While you don’t technically need an underquilt to camp in a hammock, there will always be times where you really wish you had one.
When the weather is less than perfect, you need that underquilt to keep you safe at night.
It’s not like shopping for the same kind of bedding you’d use in your room – selecting the best hammock underquilt is a totally different process.
We lose around 65% of body heat through radiation when sleeping, and since a hammock is colder than a tent, this makes it extremely important to make sure that you’re insulating yourself against heat loss from all directions, not just on top.
As most sleeping bags don’t provide a huge amount of insulation under the body once compressed (this is usually where sleeping mats or pads would play their part), using a hammock underquilt is a sure way to ensure that you stay warm and cozy all night.
Camping Hammock Underquilts
|ENO Ember 2 Under Quilt|
|OneTigris Hammock Underquilt|
|Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30F Down Underquilt|
|SnugPak Jungle Blanket|
|ENO Vulcan Underquilt|
- So, What is an Underquilt?
- Hammock Underquilt vs. Sleeping Mat or Pad
- Underquilts vs. Sleeping Bags
- Things to Keep in Mind when Picking the Perfect Hammock Underquilt
- How to Make a DIY Hammock Underquilt
- TOP 9 Best Hammock Underquilt Reviews 2018
- ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Ember 2 Under Quilt
- Snugpak Jungle Blanket
- OneTigris Hammock Underquilt
- ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Vulcan Underquilt
- Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30F Down Underquilt
- ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Blaze UnderQuilt
- Snugpak Hammock Under Blanket
- Snugpak Hammock Cocoon
- Chill Gorilla 40’F Underquilt Blanket
So, What is an Underquilt?
An underquilt is essentially a quilt of similar material to your standard sleeping bag that gets attached to the outside of the hammock bottom, ensuring that it insulates you without being compressed by your bodyweight.
In terms of what you’d usually take for a backpacking trip with a tent set up, think of the underquilt as the hammock equivalent of the sleeping mat.
So, why can’t I just use a sleeping mat?
Hammock Underquilt vs. Sleeping Mat or Pad
The short answer is, you can.
But there are pros and cons to the different options.
Inflatable sleeping mats or closed cell foam pads can work well in a hammock. It just comes down to personal choice and what you can afford.
While underquilts are usually more expensive and a little trickier to set up (until you get used to them), they may be warmer, pack up smaller and lighter, be easier to carry and be more comfortable.
Mats or pads may end up being less comfortable as they won’t come up around your sides, they’ll result in more moisture build up (you’ll wake up a little more damp), you may roll off them in the night, and hammocks that gather at the end may result in your mat or pad bunching or buckling.
An underquilt solves all of these problems by keeping your sides insulated, being breathable, preventing moisture build-up, and being impossible to roll off!
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use a conventional sleeping bag in a hammock, as the sides of the hammock will compress the sleeping bag and make it fairly useless in keeping you warm.
The best combination for hammock sleeping is an underquilt, that goes underneath the hammock and a little up the sides, and an overquilt, that goes on top of you.
Underquilts vs. Sleeping Bags
Note, this doesn’t mean using the sleeping bag in its conventional way (sleeping inside it), as mentioned above, once the bottom of the sleeping becomes compressed, it will be doing little to keep you warm.
This method actually involves zipping the sleeping bag around the hammock with you inside.
If you don’t want to use an underquilt, or if you need something you can use for both hammock camping and tent camping, a large sleeping bag might do the trick.
Wrapping a sleeping bag around your hammock and zipping yourself in will protect you by putting you in a large cocoon.
This isn’t always convenient – if it’s hot outside, it may be uncomfortable to use a sleeping bag as an underquilt. It’s also a little more inconvenient to get in and out.
Despite the fact that you’re a bit trapped, you’re definitely going to be warm. The bags help preserve body heat, as long as you keep yourself sealed in.
Things to Keep in Mind when Picking the Perfect Hammock Underquilt
If you ever plan to camp in winter, you really need to get a four-season underquilt. Four seasons means the underquilt is designed to work in winter.
It will have better padding on the inside, and the outside will be water resistant to prevent soaking snow.
Three season hammocks are fine for campers who don’t often venture out into the cold.
They’re also great for hammock campers who live in climates that don’t see especially cold winters, where protection from freezing winds won’t be a problem.
Underquilts come in all shapes and sizes.
How tall are you? Do you want an underquilt that will insulate the full length of your body or are you willing to sacrifice your lower legs?
Some people prefer to use a shorter underquilt and then put clothes or a small pad under their lower legs.
