I'm about ready to purchase an Underquilt, but need to an answer to the $50 question. 3/4 or full UQ? I live in Florida and only rarely do I encounter temps below 40F. I am currently happy with using my windshield thermo screen as an UQ, but I'm thinking about a military poncho liner as an UQ or Closed Cell Foam pad with an Extender. However, I don't want the weight of poncho liner.
Since temps can and will be below 30F from November until mid-March in North Central and Panhandle Florida I've started considering a down UQ. And I eventually plan on trips to the Southern Appalachians, New England and maybe even the Great Lakes in the fall or early spring. My question is should I invest in a 3/4 or full UQ? If I decide on a 3/4 quilt, how do I keep the lower 1/4 warm?
That is going to be up to you, but I invested in the full length, then a year later, bought the 3/4. If you opt for the 3/4, you can still use your pad under your legs. I have a poncho liner UQ and it is my warm weather go to UQ.
So, did I win the $50. :D:D
You use a pad or some other insulation under your legs. There's a reason why 3/4 underquilts are so popular; with full length quilts there is sometimes an air gap under your knees, which allows convection to cool your legs and sometimes your butt.
There's also a reason why full length pads are so difficult to position correctly. They curve in two directions - or at least your body makes the hammock do that, and a flat pad doesn't want to comply. The section under your feet and legs, however, curves mostly side-to-side so it's easier to keep your legs in the nice tube formed by a short pad.
That's not the whole story, but there's some truth to it, and it's probably cheaper to use a 3/4 UQ and a pad than a full UQ. All the usual disclaimers apply (HYOH, YMMV, etc.)
I use insulated hammocks, which (IMHO) don't have some of the drawbacks of full length underquilts, but which have their own set of complexities.
There are others far more experienced with this question than I. Please chime in to correct my errors.
This is one of those personal preference questions. The advantage of the 3/4 is weight and bulk savings. I've used a 3/4 quilt into the 20's without ever missing the last 1/4. I always bring a piece of blue foam insulation to place under my feet. In the summer this may be quite small and light - while in cold weather I bring a large chunk with plenty of overlap, plus often an extra piece to stand on when changing clothes ( and to slide under me if I start feeling cold.) The weight of the foam is negligible, since it also acts as sit pad, pot cosie, and pack stiffening material.
I like a full length for sub 50s, however I can get to 40 pretty easily with either my synthetic bag or a small foot pad.
The bigger question is do you mind a foot pad or similar? I dislike them myself. Darn things move on me. But if you can manage, pads are lighter, cheaper and provide more functionality (think sit pad) than a simple full length quilt.
I like a 3/4 down UQ with a ccf pad (about 24" square) tucked into the footbox of my top quilt. I tried the pad between hammock layers but if it moved, it was a major pain to get it right again. It says in the top quilt footbox pretty well. I've never had cold legs.
I think that in Florida year round and up north, except for winter, you'll be happy with a 3/4 UQ.
I take the pad anyway because it's so handy for other things such as frame in my frameless packs, sit pad, etc.
Thanks to everyone and especially my Florida Hanger friend Mad777. He knows my height and it makes sense that 3/4 is better for me. I really appreciate hearing from more experienced Hangers.
That auxilliary pad
Try a foot pad immediately to see if you like the feel of it. Inexpensive to try.
Some have as much difficulty keeping that pad in its place in the hammock as others do getting a full length pad to work. And some just don't like the feel of a pad under the feet. ( Because the chosen pad is too stiff / firm? dunno.)
Hangnout described at method of threading the pad into the footbox of a leighlo top quilt. You needn't use that method. But, you should plan for fitting a pad of the size that works for you throughout the night, with your sleeping positions.
And for more cold: I like two layers of not-tight wool socks, the outer sock being resilient enough to not compress much under pressure.
I have and use my 3/4 but once you get into a full you'll never go back unless it's really hot !
Also depends on if your a cold sleeper - I am a very cold sleeper and have a full length that I love. Was down to 32 last night and was nice and warm.