Hammock camping has seen booming popularity in the past few years. Many who have never used a hammock find themselves drawn to the potential comfort benefits, simple setup, and unique site selection that using a hammock can offer. However, in their hurry to get off the ground, many new hammock users forget the importance of the insulation used beneath them.
While new users especially will use a sleeping pad inside their hammock, more experienced users often find that keeping it correctly positioned can be frustrating, and something with a bit more flexibility is preferred. Thus, more often than not, they’ll start the search for an under-quilt. There are a few considerations in finding an under-quilt that works well for you.
There are two types of insulation commonly used in quilts and under-quilts: down (used in our Revolt UQ) and synthetic (various brands, though at Enlightened Equipment we use Climashield Apex™ insulation for our Prospect UQ). The Pros and Cons will be effectively the same as in a top quilt. Down is lighter, compresses much more, and typically can be used to get to lower temperatures without becoming impractically bulky. Synthetic insulation offers better all-weather performance, resists sweat and oils from your skin better, is easier to clean, and comes in at a lower price. The choice between them will ultimately be a personal one, as you’ll need to find the best balance of these factors for your needs and budget.
At first glance, it may seem like there wouldn’t be any purpose for going with anything less than a full-length UQ. After all, set it up, and your whole backside is covered; nothing could be simpler. But there are a few cases where it would be worth considering going to a shorter length.
Many UL hikers find that even when hammocking, they still want to bring a pad. Sometimes it’s just a very short one used only as a cushion for sitting, sometimes it’s somewhat larger and doubles as both a torso-length sleeping pad and offers some structure for their pack. A torso-length pad is especially helpful for users who may hike through areas in which there aren’t any trees for hanging a hammock, or as backup for equipment failures or issues with route planning. In these cases a shorter underquilt can be used. This saves weight vs. a full-length underquilt, and the pad then fills in to insulate the legs while sleeping in the hammock.
A good suspension system is a critical component in an under-quilt. If it’s a hassle to set up or adjust, you’re not going to enjoy using it, and it’s preferable that it should work in all situations, including with gloves on. All EE under-quilts (Revolt, Prospect) were designed to have the simplest possible suspension that sacrifices nothing in versatility, even being adjustable without getting out of the hammock. Below we’ve shown how to attach and adjust your under-quilt.
At each corner of the UQ, the side-channel suspension cord comes out of the quilt and through a LineLoc. Between the side-channel and the LineLoc, a small plastic mitten hook can be used to attach to the hammock suspension.
If you prefer, you can also use a small carabiner to attach both left and right sides of the UQ at the same time.
Pull the end of the shock cord to suspend higher or lower. Repeat the same on the other end of the UQ, positioning roughly where your body needs insulation.
There’s a shock cord running the width, with a small cord-lock on the end. Cinch these down as needed to lock out any draftiness at the ends of the UQ.
Once inside the hammock, by simply adjusting the long cords, the fit and suspension can be tuned to your preference.