Underquilts don’t often work well with double hammocks – they’re really only designed for one sleeper.
If you plan on sticking two sleepers in a double hammock, your best bet would be to purchase two sleeping bag style underquilts and link them together, in order to form a double bag.
The sleepers will have more room, and the body heat can be shared evenly between the both of them.
Synthetic polyester or down?
Both have pros and cons.
Synthetic will still keep you a little warm if it gets wet while down is effectively useless once it’s wet.
But, this should be accounted for in the outer materials of a down quilt that should protect the down inner from any moisture.
Down is usually lighter and more compressible, but is also more expensive.
Also, as it is the plumage of ducks or geese, it’s not vegan and the debate is still out on how ethical the use of down is.
Responsible Down Standards exist so it’s possible to check whether the company you purchase from adheres to these standards.
On the flip side, down is biodegradable and naturally renewable so could be considered better for the environment.
While this isn’t an issue for car campers or those not carrying their gear far, if you want to use your underquilt on a backpacking trip, you’re going to want something light!
The weights of the underquilts on this list vary from around 25 to over 50 oz.
When you’re looking for the best hammock underquilt, the price is always a factor.
Price usually reflects quality but sometimes it’s worth being as objective as possible and weighing up whether you’re really getting more for your money.
Prices range from under $70US to over $200US – that’s a big range!
It isn’t worth spending a lot of money on a four-season underquilt if you only go hammock camping in tropical climates.
The perfect underquilt will both fit your budget and be designed for your favorite way to camp.
How to Make a DIY Hammock Underquilt
If you have even the most basic sewing skills and some determination, there’s no reason why you can’t make your own hammock underquilt, for cheaper and arguably more satisfying alternative to buying one.
Videos like below provide all the instruction you need to get started.
If you want to get really creative and eco-friendly, repurposing an old down sleeping bag could be a good alternative to buying new materials.
It’s literally a case of cutting to size (cutting through the middle of a baffle will probably be unavoidable so be prepared for lots of down and small feathers to be flying through the air), attaching elastic to the head and foot ends or gathering it with a drawstring, and then attaching cords to these gathered ends which will hook on the carabiners at either end of the hammock.
If you want an additional layer of warmth, foil safety blankets can be added to the mix.
And on that note…
…here are some great options to choose from:
TOP 9 Best Hammock Underquilt Reviews 2018
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Ember 2 Under Quilt
This is a simple, durable four season underquilt that makes camping around the calendar easy to do.
It’ll keep you a little warmer in the winter, and make your sleep a little more comfortable in the summer.
This is a fairly standard high quality underquilt for your next hammock camping trip. It isn’t fancy – it’s just made extremely well. If you take good care of it, it’ll last for years.
- Adjustable shock cord helps you adjust how open or closed the underquilt is while allowing you to hang it quickly. You can be as warm as you need to be.
- Weighs only 25 ounces – some heavy duty underquilts can weigh twice as much.
- Water-resistant exterior is helpful in humid or rainy climates.
- There isn’t a “middle” setting for tightness with this underquilt. It’s either loose and comfortable or tight and snug.
Snugpak Jungle Blanket
The Jungle Blanket isn’t a traditional underquilt. It’s a heavy duty blanket designed to fit any kind of hammock, and it’s good enough to be considered three-season.
It’s been treated with antibacterial and antimicrobial agents to keep it smelling fresh and prevent the growth of bacteria in damp environments.
The insulation is soft, and it folds easily. It’s lightweight, simple, and it’s no hassle to use it as an underquilt.
- Can be used with any hammock at all, no matter the size or the shape.
- It’s not heavy, and it packs away into a compression sack.
- Can be used for tent camping as well – line the floor of the tent for better insulation or use it as a blanket.
- This blanket is only rated down to 36 degrees. It may not fare well in a particularly cold winter.
OneTigris Hammock Underquilt
This is a three season underquilt, and it’s made to be a universal fit for most hammocks.
Even if it’s a little too big or a little too small for your hammock, it’s still easy to set up in a way that will make it work perfectly, and weighing in at only 30 oz., this is very light for such an affordable underquilt.
The exterior is water repellent, perfect for rainy weather. It’s made of ripstop nylon, so you won’t need to worry about tree branches or other debris damaging the exterior of the underquilt.
- This isn’t too heavy to use in the spring or summer, when the nights are slightly cool but not freezing. You won’t sweat.
- One of the most affordable high-quality underquilts on the market.
- Easy elastic strap and carabiner system makes it easy to set up and take down.
