First Look: Hammock Gear 20 F Phoenix Cuben Fiber Underquilt

As can be told by the last few post’s that I have entered here on my blog, I have been enjoying the comfort of a hammock. (For this, I can thank the Jolly Green Giant for a post on his own blog Lightweight And Ultralightwieght Backpacking in which he talks about hammocks.) However, I do realize that if I plan to continue to enjoy the comforts of the hammock then I had better plan to have a little insulation beneath me as the temps start to drop. I have tried (briefly) to make a pad work underneath me, but as this sentence hints at, it was a bit of a struggle…so I decided that an under quilt would probably be an easier, more comfortable way to go…

There are actually a number of reputable cottage type industries currently out there that are making gear which get rave reviews from all sorts of backpackers/hammockers. However, I decided to go with HammockGear.com for my first under quilt. Ok, I will admit, part of this was because I had already ordered (but not yet received) a top quilt from Adam & Jenny, so I guess without actually being biased, I was…just a little. (If that makes sense.)

I have actually been eyeballing the 20 F Phoenix under quilt from Hammock Gear for a while, but had yet to pull the trigger on it. But then Adam unleashed the secret weapon…he gave us the option of choosing cuben fiber…

Ok, I know, cuben fiber is not everything, but there is something about it that is attractive (at least to me). As well, there is quite a rave over the material itself, especially in lightweight or ultralight weight backpackers. (Philip Werner has a nice little reader poll on: Does Cuben Fiber Matter? over on his own blog Sectionhiker.com that is worth checking out for people’s different thoughts on the matter.)

However, cuben fiber is not what this post is about…but it does lead me to say that once Adam included Cuben Fiber as an option for the inner portion of the 20 F Phoenix UQ on his site, then my ears perked up and I asked the wife for my early Christmas present…which she so lovingly granted me!  🙂

(I will make mention though that Adam will make quilts out of pretty much any other material, however, these materials may have to be ordered from another source (such as Thru-hiker.com) and then of course these things would need to be discussed before-hand with Adam.)

So, on with it…

So, I placed my order with Hammock Gear for the 20 F Phoenix under quilts with the cuben fiber inner shell as well as 1 extra oz of down (just to get that little extra edge!) Then, for 20 days I waited anxiously for the under quilt to arrive…

So, to recap some of the specs:

  • Weight: 17.6 oz (Includes stuff sack, under quilt & suspension system)
  • Width: ~ 38.5 inches
  • Length: ~ 49 inches

Like I said in the video, the dimensions are somewhat smaller than what is listed on the site, so I am trying to decide if it will work for me being the length that it is. As well, I did speak with Adam on the phone about this and he told me to take it out and see if it will work out for me being this size and if not he will be more than happy to let me send this one back and for him to make me another one.

This is the first experience that I have had with an under quilt (remember, I am new to hammocks) so I am trying to figure out if I “think” it will work for me. I used it last night here at my home and the temperatures dropped to about 55 F last night, but of course this is still far from the stated 20 F that this quilt was built for. I do plan on taking it out again tonight to Big Hill Pond State Park and using it again and the temperatures should be around the same as last night.

Using the quilt last night I can really feel the warmth being reflected back to me (I credit this to the Mylar in the cuben fiber, which may also aid in getting a lower temperature rating than the proposed 20 F ~ not to mention the extra oz of down). Using the quilt last night I could definitely tell a difference in temperature between where the under quilt was under my body, and where it was not.

I need to figure out if the sides of the under quilt will wrap around my shoulders enough to keep me warm once temps do actually drop to the proposed rating. At the moment, when I lie flat on my back the sides will wrap up about an inch over my shoulders. At first I figured that this would be adequate, however, now I wonder if it will. My concern here is that in that inch or so that comes over my shoulders, there is very little down at this point, but rather the top of the hem. So, I am concerned if this will allow a spot for drafts to sneak in due to the lack of insulation. I do imagine that my top quilt will be somewhat bunched around my shoulders too though, so I am wondering if the bunched top quilt will make up for the lack of insulation from the under quilt at this point. This is something that I fear I will only be able to realize once those temps do start getting to that point (which may be a couple more months for us in my neck of the woods.)

