In cold weather attaching an underquilt to your Duo Swing Bug Net Hammock will keep you warm and toasty. Avid hammock campers will tell you the importance of insulation. The fact of the matter is that it will not always be warm and a sleeping bag may not be enough. When you sleep with a sleeping bag in a hammock, you reduce the insulation properties by compressing the fibers.
This means that you are going to get cold, especially around your rear end. Camping aficionados, affectionately call this CBS, or cold butt syndrome. What happens is that you’ll wake up in the middle of the night, and you’ll be uncomfortably cold, in fact, you’ll be freezing.
Underquilts are the best way to prevent that from happening, and it has been long accepted that they are the best way to keep warm and insulated. But how do you choose the right one? That’s what we’re here to help you with.
Underquilt vs Sleeping Pad
Traditionally, people use sleeping pads to keep themselves warm when hammock camping. But the fact is that sleeping pads are not as effective as under-quilts. Under-quilts conform to the shape of your hammock, but sleeping pads are usually smaller than your hammock, so you will wake up with the pad at your feet or just simply moved out of place.
The underquilt provides superior insulation without changing the shape of the hammock. Just be sure to buy a quality underquilt from a renowned brand. You’ll need to look at factors such as durability, and it should be wide with a good amount of depth, like Jacks ‘R’ Better Nest Down Under Quilt.
Look for an underquilt that can easily fit with your hammock, that will be wide enough to fit around your hammock and will fit all your needs. All in all, an underquilt is an essential that every hammock camper needs in their pack.
Top & Bottom Insulation
In the effort to keep warm, you need top and bottom insulation. Most campers assume that a sleeping bag provides both, but in reality, a sleeping bag only provides top insulation. So, when buying an underquilt, do not assume that it will be enough to stave off the cold. You will still need to bring your sleeping bag to provide top insulation.
Going into Harsh Weather
A good camper will always know what kind of weather they’re going into. A underquilt should be ideal for temperatures between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and -5 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter where you go, or what type of weather you encounter, you still want to be comfortable and warm.
A quality underquilt is tested by the company, and will be able to handle whatever you decide to camp in. Buying from a renowned company will give you a product of unparalleled quality with an abundance of good features.
Your underquilt should keep you insulated, it should be able to compress in your pack with no problem and be incredibly lightweight. Make sure that it is also waterproof since that is the hallmark of a proper underquilt.
How to Choose a Proper Underquilt
This is often the most difficult part of buying an underquilt. There are quite a few factors that you need to make sure of when buying a proper underquilt that will do everything that you need it to. We’ve compiled a basic list of what you need to look out for.
Fabric: There are a surprisingly large amount of fabrics to choose from, and while it is your choice when it comes to choosing, it is recommended that you go with the lightest available fabric. Since an underquilt hangs under a hammock it does not face a lot of abrasion. A light fabric will be easy to carry around and compress in your pack.
Full length or torso: If you focus on practicality, then a torso length underquilt would be the wisest choice for you. But, if you can spare the extra space and truly hate the cold, then you need the full length underquilt which will give you much more warmth and comfort.
Filling: An underquilt will either be filled with down or synthetic materials to provide the necessary insulation, both of these have their pros and cons, but the decision will ultimately come down to your needs.
Down is very good at keeping you warm and can be compressed to an astonishingly small size. The problem comes in when down becomes wet. A down underquilt is worse than useless when wet. Although modern technologies have come up with materials that ca keep the down filling dry, always use a tarp when going into humid or rainy areas.
Down is incredibly light and is more convenient for backpackers and although synthetic materials are becoming more and more advantageous, down still remains king in this aspect. But synthetic materials are cheaper and handle water and moisture better.
Cleaning & Care
Proper cleaning and storage is essential to the long-term durability of your underquilt. It doesn’t matter what type of underquilt you have, whether it is filled with down or made from a heavy material, you should always store it in a cold, dry place.
Wash your underquilt regularly to keep it clean, some quilts are machine washable, but if it isn’t then the hand-washing process is fairly simple. Submerge the quilt in warm water with a mild detergent, gently massage the quilt and then gently press out the water.
Remove any clumps in the filling regularly, and keep in mind that the drying process will take a while, but it will dry and smell wonderful. Cleaning can be a bit of a drag, but it is essential in the maintenance of your quilt, and will contribute to its overall shelf life.
An underquilt is the best way to protect yourself from the cold. It is a quality product that every hammock camper needs in their pack. Take care to research where you are going and what will suit your needs best. Otherwise, it should be fairly simple. Have fun, and keep yourself warm.