Home / Gear Reviews / Tents, Hammocks, and Tarps / What’s Your Hammock Insulation System?

What’s Your Hammock Insulation System?

A Warbonnet Ridgerunner Double Layer Hammock
A Warbonnet Ridgerunner Double Layer Hammock

Hammocks are a great alternative to camping on the ground in a tent. You don’t have to worry about finding flat and level ground to pitch a tent, you don’t have to worry about rain flooding your tent at night, or about nasty spiders and snakes crawling into bed with you. If you have two trees about 15 feet apart, you’re usually good to go.

But being suspended in the air, you need to insulate the bottom of your hammock in moderate and cool temperature weather to stay comfortable at night.

The Question

What are the components of your hammock insulation system?

  • How expensive is it?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • What temperatures does it work in?
  • How easy is it to pack?

Please leave a comment.

Most Popular Searches

  • mattress hammock
  • yeti underquilt and grand trunk
  • best hammock sleeping bag

43 comments

  1. I haven’t tested mine in sub-freezing temps yet, but I simply use my Therm-a-rest Prolite full length pad. Its about 1lb, R value 2.4 IIRC, rolls up to about 2 small grapefruits size. I blow up the pad a little stiffer than I would for shelter use and it helps keep the hammock floor away from my body and eliminates the coffin feeling. If I’m using a shelter, I would use the same pad or a NeoAir, so it serves double duty for if I use the hammock or not. An under-quilt I wouldn’t be able to use like that. I tried the NeoAir in the hammock but it wasn’t stiff enough to defeat coffinitis and made too much noise. Lowest temp I’ve used it is about 40 degrees with a 40 degree bag and the comfort was about like using the same pad in a tent. If your foot slides off, you will get a cold foot, but you just reposition on the pad and it warms right back up in a few minutes.

  2. Steve McAllister

    I have found that the best weight savings is to use a highly breathable hammock sock.

    Mine is the Warbonnet Traveler Sock. The zipper shape allows you to vent right above your head to allow a high percentage of the moisture from your breath to escape, but still creating a micro-climate that adds a lot of warmth and eliminates the cold nose and sinus pain that you get on cold nights.

    The sock allows you to carry less insulation be reducing convective cooling and allows use of smaller tarp by blocking most spray, spindrift and splash.

    I used 20 degree top and bottom quilts(with down sweater) for below freezing hikes before I discovered the sock, but now able to get by with 30 degree rated insulation and actually feel warmer than before.

    I did try to get by with various sleeping pads instead of an underquilt for a while but an underquilt is lighter for the amount of warmth and much more comfortable once you get your suspension dialled in.

    The fit is very important for an underquilt to work properly and one of the reasons some people dislike underquilts. Too loose and you get get drafts between the underquilt and the hammock, too tight and you can compress the down too much.

  3. I have two sets of top and bottom insulation for my hammock. For warm weather I use an Enlightened Equipment Revelation 30 deg Down top quilt that cost me about $310 if IIRC. My warm weather UQ is an old HG Down 3/4 Length 40 deg. Crowsnest with 1 oz of extra down, now called the Phoenix. It cost me about $140 IIRC about eight years ago. Both keep me warm down to 30 to 35 deg. The above setup is really easy to pack into my 2,500 to 3,000 c.i. packs because being down, they are very easy to compress, especially the Crowsnest. I have found 3/4 length UQ’s sufficient to keep me warm when combined with a sitpad slipped inside my top quilt under my feet.

    For colder conditions my top quilt is a 15 deg custom quilt made my Javan Dempsey of The Stateless Society, a small cottage manufacturer no longer in business. It cost me about $500. My cold weather UQ is a 3/4 length HG Phoenix 20 deg that I bought last year for $249. I also include my sitpad under my feet inside my top quilt and make sure that I have warm socks or down booties. This setup also compresses well but typically I will use a larger 3,500 to 4,000 c.i. pack to make packing easier. Complemented by adequate clothing and a middle of the night snack, I have always been able to get a good night’s sleep in my hammock in virtually all temperatures, down to a personal low of 17 deg. F. To me, one of the critical factors is to find a site that is out of the wind or to make sure that my tarp is set up low enough to block my hammock from the wind.

