how to choose an underquilt

A person relaxes in a hammock in a lush forest surrounded by nature.

Choosing the right underquilt can completely transform your hammock camping experience. Underquilts provide necessary warmth, especially in colder conditions, by insulating the underside of your hammock.

This article will guide you through key features to consider when picking an underquilt and help match it with your personal comfort needs. Ready to stay warm on your next outdoor adventure? Dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the purpose and importance of underquilts in providing insulation and warmth to your hammock during camping.
  • Consider the pros and cons of using an underquilt, such as enhanced warmth and additional features, when compared to sleeping pads.
  • Key features to consider when choosing an underquilt include temperature rating, weight and pack volume, material durability, insulation type, size and length, water resistance, and suspension system.

Understanding the Underquilt

A Caucasian person hammocks in a lush forest with various faces, styles, and outfits.

Underquilts serve a crucial role in hammock camping by providing warmth to the underside of your hammock. Used as an insulation barrier, these unique items ward off cold air and keep you cozy even during colder nights.

They are available in full length and 3/4 length options, with the latter offering insulation to just your back and butt area but not extending to cover the lower legs or feet.

Often categorized into purpose-built underquilts designed for specific hammocks, these variants promise easier setup while taking away guesswork when buying since they’re made specifically for particular models.

But make no mistake; general-purpose underquilts don’t lag behind in terms of practicality either. The temperature rating is another crucial aspect that demands attention – it affects both your comfort levels and choice of underquilt length substantially! It’s all about making selections based on personal preferences to clock in those comfortable hours outdoors!

Pros and Cons of Using an Underquilt

A person enjoying a hammock in a serene forest setting.

Using an underquilt has several pros that make it a popular choice among hammock campers, including enhanced warmth and additional features for added comfort. However, there are also some cons to consider when using an underquilt that may impact your camping experience.

Enhanced Warmth

Underquilts are the secret weapon against chilly nights in hammock camping. They keep you toasty, providing insulation for the underside of your hammock which tends to lose heat rapidly at night.

A full length Hammock Underquilt can give you enhanced warmth, covering your entire body while you sleep by suspending under the hammock and creating a barrier that traps hot air.

3/4 Length Hammock Underquilt also provides key thermal protection but focuses it on specific areas like the back and butt where significant heat loss often happens. These are most suitable for temperatures above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit and bring their own benefits of weight reduction and pack volume efficiency over full-length underquilts.

Whether going with a Full Length or 3/4 Length Hammock Underquilt, proper positioning is vital not just for comfort but to prevent cold spots from forming.

Other Features

Underquilts offer a range of extra features for your camping experience. Some come with weatherproof exteriors, providing an additional layer of protection against rain and wind. Durability is another crucial factor; look for underquilts constructed using ripstop nylon shell to withstand outdoor conditions.

Underquilts also vary in terms of hammock attachment systems; some are designed only for specific types such as gathered end hammocks or bridge hammocks, while others are general-purpose underquilts that can fit any model.

You may also find multi-functional underquilts that double up as sleeping pads or hammock cushions, enhancing your comfort levels during those chilly nights outdoors.

Underquilt vs. Sleeping Pad: A Comparison

Close-up of underquilt and sleeping pad on rustic wooden background.

When comparing an underquilt to a sleeping pad, there are several factors to consider in terms of pros and cons.

Sleeping Pad: Pros and Cons

Sleeping pads are a popular alternative to underquilts for hammock camping. They offer several advantages, including versatility and ease of use. One of the main benefits of sleeping pads is that they can be used in various outdoor settings, not just in a hammock.

They provide insulation and cushioning against the cold ground when used on the floor of a tent or outdoors during activities like backpacking. Additionally, sleeping pads are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry in your backpack.

However, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Sleeping pads may not provide as much warmth as underquilts because they can compress under your weight and allow cold air to seep in from underneath you.

Underquilt: Pros and Cons

Underquilts have several advantages when it comes to hammock camping. First and foremost, they provide enhanced warmth by insulating the underside of your hammock. This is especially important in cold weather conditions, as underquilts can help prevent the dreaded “cold butt syndrome.” Additionally, underquilts offer other features such as adjustable suspension systems for a customized fit and water resistance to keep you dry in wet conditions.

On the downside, underquilts can be more expensive compared to sleeping pads and may require some adjustment to get the right level of insulation. However, their effectiveness in keeping you warm and comfortable makes them a popular choice among hammock campers.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing an Underquilt

A backpacker in the wilderness setting up a hammock under trees.

When choosing an underquilt, it is important to consider key features such as temperature rating, weight and pack volume, material durability, insulation type, size and length, water resistance, and the suspension system.

