View Full Version : Blind leading the Blind on Buying Underquilts and hammock hanging technique

Gambit McCrae
11-10-2014, 13:10
Money is not a concern, I am giving hammock camping an A+ effort and I found this weekend that even with my exped pad, I need an underquilt. I need to know several things:

Is an underquilt going to make me sweat if the rating trumps the outside temp?

I need to know everyones favorite:
Im looking for quality, light, loft, 850-900 down
If temp ratings are needed, I would say I wont be hammocking under 30*F

I have a 0, 15, and 45*F sleepingbags, do I need to follow suit with underquilts or is one satisfactory for the tem range of say 32* and 55*

How does an underquilt work with a bottom entry hammock?

If my hammock straps are not covered completey flush to the tree by tarp/ shelter, is water going to travel onto/ into my hammock?

This will get me started :) as of right now I bought 3 hammocks to try,
Eno Reactor-Staying in sat night and would gift my rest a solid 7-8 our of 10 with only one snafu of the pad slipping to the side
Grand trunk deluxe with net-Have not used yet
Hennessy deluxe blah blah hammock- Has not arrived yet

I am using an Exped Synmat ul 7 pad and it worked great in the pad sleeve of the eno reactor. It really gave me the "flat hammock feel I have always wanted to get out of a hammock.

11-10-2014, 13:50
You might want to join us over at Hammock Forums dot net.
Lots of experts to answer all the questions.
On the suspension, yes you need some drip thing on the hammock. If you are using RIngs, those will provide a break so water running down the suspension will drip off before hitting the hammock. If you are using UCR's or Whoopie Slings, then you need to perhaps add a short bit of line for a drip ring. Dutch Gear has many suspension options.
On the UQ, I only attempted to hang once without deploying my UQ. MISTAKE! Even at 60 degrees, I got CBS (Cold Butt Syndrome). Most will deploy the UQ and then regulate within the hammock with the TQ, Silk liners, etc. Given your lower temp (not camping much below 30 overnight), I would look at maybe a 3/4, 20 degree rated UQ.
With pads, many use either double layer (DL) hammocks. The fabric can be much lighter, but doubled up for support. Then the pad slips between the layers so it doesn't move (much). OR, you can put some silicon on the back of the pad, so it is "grabby".

11-10-2014, 13:57
Most likely your issue was side coverage, inflatable pads are not wide enough for hammocks for most people. I use Closed Cell Foam. If the pad wasn't warm enough, then it is a result of the outside temp. An UQ, may or may not solve the problem. An UQ which is not warm enough will also not work. I use pads in winter exclusively (even down into the Negative 20s F) with my hammock. Many erroneously assume uqs are warmer than pads, it isn't true. CCF pads are bulkier, but provide excellent insulation.

Gambit McCrae
11-10-2014, 14:00
When I was ontop of my pad I was A okay, 95% of the night, but did get a little chilly

11-10-2014, 14:29
Gambit McCrae,

I have a both a 40* and a 20* Hammock Gear Incubator. These are Full-length slightly contoured under quilts. I would expect that the 20* would suffice for temps ~teens to 60's. Above mid-60's a 20* underqulit is still usable, you simply need to hang-it more loosely below yourself to allow some heat to escape. A 20* Incubator might get you a bit below 10* with the addition of an underquilt-protector and the right set of sleeping attire. The Incubator can be ordered with additional down, while this will add slightly to warmth, my understanding is that the goal is to prevent the down from shifting over time.

As far as using your quilt with a bottom entry hammock; I assume it would work the same as positioning my quilts while zipped inside my Blackbird. Grab what you can through the hammock and slip the quilt into place.

I used a REI version of a Thermarest inflatable pad for a bit over a year. I cannot express how much more comfortably I slept after switching to underquilts.

As far as water running down your straps: you need some form of water break, a carabiner works great, at minimum tie a shoe lace around your suspension between your hammock and the edge of the tarp. Alternatively, camp below freezing and this will be less an issue.

There is a learning curve but, not rocket science. Keep doing what feels good.

Good Luck

11-10-2014, 14:36
I would look at maybe a 3/4, 20 degree rated UQ.

I agree. My UQ is those exact specs, and I've used it as warm as 70* and as cool as 15*. If you get too warm, you can vent the UQ by creating sag in the middle. It will work with a bottom entry hammock, because you can move it around and adjust it from inside.
When I used to use straps, I tied off the excess length into a knot just under the edge of my tarp, and let rest dangle so that the excess strap was the drip line. Otherwise, yes, it would wet the ends of my hammock. I haven't had that problem since switching to whoopies.

Just Bill
11-10-2014, 14:42
I have also been delving into the dark side, and suggest HF as well. But that said, I am a ground dweller messing with existing gear too and have a few suggestions. I would highly recommend you continue your relatively cheap hammock experiment and make that choice before messing with expensive quilts that may or may not fit your final choice.