  4. A 1-ounce space blanket lining the inside of the hammock should be adequate.

    • I’m with Jeff, but I use the slightly heavier space blanket. As a trip leader, I am always carrying it for emergency use any way. The space blanket and a heavy synthetic bag have kept me warm in the 30s.

  5. I love sleeping in my hammock, but I haven’t had the moey for an underquilt yet, so I’ve simply used my ground pads. I am certain an underquilt would be more comfortable, but the pads work alright. NeoAir, Prolite, Ridgerest & Zlite. I blow less air into the inflatable ones so they take the shape of the hammock. The Zlite is probably the easiest to use and contours very nicely to the hammock, so it’s definitely my first choice. The coldest I slept is about 25-30 degrees no problem. Colder than that I tend to go with other people, and a two person tent is our preferred choice, so I haven’t used the hammock yet below that.

    My next hammock purchase will be a hammock sock so I can try the set up in snowy conditions, and take advantage of its insulation and spindrift protection while using a 3 season tarp.

  6. I use an Enlightened Equipment Prodigy quilt (30F) as an underquilt – the sleeping pad straps work well to strap it about the hammock. I combine this with a MLD sleeping bag liner for summer hiking, and add insulation (jackets, etc.) or another quilt as it gets cooler. I’m in the Mid-Atlantic so cold in summer = 45-50F.

    I’ve experimented with GG Thinlight 1/4″ pad underneath but haven’t gotten that to work to my satisfaction yet. Have ended up going to ground in 15-20F weather when I tried to use a NeoAir underneath – couldn’t lie comfortably cross-wise and stay on the pad, so either back was uncomfortable, or toes & head were freezing.

  7. My underquilt is a KAQ Jarbidge from Arrowhead Equipment. It is a synthetic quilt, made with APEX Climashield. It weighs about 20 ounces and packs up a little bigger than a Nalgene bottle. I’ve had it down to the upper 20s with no problems. You can get a down underquilt that is lighter, can go into lower temps, and pack smaller – but not for the price. I paid about 75 dollars during an Anniversary sale. It is a 3/4+ quilt, so I place my sit pad in my top bag to keep my feet warm. My top ‘quilt’ is really an old REI Sub Kilo down bag I picked up for under 100 dollars at an REI garage sale. It weighs about 30 ounces and is good down to 20 degrees. I’m sure it packs up small, but I normally pack loose (in a larger stuff sack) in the bottom of my ULA Circuit and let my gear compress it as needed.

  8. In cool weather, I use a Warbonnet Yeti 3-season Underquilt (12.9oz, $190, 20deg) and either a 40- or 10-degree Enlightened Equipment top quilt. In very cold weather, I’ll put a Gossamer Gear 1/4-Wide Thinlight CCF pad (~10oz, $40) in the hammock with me. I’ve only pushed that into the mid-20’s, but I’m 100% sure it would work well into the teens.

    In the hottest part of summer, I just shove a GG Sitlight pad under my butt. Don’t need much else.

  9. I camp in a Hennessy Expedition Deluxe, longest trip to date was completing the foothills trail in SC/NC. I have a full length 20 degree Hammock Gear underquilt that weighs 26 oz with stuff sack, and a 20 Hammock Gear top quilt that comes in at around 20 oz with stuff sack. Both together have kept me warm down to the high teens. I usually use a down vest like a pillow around my neck and head for extra warmth along with a beenie and merino buff. The cost of these quilts is high, but I don’t have any regrets with the purchase.
    When the temperatures will be above 40, I have a JRB down 40 degree quilt (16oz) that I attach underneath, and use a old north face synthetic bag in the hammock as a top quilt.

