I’ve spent time outdoors with a whole lot of people and I have never heard of a hammock camper wanting to go back to a tent. The few times I do it’s because of the dreaded CBS (Cold Butt Syndrome) which is easily remedied. Let’s explore the best hammock underquilt and what it takes to keep you camping off the ground.
I have a whole box of them, let’s sort through and see what we find.
What is an Underquilt and why do I need one?
To explain for those new to hammock camping, Cold Butt Syndrome happens because you have no insulation underneath the hammock. Any insulation directly under your body gets crushed and doesn’t do its job so you need something underneath the hammock. That is where an underquilt comes in.
Underquilts are suspended beneath the hammock and cinched up so there are no air gaps. The hammock supports your weight while the underquilt traps warm air. They are amazing things that I never camp without, even in the summer.
What makes the Best Hammock Underquilt?
There are just a couple of points to consider when choosing an underquilt to make sure you get the best product for your money. Cost can vary greatly depending on features.
At best, the temp ratings on any outdoor product are an estimation. If you look at sleeping bags, one that takes me down to 20 degrees before I get cold may take you down to 10 or even lower. It’s all subjective to personal tolerances.
That said, I use a 20-degree underquilt year round now but that wasn’t always the case. I started out with a 50-degree quilt and it took a while to realize that the 20-degree quilt didn’t burn me up in the summer.
If you only camp in the summer, any underquilt at all may be enough for you. If you hang in the northern winters, you may need the thickest underquilt you can get.
I have taken my current quilt down to about 14 degrees without a problem and think I could go to single digits without any issue at all. If you sleep cold you could go with a 0 degree underquilt. I am not familiar with any company that makes a sub zero underquilt.
There is nothing more contentious to the hammock camper than materials, this is doubly true of insulating materials. You have the option of natural or synthetic insulations and each has their good and bad points.
Goose down is the premium as far as cost goes. It holds more warmth, packs smaller, and weighs less than synthetics. Duck down is also a very good insulator but is slightly heavier and less compressible than goose. The problem with either is that when they get wet, they can be a pain even if they are treated for water resistance.
Synthetic is the opposite, it takes more to keep you as warm as down. This means it is heavier and bulkier but tends to handle moisture much better than down.
I have both and use both but strongly prefer the natural option.
Though this could mean how long, in general, a quilt is and that may have some bearing since hammocks range in size from 9’ to 11’. In this case, I am referring to full length vs 3/4 length. There are reasons why you may want a shorter quilt.
The 3/4 quilt is lighter and takes up less space in your pack. Some people manage to sleep with their feet and head off the quilt and stay warm by using hats and socks. This is not my preference but if you can do that, you can save some money and bulk in your pack.
Full-length quilts are by far the most common and what I use and always will. For me, the space savings isn’t worth cold feet.
There are some hammocks that are asymmetrical in the way they hang. Hennessy hammocks are a great example. Some people swear that these are more comfortable and they may be, I have never used one. However, they do need a special underquilt.
Because these are not a common option, we will explore standard underquilts in this article. You can find a lot of info specific to Hennessy underquilts that will answer any questions you may have on asymmetrical hammock setups.
To the best of my knowledge, Hennessy makes the best asymmetrical underquilts on the market but many do seem to like the Potomac Underquilt.
Weight and Size
This is a direct result of the underquilt materials and temperature rating. We all want lighter and smaller but there is only so much you can do. Here are the rules for smaller and lighter:
Down is lighter and packs smaller than synthetic.
Goose down is warmer than duck down and takes less for a given temperature.
Of course, the lower the temperature rating, the more fill you need which makes a heavier quilt.
If you want an ultralight hammock underquilt, get a goose down quilt in the warmest temperature rating you can live with.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some underquilts!
Best Hammock Underquilt Reviews
Ok, I am going to confess some bias. Though I don’t know them personally, I have camped with the owners of Hammock Gear several times and use their quilt almost exclusively now. But hand over my heart, of the dozen quilts I own, theirs is the best.
If you want the best 20 degree underquilt in my opinion, it’s the Econ model which uses duck down. They have a premium quilt that uses goose but costs twice the price. It may be worth it to you but isn’t for me.
The duck down is an 850 fill power that will likely take you quite a bit colder than 20 degrees. This is by intent. Each quilt is slightly overstuffed and can be overstuffed even more if you want to pay a few extra bucks.
The stitching is amazing and both the head and foot end are gusseted with extra down to keep air out. There is also a taper at the knees so the quilt stays tightly around you without any gaps. Hammock Gear is the only company that does this that I know of and it greatly improves their quilts.
The external material is a custom blend nylon made specifically for Hammock Gear to be resistant to water and quite durable for being as thin as it is. The adjustment cords are high-grade bungees which can be used to keep everything tightly in place. Total weight is around 25 ounces.
Believe me, there are no better-constructed quilts with as much attention to detail anywhere. If you get the econ model, it is one of the cheapest down underquilts on the market. Especially when you factor in the design features. You will sleep warm!