Temperature Rating

Underquilt temperature ratings are an important factor to consider when choosing the right underquilt for your hammock. These ratings determine the appropriate length of the underquilt based on different temperature ranges.

For example, a 3/4 length underquilt may be sufficient insulation for some hikers, even in colder conditions. However, if you’re concerned about cold feet during sleep, opting for a full-length underquilt might be a better choice.

Ultimately, personal preferences and individual comfort levels should guide your decision-making process. To gain more insights into real-life experiences and preferences, don’t hesitate to check out testimonials from experienced hikers who have already selected their ideal underquilts.

Weight and Pack Volume

Consider the weight and pack volume when choosing your hammock underquilt. Backpacking requires gear that is lightweight and easily portable, so you’ll want to find an underquilt that won’t weigh you down or take up too much space in your pack.

Keep in mind that down insulation offers a superior warmth-to-weight ratio, making it a great option for those looking to save on weight. On the other hand, synthetic insulation retains heat even when wet, which can be beneficial in moisture-prone areas.

Find the right balance between warmth and portability to ensure a comfortable camping experience without being burdened by heavy gear.

Material Durability

Material durability is a crucial factor to consider when selecting an underquilt for your hammock. You want a durable underquilt that can withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures and last for a long time.

Look for underquilts made from high-quality materials such as ripstop nylon, which is known for its strength and resistance to tears. This will ensure that your underquilt can handle rough terrain, branches, and any accidental snags without getting damaged easily.

Additionally, choosing an underquilt with a weatherproof exterior coating or treatment can help protect it from moisture and extend its lifespan. By prioritizing material durability, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your underquilt will hold up well during your camping trips or backpacking excursions.


Insulation is a crucial factor to consider when choosing an underquilt for your hammock. It determines how well the underquilt will keep you warm during cold weather camping trips.

The insulation type can be either synthetic or down, with down offering better warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility. Look for underquilts with higher fill power, as it indicates higher-quality insulation and better heat retention.

Keep in mind that 3/4 length underquilts provide insulation to the back and butt but not the feet and lower legs. So if you want full coverage, opt for a full-length underquilt or consider using a torso-length sleeping pad as an alternative option.

Size and Length

Underquilts come in different sizes and lengths to accommodate the varying needs of hikers. Manufacturers offer the choice between full-length underquilts and 3/4 length ones. A full-length underquilt provides head-to-toe protection, making it suitable for cold sleepers or winter camping.

On the other hand, a 3/4 length underquilt is designed to provide insulation to the back and butt, but not the feet and lower legs. This option can be a great choice if you are camping in temperatures above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit or if you want to reduce weight and volume in your pack.

Consider which option aligns with your preferences when selecting an underquilt for your hammock adventure.

Water Resistance

Water resistance is a crucial consideration when selecting an underquilt for your hammock. It helps protect you from getting wet in case of rain or moisture exposure. To keep your underquilt dry, consider storing it in a dry pack liner or stuff sack during the day to minimize moisture contact.

Additionally, make sure you have adequate rain fly coverage or choose dry weather conditions at night to prevent water exposure. By prioritizing water resistance, you can ensure a comfortable and dry camping experience with your hammock underquilt.

Suspension System

The suspension system is a crucial consideration when choosing an underquilt for your hammock. It’s responsible for attaching the underquilt securely to your hammock, ensuring that it stays in place throughout the night.

Commonly used components of a suspension system are shock cords, micro-carabiners, and cord locks. These help to cinch down the head and foot portions of the underquilt, preventing drafts from entering and compromising insulation.

A well-designed suspension system guarantees that your underquilt provides effective warmth and comfort while you sleep in your hammock.

How Does an Underquilt Work with Hammocks?

Underquilts are specifically designed to work with hammocks and provide insulation from the cold. These underquilts attach to the bottom of your hammock, creating a warm barrier between you and the outside elements.

The way they work is by trapping warm air beneath your body, preventing it from being sucked away by the wind or cold ground. By keeping this warm air close to you, underquilts effectively keep you cozy and insulated throughout the night.

Full-length underquilts cover more surface area of your hammock, offering superior warmth and protection. They extend all the way from head to toe, ensuring that no part of your body is exposed to chilly drafts or cold surfaces.

On the other hand, 3/4 length underquilts are shorter in size, covering only your back and butt area. While they may not provide as much overall warmth as full-length underquilts, they can still be a good option for slightly milder temperatures above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ultimately, choosing the right underquilt length depends on personal preferences and individual comfort levels. Some people prefer full-length coverage for maximum warmth while others may find 3/4 length sufficient for their needs.

It’s important to consider factors like expected temperature ranges and how easily you get cold when making a decision about which type of underquilt will work best for you.