The other thing that I need to get down is fitting the under quilt directly underneath the hammock so that when I lay in the hammock, the under quilt is up against me (not a gap). I have tied knots in the supplied suspension which will tighten up the under quilt, but even still I still seem to manage to have a bit of a gap between the under quilt and the hammock past my butt. The under quilt is pulled against my back and my butt, it is just the area under my legs. I will tie another knot even farther back on the suspension tonight before I set it up before bed to see if it makes a difference. As well, I also make sure that the suspension cords coming out of the under quilt are placed over the top of my hammock rather than under the hammock. At this point, I feel like this is just something that I have to continue to tweak to get it fitted to me.Over all, I must admit that I was not as happy as I thought I would be once I opened the box and took it all in. Mostly due to the smaller measurements issue and I will admit that I thought it would be a hair lighter (due to the Cuben Fiber~ even by 0.5 oz off the listed weight) although I was taking into consideration the extra oz of down fill I opted for would then put it about 0.5 oz over the listed weight. To be fair though, I think that it may be right if I were to remove the suspension system and the stuff sack and weighed the under quilt alone. As well, there is the missed hem that I will need to hem myself if I choose to keep this particular under quilt.

However, once I realized these things and called Adam, he was very kind and concerned sounding when I spoke with him on the phone for all of 40 minutes. I admit that when I got off the phone with him I was a bit happier about the product, and again, he did offer to fix the problem for me. He left that up to me though to decide upon, and when we hung up the phone I told him that I was happy to keep this one and see how it works for me. So, while there may have been some short-comings in the beginning, it is not the end and Adam is sticking by his products one way or another.

(Also, despite these issues, I still would like to order more of Adam’s quilts…that 0 F Burrow sure would be nice…)

So, that is some of my first thoughts on the Hammock Gear 20 F Phoenix under quilt with the Cuben Fiber option and 1 extra oz of down. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I will get back to you! Thanks for reading…

~Stick~

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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15 Responses to First Look: Hammock Gear 20 F Phoenix Cuben Fiber Underquilt

  1. Josh Hartless says:

    So did you ever use this thing? Sounds like you just questioned yourself and kept calling Adam…any report on the proposed temp rating. Not much of a review here, more of just speculation…but that’s all you really do huh?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Josh,

      It sounds like you didn’t really take any time to read the post, but I will answer your silly questions anyway…maybe you’ll read the reply!

      Yes, I have used the “thing.”

      I never questioned myself. But I did question the listed specs and found that the UQ came up a good deal short of them. (Something more folks should do is actually verify specs instead of repeating what is listed on the site… they are not always right… believe it or not!)

      Yes, I did call Adam because the UQ was not as described. (Common sense thing here…)

      Yes, the UQ keeps me warm to 20F, however, only what it covers (another reason the specs are important).

      And yes, it is an “initial review”… not speculation. (Hence the “First Look” in the title.)

      And I am going to speculate that all you do is go around the net spouting off your ignorance on other peoples site…

      Please, do not come to my site any longer, you are not welcome here…

      (Seriously, I will delete, or edit, your comment if you do. Be happy that you are the first one I am blocking from my site!)

      Have a wonderful day!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  2. J Trunks says:

    Loving your blog Stick, thanks.

    All you need now is to get addicted to titanium “dutchware” to help you get your UQ hanging right 🙂

    Like

  3. Pingback: First Look: Hammock Gear Custom 50 F Burrow (Top Quilt) | Stick's Blog

  4. It’s official – you’re addicted. I’ve literally owned almost every mainstream hammock and sold them. In fact, I’ve owned three Blackbirds buying it again and again after convincing myself that I wasn’t hanging in it correctly. Wish I still had them as I’d send them to you to feed your addiction. As to underquilts, I liked the Warbonnet Yeti the best because it had a channel where it could be slid around. I disliked the JRB system the most both because it constantly had gaps and I probably attempted to talk to them about it at least 5 different times and didn’t get a single response. I still like my custom Warbonnet Traveler for day hikes and goofying around even though it is way too heavy. I wish I were smaller to use something else, but that’s not going to happen unless my sedentary and lucid dog decides to go into an unstoppable rage and eats my legs off. Good luck though. I hadn’t seen the cuben underquilts, but I guess I’m not surprised considering they are already available as top quilts. I’ve got a blog coming up about a cuben garmet I have which I have a sneaking suspicion will interest you…

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Green Giant,

      If I wouldn’t have went with the HG Phoenix, it would have been the Yeti. However, I liked that the dimensions of the Phoenix were slighter more than the Yeti and I wanted to get as close to a full length UQ as possible without actually getting a full length UQ. Raul Perez has spoken very highly of the Yeti though, as well as many others so I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have liked it as well. If I can just get my wife into a hammock, maybe I will have a good reason to need another UQ though… although she would rather a tent so far.