  10. I converted an old light weight mummy bag into an underquilt that I hang under my ENO Doublenest so it was fairly inexpensive. So far it has worked down into the low 40’s. Best part is that it fits in a stuff sack with my hammock so I can hang them both at the same time. Then I use a Warbonnet Superfly for a tarp.

    • I have an enno double nest hammock and also have a mummy bag I could use as an under quilt. How did you attach the mummy bag to the hammock or straps?

      • You could sew loops along the sides of the mummy bag. Run shock cord through them and tie the ends to s-biners from Nite-ize. Hook the S-biners to your ridgeline. The problem is that the mummy bag probably won’t hand snug against the bottom of the hammock and the ends will let in cold air. But you can give that a go and see if it works for you, or you can buy an underquilt, or simply sleep on top of a foam pad on the inside of the hammock.

  11. For below freezing:
    I use a Hammock Gear 20F Incubator, full length. Not cheap at $250, but it is 900 fill, 1lb 10oz, and I’ve had it down to 12F. Below that I’ll start adding a ridge rest into the mix.

    For long trips where weight is more of a factor than comfort: A standard $20 ridgerest foam pad (12.8oz) is great and will keep you very warm. I have not tested the lower limit of it though.

    Summer: I use a $30 poncho liner made into a “pluq”, 1lb 10oz. A DIY poncho liner underquilt. It’s good til it gets colder, and can be combined with the ridgerest below freezing for a good nights sleep. http://gear-report.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/diy-no-sew-poncho-uq_original.jpg

  12. Warbonnet Ridgerunner: I have been using a Exped Downmat 7 LW. I will be trying a Synmat lite regular during mid-summer. I use these pads because it is what I have for tent camping and in case I go to ground. I also think the pads give extra rigidity to the hammock for a comfy snooze.

  13. Summer: Warbonnet 20* Lynx full length down UQ. Enlightened Equipment Prodigy 40* synthetic TQ.

    Spring/Fall: Same UQ as summer. Warbonnet Mamba 20* down TQ.

    Winter: Same UQ and TQ as fall. Mylar blanket to supplement the UQ. Warbonnet Spindrift dual door sock. Been down to -8*F in this setup.

    Everything is very packable. All stuff sacks, no bulky and uncomfortable pad to deal with.

    Prodigy: $160 21.72oz
    Mamba: $275 19oz
    Lynx: $260 12.8oz
    Spindrift: $135 10.25oz

  14. TQ = Katabatic Gear Palisade 30*, (tall) 19oz
    UQ = Hammock Gear Phoenix 20*, 13oz

    My comfort range with this set up is 20*F-50*F but I went as low as 12*F last winter by adding down boots and using my down vest as a blanket. I’m a UL backpacker which can be a challenge because I’m 6’3″, my gear is typically larger, longer, heavier. The Phoenix UQ is a 3/4 length quilt that covers me from shoulders to just below my knee. I use my tall backed crazy creek chair to insulate underneath my legs and feet. If it’s really cold I can always add my GG pad or a hot water bottle to my foot box. I use a cuben bishop bag to hold the hammock, quilts and suspension together for easy setup and break down. I always thought there would be a weight penalty moving from ground sleeping to hammock hanging but I’ve actually been able to reduce weight (no pillow, UQ lighter than my Thermarest Xtherm) and I’m sleeping a lot better on the trail.

  15. Incubator 40F Under quilt +2oz overfill, 19oz, $220 (with +2oz overfill, a “30F” UQ)
    GoLite Z30 (long) Top Quilt, 24oz stock, 23oz without straps, $180

    The Incubator is a work of art by Hammock Gear. The GoLite is also very well made. I’ve had these down to 30F, in windy conditions. As others have mentioned, proper site selection and tarp placement is key. If I had to do it again I’d go with a slightly shorter underquilt, HG’s Phoenix, for example, without overstuff, and a top quilt rated 40F that isn’t a long–I swim around in the Z30, and if anything that 30F rating should be 25F or even 20F, which causes a problem in temps above 55F–thing is too darn warm. And for cooler temps, I’d add a sock (see earlier post), letting me separate the extra insulation weight and carry it only when needed.

