Okay guys, so I'm finally in the market for an UQ. I think I can buy just about anything I want at this point. But, I also don't want overkill. So here's a little about me and my set-up.
1. I've got two hammocks. I'm more likely to use my ENO DN in cold weather (less concern about bugs), and my HH Ultralite Explorer in warmer weather. However, I can also see myself using the HH in weather down to 55 or 60. So, I'd need something that can be used for either setup.
2. I'm a whole 64" tall. So obviously, getting a full size 72" UQ would be a little over-doing it.
3. I live in Florida. So there's going to be a lot more warm weather than cold weather. But, I'm from the Ohio River Valley in WV, and I love traveling all over... especially to Colorado and West Virginia. So there's a chance that I could be using this thing all over in all sorts of weather situations. So versatility is key (I can obviously use a pad in addition if I need).
What kind of camping do you do? You've mentioned where you camp, but not how you camp.
If you do big miles each day (as defined by your body, not some arbitrary number; in other words, if you push yourself to near your physical limits during your hikes), then going with the lightest possible underquilt for the temperatures expected is your best bet.
If you only do a few miles each day (in other words, you camp more than hike/bike/ski/etc.), then cost should be your primary concern.
Do you like fiddling with stuff? If so, having a 3/4 or even just a torso-length underquilt is a good bet for you (of course, at your height, this may be different than the vendors' ratings). If not, then a full-length (whatever length that turns out to be for you) is probably your best bet.
Is pack volume a big deal for you? If so, then down is your friend. If not, then synthetic will serve just as well if designed for the temps expected and be more humidity-resistant down here in FL to boot.
Note that I'm not addressing brands here; that's deliberate. Figure out the features you want first, then start comparing vendors based on those features.
Hope it helps!
Lots of good questions here.
Originally Posted by FLRider
Generally, though, I can always recommend the HammockGear UQs. Their turn-around times are a bit longer recently, but their quality and build are fantastic. Also recommend Warbonnet.
If it were me, I'd either get a full length HammockGear Incubator, or if you want something smaller/lighter/but not full coverage, I'd get the Warbonnet Yeti.
Underground quilts are excellent! Lots of options, will do custom work etc. etc excellent quality and service from Paul.
FLRider, great questions... thank you.
First of all, I do a lot of short term camping. It's never more than a weekend getaway. So my pack is pretty small. I actually bought an Osprey Talon 34 or 44 (whichever is the smallest one with bottom access). So it's pretty small, not super small though. Now, I do like to hike about 8-10 miles to get wherever I'm going though. So, reasonably small and lightweight would be nice, but it doesn't have to be THE SMALLEST or THE MOST LIGHTWEIGHT.
I guess that's what I wonder... how much fiddling do you have to do with a torso length?
Pack volume isn't huge, and I think synthetic is something I'd consider. The humidity is a good point. I also think that I can offset any pack volume issues with... well... I'm short. So I don't need as much length in an UQ.
I have owned a few UQs from different vendors, and they all were well made, and worth every penny. I have done the 3/4 and full length. I liked the full length the best, but at 5'6" tall, it was a bit of an overkill in weight and packability. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of my 66inch 30 degree UQ from LeighLo. I use my hammock from spring to fall, not winter, and I'm hoping this UQ will be that middle ground perfection.
Given your pack style, a 3/4 length down quilt is probably best for you--a 34 or 44 liter pack doesn't leave a lot of room for other stuff, so the smallest quilt possible is probably a good idea. 3/4 length isn't "set it and forget it" like a full-length, but it's also not that fiddly--especially at your height. Since you seem to be spending more time in camp than hiking, the extra time setting it up shouldn't be an issue.
I'd look for a quilt with either a DWR-treated shell or hydrophobic down (Underground Quilts is the only vendor that I'm aware of that has hydrophobic down, but there are several vendors that offer DWR shells) to help combat ambient moisture. Also, if one side of your quilt is black, then it's a lot easier to dry it out in the sun if you experience loss of loft due to moisture.
Hope it helps!
Generally I don't like to talk up specific companies too much without knowing first-hand about the competition. But HammockGear is one of those manufacturers that had me from my first purchase. Quality, customer service, product knowlegde and everything else is 150%. I have no desire to shop around to try to save money by going elsewhere for future purchases.
I use both 20° or 40° Incubators.
I'm not an expert in UQs, however I've had a great customer relationship with Paul at Underground Quilts. Paul will take time to listen to your specific needs and will answer your questions. I personally like his attention to small details.
I just received a 20 degree UQ from Umderground Quilts. It works wonderful. Kinda like slipping into a warm bath...Ooooooo. Paul was very helpful, and my quilt was expertly crafted. Not sure if others have the dual suspension, one to be able to center the quilt along the length of the hammock. The other pulls the quilt taught from both ends, so it doesn't sag or "accordion" on you. I also ordered mine with baffles on each end to seal out the drafts. He has some dry down fill as well, but I did not select that option. I'm in California, so my local weather is pretty mild, but I want my UQ to handle colder temps with confidence. You can cool down a 20 degree UQ by venting it on the ends. It's not easy to make a 40 degree UQ warm when it's cold.