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Hammock Gear Economy Burrow Quilt Review

The Hammock Gear Economy Burrow Quilt (“Econ Burrow”) is a fantastic value for a high-quality top quilt and perfectly suited as a hammock top quilt for the backpacker who doesn’t mind a few extra ounces in exchange for a much lower price. The Econ Burrow works on the ground, too, although it takes a while to get used to the mitten hooks connecting the quilt to the attachment system. For cold temperatures closer to the quilts 20-degree limit, you may find it simpler to use a lightweight bivy sack or sleeping bag cover for draft protection.

Specs at a Glance

These are the specs for the quilt we tested; see below for a list of the many options available for this quilt

  • Temperature Rating: 30* F
  • Shape: Half taper
  • Length: Standard model (74 inches)
  • Shoulder width: Wide model (55 inches, the option for ground and hammock use)
  • Foot width: 40 inches (unzipped)
  • Footbox style: Cinch end, with zippered footbox
  • Fabric: 20 denier nylon taffeta, orange outside, black inside
  • Overfill: None
  • Included accessories: Large cotton storage sack, small nylon stuff sack, ground pad attachment kit
  • Fill Weight: 12.78 ounces
  • Total Weight: 22.08 ounces stated, 23.8 ounces measured

Lots of Customizable Options (see Hammock Gear’s site for complete options)

  • Temperature rating: 40, 30, 20, 10 or 0*F
  • Shape: Half taper
  • Length: Short, Standard, or Long
  • Width: 50” for hammocks or 55” for ground or hammocks
  • Footbox style: sewn or cinch
  • Inside and outside color choices
  • Overfill amount (up to 4 ounces)
  • Include ground pad attachment kit (yes/no)

Footbox Style

When ordering from Hammock Gear, you can select your preferred footbox style—sewn or cinch. A sewn footbox is simpler and warmer, and a better option for the colder end of the spectrum. Hammock Gear concurs and recommends the sewn end for quilts 20*F and lower. The cinch end footbox can be loosened and unzipped to create a completely flat, comforter-style quilt, allowing it to be more comfortably used over a wider temperature range (i.e. warmer than rated). The top of the zipper is reinforced with a robust snap. This takes the pressure off the zipper and prevents it from being ripped open by your movement in the night.

When the footbox is fully cinched, there is a gap that allows heat to escape

The cinch end on the Econ Burrow leaves a small gap that allows heat to escape, even when fully tightened. You can stuff extra clothing to plug the gap, but if you are traveling ultralight you may not have clothing to spare except for wet and dirty socks! I made a small 2”x4” rectangular plug out of leftover synthetic insulation (polyester batting would work fine) encased in some lightweight scrap fabric. If I’m taking a cinch end quilt on a trip where it won’t get warm enough to need to vent, I just leave the plug in the whole time so it doesn’t get lost.

A robust snap at the top of the zippered footbox takes strain off the zipper and prevents accidental opening

Down Insulation

The Econ Burrow uses 800 fill power DWR Duck down while Hammock Gear’s Premium Quilts are available with 850 or 950 fill power DWR Goose down. Both kinds of down are RDS-certified which means they are responsibly-sourced, not taken from birds that are force-fed or live-plucked, and they are DWR (Durable Water Repellant) treated to reduce down’s susceptibility to moisture collapse. Duck down comes in a lower fill power than Hammock Gear’s Goose down quilts and is less expensive, but is just as warm as goose down of the same fill power. I noticed no smell to the down in the Econ quilt. The 30* quilt was well-stuffed and cozy.

Fabrics

The Econ Burrow uses 20 denier, 1.1 oz/ sq. yd. calendared nylon taffeta with DWR while Hammock Gear’s Premium Quilts are available with 10 denier 0.67 oz/ sq. yd. calendared nylon taffeta (inner) and ripstop (outer) with DWR. While I’ve heard the Premium line has a nicer fabric feel, the fabric on the Econ feels soft and supple, not stiff and plasticky like some budget nylon sleeping bags.

The Burrow has vertical baffles over the body and horizontal baffles at the neck and feet

Baffles

The Burrow is a box-baffled quilt (not sewn-through) with vertical baffles over the majority of the body and horizontal baffles at the footbox and neck, to keep the down from shifting downward (toward your sides) overnight and leaving cold spots on top of you. This design is seen on many premium quilts/ bags.

Three shockcords are tightened around the pad with cordlocks

Ground pad attachment system

While it’s comfortable in warmer temperatures to loosely drape a quilt over you, when you get close to a quilt’s temperature rating, a pad attachment system can be helpful in minimizing drafts and heat loss. The Econ Burrow comes with three elastic shockcord loops which you slide over your pad and tighten with cordlocks.

The Burrow has D-rings on either side that clip into the mitten hooks of the pad attachment system

The three cord loops each have 2 mitten hooks which clip onto D-rings on either side of the quilt. This system is designed for the user to adjust the girth without the quilt coming entirely off the pad and letting cold air in. If you haven’t used mitten hooks much, you may find them frustratingly hard to clip and unclip with cold hands, but if you practice clipping and unclipping at home, holding the hook at its base and the D-rings in the same way, leveraging one against the other and twisting until they snap in or out, you’ll quickly learn the trick.  

