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  1. #1
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    Dp Hammockgear Top quilt and underquilt: Six-day summer test

    I just came back from 6 nights of Scout summer camp in middle Tennessee (June 19-25, 2011). Every night I slept in a Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock with my brand new Dp Hammockgear top quilt and underquilt. Here are my thoughts...

    Summary: At $180 for the set, you get what you pay for. Perfect for summer use. Durable and comfortable. Not for tall people.

    Materials: Ripstop nylon inside and out with a thin (1/2" maybe?) batt of synthetic insulating material inside. The inner skin, outer skin and insulation are only attached at the perimeters where it's all sewn together, so the insulation kind of "floats" between the layers.

    Test conditions: Hung next to a lake with light breeze and moderate humidity (no dew) at night. Lows for the six nights ranged from 72F to 62F. There was also some rain to deal with. I slept in shorts, t-shirt and socks and no hat.

    Top quilt:
    - Weight: 480g
    - Length: Just a little bit short for my 6'2" frame, but workable.
    - Construction: Good and solid
    - Insulation capability: Slept comfortably down to 62F.
    - Features: The elastic "head hole" meant to keep the quilt snug around the shoulders just didn't work for me. I'm too tall and my neck is too big. I ended up doing some surgery to detach this feature and make it more "conventional."
    - Footbox: Just fine for my needs.
    - Stuff sack: Workable, but the string is kind of a pain. I will replace it with a conventional string and lock.

    Under quilt:
    - Weight: 500g
    - Length: Long enough for my hammock.
    - Construction: Again, solid
    - Insulation capability: I tweaked on the underquilt several times during the week to bring it up snug under the hammock and eliminate drafts on the ends. Once that was done, I was snug down to 62F with a light breeze.
    - Suspension: I ditched the bit of shock cord and hooks that came with the UQ and added my own shock cord system that worked better.
    - Stuff sack: See above.

    General comments about the system:

    What I liked...
    - The top quilt fell into a puddle and got wet but still kept me warm that night. I'm guessing that down insulation would have been a problem.
    - It's light and durable, and packs up relatively small.
    - The price... $180 for the set.
    - Insulation was just right for the summer temperatures. Anything more and I would have roasted.

    My biggest complaints are...
    - It's a little short for me.
    - Head-hole didn't work for me.
    - Had to replace the suspension.
    - No way this is good to 40F... Maybe 50F. Dave should advertise this as a summer-weight insulation system.

    Cheers!

    Navigator

  2. #2
    Senior Member chickenwing's Avatar
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    Good write up. Glad to hear this gear put to the test and what you like and don't like about it and how you "fixed" it to suit your particular hanging style. I have been following the other DP threads with much enjoyment of the back and forth but is is nice to see someone using the gear and breaking it down for what it is and not what it is claimed to be. I look forward to more reports.
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  3. #3
    Member ih8mice's Avatar
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    Excellent review...thanks for posting Navigator.

    Just acquired the DP topquilt myself, and will be putting it to use this weekend in the New River gorge. Planning on using it in conjunction with a torso sized z-lite pad for bottom insulation. Night-time lows are expected around 60 so we'll see how it goes.

    Did you remove the elastic from the head hole or just snip it open? In testing, it seems that it might be a little snug for sleeping so I may end up doing the same thing.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ih8mice View Post
    Excellent review...thanks for posting Navigator.

    Just acquired the DP topquilt myself, and will be putting it to use this weekend in the New River gorge. Planning on using it in conjunction with a torso sized z-lite pad for bottom insulation. Night-time lows are expected around 60 so we'll see how it goes.

    Did you remove the elastic from the head hole or just snip it open? In testing, it seems that it might be a little snug for sleeping so I may end up doing the same thing.
    I ripped the stitches that attached the corners together, then snipped it where the elastic attaches to the TQ so that the gathers would be unrestrained. Worked okay as a conventional TQ after that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member pellet gun's Avatar
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    Good to know...I'm new to the idea of UQ's (not new to hammock hangin')...but, the info/ field testing is a big help.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    From the time I was a kid, reading reviews, I recall that a primary and valuable property of down (and feather) quilts -- later called comforters -- was "drape", how it hung, clung, conformed to the lump that is the body underneath, trapping air and heat.

    Drape is still an issue, isn't it, with batt insulation? as it would be with -- to choose something familiar to everyone -- Tyvek shells, even if the weight were half what it is, due to Tyvek's stiffness. A quilt in Tyvek wouldn't drape.
    In summer, when you likely want to vent, and the blanket for most of us is, honestly, a security "blankie," self- venting is no problem. But, what about, for any batt-filled top or under cover, when you don't want heat loss?

    Is there a "draft tube" to block heat loss from the furrows typically found under a hammock? At least one UQ maker out there is serious about filling those furrows, recognizing the heat loss potential, even for his down UQ's.
    Last edited by DemostiX; 06-28-2011 at 18:30.

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