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  1. #1

    Question I feel like I am missing something on insulation bulk.

    Hi all!
    So I have been a hammock camper for a few years and I love it. My father and I have decided to jump into the backpacking world, something I am very excited for but growing a bit frustrated with in terms of my insulation.
    I have always slept with a cheap 0’ sleeping bag I got on sale for 50$ from dicks years ago, and my snugpac under-quilt. And always kept well warm spring – fall. This 0’ bag was huge and I knew it was not viable for backpacking. So I went and bought a teton trailhead 20’(with a compression sack) to use as my top quilt. And I stared out pretty pleased with this arrangement. Until I got my back pack and packed it, and boy is it full to the brim and I have not even thought about food yet. I watched a few backpack load videos and was very surprised to see guys reference a stuff sack the size of my sleeping back and say “here is my top and underquilt”. And its just got me baffled, and I think the secret is down. The problem with down I am finding is the cost! 200$ starting for most quilts and we need 2! Seams crazy! Is there anyway to get insulation in a small package with out dropping that kind of cash?
    What is everyones recommendation for a bag and quilt combo to be used 3 seasons ( I assume I would need a different set of quilts in the winter as they would be too hot for the summer).

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  2. #2
    TrailSlug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Huntsville, AL
    Warbonnet RR / BlackbirdXLC
    Lynx / LocoLibre
    Yes, unfortunately down is expensive but it's so warm and these cottage vendors quilts are so light. It really depends on how low you need to go temp wise and what you budget is. You may be able to get by with a synthetic quilt as a cheaper option but will be more like a sleeping bag in size.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Saskatoon, SK
    Amok Draumr 3.0
    Synmat 9 LW
    cinch buckles
    short answer, no

    long answer, learn to sew

    even longer answer, it depends on the temps you want to hang in, and how warm a sleeper you are

    I can use the costco down throws down to freezing, np. that's 40 bucks, and a tiny bit of sewing on my part. works great for me.
    but I'm from the great white north, and anything above freezing is shorts weather

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Portland, OR
    Any of the Costco mods will get you into the game for cheap.

    That said, my HG Burrow was a good investment despite the huge cost. Very appreciated upgrade from the $60 synthetic sleeping bag I was using before.

  5. #5
    Your best bang for your buck is to get 4 Costco down throws (each), a set of Kam snap pliers and some fine shockcord. For under a hundred bucks (each... if you're lucky!), you can easily make a, no sewing involved, Gemini quilt set, that will easily get you down to freezing and still fit in a backpack.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    NW, U.S.A. & Pink Mountain, B.C.
    Big Red Love Tarp
    First I suggest you invest in a Underquilt. Buy or make a UQP, it will keep wind away from your backside and gold in some warmth.

    One option is go scrounge the thrift stores and your local Craigslist. Shop for down, read the tags to see what you are buying. I wash down I am going to recycle before I bring it home. I put it in a plastic bag before I put it in my car, go to the laundry mat, wash and dry fully, only then do I take it home.

    Read through the old post on converting sleeping bags into quilts. Many of us started that way when this site was new.

    The quilts by the Cottage vendor's are very nice, however it is very doable to make your own quilt with very basic skills.

    Buying a COSTCO DOWN THROW is anorher way to go. Really you need a rectangle about the same length you are, some ties, quilt hooks to seal between you and the hammock. Use strong elastic, fit the quilt to the hammock with someone about your size and shape, or qeight the hammock to resemble you. That way toy will get a better seal. I used a Poncho Liner from the Viet Nam era. I ragged that thing through many adventures over 40 years. It is now my emergency TQ.

    I find a good base layer next to my skin very helpful in staying warm. My top quilt is not as important as my UQP, UQ and base clothing.

    Ikea has down quilts in their markdown department from time to time, poor quality but sometimes inexpensive.
    Last edited by IRONFISH45; 07-16-2017 at 23:29.

  7. #7
    This has prompted me to write up a post on a couple of underquilts I made for workmates, from £40 Aliexpress down sleeping bags they had bought. No sewing.


  8. #8
    hutzelbein's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    WBBB SL 1.7
    WB Mamajamba
    WB Winter Wooki
    Beetle Buckles
    Yes, good down quilts don't come cheap. Although if you add up the cost for the materials needed to sew a quilt set yourself, you'll be surprised about how cheap Hammock Gear, Undergroundquilts, Locolibre, Warbonnet and other cottage vendors actually are. You can spend less money, but I don't think that what you get can hold a candle to the quilts made by the pros. It might work for you, though. I sleep too cold for things like the Costco uq to work for me.

    I wonder how many people have been sorry to have spent the money on a down quilt made by the cottage industry. It only hurts once. When you're lying comfortably and warm in your hammock, you won't think about the Dollars you spent. Many people try to get around spending a couple of 100 Dollars on a quilt, but by the time they have found something that they're happy with, they have often spent more than they would have if they had bought the good gear right away.

    If it was me, I would get 2 Econ underquilts from HammockGear and either use use my old sleeping bag as a top quilt, or make a top quilt myself. Top quilts are easier to make and get right than underquilts. And a good underquilt is way more important than a good top quilt.

  9. #9
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Denver, CO
    If you need to use synthetic quilts, do to cost of other options, then you just need a bigger backpack. 75-90L backpacks can be found just about anywhere for 50-60 bucks.
    Try and save weight in other areas or your gear.

  10. #10
    somniferous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Malden, MA
    DIY Robic XL 11'
    HG Hex, WBSF, WLTP
    HG UQ / UDQ TQ
    Have you tried packing your insulation without their compression sacks? A lot of us just toss our quilts loose into a trash compactor bag in the bottom of our pack. This allows them to compress and conform to the gear that is placed on top of them.

    Unfortunately down is expensive. I recommend checking out some of the Econ/saver series quilts that are out there. I'd start with an UQ first and a TQ second.

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