Hammock Camping - Why Quilts?

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DayTrip

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I recently purchased a Kammok Roo hammock which I have become absolutely obsessed with. Extremely comfortable, seems very durable, versatile set up options and set up is stupidly fast. Probably too late into the year to really take advantage of but next year this will definitely be riding in the pack for overnights and long, lazy summer hikes.

My big question in reading up on hammock camping is why quilts? It seems like just about everyone prefers quilts versus the normal sleeping gear (bag, pad, etc). Why can't you simply put a pad down in the hammock and jump in there with your sleeping bag and possibly a bivy sack? I've tested my gore tex bivy sack on snow in my back yard at well below zero temps wearing only the clothes I would have on a Winter day hike and I was comfortable (albeit only for 30-40 minutes). I'd think on a cool night in the 40's or high 30's jumping in my bivy sack with my usual layers would be fine with a z-fold or similar pad. Quilts seem like a pain in the ass to get rigged, don't appear to have any weight saving or space benefit and are pretty expensive.

What am I missing? Any experienced hammock campers want to weigh in on the topic. I should also point out that hammock camping for me would only be in good, dry weather with temps no lower than the high 30's probably. Not looking at this as a Winter option. Looking at it as a lightweight, fast and flexible sleeping system for the better weather months where I'd wear my insulating layers as my "sleeping bag". So I'd have the hammock, pad, tarp and bivy as the system. What are the flaws to this thought?
 
this might work ok in really hot weather but if the pad is not wide enough to cover your shoulders - you will feel cold and annoyed while sleeping

If you insist on no underquilt then try this https://www.rei.com/product/830279/eno-hotspot-hammock-sleeping-pad-wings

I haven't actually used it but in theory the 'wings' will hopefully cover your shoulders.

The widest foam mattress I found was cheapo blue walmart brand. I still needed a separate cut for the shoulders ... that was when I was trying to camp without quilts.

I hammock camp extensively with quilts.
 
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I assume it's because getting in and out of a hammock when you are in a bag would be a challenge. But, I don't have one so just a guess...
 
A sleeping bag is a quilt, stitched into a tube shape. No reason you can't use it.

Many sleeping bags have fairly slippery surfaces, which I imagine is a slightly bigger problem in a hammock. I'ts already very annoying in a tent that's not perfectly flat.

My understanding is that quilts became fashionable as a weight-saving measure - the idea is that the parts of the bag under your body don't do much good since they're being compressed by your weight, so the bottom half of your bag is mostly excess weight. In practice you want to be able to tuck the quilt edges down to prevent drafts or slippage, so a hiker's quilt ends up looking rather similar to a sleeping bag, but may still save you about a third of the weight and a fair amount of price as well.
 
I don't have a quilt--my sleeping bags work perfectly well my hammock.

And no, I have no difficulty getting in and out of the bag and hammock. (This could depend upon the design of the hammock--mine is a Speer which features a top entry. The mosquito netting velcros in place after you get in.)

While I don't have a quilt, I doubt that it would be much different as long as you don't get gaps along the side or at the foot end.

Doug
 
A sleeping bag is a quilt, stitched into a tube shape. No reason you can't use it.

Many sleeping bags have fairly slippery surfaces, which I imagine is a slightly bigger problem in a hammock. I'ts already very annoying in a tent that's not perfectly flat.

My understanding is that quilts became fashionable as a weight-saving measure - the idea is that the parts of the bag under your body don't do much good since they're being compressed by your weight, so the bottom half of your bag is mostly excess weight. In practice you want to be able to tuck the quilt edges down to prevent drafts or slippage, so a hiker's quilt ends up looking rather similar to a sleeping bag, but may still save you about a third of the weight and a fair amount of price as well.

Really? My initial investigation into quilts has found them to be very expensive and the weight savings seem minimal compared to a comparable sleeping bag in a similar temperature range. I have no idea who the "name brands" are for providing this type of gear but it didn't seem worth the cost relative to the gear I already had.
 
this might work ok in really hot weather but if the pad is not wide enough to cover your shoulders - you will feel cold and annoyed while sleeping

If you insist on no underquilt then try this https://www.rei.com/product/830279/eno-hotspot-hammock-sleeping-pad-wings

I haven't actually used it but in theory the 'wings' will hopefully cover your shoulders.

