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Jacks ‘R’ Better (JRB) Hammock Down Nest

JRB Nest Down Underquilt on a Hennessy Hammock
JRB Nest Down Underquilt on a Hennessy Hammock

I spent a significant portion of this year experimenting with different insulation options for my Hennessy Hammock in order to extend it’s season for optimal use into the early spring and late fall, and I must confess that I fell in love with the JRB Nest, Down Under Quilt, shown here on my Hennessy Asym in the Adirondacks.

First off, Jacks ‘R’ Better (JRB) is a cottage industry, aftermarket manufacturer and retailer, for Hennessey Hammock products. They also manufacture and sell other great gear for ultralighters, which is definitely worth a look. The Nest is an 800+ fill down quilt, with DWR, that fits under your hammock and provides much needed insulation on your back when the temperature gets colder. The quilt weights 20oz, but compresses down quite nicely in your pack. Like the Hennessey, it has a birth canal style opening that mates with the hammocks entrance, and Velco strips which attach to the Velcro strips on the hammock itself, which makes it possible for you to easily slip out during the night for a pee.

The nest attaches to the hammock using mini carabiners and line that JRB calls a suspension kit and weights 1.0 oz. If you choose you can guy line out the nests sides, but this is not necessary, and you will stay warmer if you don’t because the edges of the quilt will come up higher on the hammocks sides. Using the nest, it is possible to not bring along a sleeping bag and just use a top quilt. I haven’t tried that option yet myself, but it is a viable alternative for saving weight.

Priced at $295, the nest is a sizeable investment. But I found that using the quilt eliminates the need for all of the new underlayers that Hennessey came out with this past year (and which do not stay in place), and the need for any other homemade pads or emergency blanket gizmos you can think of. I sleep like a baby when I use my JRB nest and highly, gushingly recommend it if you are a Hammock enthusiast.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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17 comments

  1. I have used the J&B nest with my Hennessy Hammock for nearly 3 years now. From weekend campouts to longer ventures in the Boundary Waters I have never slept better. It is a dear price to pay for the quilt, but it is a good investment, nay, a great investment if you like sleeping through the night in a world of comfort. Skip the double latte and save the pennies to buy one. You will not regret it.

  2. I say retrofit you own. Seattle fabric has some awesome options for fabric as well as some other online companies. A few hundred for a commercial sewing unit, materials and you break even, or even come out ahead, plus you have the pride of knowing what went in to it. Just my 2 Cents.

  3. What were the temperature ranges you used the Nest in?

    And what temp rating was your top quilt/ bag?

    Also is this the "down nest" or the "winter nest"?

    thanks.

  4. It's a down nest, not the newer winter version.

    I've taken it down to 20 degrees and was cold, so I don't recommend that you do that. I was using a 20 degree western mountaineering bag during that incident. I don't take a hammock/regular nest out anymore under 40 degrees. I haven't tried the winter nest, but I've used the HH insulation layer, and found that lacking. I've heard of people using a downmat inside the hammock in colder temps – I bet that would really make a difference with an external nest.

  5. Thanks for the quick response.

    I am looking to go into the Whites late November and am a novice winter/ late fall hiker.

    So i am struggling with the insulation idea, but really want to try the hammock out. i think i will have to do some local testing first closer to the hike date.

    I am going to try radiant reflective bubble wrap inside the HH undercover, with a -20 wm puma inside with me. I know it may be overkill with the bag but if i have to bail out to the ground i know i will be warm.

  6. So your looking at temps in the 20's or 30's in the whites at night at lower elevations. I think you'll be quite cold without a JRB nest or Kick-ass quilt. I have a puma too, but it will do nothing to keep you warm since you'll be lying on top of it and it won't retain any air. I would really consider adding a downmat underneath you, partially inflated. I use it all winter on the ground and it's a very warm mat, since it's full of down. You can always move the mat and the bag to a nearby shelter if you get too cold.

    You might also find this post useful about me being too cold in a hammock. http://sectionhiker.com/2008/03/14/sleep-system-t

  7. I have the exped DX9 down mat, but the weight is heavy.

    I just ordered the Undercover from Hennessy. Maybe i should return it and just bite the bullet on the winter jacks 'r' better. I guess worst case scenario i resell it. If cold weather hiking doesnt agree with me.

