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Hammock Gear Economy Phoenix 30 Underquilt Review

Hammock Gear Economy Phoenix Underquilt

The Hammock Gear Economy Phoenix 30 Underquilt (“Econ Phoenix”) is a 3/4 length down-filled underquilt for hammock users. We found it very easy to use and the slight increase in weight over Hammock Gear’s Premium underquilts will be a good trade-off for many users for the significantly lower ($70 less) price.

Specs at a Glance

  • Length: 3/4 length, 52” long x 45” wide
  • Draft Collars: Yes
  • Suspension: Dual
  • Fill: DWR 800 Fill Power Duck Down
  • Construction: Baffled (not sewn-through), differential-cut 3-D design
  • Claimed Weight: 15.97 total, 7.02 oz fill
  • Measured total weight: 17.9 oz, plus 0.4 oz for the stuff sack
  • Included: large cotton storage bag, small nylon stuff sack with drawcord closure

About Underquilts

Just like you need a pad for insulation when sleeping on the ground, you also need insulation below you in a hammock. While some hammockers use a wide inflatable or foam pad, it’s easier to get full coverage, including shoulder-wrap, with an underquilt. I find it more comfortable as well.

A 3/4 length underquilt is a good way to save some weight and bulk from a full-length version for three-season hiking. Hammock Gear claims the Econ Phoenix saves an average of 5.5 oz. compared to their full-length underquilt (the Incubator) of the same temperature rating. The 3/4 length is meant to illustrate from the shoulders down to below the knees. I’m short (5’4”), so I get even more coverage. If you carry a sit pad, it can be used to insulate the area under your feet. Alternatively, you can zip your puffy jacket or vest around the foot end of the hammock and top quilt to make a foot “peapod.”

You can insulate the foot end of a 3/4 UQ with a sit pad, or use your down jacket to save weight.

Custom Options

Hammock Gear offers a number of options to choose from on the Econ Phoenix, from the colors of the inner and outer shells to the temperature rating, to amount of down overfill (used to help stabilize insulation from shifting and provide a little extra warmth). It’s available from 40F down to 0F in 10-degree increments. The 40F underquilt starts at $110 and increases as you choose warmer quilts (i.e. rated for colder temps). For a full list of custom options check out Hammock Gear’s website. 

Instead of a straight rectangle, the Phoenix has a differential 3D cut to better hug the body without gaps.

Economy vs. Premium line

Just like Hammock Gear’s Burrow Top Quilt (reviewed here), Hammock Gear’s Phoenix is offered in Premium or Economy styles. The Economy line benefits from the construction techniques and patterning of the Premium line, like a primary and secondary suspension system, draft collars, baffled construction, and differential 3-D cut, but with lower-cost (but still quality) materials.

Down Insulation

The Econ Phoenix 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.

Fabrics

The Econ Phoenix uses 20 denier, 1.1 oz/ sq. yd. calendared nylon taffeta with DWR while the Premium Quilts are available with 10 denier 0.67 oz/ sq. yd. calendared nylon taffeta (inner) and ripstop (outer) with DWR. I found the Econ Phoenix’s shell fabric soft and supple.

All of Hammock Gear’s underquilts (the 3:4 length Phoenix and the full-length Incubator, in both Economy and Premium) have a primary and a secondary suspension system.

Suspension System

All of Hammock Gear’s underquilts (the 3/4 length Phoenix and the full-length Incubator, in both Economy and Premium) have a primary and a secondary suspension system. The primary suspension is shockcord that runs the length of the underquilt and clips onto the hammock suspension, using micro S-carabiners which are color-coded for the head and foot ends. The underquilt slides along this suspension so you can position it under you while you’re in the hammock. The secondary suspension uses LineLocs at the four corners with which you can tailor-adjust the tension of the underquilt.

The ends of the underquilt have draft collars–horizontal baffles on either end perpendicular to the vertical baffles running the length of the quilt–which are essential to snug the ends of an underquilt against you. The draft collar shockcord has 2 cordlocks (one per side), so you can adjust their tension while inside the hammock to ensure there are no gaps by pulling on both ends of the cord simultaneously, then sliding the cordlocks down one at a time. I’m considering “capturing” (immobilizing) the draft collar cordlocks to the quilt by sewing a thin, short cord loop through each cordlock, so the draft collars could be tightened just by pulling the cord itself, making adjustments from within the hammock even easier.

underquilt draft collar
Draft collars seal off the ends, and their tension is adjustable with shockcord and 2 cordlocks.

This shockcord is very thin, so I wouldn’t suggest yanking it hard, as snapping it would make for a drafty night. To hedge my bets, I carry a 2-inch straight cotter pin/ split pin. in my repair kit–a small piece of metal with two tines and a loop–which makes rethreading shockcord or drawcords a breeze instead of the headache, it is without it. A safety pin works, too, but not quite as quickly or cleanly, as it can open up when you’re feeding it through the channel.

Recommendation

The best thing about the Hammock Gear Econ Phoenix is that once you set it up, I didn’t have to think about it. It just works. Sleeping gear is the last thing you want to have to fiddle with at the end of a long day, and I was happy at how well the Econ Phoenix did its job. It’s quick to set up, easy to adjust, and kept me warm and toasty. It feels more expensive than it is, thus reducing the cost of entry into hammocking while being a piece of gear that can be appreciated by experienced users.

The only caveat to our recommendation is the fact that our quilt came in at 2 ounces above specs. Hopefully, we accidentally got extra down fill! The Economy Phoenix is a good choice for three-season backpackers; we suggest switching to the full-length Incubator series for temperatures consistently below freezing.

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.com with an underquilt for this review.

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