The widest foam mattress I found was cheapo blue walmart brand. I still needed a separate cut for the shoulders ... that was when I was trying to camp without quilts.

I hammock camp extensively with quilts.

I am a side sleeper so I don't generally have an issue with my shoulders hanging off the pad I currently use but that is an interesting product. I had read that sleeping pads do slip and slide inside the hammock and that could be an issue.

With the underquilt, does it hang away at all from the hammock and create dead air space that cools? It just seems like having the two separate quilts adds a seam that would lead to much colder sleeping relative to a sealed item like a bag. Is there a technique or a way they are set up that makes this not the case? Are there particular quilt manufacturers you recommend for a quality set up? If I recall from my Winter thread you said you camp in Winter as well in a hammock so I'm guessing you have some valuable advice/experience on the subject.

Lastly, when you say "really hot weather" are we talking Summer only (overnight lows in the 50's and 60's)? Is sleeping off the ground that much colder than sleeping on the cold ground or is the issue the fact that you aren't inside a tent, which is adding some amount of warmth trapping body heat? My plan is to set it up in my back yard over the next month or two, monitor the temps with my Kestrel meter and see at what point it is not a good set up. I would have thought with the Gore Tex bivy I could at least get into the 40's comfortably.
 
PM me and you can borrow my set-up for a weekend. JRB BMB hammock.
I used a sleeping bag and pad in it for a while then splurged and got two quilts. I still use a sleeping bag in it in the winter but with two pads. A bridge hammock is more accommodating of that arrangement since the sides aren't as compressed as in a gathered end hammock.
Yes the UQ needs to be hung just right, touching with no air gaps but not compressed. Again, I think a bridge hammock is more forgiving in that respect.
My setup isn't light weight but I sleep better and it opens up the possibility of setting up camp in locations that are not practical for a tent.
 
PM me and you can borrow my set-up for a weekend. JRB BMB hammock.
I used a sleeping bag and pad in it for a while then splurged and got two quilts. I still use a sleeping bag in it in the winter but with two pads. A bridge hammock is more accommodating of that arrangement since the sides aren't as compressed as in a gathered end hammock.
Yes the UQ needs to be hung just right, touching with no air gaps but not compressed. Again, I think a bridge hammock is more forgiving in that respect.
My setup isn't light weight but I sleep better and it opens up the possibility of setting up camp in locations that are not practical for a tent.

So if you were using a sleeping bag and pads why the change? Were you not comfortable and/or warm enough in the bag?
 
Hi, I'm going to try to answer all your questions, hopefully. If I miss something feel free to mention it.

My hammock has a dual bottom where I can slide a foam mattress. This design reduces the possibility of the mattress sliding to almost zero.

I have 2 main camping hammocks: Warbonnet Blackbird and Warbonnet Blackbird XL. My wife has a Dream Thunderbird (I think). we have underquilts from Hammockgear, JacksRBetter and Undercover Quilts. Of the three I'd say Hammockgear is the best in terms of quality and rigging. (they make darn sweet cuben tarps as well) .

When I rig my underquilt I try to have it as close to the hammock as possible. No gaps. You don't want any gaps. Any introduction of airflow and the warm air you heated with your body heat will be cooled down and therefore introduce cold spots. And this is really the biggest annoyance with a hammock - your body compresses everything and so any breeze or cold air is going to be felt, and that is not the best thing to wake up to at 1 am.

So for my sleeping I like an underquilt that is wide enough to cover my shoulders, to have adequate adjustability of tension, to have end baffles to close off airflow from the gathered ends.

In the winter, in really cold winter night my setup has been (among other things):
1 foam mattress, winter underquilt, winter sleeping bag or winter top quilt, empty backpack in the foot end of the hammock to insulate my feet even further, vapor barrier socks, balaclava, gloves, tarp pitched steep and low to reduce airflow.

Yes sleeping off the ground is a totally different animal of solutions because you are dangling in the airflow.




I am a side sleeper so I don't generally have an issue with my shoulders hanging off the pad I currently use but that is an interesting product. I had read that sleeping pads do slip and slide inside the hammock and that could be an issue.