Eagle Nest Outfitters has a love/hate thing going on in the hammock community. Some people despise them and some love them. No matter how you feel, this is still a great quality underquilt that I used for several years before getting an HG quilt.
The Vulcan uses a synthetic Primaloft Synergy fill that is quite warm. The advertise temperature range is around 35 degrees but I have taken a Vulcan into the 20s several times and stayed warm.
The fill is a sheet fill, unlike down that uses baffles. This means you do have to take some extra care to make sure it’s fitted right around the hammock or you can get air gaps that ruin any warmth you may have. Getting it right takes some time but isn’t complicated or difficult.
Like most underquilts, ENO uses a Nylon taffeta fabric that holds up well and resists moisture. The quilt as a whole does well in damp conditions and is my go-to for wetter days. Total weight is about 20 ounces with bungees and clips.
You won’t go wrong with this ENO underquilt. It doesn’t pack as small or as light as a comparable down quilt but it’s just by a few ounces. Take a little time to get used to the setup and you should stay warm down to 30 or so.
*Though I don’t own one, the ENO Blaze Underquilt seems to be the same quilt but made with down. For some reason, it weighs more but the temp rating is very similar.
Whatever they call this, I call it the SnugPak Underquilt and I own about 6 of them that I use for loaner gear. They are simply the best cheap hammock underquilt that I have found. They do a great job a holding warmth and are very resistant to the elements.
Though SnugPak does not advertise a temperature rating on this quilt, I have had it a little below 30 without issue. Several friends have taken mine down below freezing and stayed warm. For the purpose of nailing it down, I would say around 40 degrees.
This is a synthetic quilt that has no baffles and is made from a single piece of Travelsoft fill sandwiched between micro diamond fabric. The outside and inside do appear to be slightly different fabrics with the outside feeling more water resistant.
Setup is a little more complicated on this quilt and can take some time to sort out. Best to practice before you hit the field. Unfortunately, you will likely have to adjust it every single hang which isn’t the easiest of tasks. With practice you will get it down to a couple of minutes, just remember not to tie hard knots in the bungees.
This quilt does come with a great stuff sack and can be packed down quite small. Weight is around 3 pounds total. There are some sacrifices but this is an outstanding quilt for the price and great for beginners in hammock camping.
If you visit the Amazon page for this underquilt, it will look like a blanket but is an underquilt. It confused me too but they never change it.
This was my first underquilt after my first long night suffering from Cold Butt Syndrome. I will admit that it takes a little effort to get this fitted to longer hammocks but it can be done with a little trial and error.
This is more of a warm weather quilt, maybe 3 seasons if you live in more moderate climates. Price wise, it may seem a little high for a 50 degree rated quilt. The reason it deserves a place on this list is that it fits very well and takes no setup time if you have an ENO or other shorter hammock.
I have used this into the 40s and it really is a 50-degree quilt. I got chilly! The Insulation is thin and uses lateral baffles to keep everything in place. Packed down it is quite small and weighs just over 20 ounces.
For several years I used this quilt with a very light sleeping bag in the summers and it worked great. Temps were usually in the 60s or 70s and I slept like a baby. On a budget, I still recommend this quilt for those with shorter hammocks.
Love or hate ENO, they aren’t going away any time soon and they make decent products. They may not be the best but they are serviceable. I have never had a problem with any piece of gear I got from them and I have used them for at least 10 years.
Full disclosure, this is my newest quilt that I have only had for a year or so. I have only used it a couple of times and with more use, it could move up a couple of spots. It is a well-constructed quilt that I do rather like.
Construction wises it is a lot like the Ember 2 by ENO with a weight of 30 ounces. Baffles run around the hammock and are filled with a synthetic polyester of some blend. It seems to be warmer than the Ember 2, I will have to test it this fall but I am thinking I could get 40 or a little lower out of this quilt.
I call this style of underquilt a Fire and Forget setup. Once it’s clipped on your hammock, no adjustment is necessary, making it a great quilt for beginners. Larger hammocks are a little easier with this quilt than the comparable ENO and setup is easier than the SnugPak.
I only place this last from my lack of experience. I can tell it’s a solid quilt that will last and do well but I am not confident that it beats the other quilts above. If I didn’t feel you could buy with confidence, it wouldn’t be here and for the price, the OneTigris hammock underquilt is a pretty easy buy!
*Note that I have one friend that uses this exclusively and has taken it into the 30s. Not sure if that’s advisable or not.
There are tons of underquilts on the market, many made by cottage vendors that I just haven’t tried. I am sure most of them are good but I won’t recommend something that I haven’t proven myself. I have spent at least a few nights in each of these quilts and pushed most to their limits.
I have several other brands but they either offer nothing extra for a more expensive quilt or have construction issues. What I want is to give honest advice on products that will do what they say they will do. There are no gimmicks, no paid reviews, nothing. Just honest opinions from someone with a lot of passion for hammock camping.
Any of these quilts will do you well for the purposes described. If you are new to Hammock Camping, visit the hammock forums for a great deal more advice on underquilts and everything else hammocks.