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…
As noted above, a while back I purchased a 20 F Phoenix Under Quilt from Hammock Gear. Once it arrived on my door step, I had a few questions about the product so I got in touch with Adam from Hammock Gear (for all the details involved, see the text above). In the end, Adam sent me another under quilt to try out and to replace my initial under quilt with. So, in this post I want to point out some of the differences between the 2 under quilts, as well as offer a few of my thoughts on the new under quilt.
So, to start with, here is a quick video that I made a few hours after I opened the box:
So, here are the specs on the new under quilt:
- Measured Weight: 13.9 oz (Includes UQ w/ shock cord suspension and 2 biners)
- Measured Width: 42.5 inches @ head end & tapers down to 34 inches @ foot end
- Measured Length: 51 inches
- Measured Loft: 2-1/4 to 3-1/2 inches (Lying flat on the floor)
- Baffles: 9 vertical full-length baffles
Also, here are the materials it is made from:
- Outer (facing the ground) Shell: SevenD
- Inner (facing the hammock) Shell: Cuben Fiber
- Stuffed with 9 oz of 900 fill-power Hungarian goose down
So, I will address weight first. As can be seen, at 13.9 oz, this under quilt is probably just about the lightest 20 F (3/4 length) under quilt that can be had, considering that it is completely made using top of the line, lightweight materials. Also, due to the new design (which, as far as I understand, is based on Adam’s full-length under quilt, the Incubator) this under quilt is constructed in a way to provide quilt where you need it, and not where you don’t. This of course also helps to cut down weight. As well, as I mentioned in the video, he uses a smaller diameter shock cord as the suspension system which is bound to squeeze even a little more weight off. So, overall, concerning weight, initially I am happy with what has been delivered.
I do want to say a few things about materials as well, although I will not linger on them since Adam will construct his quilts out of pretty much any material you want (as long as you can get it to him). Adam used 1.1 nylon ripstop on the first under quilt that he has sent me, and SevenD on the newer one. However, after waking up one morning with a considerable amount of condensation on the outer shell of the (first) under quilt, I now wonder which material will be of more benefit. I am unfamiliar with the SevenD material and how it stands up to water/moisture management, so I will have to do some investigating into this. However, at this point and in my opinion, the 1.1 ripstop seems like it would be the better choice for this application (unfortunately). Maybe I am wrong though…
Size/Dimensions/Fit. This subject was my biggest concern when I received the first under quilt as the sizing was a bit smaller than listed on the site. But, the newly designed under quilt that Adam has sent me is much different. Like I mentioned in the video, the new quilt is tapered; larger at the head and narrows towards the foot, whereas the older/first under quilt is a perfect rectangle. The new under quilt is a full 4 inches wider at the head end than the first under quilt is. When I hung the new under quilt under my hammock and then laid in it, I easily noticed the difference here since the under quilt extended well over my shoulders. And even though the foot end of the under quilt tapers, it is still plenty tall enough to cover my legs.As well, at 51 inches long, the new under quilt is about 2 inches longer than the first under quilt. However, I really don’t see how 2 inches will make much of a difference. So, saying this, I really don’t have anything to say about this.
Overall, these dimensions are much closer to the listed specs, and after hanging it and then laying in the hammock, I find that the lengths are more than enough to be use-able for me. I would like to add that this specific under quilt does indeed have 1 oz of down “overfill” in it which may possibly affect the dimensions. However, after reading a post made by Adam in a thread over on Hammock Forums, the “extra” down may not affect the dimensions at all. Anyway, in the end…errr… initially… I am happy with the dimensions of this under quilt.
The construction of this quilt is perfect. In the review of the first under quilt I also made mention of how impressed I was with the overall construction, despite the one little spot where the hem missed part of the side channel. But I have got to say that these quilts are very nice. Straight, uniform seams with no loose threads and perfectly, even spaced baffles throughout. What more can I ask for? I have got to hand it too Adam & Jenny because when it comes to the quality involved in the construction of their quilts, it is top-notch. Then of course, the new quilt has one of those sweet little “Custom made by StormCrow” patches sewn in along the side channel…
So, now my only real problem is that I need to decide on which one I want to keep. I was pretty sure that when Adam told me that he was going to send me another one, and using the SevenD on the outer shell, that it would be a simple decision, but I have got to admit that it is not…
I have really become attached to the first under quilt that Adam has sent me. I will admit that one of the most impressive things about the under quilt is how much this thing lofts up. It easily measures 4 – 5 inches on average, and this goes from corner to corner, including the middle. It is solid. Also, I have got to admit that after using it a few times, I have found that it fits around me pretty dang comfortably… it just seems to fit me, you know? Anyway, I am quite happy with it…
Then of course the new one, it definitely has sex appeal (at least as much as a quilt can have sex appeal…) The materials are definitely worth bragging about, and it is fun to just look at. (Not to mention it has that sweet little “Custom made by” patch on it…) As well, even though it is only 3 oz lighter than the first under quilt, when holding the new under quilt, it has a much lighter (wispy) feel to it. Also, I have found that the feel of the SevenD really is very soft and is comfortable on the skin. (I think that it would make a very comfortable shell for a top quilt… and of course light!) Also, due to the materials, the newer one will compress slightly easier/more than the first one, but not by much.However, I think that the decision will ultimately be based on which one will keep me warmer. I want to use this under quilt into the teens, so I need as much warmth as I can get. With this in mind, the first under quilt clearly lofts up a good deal more than the newer one. I was a bit confused by this at first (considering they both have 9 oz of 900 down fill inside them), however, thanks to one of my YouTube watchers comments, I have had some light shed upon this… and I must admit, I wanted to slap myself in the head when I read his/her comment… Since the newer under quilt has larger dimensions, the down is spread out more in the new under quilt than in my first under quilt. So naturally, the smaller (first) under quilt has a taller loft.
However, from what I understand, loft is what determines warmth, so then the first under quilt should be the warmer of the 2. Although, the newer one does offer slightly more coverage… hhmmm… it is a tough choice…
Anyway, at this point, I want to take the time to thank both Adam & Jenny for their services. Regardless of the series of events, they have provided a great service. I am happy to own some of their quilts and look forward to owning more in the future…
So, as usual, if you have any comments or questions, please post them at the bottom of the post and I will get back to you. And until then…
Thanks for your time!
Disclaimer: Adam from Hammock Gear sent this new Under Quilt to me as a possible exchange for my initial Under Quilt (which I paid fully for with my own monies). Even though he used the newer SevenD materials on this Under Quilt, Adam did not charge me any extra for the UQ. As well, I agreed to do this review on the new Under Quilt as part of the agreement. In the end, I will only keep one and return the second one.
I have decided to keep the newer designed UQ, however, I sent both of the UQ’s back to Adam. Adam added 1 extra oz of down to the 7D/Cuben UQ and changed the shock cord from the thinner cords to some a little heavier.