With the underquilt, does it hang away at all from the hammock and create dead air space that cools? It just seems like having the two separate quilts adds a seam that would lead to much colder sleeping relative to a sealed item like a bag. Is there a technique or a way they are set up that makes this not the case? Are there particular quilt manufacturers you recommend for a quality set up? If I recall from my Winter thread you said you camp in Winter as well in a hammock so I'm guessing you have some valuable advice/experience on the subject.

Lastly, when you say "really hot weather" are we talking Summer only (overnight lows in the 50's and 60's)? Is sleeping off the ground that much colder than sleeping on the cold ground or is the issue the fact that you aren't inside a tent, which is adding some amount of warmth trapping body heat? My plan is to set it up in my back yard over the next month or two, monitor the temps with my Kestrel meter and see at what point it is not a good set up. I would have thought with the Gore Tex bivy I could at least get into the 40's comfortably.
 
Hi, I'm going to try to answer all your questions, hopefully. If I miss something feel free to mention it.

My hammock has a dual bottom where I can slide a foam mattress. This design reduces the possibility of the mattress sliding to almost zero.

I have 2 main camping hammocks: Warbonnet Blackbird and Warbonnet Blackbird XL. My wife has a Dream Thunderbird (I think). we have underquilts from Hammockgear, JacksRBetter and Undercover Quilts. Of the three I'd say Hammockgear is the best in terms of quality and rigging. (they make darn sweet cuben tarps as well) .

When I rig my underquilt I try to have it as close to the hammock as possible. No gaps. You don't want any gaps. Any introduction of airflow and the warm air you heated with your body heat will be cooled down and therefore introduce cold spots. And this is really the biggest annoyance with a hammock - your body compresses everything and so any breeze or cold air is going to be felt, and that is not the best thing to wake up to at 1 am.

So for my sleeping I like an underquilt that is wide enough to cover my shoulders, to have adequate adjustability of tension, to have end baffles to close off airflow from the gathered ends.

In the winter, in really cold winter night my setup has been (among other things):
1 foam mattress, winter underquilt, winter sleeping bag or winter top quilt, empty backpack in the foot end of the hammock to insulate my feet even further, vapor barrier socks, balaclava, gloves, tarp pitched steep and low to reduce airflow.

Yes sleeping off the ground is a totally different animal of solutions because you are dangling in the airflow.

Thanks for the detailed replies. I did a test of sorts early this morning. Temp 42-44 deg F. I wore my normal hiking boots, hiking pants and wicking shirt. On top of that I wore a lightweight zip up fleece and my Primaloft jacket (items I carry almost year round) and my winter hat. I jumped in my Gore Tex bivy (pulled up to my face but not zippped and laid on top of my z-fold. Only spent an hour in the hammock but I was pretty damn warm, warmer than I thought I would be actually. This was very encouraging for my intended usage. All dry clothes but I hadn't built up any heat hiking for hours either. My 9x9 tarp also was fine for covering the hammock. We had a heavy dew at my house this morning but the hammock was dry after being out all night.

You made a great point about the arms. They weren't cold but when I didn't have them folded across my chest I could definitely feel the temperature difference. And my z-fold is too narrow. It did shift slightly as I moved around. I think I may look into that arm thing you referenced and use a different pad. Thanks for the advice. I think I'm hooked.
 
Go to YouTube and watch Shug hammocking videos. You will learn everything there.
 
i haven't gone the quilt route yet. i use the wider walmart blue pad, and my 20 degree 3 season sleeping bag. i have never been cold or close to cold in temps down to 25. in winter i use my -40 bag instead of the 20 degree bag and i was warm below 0. my setup is a couple pounds heavier maybe, but its a good idea to carry a blue pad anyways for a variety of reasons on a backpack, and it would be about 600 bucks for the top quilt and underquilt that is rated to 0. i asked a person what if it was below 0? he said on one hang(while having the convenience of the car there) he got cold, went to his car and added a second underquilt to his setup. bit hard to do that when your 10 miles out in the woods. if i win the lottery maybe ill spend 600 or more on the quilts, in the meantime ill get filet mignon at 20 bucks a pound 30 times instead.
 
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