    The down takes up notable room, but on a recent 4-day romp on the AT (mile 996 or so to Harper’s Ferry, which includes most of the “roller coaster”) I tried just stuffing it in the bottom of the bag instead of using separate stuff sacks. Packed faster and at worst used the same amount of room; this technique may have saved me a half liter or liter of space.

    I use this combination with a Warbonnet Black Bird (WBBB) and more recently on distance hikes where weight is more of a concern with a customized Hammeck Netty

  16. Bottom Insulation:
    HG Phoenix (3/4 length) 20* down UQ
    Cost was $180 used on Hammock Forums, weight is 15.2 oz – less than most pads

    Top insulation:
    EE Revelation (Wide) 30* down TQ
    Cost was $217 from their in-stock (maybe a return?), weight is 18 oz

    FWIW, my Hammeck Netty with built-in bugnet and suspension kit is ~18 oz. I mention that because if I’m headed where there are likely no trees I would substitute the UQ for a pad and the hammock for a net tent for about the same weight (tarp works for both). The hammock can be used as a net tent, but it’s not meant for it and I’d want to have a ground cloth under it to protect it.

    I’ve used this down to the low 30s with some altitude. It can definitely go lower, and the quilts are extremely packable. I usually stuff them loose in my pack since there’s plenty of room in my ULA Circuit. They seem to take up more functional room in a cylindrical stuff sack, and I’d rather not compress them too much anyway.

    Good idea asking about hammock gear and experiences – I think a lot of your readers are hangers.

  17. Stormcrow’s UQ and TQ. I’ve used a Thermarest pad or radiant bubble pad in the past. I’m really just commenting in order to follow the thread.

  18. I made a TQ and a UQ from Snugpak poncho liners for about $35 apiece. They work down to temps in the upper 40’s. Each came with its own little compression stuff sack, so they can pack down pretty small. I made them for my regular work field trips in central Brazil where we live in hammocks; the nights there often start out in the upper 80’s F but it can get down to as low as 55F by morning during the dry season. Works great, was pretty cheap and easy to make with my basic sewing skills and a cheap Walmart sewing machine.

  19. Janek Cieszynski

    too cheap to buy an underquilt, I use my exped ULdownmat7 and I use my sleeping bag suitable for the temps zipped open as a quilt. has worked pretty well so far. still havent figured out a good way to get into a zipped bag in a hammock.

  20. I have gotten into the underquilt vs pad debate with many hikers over the years.

    The only thing I’ll say is, for AT and LT hikers were you intend to sleep in shelters, a sleeping pad is the way to go. That way you can use it in the shelter and in the hammock.

  21. I have a HG 0F Incubator for colder weather, and an HG 40F Phoenix for warmer weather. For warmer weather, I have a few top quilts at around 50ish. For colder weather, I have a 20F BA Zirkel.

  22. bottom – 3/4 zlite irregular plus a piece of reflectix to go under the shoulders. The bonus is the zlite gives me something to flop on during rest stops. Top quilt is a hammock gear burrow

  23. Hammock is a Warbonnet Blackbird. For a while I insulated the bottom with a “blue foam pad” but didn’t like its stiffness. Sewed my own underquilt, 3/4 length, 5oz Climashield insulation, at about 1lb. weight. With a 35 degree down bag unzipped as top quilt, I can sleep comfortably down to about (surprise!) 35 degrees. The underquilt stuffs about as small as the down bag, not bulky at all.