Unfortunately, I found that the elasticity of the cords and the ability of the mitten hooks to slide freely along them allowed for too much “play” (movement) to reliably keep out drafts in ground mode. Ideally, a pad attachment system should allow you to lock the quilt around you while still being easy to undo for quick exits. I’m a rotisserie sleeper, and as I moved from side to stomach to side, the shockcord stretched enough to allow gaps to form between the edges of the quilt and the pad. Because of this, I didn’t feel the attachment system provided much benefit over just tucking the edges under me, as I needed to do this anyway with the system. Eventually, what I found as the best option for me was to clip in one side of the quilt and leave the other side free. This kept the quilt in place on the pad when I had to get up in the night, so that when I returned, it was like coming back to a freshly-made bed.

One side of the Burrow attached to the pad cords, the other side open for easy entry/exit. Note how the shock cords lock in place on a baffled pad.

On a smooth-surfaced pad (I used a Therm-a-Rest Prolite), the shockcords also tended to slide up and down the length of the pad. When I switched to a baffled pad, I didn’t experience this movement; the cords locked in place between the baffles.

If you are a back sleeper who doesn’t move around in the night, you may find the attachment system works fine for you. If you ever lose the attachment system, you can purchase an inexpensive replacement from Hammock Gear ($2.99 at the time of this article).

The neck end of the quilt snaps together and cinches up

Neck Cinch

To seal in warmth around your neck, the Burrow has a neck snap and shockcord with a mini cordlock which adjusts in the center of the quilt. The placement of the cordlock is optimized for back sleepers, where it would be below the chin; it becomes hard to access if you are on your stomach or side on the ground. The shockcord is located at the very end of the quilt, so as you tighten it up, you feel the cord against your neck, but there is “give” as shockcord is elastic. There is no draft collar (an extra baffle beyond the neck drawcord to seal in warmth and cushion your neck from the cord) on the Burrow.

The Econ Burrow makes a great hammock top quilt

Use in a hammock

As you might have guessed from the name, Hammock Gear’s niche is with hammocks. The issues that I found on the ground were non-existent in a hammock, where the Econ Burrow excelled. For example, while the neck adjustment was hard for me to access on the ground as a side/stomach sleeper, in a hammock, where I tend to be on my back or slightly turned to the side, I found the placement of the cordlock to be ideal. Although I had the wide version for ground use, and Hammock Gear offers one 5 inches skinnier for hammock users, I appreciated wrapping up in the wide version, even though I have a slight build–it gives you a little extra insurance on chillier nights.

Recommendation

Quality backpacking quilts are usually expensive, but Hammock Gear has found a way to use their premium construction techniques with lower-cost but still high-quality materials to make a quilt that performs well above its price point. Often, budget quilts are a placeholder until one can afford a better option, but the Econ line will provide long-lasting value to all but the most ultralight ounce-counters. I found the Econ Burrow to be well-made, comfortable, warm, soft, and compressible.

We recommend the Econ Burrow as an excellent hammock top quilt option. In colder temperatures, we recommend the sewn-end over the cinched end. We also suggest using a bivy sack for draft protection below 20-30 degrees instead of the Burrow’s pad attachment system.

About the author

Greg Pehrson is an ultralight backpacker who was bitten hard by the MYOG (make-your-own-gear) bug. He repairs, tinkers, and builds gear, often seeking to upcycle throwaway items or repurpose things from outside the backpacking world.

Disclosure: Hammock Gear provided SectionHiker with a quilt for this review.

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.

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8 comments

  1. I think a neck draft collar is an option missing for a lot of manufacturers unfortunately. Nice looking quilt otherwise!

  2. Take a piece of non-elastic cord and tie on two prusiks. Make the loops as short as possible (I use a hemostat to get the last few wraps). Attach the mitten hooks to the loops and attach the whole mess to the quilt. In the field, attach the cord to the pad, you can either tie directly or use a toggle. Adjust the prusiks and you’re in business, no slipping. I find with my Premium Burrow I only need one cord that I attach to the gross grain loops just under my butt.

    • Or hammock gear could fix their system so you wouldn’t have to DIY

    • I have a 20°F with 2oz overfill. I’ve had it in the teens overnight in snow and it performed perfectly. The only thing I changed was the pad stap system. I bought the UG pad straps because they have the toggles rather than the clips. I had to put small loops of bungee on the fabric loops to accomodate the toggles. Works great. Agree with the writer about the footbox draft. This by no means is a low quality or “starter” quilt. It is well made, they have great service, and the price point as compared to EE is a no brainer. Good quality doesn’t equal an outrageous price.

  3. I love that suggestion, Rex. Thanks for sharing your experience. Prusiks are also the way Cedar Ridge Outdoors does their pad attachment for their quilts. Prusiks are infinitely useful; I recommended their use on the Kammok Pongo Pad and Puffin Pillow review here to lock them onto a hammock ridgeline. Knots (and hitches) to the rescue!

  4. I have been using my 20d Econ for a year now. So far I have had it down into the lower 30s and have been toasty warm. I couldn’t be more pleased with the quality construction and great features.

  5. Got a good chuckle out of your description of being a “rotisserie” sleeper. That is exactly the phrase that describes my own sleep habit. Enjoyed reading this review, as always, and of course, what others have to say. Keep ’em coming. Thx.

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