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How to stay warm in a hammock: Part 1 (Underquilts & Topquilts)

How to stay warm in a Hammock

There are a lot of ways to stay warm in your hammock. In this two part series, we will dive into the options, discuss the pros and cons, and see what might be right for you!

Underquilts

An underquilt is used as insulation for the bottom of your hammock. It is made out of the same material as your sleeping bag but because there is no one compressing the weight of the insulation, it keeps the hammock-er warm. It hangs just underneath the outside of your hammock. 

Types of Underquilts

There are a couple options for types of underquilts. You can get a full length version which will span the entire length of your hammock. There is also the option for a 3/4 length and then a half size. To decide what size is best you need to determine what temperature you like to camp in, how warm or cold you like to sleep, how heavy it can be, and how much you are willing to spend. 

The smaller sizes are best if you don’t mind some areas of your hammock exposed to the cold. If you have a topquilt with a foot pocket, you may think about purchasing a smaller sized underquilt just to save some money. 

Much like sleeping bags, you can also choose either down or synthetic material to fill your quilt. 

Pros & Cons

Pro: More room to get comfortable. You are not restricted to staying in a specific position in your hammock like you might be with a sleeping pad.

Pro: Less layers/claustrophobia. Often times when you add layer after layer to get warm it can start feeling like you are trapped or stuck. In this case, you will only be dealing with one blanket in your hammock with you. 

Pro: Multiple people could sleep in one hammock. Because you are not restricted by the sleeping bag or sleeping pad, you could sleep two people in your hammock. 

Pro: The quilts are very lightweight. It is not much of an inconvenience to bring it along even when backpacking. 

Con: The cost point for these quilts can be quite high especially when you get into the full length down option. Prices typically range from $50-$200+. 

Con: It can be tricky to set up, because it needs to stay close to your body to keep you warm. However, once you get it figured out it is pretty simple.  

Topquilts

A topquilt simply keeps your front side warm in a hammock. Unlike a sleeping bag, it is open and lays on top of you while you sleep. Some have a “foot pocket” which just means the bottom is sewn up a little so your feet are covered on all sides. 

Pros & Cons

Pros: When it comes to down material, things can get pricy. However, quilts can actually be a little cheaper than a sleeping bag for their degree rating. 

Pro: A topquilt is a lot lighter than a sleeping bag because you eliminate an entire side. 

Pro: In terms of comfort, many prefer a topquilt to a sleeping bag. You do not zip yourself in and are easily able to escape for those late night bathroom breaks. 

Cons: Again, this set-up can be expensive, but will hopefully last you a lot of adventures!

So there you have it. How to stay warm in a hammock: Part 1. Check in next week as we go over some other ways to stay warm in your hammock. Happy (& warm) hanging!