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  1. #21

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    I think there is a lot to consider for what type of use you intend your hammock for as well as the type of hammock. I have experimented quite a bit with the intend of tackling the AT in 2016. I consider some sort of pad a necessity for going to ground or for shelter dwelling when mandatory (GSMNP). I have a Warbonnet Ridgerunner (WBRR) and a Luke's 90 degree hammock. I have found that my Exped Downmat UL 7 MW works fine in either hammock since they are both double layer. I have been using a variety of systems continuously since before Christmas sleeping in temperatures from 35F to 40F. It is also important to consider what temperatures you plan on using your hammock in. At this point I do not plan on winter camping anymore, although I have a DIY down UQ made from a rectangular sleeping bag that works excellent in lower temperatures. A UQ is warmer, but I like the flexibility of having a pad. Another positive about the pad is it helps with shoulder/foot squeeze if deployed correctly. In the 90 degree hammock it keeps the hammock stretched out, although a UQ simply gives a different sleeping experience and when you get use to adjusting to the stretch and shrink of the hammock as you shift from back to side sleeping it works just fine. The compromise system I will, at this point, be taking on the AT is a Arrowhead Ridgecreek 3/4 UQ in conjunction with a Sea 2 Summit Comfort Light. I simply wrap the UQ around the pad with the pad "foot" toward the hammock head and insert it into the pad pocket. This way I have the warmth of the UQ, the shape forming comfort of the UQ, and go to ground as needed. The S2S inflatable pad deflates into much less space than a CCF and is far warmer and more comfortable on the ground/shelter. The other option that is up for serious consideration is simply taking the Downmat UL 7 MW.

  2. #22

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    I am new to hammock camping and did a lot of research on equipment. Tried using my thermarest pad first. It worked ok, but not the most comfortable night's sleep. Make sure the mattress is not fully inflated. Invested in the UQ and man what a difference. Very warm and comfortable.

  3. #23

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    It seems like most folks prefer an UQ with their hammock and I would agree for the most part when they are referring to gathered end hammocks. When used with gathered end hammocks pads just have too much fiddle factor. They tend to shift around and distort even when used with a double layered version. I personally now use a Bridge style hammock, namely the Warbonnet Ridgerunner. I find that pads work perfectly in the Ridgerunner due to it's flat lay. I have the double layer version and have found that all pads and mattresses stay perfectly in place and do not distort at all. They are also very comfortable. I like using pads with it for a couple of reasons. On a long distance hike you may have the time where you need to go to ground or you may simply would like to sleep in a shelter. Nice to have a pad/mattress. I usually use a closed cell type pad with mine as it double as a great sit pad. Finally I don't have to be so concerned about it getting wet. In fact I usually carry mine on the outside of the pack. In general I find bridge hammocks to be much more comfortable than gathered end hammocks. They totally eliminate the dreaded leg lock. There is a slight weight penalty but it's one I'm quite willing to endure.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadenza View Post
    I think it has a lot to do with WHICH HAMMOCK.

    In my Clarks a pad works just fine.
    In the Warbonnet Blackbird (which I hate anyway) a pad is a disaster.
    In the Dream Hammock Thunderbird (double layer) a pad is OK but it's easy to get partially off the pad.

    In all cases, an UQ is warmer. But in mild weather the Clarks with a pad is not a bad way to go. The 3/4 length Thermarest inflatable is simple and quick.
    I am curious as to why you say the pad in the WB Blackbird is a disaster?I tried one in mine,a 25 inch Thermarest Ridgerest and it was fine although the character of the pad itself was somewhat hard but otherwise satisfactory.It's my warm weather set up while a Dutch Argon Hammock with a Jacks R Better Winter Nest is my cold weather ride.Most people that try down never go back to pads is the impression I get and I would not have a pad in summer but for not wanting to pay for one.Sure would like to have a 3/4 UQ for warm weather as my JRB Nest is overkill then.

  5. #25
    Registered User Cadenza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    I am curious as to why you say the pad in the WB Blackbird is a disaster?I tried one in mine,a 25 inch Thermarest Ridgerest and it was fine although the character of the pad itself was somewhat hard but otherwise satisfactory.It's my warm weather set up while a Dutch Argon Hammock with a Jacks R Better Winter Nest is my cold weather ride.Most people that try down never go back to pads is the impression I get and I would not have a pad in summer but for not wanting to pay for one.Sure would like to have a 3/4 UQ for warm weather as my JRB Nest is overkill then.

    Because of the "calf ridge" and "foot box" the pad just never lays right.
    I confess to generally disliking the WBBB. That hammock gives me severe leg cramps.