- Not designed for winter camping. You’ll need something much heavier.
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Vulcan Underquilt
This is one serious underquilt. It’s very heavy duty, and it’s designed to be the most hard-core underquilt money can possibly buy.
The differential cut construction is designed to keep you snug, conforming to the shape of your body while you’re in the hammock.
Filament fibers form small pockets that draw in and retain body heat, recycling it to keep you warm all night.
- This underquilt is padded and warm enough that you’ll actually want to hammock camp in the winter.
- The exterior finish catches water, collects it into drops, and causes it to roll off onto the ground. Light snow or rain isn’t a problem, even without a rain fly.
- Shock cord suspension makes it easy to hang this underquilt, even though it’s heavy.
- This is heavier than most underquilts, because it’s rated for winter.
- This is a pretty expensive underquilt, but you pay a price for cold weather durability.
Outdoor Vitals Aerie 30F Down Underquilt
This is a sleeping bag style underquilt. It zips directly over the hammock and seals you in.
It’s not always easy to get in and out of a hammock when these are used, but they’re sometimes a lifesaver in wet or cold weather conditions.
The exterior is coated with rip stop nylon, making this underquilt prepared to face the elements.
- Since this can be used as either a sleeping bag or an underquilt, you’re getting the most for your money.
- Grid stitching design evenly distributes the filling, preventing it from shifting around and creating lumps or uneven insulation.
- The zipper is metal rather than plastic – it won’t break.
- 27.2 oz. is very light!
- A little more on the expensive side.
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters – Blaze UnderQuilt
The Blaze is easily one of the best underquilts out there.
Yet another top class offer from Eagles Nest Outfitters, this underquilt can be used safely in the winter, with 750 down filling and full-length coverage, it will keep you cozy from head to toe.
It is also easily transportable once packed away into its compressed stuff stack; you won’t even notice you’re carrying it.
- Lightweight at only 24 oz.
- DownTek Down is warm and cozy.
- 30-40’F temperature rating makes this a 4 season underquilt.
- Water repellent finish will help to keep you protected from the weather.
- Ripstop nylon shell is durable against tears general wear and tear.
- Easy set up with adjustable shock cords.
- This is one expensive underquilt.
Snugpak Hammock Under Blanket
Snugpak’s Under Blanket is a very affordable 2-3 season hammock underquilt that could stretch to colder temperatures if you have a good set up with an accompanying top quilt.
It fits most hammocks meaning you don’t need to worry too much which hammock you are matching this underquilt with.
The materials used are water repellent, antimicrobial and antibacterial polyester making for a healthy, warm and dry sleep.
- A very affordable option.
- Fits most hammocks.
- Forms a snug fit under your hammock preventing the flow of cool breezes from stealing your body heat.
- 100% Polyester, this underquilt is vegan-friendly and weatherproof.
- 51oz is on the heavy side considering it’s only a 2 season quilt, and it’s also a little large once packed up.
Snugpak Hammock Cocoon
A slightly different take on underquilts, the Snugpak Hammock Cocoon works in a similar way to the Outdoor Vitals Aerie, above.
Described by Snugpak as a giant banana skin, this underquilt alternative literally encases the sleeper inside the hammock, forming an insulated cocoon which is very warm.
But, no need to feel claustrophobic!
The full-length zip enables varying degrees of encasement and allows for easy access.
This option also relieves you of the need for a super warm top quilt, making your packed load lighter and smaller.
- Travelsoft insulation is warm and packs small.
- The inner lining is antibacterial and antimicrobial.
- The outer fabric is durable and water resistant.
- Very affordable considering it is effectively a sleeping bag and an underquilt in one.
- 69oz is heavy, even if it does save you from carrying a top quilt.
Chill Gorilla 40’F Underquilt Blanket
Chill Gorilla’s 40’F underquilt ticks all the boxes for a great all-round underqilt for those on a budget. Very affordable and very warm, this 3 season hammock is a great budget option.
It’s also so easy to use, that if you get hot in the night you can slide it off without getting out of the hammock, and then slide it back into place again for the chilliest part of the night!
- Very affordable.
- 20D ripstop nylon shell is water resistant and wind proof.
- Synthetic filling is rated 40’F which is pretty cozy!
- Compatible with most hammock types.
- Easy set up with adjustable shock cords at each end.
- 46oz. is probably too heavy for backpacking but fine for car camping.
Hopefully, you found this article useful and interesting and have managed to find a solution to your hammock underquilt needs!
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