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  1. #1

    Pad vs UQ Opinion question

    So I am planning a trip to the Smokys in about a month. Will be backpacking for 5 days 4 nights. I will be at a campsite the first night and shelters the remaining three. Of course, I want to bring the hammock for the first night. However here is the question. Since I will be in the shelter for the remaining three, I need a pad regardless. Being a long-time student of HF, I just got UQs when I got my hammocks. Here is the question. Would you do the pad for the one night at the (assumed) expense of comfort and not bring an UQ, or would you just bring an UQ and just lug it the rest of the trip. Honestly, I have never used the hammock with the pad so I am not sure how much of a trade off it is. I do know I like the UQ. The weight might not seem like a big deal, but I am trying to get the pack weight low so I can take a bunch of ham radio gear (long story). I could just go to ground, but really my tent options would not be any lighter than the hammock and tarp. Who would want that nonsense anyway? Here is what I have at my disposal currently:

    WB Eldorado Single Layer
    WB Eldorado Lightweight Double Layer
    WB Wookie XL 20
    WB Wookie XL 40

    Klymit Static V insulated (24oz)
    Sea to Summit Comfort Plus XT Large insulated (37oz!!)
    Various Uninsulated (R<=1.5) pads
    Enough sleeping bags for a small army
    I have a ton of reflectix, but I have heard not good things about that (condensation).

    Right now I have no idea what the weather is going to be since we have had a very mild winter but relatively cold spring. I am hoping by early June that a 40 degree setup will get the job done.

    Thanks all!
    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky

  2. #2
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Iff'n it were me I'd just bring the pad if your doing 3 shelter nights with no chance to hang. But if you have a chance to hang at the shelters then UQ for sure.
    Shug

    Last edited by Shug; 05-10-2020 at 00:29.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I would take both and use both the sleeping mat and the Underquilt at the shelters. Warmer and more comfortable.

    Plus you may find you sleep in your hammock anyway if the shelters are full or you just want your own space.


  4. #4
    PopcornFool's Avatar
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    Why can't you hang at the shelters? Won't there be any trees nearby? I'll often stop at shelters on my AT section hikes to take advantage of occasional benefits (e.g. bear bag poles or containers, nearby water source, etc.) or to be with non-hanging hiking partners. But I'll still hang instead of actually staying in the shelter. If you don't go to ground, no need to change your preferred set up, right? Maybe I'm missing something ...

    ~ All I want is affordable, simple, ultralight luxury. Thatís not asking too much is it?

  5. #5
    oldpappy's Avatar
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    Sounds like an AT section hike. It 'should be' hot then, so I would go to 'VIPON.com' for 50% off Amazon pricing and get an air mattress (more comfortable and cooler) or self inflating pad and follow Shug's advice. And as always,test your plan at home prior to going.
    Enjoying the simple things in life -
    Own less, live more.

  6. #6
    Any other shelters elsewhere, I would just hit the trees with my hammmock and be done with it, no question. In the Smokys, the shelter spaces are reserved and you are required to stay in them, so the only time there is a chance of having not enough space is thru hiking season (but then the thru hikers are supposed to yield) or if someone comes out without a permit. I know being there without a permit is pretty much a $150 fine for first offense and way up thereafter. Also in the "terms" you have to agree to in the reservations, they make it very clear that they dont want hammocks on the shelter structures. The times I have seen people camp outside the shelter with a permit for the shelter, it is a toss-up whether they get a fine depending on ranger mood and their attitude. Now, there are not rangers and ridge runners at the shelters all the time, but they come through regularly enough to make it a risk. All this to say, I will be coloring inside the lines on this one and staying in the shelter.


    Pillow top (UQ) camping mat. Now, that's a combo I didnt think of. Not the ultralightest solution, but interesting.
    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky

  7. #7
    Yea, I am going to test the DL and the pad setup here at home regardless just as a skill. In June in the Smokys, at altitude it can easily and even likely be 40s-50s at night. Colder is possible, and warmer is always possible. I would be surprised if it is in the 70s at night.


    I really love (no joke or sarcasm) how Shug has done so much and so many videos that he can answer nearly all questions here with one of his videos. That is awesome.
    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky

  8. #8
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    You should be sure to test the pad in the hammock without an underquilt. I've been doing this myself for the same reason-- so I have options without taking unnecessary gear.

    I'm using the Sea to Summit ultralight insulated pad which has an R- value of 3.3. With a 40* TQ I've taken it (with gear tucked under each upper arm) down to 40* in a hammock with light wind, but paired with an UQ protector. It is one of those "too cold to be comfortable but not too cold to sleep" kind of nights. I should mention that I tend to be a cold sleeper. Your STS pad may be warmer than mine.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

  9. #9
    OlTrailDog's Avatar
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    I've used Exped Synmats and Downmats a lot. Sure they are not as comfortable as a UQ, but they work fine. Plus, they have some optional functionality that a UQ doesn't offer. My vote is get use to the pad and use it for the trip. For other trips where you will be hanging the majority of the time use a UQ.

  10. #10
    bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    I agree. It isn't worth the weight of the UQ for one night in a hammock, especially when the pad can pull double- duty.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
    --Scott <><

    "I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful... because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience...." --Robert Traver

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