About 40* (for me) the pad is less effective, and many other pad issues such as condensation are a concern.
Step one- is finding the lay that let's you stay on your pad.
Step two- is a Pad extender of some sort- look em up- makes sense when you see em. To keep it light/experiment- you can chop up a CFF pad and duct tape it to shape without buying or sewing one.
Step three- CBS- if you got the cold butt blues, cut a scrap for your ass. A second layer there does wonders.
Step four- likely you need to make the UQ switch- although the AT is the only place I could think of a compelling argument to stick with pads if you planned on frequent shelter use. Otherwise the UQ seems the better weight to performance choice.

Too hot?-
In my limited experience thus far- An UQ is about 10 degrees cooler than a TQ in "poor" conditions, or easy math- use the wind chill, not the ambient temp to choose the UQ. A bit like needing a warmer bag to cowboy camp than sleep in a tent, but worse IMO.

The mattress theory- not sure who gets credit but the idea is sound in theory and practice. When was the last time you said- my mattress is too hot! You simply use a sheet, blanket, or comforter as needed to stay warm. My thoughts are in line with this as well- go warmer than you think on the UQ and regulate temps with the TQ/clothing/hat you wear. To save money you can swap out cooler TQ to make the same warmer UQ work. Err on the side of caution underneath as in all but the hottest of summer you are very unlikely to say your bottom is too warm. Keep it within reason of course.

In true summer- most agree somewhere around 60-70- no pad or UQ is needed, and a bag will suffice.
Again- my limited experiments- going overkill on the Bag, buys you a little grace on this as well. As in a 30* sleeping bag may work okay on a 50* night if you shift positions a bit here and there with no other insulation. This does not work in a quilt, but needs a mummy bag.

Gambit McCrae
11-10-2014, 15:06
I have a long, wide(28 inches) exped. The only reason I thought of making the switch is because I am 6'4" and in a hammock i feel ike im in a cacoon. I like the way the pad allows me to sleep flat in my reactorbut I need to be able to create a taughter hammock, and keep a littl ebit of but chill out of the air lol So i think the pad is stickin around either way, due to the sleep position of flatness it provides me

11-10-2014, 16:10
I would recommend the 20* UQ and then match it with your 15* bag for cold weather (20s) and 45* bag for warmer weather 30+. I'm the heat of the summer, the 20* UQ may be too much but you can vent it.
I prefer a 3/4 length to keep down volume and pack weight. I use the hammockgear 20* Phoenix.

Gambit McCrae
11-10-2014, 16:48
wHEN USING A 3/4 uq, do you position in middle, head end or foot end of hammock?

11-10-2014, 17:01
wHEN USING A 3/4 uq, do you position in middle, head end or foot end of hammock?

It goes from my shoulders to just below my knees.
I wear a cap to keep my head warm, and a small pad for my feet.

I'm 6'2" for reference

11-10-2014, 17:02
Also, if you use the small pad, put it inside the bottom of your sleeping bag/top quilt. Then you won't end up chasing it around.

11-10-2014, 22:35
At 6'4 all the hammocks you mention are on the short side. Give an 11' hammock a try and a world of comfort will be yours. Pair it up with a 20dg UQ for some comfy nights in the piney woods.

11-11-2014, 00:43
Also, if you use the small pad, put it inside the bottom of your sleeping bag/top quilt. Then you won't end up chasing it around.

Excellent advice there! Personally I prefer a full length UQ rated at 20 degrees. The 3/4 might be a good alternative especially if you like to carry a sit pad anyway. If it's colder than that I add I'll an inflatable pad such as the NeoAir Xlite. I've been down to single digits with that combo. I would never consider a bottom entry hammock, especially if it doesn't have a zipped netting. Just the hassle of having to readjust your UQ every time you exit/enter would be a deal breaker for me. You rarely see them any more and there's a reason for that. Regarding hammocks, I would give the Warbonnet Ridgerunner a real hard look. I own several of the top of the line hammocks which have all been collecting dust since I bought it. It's the most hassle free, comfortable hammock I own. It's also the easiest to use with a pad/mattress as it stays in place regardless of how much you move. It would be my first choice on anything but a very long distance thru hike such as the AT as there are lighter choices. As others have said, check out Hammock Forums. It's the motherlode.

11-11-2014, 01:06
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11-11-2014, 10:35
It goes from my shoulders to just below my knees.
I wear a cap to keep my head warm, and a small pad for my feet.

I'm 6'2" for reference+1 on placement.
Think of the UQ and TQ and how they would "fit together". the TQ usually has a foot-box, so the UQ needs to cover the backside.
You can add a pad under you feet, or some will place their empty pack under their knees/feet to insulate. Or a sit pad under the feet. Usually, my feet are just fine being just in the foot box of the TQ.

And look up Shug on Youtube. Great information delivered in funny and unique ways.

Here is his channel

Five Tango
11-11-2014, 10:59
I purchased an underquilt last week from Jacks R Better made to work with the Hennessy Hammock bottom entry.They are available in different "r" values for what ever you want.Can't wait to try mine out soon as I was never happy with any other solutions I tried so far.