the hammock (as opposed to suspended below you like an UQ) compresses, and as such is worthless. You wouldn't want to wear the down clothes (since then half of it would be compressed and worthless,) you'd want to pile it on top of you in your TQ. I do this with my down jacket and it adds a bit of warmth to my torso.

01-10-2014, 22:12
Yes, excellent point on the compression of down factor. I do have the double layer Warbonnet and a Exped Synmat air pad that I can add underneath. That should help, just more weight to carry. I guess that is the price of Winter camping.

01-10-2014, 22:19
Or maybe I should upgrade the Underquilt at least, still get the down cloths for camp and sleep and save the Booties for another year.

kayak karl
01-11-2014, 09:19
if your camping then that would work. if your hiking your weight is getting up there, but it's up to you. i personally don't carry or own down cloths, but my top quilts are the JRB wearable quilts.


01-11-2014, 10:05
I will leave the mechanics on how to actually achieve it with a hammock to others. But conceptually it is a very solid concept to add to a three season gear set rather than replace. I make every attempt to do that and its almost become a game on how little I have to change to push my normal gear down to zero to twenty range. If you haven't done it, I would also suggest experimenting with Vapor barrier. I made a very simple cuben rain suit and when combined with booties made from PU coated nylon, pushes the limit considerable. Because it reduces condensation it will also maximize the effect of your down quilts.

01-11-2014, 12:21
If it were me, I'd have a torso length CCF pad, and a small CCF sit pad (buy one at WM for $7 and cut it down). I think with the right base layers as a back up, which you'll want anyway, that should get your kit down to where you want it. A down jacket to lay across your torso couldn't hurt, but I don't think it'd be necessary.

Why not pick up the pads and experiment in the yard until you get it dialed in? Last Monday night I slept in the hammock and the weather station half a mile away recorded 1.6 F. I used two CCF pads, from WM, and a 15 F sleeping bag as a top quilt, supplemented by a jacket under my shoulders, a down vest around the foot of my hammock and a down jacket laid on my torso... I only wore a thin polyester base layer, wool socks, and a hat. You might be surprised how low your gear can take you.

01-11-2014, 14:36
Thank you to everyone for the great advice. For winter hiking I think it will short miles, lots of time in camp for me so I have ordered the puffy jacket for now and I plan on seeing how low piling the cloths on top and the pads beneath will take me.

Buttoning down my cuben tarp close in should buy me a few degrees too.