TQ’s & UQ’s

When it comes to hammocks, the insulation on the top and the bottom are just as important as they are when sleeping on the ground, but there are a few differences…

On the ground the bottom insulation is provided by the sleeping pad (that’s right, the sleeping pad’s main priority is to keep our butt warm, not comfy!) The top insulation is usually provided by a sleeping bag. Here as well, the sleeping bag offers very minimal insulation on the back side because the insulation is compressed, and rendered pretty much useless as far as insulating properties are concerned.

In a hammock people tend to use top quilts, which is essentially a sleeping bag without a zipper or a back side. The top quilt is draped over you and then the sides are tucked in beside you in the hammock. However, top quilts are not just for those that hang. In fact many ground sleepers have moved towards quilts because they are generally lighter than a sleeping bag with the same rating. Why? Because there is no zipper or back side. Less is less… hhmmm…  🙂  But there is a slight learning curve to using a quilt on the ground, and not every quilt is built the same…

The bottom insulation for a hammock can be either mattresses, or under quilts. Some hammocks are made with a pocket and pads can be slipped between the 2 layers. Some make SPE’s (Segmented Pad Extenders) which is basically a pocket to slip a sleeping pad in the middle, but then has wings on each side where smaller pads can be inserted. Got to keep this in mind because the bottom insulation needs to wrap up around your body slightly, otherwise you will end up with cold shoulders…

The other option is the under quilt. This is a quilt that is built to fit under the hammock. It consists of a quilt with cords that connect at the head and foot end of the hammock, called a suspension. Typically, an under quilt is easier to use and since it simply wraps around the bottom and sides of your body, works well to keep you all warm and snug.

Concerning bottom insulation, the choice is not an easy one, and there is not necessarily a universal best one. Just like everything else, it comes down to what choices do you want in each item and what do you need to work with your system.

Hope this helps some!


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