Recommendations for Best Underquilts

When it comes to choosing the best underquilt for your hammock, there are several top-notch options available on the market. Whether you’re a budget-conscious backpacker or looking for premium quality, these recommendations will help you find the perfect underquilt to keep you warm and cozy during your outdoor adventures.

Best Overall Hammock Underquilt

The best overall hammock underquilt is the one that provides maximum warmth and comfort without compromising on weight and packability. Look for an underquilt with a full-length design, as it will cover more surface area and provide better insulation.

Make sure to consider the temperature rating of the underquilt, as this will determine its effectiveness in different weather conditions. Additionally, pay attention to the material durability and water resistance, as these factors will affect its longevity and performance in wet conditions.

Choose an underquilt with a reliable suspension system that securely attaches to your hammock for a snug fit. With these key features in mind, you’ll be able to find the best overall hammock underquilt that meets all your outdoor needs.

Best Budget Hammock Underquilt

If you’re looking for an affordable option when it comes to hammock underquilts, consider the best budget options available. These underquilts offer great value without compromising on quality or performance.

They may not have all the fancy features of premium models, but they still provide adequate warmth and insulation for a comfortable night’s sleep in your hammock. Budget underquilts are typically made from durable materials and offer decent temperature ratings that make them suitable for spring, summer, and fall camping trips.

They may not be as lightweight or packable as more expensive options, but they get the job done without breaking the bank. So if you’re on a tight budget but still want to improve your hammock camping experience with added warmth and comfort, these best budget hammock underquilts are worth considering.

Best Premium Hammock Underquilt

Experience ultimate warmth and comfort with the best premium hammock underquilt available. This top-of-the-line underquilt is designed to provide maximum insulation, ensuring you stay cozy even in the coldest of weather.

With its high-quality materials and superior craftsmanship, this premium underquilt offers exceptional durability and long-lasting performance. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or a casual camper, investing in the best premium hammock underquilt is a smart choice for taking your outdoor adventures to the next level.

Stay warm, sleep well, and enjoy every minute of your time spent in nature with this top-tier underquilt option.

Best ¾ Length Hammock Underquilt

The best ¾ length hammock underquilt offers insulation to your back and butt, providing warmth for temperatures above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. With a reduced weight and pack volume compared to a full-length underquilt, it’s a great option for backpackers looking to minimize their gear load.

Keep in mind that positioning is key with a ¾ length underquilt to avoid cold spots when you move around at night. Remember that personal preferences and individual comfort levels play an important role in choosing the right length for your hammock underquilt.

Can an Underquilt Be Used With Any Hammock?

An underquilt can be used with most hammocks. Here are some points to consider when using an underquilt with your hammock:.

– Check the dimensions and attachment systems of both the underquilt and your hammock for a proper fit.

– Purpose-built underquilts designed for specific hammocks are easier to set up and order.

– General-purpose underquilts can be used with any hammock, but they may require more adjustment during setup.

– Underquilt temperature ratings are important in choosing the right length. A 3/4 length underquilt is suitable for temperatures above 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Personal preferences and individual comfort levels play a significant role in choosing the right underquilt length.

Remember these factors as you decide whether an underquilt will work well with your particular hammock.


In conclusion, choosing the right underquilt for your hammock is essential for a comfortable and warm camping experience. Consider factors like temperature rating, weight and pack volume, material durability, insulation type, and size when making your decision.

Whether you opt for a full-length or 3/4 length underquilt will depend on personal preference and the temperatures you plan to camp in. Remember to also take into account any specific features or accessories that may enhance the performance of your underquilt.

Happy hammock camping!


1. What factors should I consider when choosing an underquilt?

When choosing an underquilt, you should consider the temperature rating, insulation type, weight and packability, size and fit for your hammock, and any additional features such as adjustable straps or built-in mosquito netting.

2. How do I determine the appropriate temperature rating for an underquilt?

The appropriate temperature rating for an underquilt depends on the expected weather conditions during your camping trips. Consider the lowest temperatures you anticipate encountering and choose an underquilt with a temperature rating that can comfortably keep you warm in those conditions.

3. What are the different types of insulation used in underquilts?

Underquilts may use synthetic insulation or down insulation. Synthetic insulation is typically more affordable, retains warmth even when wet, but tends to be bulkier. Down insulation offers superior warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility but can lose its insulating properties when wet.

4. How important is the size and fit of an underquilt?

The size and fit of an underquilt are crucial to ensure maximum warmth and comfort while hammock camping. It should adequately cover the bottom of your hammock without leaving gaps or sagging excessively. Consider both length and width measurements to find an underquilt that matches your hammock’s dimensions accurately.


  • William Grello

    I'm William an outdoor enthusiast who grew up hiking and camping in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. At, I aim to inspire and help you by providing valuable insights and tips on making the most out of your outdoor adventures. Grello William

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