      As far as the hammock, I am pretty happy with the GT UL. I really have no reason to get another open style hammock until this one needs replaced. But I really do want to try out a blackbird…

      I read your SoLong 6 cuben review and I am impressed. Heck, it is lighter than my Skyscape Trekker and obviously bigger, and being that it is cuben, it is sexier… So, a cuben garment huh…may a rain jacket? I have eyeballed the one that Joe sells, but I am too afraid it would be clammy. Of course I say that because I don’t have the money for it… Anyway, I will keep an eye out for your review…

      Until then, thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Great report. I look forward to your cooler weather results.

    From experience my top quilt and under quilt merge into a cocoon of downy goodness. So my shoulders didnt get cold. Your mileage may vary. If you dont get what you paid for at least Adam is willing to correct it.

    Stay gangsta my friend.

    Raul

    Like

    • Stick says:

      WM,

      Thanks again WM. I figured that they would “merge into a cocoon of downy goodness” too, so thanks for the clarification. 🙂 I must admit that since I received it, I really feel like I have done a 180 with my feelings for it. At first I was unsure, but now, well, I do like it… regardless of smaller dimensions, it is sweet! I know that next year I will have to pick up it’s matching top counterpart…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. Loneoak says:

    Looking good buddy.

    Like

  7. Michael says:

    Wow. Looks great, Stick, but those dimensions are way off. I think you should give it a few uses to see if it’s for you. However, if you did not get what you paid for I’d expect a refund, a replacement or some money returned to you. Still waiting on my UQ from Adam. He assured me it would arrive prior to my trip next weekend. Absolute worst case scenario for you, though, is you just unload it at Hammockforums.net. Someone will certainly take it off your hands!

    SoCal Mike

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks Michael for checking it out and commenting. Yes, the dimensions are off, but if it works for me I guess less is better huh? 🙂 I have used it some but with our low temps only at 55 F right now, it is still hard to determine how well it will actually work. Cool thing is though that Adam has not left me out to dry. Instead he has offered to make it right, and I have no reason not to believe him.

      I do hope that your UQ arrives to you on time. I never did get an email notification for my shipment. Adam told me that it shipped out Thursday and I received it on Tuesday (Monday was Labor Day). From the time that I ordered the UQ to arrival, it was 20 days. Let me know what you think of yours once you get it!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Michael says:

      Stick,
      You’re right–as long as you are happy with the UQ, that’s all that matters. I did not mean to insinuate that Adam was churning out a poor product or that he does not stand by his products. He does stand by his work and he has a great reputation because he does so. That’s one of the reasons I bought from him. I know what it’s like, though, to pay full price for an item and not get what was expected. It can be a major bummer. I hope it works out for you (deep down inside, I think it will). Now get out there, do some more hangin’ and let us know what you think!

      SoCal Mike

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      I agree with you, he does have a great reputation, and like you, that is also one of the reason’s I chose to go with Hammock Gear. (Ok, and the cuben too… 🙂 ) Also, I gotta admit, as unsure as I was when I first laid my hands (and tape measure) on the UQ, I have got to say that I am much happier with it now! Some actual use with the product did change that feeling, but also, it really is a nice piece of gear. Fluffy and warm! As well, Adam has contacted me since I posted the review and I do believe that I am going to send it back in for a different one, but no doubt I will be staying with Adam’s quilts, and happy.

      These past 2 weeks has been nice around here. A few times the temps have been in the mid-50’s in the early morning but I am afraid that these temps won’t stick around long. I figure the temps will go back up some more for a little while longer before these cooler temps come to stay for a while. However, I will be hanging my hammock as often as I can. More than likely though with all my plans for the end of this year it will be in my yard rather than on the trail though…so hopefully sometime at the beginning of next year I can get back out to the Smokies and carry along my hammock set-up…

      So yeah, I am pretty sure that I will be happy with these products…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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