  24. In the Winter I use a 0 degree Hammock Gear Incubator under quilt and a matching Burrow top quilt
    In Summer I use a 40 degree UGC Under and top quilt set. Both are nice! I use to use a Big Agnes pad and a sleeping bag but I never slept that well. With these set ups I sleep better than I do at home.
    My lowest temp was 7F – I added reflectix and used the top over instead of the mosquito net of my Dangerbird hammock. I was toasty?

  25. In my bridge hammock I use the following:

    70+ none

    40-70 either a full length Hammock Gear UQ (40 deg, 16 oz) or an exped SL7 air mattress (21 oz). Which one depends on if I am concerned about going to ground. Air mattress works really well in a bridge. I have used this combination down to 20 with a windsock (16 oz) which raises the temp in the hammock 15-20 degrees.

    40-20 20 deg torso length 20 deg UQ from Warbonnet (16 ozs) + cut down zlite pad (5 ozs) for legs. Zlite pad doubles as a sit pad.

    20- I am probably using a tent.

    Sorry I don’t remember the prices but since it is all down it was not cheap. If you are the dyi type there are lots of instructions and plans on the net. Look up Fronkey or Shug.

  26. Grand Trunk 32 Degree Hammock Compatible Sleeping Bag with ENO double nest:
    $159.99
    3lb 10oz
    Have been down to 40 degrees in it on top of a hill with no tarp on a windy night wearing medium weight thermals, thick poly socks, balaclava and 300wgt fleece hoody. I stuffed the bottom of sleeping bag with a cheap fleece blanket and a Nano Puff pullover to keep sleeping bag from losing loft laying in it.
    Packed it in a Sea To Summit 15 liter silnylon drysack that I attached to outside of backpack. I used a couple of hand warmers to warm up sleeping bag as soon as I got in it.

  27. I have used a rectangular down bag clipped to my hammock for colder weather and a Coleman sports blanket/poncho that is waterproof so windproof, with fleece on one side and coated poly on the other. Fairly lightweight and good coverage, blocks the wind and adds to the warmth, and it can double as a blanket or poncho or ground cover.

  28. ENO SIngleNest with Atlas straps; Hammock Gear Incubator 20 underquilt; Warbonnet Mamba Three Season topquilt; REI Revelcloud jacket; OES MacCat tarp.

  29. I use an ENO doublenest with the insulated Klymit Static V inflatable pad. When combined with my Kelty Cosmic 20 down bag, I have slept comfortably at/around the freezing point. Depending on the weather, I may or may not take the bug net. I also have a thermarest z-lite that I use in place of the Klymit pad in warmer weather.

    Here is my sleep system and approximate wt in ozs:

    ENO Double Nest Hammock: 22
    ENO Atlas Straps: 11
    ENO Bug Net: 16
    Tarp / Tie Outs / Stakes / Ridgeline: 32
    Sleeping Pad – Klymit Insulated Static V R4.4: 25
    Sleeping Bag – Kelty Cosmic 20: 45
    TOTAL: 151

  30. I have hammocked camped to minus 10 below and used hammock gear top and bottom quilts. I ground dwell with the top quilts and use bottom quilts when I hang. You don’ t fool around positioning pads and with bottom quilts. You hang and adjust them
    and your done especially if you have to get up in the middle of the night. I use Hammock Gear Quilts and they are great!

  31. First of all, I think a good nights sleep is paramount to an enjoyable trip… AND personally I have never slept better than in a hammock. I even have a couple hidden rigs setup in my house to hang from for naps or when my back acts up. You really can’t beat good sleep.

    I have always used my sleeping bag as top insulation. A few years ago, I took a chance on the Sea to Summit Trek TKII Sleeping Bag when it first came out. It is a tapered rectangular bag that fully opens and is “rated” to 18 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a DWR outer shell with down (60/40 fill) and I love it.

    As for bottom insulation… I started off using a section of reflectix in the hammock – cheap and light. I quickly realized that it moved around in the hammock way too much to keep you comfortable all night.

