Debate - Length of UQ
In conducting some recent research on cold weather insulation, I came across a very interesting forum debate dated way back in August 2009 on UQ length. I only attached Pan's remarks as I found them substantive and well reasoned. Insulation design and techniques have evolved since 2009 but I concur with Pan on this issue and believe it is more about simplification and still achieving the end result - a comfortable night's sleep.
Sometimes, we "gear lovers" over do it to the point our packs are heavy and setting up becomes a tedious chore with constant fiddling in the middle of the night. Then again, some enjoy the tinkering hence the "hike your own hike" (carry your own gear) philosophy. The full thread link back follows:
What's everyone's thoughts?
Originally Posted by Peter_pan
It's still up for debate, although what may or may not have been a fad in 06, seems to still make some sense today, so maybe no. Not a fad exactly.
I think 3/4 can work, well into 3- season, within reason. Especially if you are a bit on the short side. Winter or not, when you can ditch the torso pad, when temps and conditions allow, you get a little lighter, and incrementally smaller bulk, but for me it was eventually price.
Look a little more at how we build our kits. First mostly just old ground dwelling gear. Then it's a sleeping bag TQ mod. A lot of us loose the pad for an UQ. Then we need to go even colder, or lighter, which means an additional set of warmer full length quilts.
If the question was simplified down to: If you could only own one? Then we end the discussion > here < :D
I've wondered why someone doesn't make an underquilt with plain ripstop ends on it, to finish out like an undercover. That would take care of a lot of suspension issues and add wind-blocking features. It would also allow adding a space blanket or other additional insulation between the UQ and hammock. You could have additional quilted sections to add to a "summer" version, much like the end panels in the Clark system.
Seems like you have already had the debate and made the decision for full length. Many found the other opinions stated in the thread "substantive and well reasoned" also:)
IMO the perfect UQ covers you well from the shoulders to feet with a couple inches to spare. Do you really need another 1'x4' of quilt to cover the back of your head?
In temps below freezing you should have a backup plan to the UQ. Too many people buy a full length then leave the pads at home to save weight.
The forums have grown since 2009 and most of us fall into the category of car campers or go on weekend hikes that have the option of walking out. Any setup will work for this style of hanging. I would bet that the few that have time for the extended hike into the woods have chosen the shorter quilt with a good pad.
When I started hanging a couple years ago, I used a WB Yeti and a pad. Unfortunately, I suffer from both long leg syndrome and fidget-in-my-sleep syndrome. Even with triangle thingies to adjust the drop of the UQ and making adjustments to the pad, I still found myself getting frigidly cold feet mid-night during the fall months.
For me, the comfort of a full length UQ and, more importantly, the safety of it since I prefer to camp when it gets cooler made the difference. The weight difference to me is negligible. As far as the go to ground option, I have always been a firm believer of keeping your gear tip top and trusting in your gear. I've never been forced into a situation where going to the ground was a necessity though and I hope never to be.
I think it really comes down to what your safety tolerances are and what your trust in and knowledge of the limitations of your gear are.
You are correct hangnout. Others who sponsored their opinion were also substantive and well-reasoned. Pan points seemed to resonate for my situation. It does not make it the only way. Thanks for pointing that out as I did not intend for my comments to be interpreted like that. I am interested in others points of view.
Originally Posted by hangnout
Well the old adage stands. We pack according to our fears.
Fortunately Hangers get the option to pack according to their comfort as well :)
Originally Posted by DaleW
I had the exact same thoughts on this earlier this week before I ordered an undercover. It would be a great option.
I made the underquilt I use to get away from using heavy sleeping bags. The quilt stretches from just past my shoulders to below my knees at the top of the calf. So whether that's 2/3 or 3/4 I'm not sure. The quilt is very wide though which helps create a cocoon of warmth and wind blockage and facilitates my tendency to sleep on my side in a near fetal position when in cold weather. The top quilt I made is extra long and extra wide. My thoughts were that the footbox of the topquilt would supplement the lack of underquilt around my feet. I realize that I am crushing the insulation below my feet but even compressed down has some insulation properties and I have found it to be adequate in the 20-55 degree range when I would probably be using the UQ and TQ. I'm afforded that luxury doing most of my camping in AL where the temps don't get too low for too long.
3/4 length makes the most sense. It saves on quilt weight/space and that is important. I always bring a sleeping bad along so I could go to the ground if needs be. Lately I have been spontaneously joining others for backpacking trips and the trees were sparse and I was barley lucky to make something work. The pad is also the best solution IMO for reducing calf ridge and that is just as big of a comfort issue as warmth is. Greylock 3 quilt is straight killin' it.