    On a different note, maybe the thing I hate most about it is the one side entry. That limits the hang options to get the view you want.
    For example, let's say I'm trying to hang between two trees near the stream where the bank drops off sharply to the water. I want a view with my head to the left, feet toward the right, and a view to the right. I am forced to enter from the left side which puts entry on the drop off side. Very inconvenient. My only option is to hang with entry to the accessible side and my view is in the wrong direction.

    The limited view/hang direction combined with the uncomfortable calf ridge makes this hammock virtually useless to me except as a loaner.

    To each his own. I know the WBBB is popular among many people. But i'll take either the Clarks or the Dream Hammock every day. They are both more comfortable and I can enter both from either side.

  6. #26
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    I agree that an UQ is generally better for insulation. (i do love mine)

    However, I will add that in a bridge hammock a pad tends to be better than in a GE hammock as it tends to stay where you need it better and that in the bridge you are generally laying in the same spot rather than being across the hammock like you are in a GE.

  7. #27
    Registered User WILLIAM HAYES's Avatar
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    hands down an underquilt is the way to go except for the shelters in GSMP where you will need a pad

  8. #28
    Registered User Mtsman's Avatar
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    The difference for me was something like this:

    After years of trying pads and the like (even several different hammocks) I was O.K. with my final choice saying things like "I guess this will work".

    After trying just one UQ in one weekend I was saying things like " I will never go back to pads" or "you will have to pry this UQ from my lifeless kungfu grip"

    UQ's work for me. I don't hate on the pad users but I would doubt that they have ever tried a UQ and gone BACK to trying pads. If I did have to play devils advocate and suggest using a pad in a hammock it would only be for three reasons. 1) you are new to hammocks and don't even know if you like to hammock camp (its not for everyone but as long as there are trees around, I will try to be in a hammock) 2) you are REALLY strapped for cash and don't want to invest in your sleep on the trail (although I also think this is a temporary fix as you will spend more in pads trying to get comfy than a UQ once) 3) If you are in a REALLLY wet environment for months at a time with no way to dry out/ keep dry your UQ.

    Now, with that said, please realize I am extremely biased as I spent many nights pissed off at pads over the years.

    HYOH YMMV

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtsman View Post
    The difference for me was something like this:

    After years of trying pads and the like (even several different hammocks) I was O.K. with my final choice saying things like "I guess this will work".

    After trying just one UQ in one weekend I was saying things like " I will never go back to pads" or "you will have to pry this UQ from my lifeless kungfu grip"

    UQ's work for me. I don't hate on the pad users but I would doubt that they have ever tried a UQ and gone BACK to trying pads. If I did have to play devils advocate and suggest using a pad in a hammock it would only be for three reasons. 1) you are new to hammocks and don't even know if you like to hammock camp (its not for everyone but as long as there are trees around, I will try to be in a hammock) 2) you are REALLY strapped for cash and don't want to invest in your sleep on the trail (although I also think this is a temporary fix as you will spend more in pads trying to get comfy than a UQ once) 3) If you are in a REALLLY wet environment for months at a time with no way to dry out/ keep dry your UQ.

    Now, with that said, please realize I am extremely biased as I spent many nights pissed off at pads over the years.

    HYOH YMMV
    Or you use both knowing you will be spending nights in mandatory shelters or plan for the occasional go-to-ground nights. That is why I use a 3/4 UQ and a 3/4 Ultralite Thermarest for my feet/shelter/ground insulation.

  10. #30
    Registered User Mtsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrailDog View Post
    Or you use both knowing you will be spending nights in mandatory shelters or plan for the occasional go-to-ground nights. That is why I use a 3/4 UQ and a 3/4 Ultralite Thermarest for my feet/shelter/ground insulation.
    Yeah you nailed me on that one. I am using a 3/4th setup and half a pad right now also. It made since to me also because of some shelter camping on this thru attempt.



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  11. #31
    Registered User Cadenza's Avatar
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    I come from Scots-Irish forebears, the same people who settled the Appalachians. These people have been known at times to be fiercely independent and even stubborn.
    This may explain the fact that I fail to grasp the concept "mandatory shelters."

    It's just too easy to step 75 yards off the trail and disappear.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadenza View Post
    I come from Scots-Irish forebears, the same people who settled the Appalachians. These people have been known at times to be fiercely independent and even stubborn.
    This may explain the fact that I fail to grasp the concept "mandatory shelters."

    It's just too easy to step 75 yards off the trail and disappear.
    It's more about the respect of the rules than the ability to be "independent" for me. I'm not judging anyone for their method of hiking, just stating mine. HYOH YMMV


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  13. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadenza View Post
    I come from Scots-Irish forebears, the same people who settled the Appalachians. These people have been known at times to be fiercely independent and even stubborn.
    This may explain the fact that I fail to grasp the concept "mandatory shelters."

    It's just too easy to step 75 yards off the trail and disappear.
    Now I understand what the movie "Deliverance" was all about! And probably why my Swiss ancestors have mandatory military service and keep weapons at home ;-)

  14. #34
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    Wink

    Both are fine, Pad for value (cheaper). UQ for comfort (will keep you much warmer),

  15. #35
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    I slept into the teens one night with an air pad and a piece of Reflectix under me. Windy night too. Did I sleep? Yes. Was I warm? Not really. Next time I plan to have an UQ!

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadenza View Post
    I think it has a lot to do with WHICH HAMMOCK.

    In my Clarks a pad works just fine.
    In the Warbonnet Blackbird (which I hate anyway) a pad is a disaster.
    In the Dream Hammock Thunderbird (double layer) a pad is OK but it's easy to get partially off the pad.

    In all cases, an UQ is warmer. But in mild weather the Clarks with a pad is not a bad way to go. The 3/4 length Thermarest inflatable is simple and quick.
    What's wrong with your WBBB? I'm on the verge of buying 4 hammocks, leaning toward those, so VERY interested. What's better about the Clarks?

    thanks.

  17. #37
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    I've decided to hammock on my trip in early May from NOC to Fontana. I'd prefer to use a pad, though from this thread I'm convinced that I should get an UQ. So if I do, do I still use a sleeping bag or just get a top quilt without a sleeping bag?

  18. #38
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FossilFool View Post
    I've decided to hammock on my trip in early May from NOC to Fontana. I'd prefer to use a pad, though from this thread I'm convinced that I should get an UQ. So if I do, do I still use a sleeping bag or just get a top quilt without a sleeping bag?
    I would think rolling through the smokies (and most of the AT) it would be durn handy to have the ability to sleep on a pad when needed.

    Not all hammocks are comfy with a pad, but many can be. A double layer is a big help IMO. A bridge is almost made for pads.
    Most pads are not as warm in a hammock. A neo-air is good to about 20* for me on the ground, but never lower than 40* in the air. That said- on the flipside- if you aren't expecting lows much past 40 it works fine. And on that odd 30* night you can go to ground or hit a shelter up. A neo-air Xtherm is about 20* in the air, zero or better on the ground. Those are the two I have tested the most.

    Sounds like you own a pad already, and you're still shopping hammocks? I'd get the hammock sorted out and give it a try with your pad.

    I think there is alot to be said for a versatile system for a trail like the AT where you may want or even need to sleep on a hard surface (shelter floor, bald, mountain top, cowboy camp in an open field, hostel overflow, etc.)
    An UQ is warmer and more comfortable on the vast majority of hammocks, but if having the extra options makes sense to your style of trip-
    There is no UQ that works on the ground.
    There are pads that can be decent or even great in the air. (A wide pad 25" in a bridge is more comfortable than an UQ for example)
    The one rule of thumb I would not violate- you need a wide pad or an SPE to make it work. Shoving a 20" pad into a hammock is an automatic fail.

    Sleeping bag vs top quilt- It's a non issue really- what do you own now?
    Top quilt is easier to get into if you were buying from scratch- but a sleeping bag may be more versatile.
    In a regular hammock with UQ- your sides are more (or even fully) insulated, so a smaller TQ than you might use on the ground can be used to save a little weight/space.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    I would think rolling through the smokies (and most of the AT) it would be durn handy to have the ability to sleep on a pad when needed.
    Can't argue with that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    Sounds like you own a pad already, and you're still shopping hammocks? I'd get the hammock sorted out and give it a try with your pad.
    No, I have no equipment at all any more, that's not 30 years old. Looking to get all new gear, x4, as I'm taking my 2 sons and their 80ish year old grand dad. I'm looking at the Blackbird mostly due to reviews and comments here, with the double layer bottom. So a pad is a must, and a sleeping bag is a must, so it'd be nice not to have to shell out even more for the quilts... they are more than i imagined, especially x4.

    I doubt it will get below 40 during our trip, the 1st week in May, so i'm thinking I'll just stick with a 30* bag with the blackbirds. If we get serious enough to do sections in colder weather, then we'll go to quilts... Any problem with this logic? I need to make the smartest investment considering the coin i'm tossing!

    thanks so much!

  20. #40
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    http://undergroundquilts.com/rentals/default.html

    in that case- might want to check that out.
    Dream Hammocks and Underground quilt rentals plus tarps... with them your rental converts to a credit if you choose to buy.

    You can get grand trunk and other cheaper hammocks for $20 http://www.cabelas.com/product/Grand...3562002&rid=20

    REI and others rent gear as well.
    So while not ideal- you could rent pads and bags and slap them in some grand trunk hammocks and have a good trip. Worst thing you get stuck with is some grand trunks to hang around camp or the yard.

    Tough to pick just one hammock that works well for yourself- even harder to pick one that will work for four different people...
    Even tougher to justify dropping a grand or two to gear everyone up when nobody knows exactly what they want.

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