    Next was the Thermarest X-therm large size – expensive but versatile because I also use it for car or shelter camping. I used it down to about 20 degrees and it worked great. I did not experience any shoulder squeeze and it was easier to side sleep but even with it partially deflated I felt like my center of gravity was way too high in the hammock.

    I currently use a Hammock Gear 20 degree Incubator with treated down. It is by far the best hammock experience I have ever had and I highly recommend it even though it is not as versatile as the X-Therm. HG was easy to work with and even expedited shipping so I could have it in time for a trip. It is easily adjusted and you can really dial it in for ANY weather. I have comfortably used it on humid 70 degree nights in Georgia and even wet cold 10 degree nights in Washington.

    Recently, I even tried to rig my Sea to Summit sleeping bag as a makeshift hammock sock / under quilt for weight savings during the summer and it works pretty well but I keep coming back to the Incubator. To me, it is well worth the money and the pack weight.

    I know you can probably get one to test out but if you can’t, I would be more than willing to ship mine to you for a test drive.

  32. I started using a Warbonnet Blackbird earlier this year and based on my research I went with the 3 seasonYeti under quilt. So far I have not made the move to a top quilt system, as I invested in a Western Mountaineering Ultralite a couple of years ago and I am not ready to leave it behind … anyway its rated to -7C which complements the Yeti under quilt. At first It was a bit of a challenge getting into the sleeping bag in the hammock but at some point I guess I figured it out and now it just kind of happens.

    First trip was in northern Ontario in April and temps went down the -6C and for the most part the under quilt kept me warm. However, I sure noticed when the quilt slipped out of place as the cold air would rush in and wake me up. Thankfully it warms up pretty fast once it is shifted back into place. As I have gained more experience setting up the hammock I have had fewer problems keeping the quilt in position all night.

    As for my legs and feet, Initially I was using a Therm-a-Rest Z Lite sit pad, but I found this to be too small, so I cut a full size Z Lite sleeping bag in half and since then my legs have stayed nice and warm.

    • I went to all hammock gear under quilts and only own 1 sleeping bag that I use a Western Mt -25 bag otherwise I hammock camp and ground dwell with hammock gear top quilts with a full size therma rest pad and shock cords down to 5 below and a goose feet down balaclava . Hammock gear now cause offers pad attachments for there quilts to pads.

  33. I have a warbonnet blackbird XLC lefty, my UQ is a zepplein 20* my top Q is a new model called a renegade it is a 20* the design allows the foot box to to get extra down for cold feet sleepers or the reverse for top.
    All my gear comes from a very very good cottage vendor Under Ground Quilts UGQ. They also made me custom tarps.
    My suspension for my hammock and my tarps is all Dutch Ware..
    Check these cottage vendors out before you buy anything not made in America !!
    If I go below 20* I slide a space blanket in and done never a problem down to 13*
    Please check these vendors out before you buy …..

  34. As a long time hammock camper I have a few options.

    I love my Amok Draumr with a Nemo Siren and Exped Synmat 7 UL. The siren has actually been overkill so far but I think it would be comfortable down to 15-20F. Its my heaviest hammock setup but the comfort of laying flat is huge. I sleep better in this than in any other camping setup I’ve ever tried. The Synmat is incredibly warm just by itself so even below 4 I don’t really want the top quilt. There is no need for an under quilt in the Amok.

    I have a ENO Doublenest with a unlabeled under quilt (maybe a JRB) and then a Nemo Duo top quilt. I’ve been quite comfortable in it down to 0. This one the girlfriend mostly uses because of how warm it is.

    For both of these adding the bug net even in winter makes a 10 degree difference.

  35. My Underquilt is Warbonnet 3 season Yeti, weights 12.5 oz with temperature rating at 20 degree. My top quilt is Feathered Friends Flicker weights at 15 oz with temperature rating at 20 degree.
    In a very cold winter, I will insert my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite regular (12 oz) or Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Large (20 oz) in to my multilayer Warbonnet BB XLC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *