Quilt Buying Basics

I am new to hammocking and my budget is limited to one quilt. What should I get?

The first thing we will tell you in this quilt buying guide is that good insulation is imperative to a successful night of camping out. We strongly recommend your first purchase to be an underquilt. About 65-70% of your body heat escapes from your backside, through the thin layers of your hammock's fabric. A pad helps to a point before colder temps drive you to find a warmer solution. While you can pile on layers or use an already owned sleeping bag for your top insulation, it is difficult to keep your body warm without a properly designed underquilt. A full length or a 3/4 length underquilt can help create a good seal against the elements.

I am from __________. I am unsure what quilt rating I need for my area. What should I look for?

Regardless of where you are from, the best way to determine your needs will be with your own camping habits. If you do not sleep in weather conditions below a certain temperature rating, you can safely assume our Hammock Gear quilt temperature rating will be true to its claim.

* If you are a cold sleeper, pushing the temperature rating past its limits is not recommended
* If you do not hike or camp in temperatures below 40*F, then the 40*F set will work well for you, etc.
* Windy climates without a good shelter can compromise the quilt's ratings.
* Caloric intake, weight, clothing, humidity index, etc. are all variables that need considered when buying a quilt

I hike in temperatures from 80*F through 20*F. With such a wide range, how do I purchase a shoulder season (20* set) without overheating in the warm nights?

Our quilts are designed with ventilation systems to help create a flexible window of comfort. The topquilt is available with a zipper footbox to open up completely for air flow. Our dual suspension underquilt system can be loosened easily for air ventilation between the hammock and the underquilt. The same system can be tightened for the cold nights, allowing for a good range of weather conditions while maintaining comfort.

What is the difference between a Phoenix and an Incubator? What should I choose?

The full sized incubator is for coverage from past the head to past the feet. In contrast, the Phoenix is designed to insulate the user from their shoulders to their calves. Most of the time, the Phoenix is geared toward long distance hikers that are trying to save as much pack weight and every ounce they possibly can.

You will need a pad of some kind to insulate you feet and you will have to wear something on your head if you want to achieve the Hammock Gear temperature rating of your under quilt.

Have you thought about making one whole quilt (a sleeping bag) that covers the bottom and top of me?

While some vendors have made multipurpose/all-in-one quilts, the variables make it difficult to create a quality product that fits the user in various elements. Making our quilts dedicated for each purpose gives you the optimal performance you can ask of your gear. Risks of down compression (which lose insulation) is also increased, limiting your ability to stay warm when you need it.

I sometimes go to ground. Do I need to do anything different to my topquilt order so I can use it for hanging and tent camping?

Virtually everyone who goes to ground needs to opt for a wide version of the topquilt. A hammock's design cups the user, which means an underquilt also must cover not just the flat surface of person, but up over the sides. As a result, topquilts are designed to fit just inside the hammock, and not down under the user, where the down would be compressed and considered useless. When you sleep on the ground, you lose the side insulation that the underquilt provided you, thus requiring you to use the added width of the topquilt. This is why we recommend wide topquilts for our "ground dwellers".

If I compress an under quilt for a trip and it only spends 6-8 hours a day in the compression sack, will it lose its loftiness just from being compressed. To clarify, if I take a quilt in and out of the compression sack 100 times will it lose loft just from being crushed down so small?

We have stressed in this quilt buying guide that goose down should not be compressed for long periods of time. Specifically, your quilt should not be kept in a stuffsack or compression sack and put away until next season.  A pillowcase, a trash bag, a large plastic bin, or hanging it up is ideal.

6-8 hours in a compression sack or stuffsack, then aired out to be used for the night, even over 100 times, should not compromise the insulation. With this kind of use, your quilt should last a long time. As you continue to use it, however, the goose down can shift and migrate, which is normal and expected. When it does, a simple patdown (no shaking) back to the areas lacking in down works very well.