    I did see one link to a hiker/ scout master who hikes in the winter and thinks hammocks shouldnt be a big issue in the cold.

    his tolerance for cold maybe higher than most.
    http://www.mormonsite.org/hammock.html

  8. Experiment – your metabolism may help. A lot also depends on site selection and wind speed. Personally I think the HH undercover is bull. It's just a thin foam pad. You need an air and insulation barrier beneath you to stay warm.

    Regarding weight – it's late fall/winter. You need to carry more gear. My gear weight triples in the winter. I'm going backpacking this weekend and taking 2 pads. No way around it.

    JRB quilts are very easy to resell. You can also use it as a quilt on the ground. Personally, I think it's a way better investment than an HH undercover. My 2 cents. Let me know how it goes.

  9. I don't have any of the hammock gear, and am a grounder, but I can speak to the insane quality of the JRB brand.

    They sponsored me for my PCT thru-hike coming up, and I'll be using their "Sierra Sniveller" quilt. I'd never "quilted" before, just used a bag, but wow…

    Their stuff is AWESOME.

    The craftsmanship is absolutely top of the line, the warmth went beyond the rating, and it was better than any bag I've ever slept in….and I've slept in a ton.

    As for Matt's comment above, sure…have a nice arts and crafts project and make your own…but you more than likely won't approach this quality of craftsmanship. The 'Jacks' do it right. HIGHLY RECOMMEND anything they put out.

    Dug
    http://thf2.wordpress.com

  10. I have been comfortable down to 15 degrees using a Big Agnes 0 degree down bag that has the pocket underneath for a sleeping pad. I use a Therm-a-Rest TrailPro inflatable pad and a 1/4" closed cell pad in the pocket and that eliminates all bottom chill. I will try it again this winter with the addition of a piece of emergency blanket between to see how that helps.

  11. I bought the Nest and the Sierra Sniveler to use as a combo under/over quilt. I’ve only had a chance to use them in the cold once. The weekend that I went, the temps were forecast to be in the upper teens, and since I was on my maiden voyage with the quilts, I was worried I would freeze, so I took a bag also. Turns out, the first night, with temps in the low 20’s, I did get a little chilly, but not too bad. The next night, with temps in the mid teens, I put both quilts under me and slept in my 15 degree big agnes bag (with no sleep pad in the pad pocket). I was toasty all night, and even had to occasionally let some air in my bag because I was getting hot.
    My best estimate would be that the quilts alone are good into the low to mid 30s, then you might need a little extra beyond that. Of course, everyone is different.
    That all being said, I wouldn’t trade my quilts for any sleeping bag/underpad combination in the world. I love them!

  12. I have an HH. Love the good nights sleep I get compared to the ground. I experimented with bags, pads and such and was uncomfortably cold at 50 degrees. Spent a very uncomfortable 46 degree night in Colorado shivering all night long. I knew I needed to find a way to make my hammock at least a three season sleeping system. After reading these comments I bit the bullet and invested in the nest. It is really worth every penny. I just spent the night in the Ocala Forest. It got down to 27 degrees with 23 degree windchill (I know but that’s cold for Florida). I used the nest (not the winter nest), a top quilt (my 30 degree mummy bag upside down), and the HH Over Cover. I was very comfortable. At those temps it was 47 degrees (20 degrees warmer) inside my HH. I was very pleased and again worth every penny.

  13. Are you still using your hammock or have you moved on? In checking them out (possibly to buy one this year) it seems to me that all the hammock systems are both expensive and heavy compared to a simple tent.

  14. do you know if the JRB will work with a ENO hammock system?

  15. I have been sleeping on the ground for 40 years and now I am in a hammock and really sleeping. I am not waking 10 times a night .
    I also don’t understand the weight thing,you should be around 1lb for a hammock also one pound for a tarp . Now if you are buying the other heavy ones for camping or just hanging I can understand.
    I carried a 6 lb plus tent since the 70’s the 3 and 4 pound tents just came out , now I am at 2 1/2 lb for backpacking hammock and tarp.
    The other stuff pad ect. you have to carry anyway .

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