Getting into hammock sleeping?
You might have realized that a regular sleeping bag doesn’t really cut it. Luckily for us, the range of hammock underquilts being developed is increasing in design and quality.
I’ve put together a list of the best hammock underquilts available in 2020 to save you time and hassle doing the research.
I’ve also included a short explanation of what hammock quilts are, why you need to use one, and how to choose the best hammock quilt for your camping style.
So, let’s get into it!
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- TOP 9 Best Hammock Underquilts of 2020
- So, What is an Underquilt?
- Things to Keep in Mind when Picking the Perfect Hammock Underquilt
- How to Make a DIY Hammock Underquilt
TOP 9 Best Hammock Underquilts of 2020
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters Vulcan Underquilt
Review: 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.
- 1.75lbs. is reasonably lightweight for a winter-rated underquilt.
- This is a pretty expensive underquilt, but that’s the price of cold weather capability.
ENO Eagles Nest Outfitters Blaze UnderQuilt
Review: The Blaze is easily one of the best underquilts for hammock camping 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 and general wear and tear.
- Easy set up with adjustable shock cords.
- This is one expensive underquilt.
Snugpak Hammock Under Blanket
Review: 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.
- 3.19 lbs. 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
Review: A slightly different take on underquilts, the Snugpak Hammock Cocoon works in a similar way to the Outdoor Vitals Aerie, below.
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.
- 4.3 lbs. is heavy, even if it does save you from carrying a top quilt.
Snugpak Jungle Blanket
Review: The Jungle Blanket isn’t a true hammock 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 particularly cold weather.
OneTigris Hammock Underquilt
Review: 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 1.9 lbs., this is reasonably 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.
Outdoor Vitals Aerie Down Underquilt
Review: This is a sleeping bag style underquilt. It zips directly over the hammock and seals you in like a cocoon.
It’s not always easy to get in and out of the hammock with this style of quilt, but it can be a lifesaver in wet or cold weather conditions.
The ripstop nylon exterior is coated with DWR, making this underquilt prepared to face the elements.
It’s available in either 0 or 15 degree temperature ratings and if you’d like an alternative to down, the same model is available with a synthetic fill.
- Made from responsibly sourced RDS certified down.
- 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.
- Weight starts at 2lbs. 4.5 oz.
- A little more on the expensive side.
Outdoor Vitals Down Underquilt
Review: Similar to the Outdoor Vitals Aerie above but lighter and marginally less durable, this is the underquilt you’ll want for lightweight backpacking trips.
It’s available in three temperature ratings, 0, 15 and 30˚F with the 30˚ option being the lightest at just 1 lbs. 4 oz.
It uses high quality, StormLoft down which is responsibly sourced and treated with a hydrophobic coating to make it water-resistant.
The 10D ripstop nylon outer is also coated with a DWR treatment for water repellency so if you decide to camp under the stars, condensation won’t be an issue.
- Uses responsibly sourced, certified RDS down.
- 800+ fill power is very warm, rated to 0 degrees.
- Down is treated to be hydrophobic and repel water.
- Very lightweight – 1 lbs. 12.5 oz. for the 0 degree model.
- Pricey, but worth it for a lightweight option.
Hyke and Byke Antero 15 Hammock Sleeping Bag
Review: This is another cocoon style underquilt that zips up around your hammock so that you don’t have to purchase a separate top quilt.
It’s rated to 15˚F and uses a hybrid of down and synthetic fill, with down on top and LofTech synthetic insulation underneath.
It’s available in three lengths – short, regular and long, and the regular weighs 2.9 lbs. which to be honest, is pretty heavy for a 3 season bag.
But it’s quick to set up, provides a little extra width compared to some other models, and is nicely durable with hydrophobic down and a DWR coated outer.
- 800 fill hydrophobic goose down.
- DWR treated 20D ripstop nylon outer.
- Available in 3 lengths and an extra wide design.
- Also available with a 0˚F rating, although this option is very heavy.
- Heavy – almost 3 lbs.
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.
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.
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 it likely won’t be as comfortable, and definitely not as warm.
Inflatable sleeping mats or closed-cell foam pads can work ok in a hammock. But it 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 will be warmer, may 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!
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.
If you’re determined to go the sleeping pad route, I’ve selected the best options for hammock sleeping to help you out.
Alternatively, cocoon style underquilts are also becoming popular. They are basically a sleeping bag with a centered zip that encases you inside the hammock and zips up to save needing a separate top quilt.
You can make your own cocoon style set up with a regular sleeping bag, provided it has a full-length zipper and the foot end can be unzipped. But this will be a little harder to set up by yourself than one designed specifically for hammock sleeping.
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’s temperature rating is more in line with winter temperatures than fall or spring.
It will have better padding on the inside, and the outside will be water-resistant.
Three season hammock underquilts are just that – designed for spring, summer and fall but likely not warm enough for winter.
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 both of them. Although getting in and out of this set up could be a mission!
Synthetic insulation 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. It’s also becoming more common that down fill is treated with a hydrophobic coating so that it repels water.
Regardless, 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.
As mentioned above, it’s becoming increasingly common that down insulation is treated to be hydrophobic.
The jury’s still out on whether this is actually beneficial (bear in mind that down is naturally a little hydrophobic anyway, and do we really want to be adding even more chemicals to our outdoor gear?). But it can at the very least provide peace of mind that your down will still provide some warmth if it gets wet.
Underquilts are also increasingly being coated with a layer of DWR to protect against light rain and condensation. I wouldn’t recommend trusting this in anything more than a really light sprinkling though. But again, it can be nice for your peace of mind.
Alternatively, waterproofing becomes unnecessary if you’re going to be pitching your hammock under a tarp anyway. This is recommended if there’s a chance of rain or the climate you’re in is prone to heavy dew. (And trust me – a heavy dew can be enough to completely soak your sleeping bag or quilt!)
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 just under 2 lbs. to well over 3 lbs.
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 $70 to nearly $300 – 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 a 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.
Don’t have a hammock yet? Not to worry! You’ll find one here in my guide to the best camping hammocks.
Do I need an underquilt for my hammock?
The short answer is ‘yes’. You really can’t beat the warmth and comfort that comes from an underquilt.
You’d have to be sleeping in pretty warm weather to not benefit from an underquilt. Don’t forget that a regular sleeping bag won’t keep you warm where it’s compressed under your body weight!
What is the best hammock underquilt?
There are a lot of great hammock underquilts on the market now, all varying in weight, temperature rating, durability, waterproofing and price.
The best option for you will depend on which of these factors are your priorities but all of the underquilts on the list above are great choices.
Do you need a sleeping pad in a hammock? Sleeping pad vs underquilt?
Most of the time, a sleeping bag in a hammock will not be warm enough because the compressed portion under your body will cause you to lose body heat that way.
At a pinch, a sleeping pad could help remedy this, but it won’t be as warm or comfortable as an underquilt.
How do you attach an underquilt to a hammock?
This depends on the exact design of the underquilt but most will come with cords and clips that clip to the hammock. Watch this video for a good demonstration.
Do you need a sleeping bag with an underquilt?
You don’t need a sleeping bag specifically, but you’ll need something on top of you as an underquilt only insulates you from below. Most people choose a top quilt to save the weight of a full sleeping bag.
At what temperature do you need an underquilt?
This depends on other factors like wind and humidity, and how cold you get when you sleep. But to be safe, it’s recommended to start using an underquilt once nighttime temperatures go below 60˚F.
Hopefully, you found this article useful and interesting and have managed to find the best hammock underquilt of 2020 for your camping style.
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