So, you’ve decided to switch from a tent system for camping and backpacking to a full-blown hammock setup. What exactly will you need to make this switch? Besides a hammock, you’ll need the best hammock underquilt you can afford. In addition, you may want to consider bringing along a hammock sleeping pad and a hammock rain fly.
Of course, you’ll also need a sleeping bag, and maybe even an underquilt protector. While many may have never heard of a hammock underquilt, it is the single most crucial piece of equipment for keeping warm when going with this system. Consider several factors when shopping for a hammock underquilt. Factors such as including insulation, weight, fabric, and temperature rating.
- Hammock Camping and Backpacking
- What is a Hammock Underquilt
- How to Use a Hammock Underquilt
- Best Winter Hammock Underquilt
- Best Summer Hammock Underquilt
- Best Synthetic Hammock Underquilt
- Ultralight Down Underquilt For Backpacking
- Best Budget Hammock Underquilt
- Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock
- Best Hammock Underquilt Protector
- Final Thoughts
Hammock Camping and Backpacking
As we’ve shared in other posts about hammocks and hammock rain fly tarps, hammocks are popular for camping and backpacking. They are lighter weight than a tent and can be easier on the body when sleeping.
Many people also find hammocks much more comfortable than sleeping in a tent on the ground. It has less impact on the body and helps sore joints and muscles. You also can save significant weight by going with a hammock system. A lightweight hammock, rainfly, and underquilt will likely come in under five pounds, depending on which great product you buy.
However, there are a few things to consider when switching to this system. For example, you’ll be suspended in the air when sleeping in a hammock. But, as we all know, the air is what turns cold at night. It could be a chilly and miserable night without proper insulation beneath you.
When it cools off at night, this is where a high-quality hammock underquilt can be a lifesaver (or at least make you more comfortable).
What is a Hammock Underquilt
A hammock underquilt attaches to the underside of your hammock, kind of like a cocoon. This cocoon approach provides insulation below your body. The cocoon also protects you from the cold weather air. Think of it like a down sleeping bag or a down coat. It creates an air pocket to help trap your body heat. You can also pair your hammock underquilt with a warm double sleeping bag, top quilt, or 20D ripstop nylon technical blanket with DWR coating. In addition, add a hammock sleeping pad for ultimate warmth and comfort.
Much like other hammock equipment, the outer shell or outer fabrics of most hammock quilts are typically nylon or polyester materials.
Nylon is a material in use in many outdoor products. It tends to be stronger than polyester. Polyester is even stronger when reinforced by using ripstop technology. The ripstop nylon shell process involves adding additional fibers woven into the original threads. This process results in a diamond pattern on the quilt. Often, nylon receives a special treatment for additional waterproofing. Waterproofing properties are needed since it tends to absorb more moisture than polyester.
Polyester is a synthetic material and is quite strong. While it is not stretchy like cotton, it is much more durable. It can withstand the elements better and dries quickly. Therefore, it doesn’t grow mold as easily either. It can also be pretty lightweight and last a long time.
Most hammock underquilts contain down insulation or synthetic insulation. Underquilts are pretty warm. Down insulation is lighter weight but isn’t great for wet conditions since it loses its loft.
Many companies now make technical synthetic insulation. This fill material can be just as warm, although often weighs a bit more than down. However, technology is improving, and products are getting lighter-weight. Synthetic materials perform better when wet because it retains its loft better.
Underquilts also have temperature ratings like sleeping bags do. Temperature ratings are the lowest temperature ranges you will stay comfortable in while sleeping or resting. Lower ratings are suitable for colder temperatures or even freezing temperatures. If you’re only camping in hot areas in the middle of summer, you probably won’t need an underquilt with a low temperature rating. Using a camping hammock in cold temperatures will require something warmer. The rating you choose will all depend on the conditions you’ll be using it in.
How to Use a Hammock Underquilt
Many hammock underquilts are considered universal. This means they will fit most hammocks on the market. This is handy if you have multiple hammocks or if someone else wants to borrow your great underquilt for use with their hammock. They also come in half- and three-quarter sizes. You might choose one of these sizes if you want to save weight while providing extra warmth for a specific part of your body.
Attaching a hammock underquilt may vary slightly depending on which one you’re using, but the basic concept is the same. For example, it wraps under the bottom of your hammock in a cocoon fashion and is attached to either end to hold it in place using a suspension system. The system could be cords and a carabiner that attaches to your hammock’s straps or something similar. Some may have clips or other mechanisms for connecting the underquilt to the edges of the hammock.
You’ll want to make sure the underquilt is a snug fit but not too tight for the best performance. Any sags or separations can cause cold air to get in and render it less warm. Similarly, it can take the loft out of it if it’s too tight, affecting the way it holds warm air.
Whichever way a hammock underquilt attaches, the bottom line is that it will keep your backside much warmer than without one. While you can undoubtedly make a DIY hammock underquilt, there are many great hammock underquilts on the market.To help you have the most enjoyable experience possible, we’ve found some of the best hammock underquilts and share the pros and cons here.
Best Winter Hammock Underquilt
If you’re going to do any winter camping, making sure your gear is designed to keep you warm is critical. A good winter hammock underquilt will ensure you stay plenty toasty and have an enjoyable experience. We like the Eno Blaze Underquilt for a variety of reasons.
As with many high-quality underquilts, this one is made of durable 20D ripstop nylon and specially treated for additional weather-proofing. It is filled with DownTek duck down insulation and rated 30-40 degrees. However, what makes this underquilt so good is the differential baffle construction. This means the down is sewn into “pockets” that keep it in place, reducing movement and therefore cold spots during a cold night.
It weighs around 1 pound 12 ounces, so while it’s not the lightest weight hammock underquilt out there, it’s not the heaviest either. It attaches with an adjustable shock cord system, allowing it to fit many types and sizes of hammocks.
Overall, this hammock underquilt is an excellent choice for four-season hammock camping, including in winter. However, if using it in the winter, we recommend pairing it with a low-degree rated sleeping bag and a sleeping pad.
Best Summer Hammock Underquilt
A good summer hammock underquilt will have a higher temperature rating since you won’t need to use it in freezing weather. Additionally, it’s nice to have one that doesn’t weigh much, so it can be used for backpacking since spring, summer, and fall are when that activity most likely occurs. We think the Eno Ember UnderQuilt is an excellent summer option. Some reviewers even consider this the best option.
This underquilt has a rating at 40-60 degrees, better for warmer summer temperatures. It also weighs a mere 1 pound 11 ounces and packs up to 13.25″ x 7″ x 7″ so you can easily throw it in a pack. It comes with a fully adjustable attachment system making it easy to put on and take off and take off your hammock.
The Ember is made with tough 40D nylon ripstop. The Ember is specially treated for added wind and water resistance. While it doesn’t have the extensive baffling the Eno Blaze does, it still features an offset quilted construction. This helps to keep the 100% recycled polyester synthetic fill in place, thus helping to eliminate cold spots.
Eno is known for being eco-friendly, including using all scraps of material. As such, occasionally, pieces of similar fabric may not match exactly.
Synthetic fill materials tend to be heavier than down fill. Although, the technology is improving. There are many great synthetic underquilts on the market today that don’t weigh much. Additionally, synthetic holds its loft better in wet conditions. Therefore, we believe the best synthetic hammock underquilt option is the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock Underquilt – Insulated Down Underquilt. It’s also the best ultralight underquilt on our list.
20D Nylon Ripstop
The Wise Owl weighs around 1.15 pounds. Because it’s synthetic, it is a bit bulkier than some of its down-fill counterparts. However, it’s an excellent option for wet weather. It is still light enough for backpacking. It’s durable 20D nylon ripstop fabric and specially treated for additional protection against the elements.
This hammock underquilt has a rating at 40 degrees. A rating at 40 degress or above will suffice in cooler temperatures. Although it’s not the warmest underquilt out there, it’s an excellent option for three-season camping. Reviewers rave about how warm this keeps them in thirty to fifty-degree temperatures.
Additionally, this is a universal fit and adjustable to work with single and double hammocks. The attachment system is easy to use and ensures a snug and secure fit.
Finally, you can’t beat the quality for the price. Wise Owl has become a leader in hammock manufacturing. Wise Owl is eco-friendly, and makes high-quality products.
Ultralight Down Underquilt For Backpacking
The Outdoor Vitals Down UnderQuilt for Ultralight Backpacking is a premium treated down underquilt. This has high-end baffling. The quilt is light weight but is fantastic at trapping in heat. You will find this comes with 10 denier ripstop nylon fabric . This model the StormLoft is available in ratings of 0 degrees, 15 degrees and 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best Budget Hammock Underquilt
While there are plenty of expensive options on the market, there are also some budget-friendly options. These less expensive options will still help keep you warm and not break the bank. One such option that gets great reviews is the OneTigris Hideout Hammock Underquilt.
The Hideout is another synthetic-fill underquilt. The Hideout is heavier at two pounds. However, it’s large enough to fit both single and double hammocks. The Hideout is 9.2 feet long and 4 feet wide. It has a Terylene shell. Terylene is a specific type of polyester, and a poly-cotton fill. This budget hammock underquilt has a 41-degree rating. This rating makes it great for most camping scenarios (yeah, we wonder why they didn’t just go with 40 degrees, too!).
It comes with an easy, adjustable attachment system with elastic straps and bungee cords loops to give it just the right fit against your hammock, making it easy to set up and take down quickly.
Reviewers comment how well made this underquilt is for the price, and at two pounds, it’s still quite packable. You can’t go wrong in giving it a try and should find it will last you for many enjoyable camping trips.
Best Sleeping Pad for Hammock
A couple of other accessories are good to have with a hammock setup. An insulated hammock sleeping pad is one of them. You can use it with or without an underquilt. This will provide an added layer of insulation and comfort. While many inflatable camping pads will work, some have better designs than others for fitting into a hammock. The ECOTEK Outdoors Insulated Hybern8 is one such pad.
This pad features a unique cellular design. This allows it to conform to your body and the hammock you’re sleeping in. It will conform to your body no matter which position you sleep. You can also use it on the ground and in a tent. It has a polyester slip-resistant bottom. This helps keep it from slipping around when you move in your hammock. The insulated cells provide extra warmth.
One of the best things about this pad is its ease of setting up. It only takes 10-15 breaths to be fully blown up. This means you’ll be set up and enjoying a comfortable rest in no time! It also packs up tightly to easily throw in a pack without taking up much space.
This pad is also more budget-friendly than other more expensive brands.
Best Hammock Underquilt Protector
Another accessory you may want to consider, depending on the weather, when, and where you’ll be camping, is a good underquilt protector. These don’t have to be expensive or fancy. They can keep your underquilt dry and further protected from the elements. The Onewind Underquilt Protector is a cost-effective choice.
This construction of this protector is of tough nylon ripstop that is tear- and water-resistant. It weighs less than 7 ounces. This also is large enough to fit single and double hammocks. Providing that extra layer of protection. It also packs up incredibly small and doesn’t take up much space in your pack. The size is similar to a rolled pair of socks.
The Onewind is a handy piece of equipment. It’s great to have for those times when the wind is blowing. Or when rain is coming in under your hammock rain fly sideways. Reviewers say it keeps gear dry and protected even in severe weather.
Using hammocks for camping instead of tents can be fun and rewarding for many reasons. Make sure you have the right accessories for utilizing your hammock for camping and sleeping. Buying the best hammock underquilt for your purposes will ensure you are warm and comfortable, even if the weather is not.
We’ve given you a great list of hammock underquilts and best underquilt protectors to choose from. Whether you are looking for a hammock underquilt ultralight option or something budget-friendly where weight doesn’t matter, Be sure to consider other accessories like the hammock sleeping pad and quilt protector. Both will add even more warmth and comfort.
The best part of all this is even if you add all the hammock accessories and replace your tent, you may still end up packing less weight around. Or, if you’re using it to car camp, you’ll still be plenty comfortable. Of course, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.