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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Mar 2010
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    New guy from CA checking in... Questions included!

    Hey all,

    Been lurking for a while trying to read up before I start asking questions and get the "use the search" responses. I love backpacking but my back has become a lot more fitfull lately. I'm trying to lighten my pack by ditching the tent. I'm also hoping the hammock will be more comfortable.

    I have to say I'm a bit confused about the underquilt/pad thing. I plan on using my 25 degree sleeping bag, so how necessary is a pad or UQ? I typically only backpack in the western Sierras in the summertime. I do have a 3/4 length thermarest pad that I can use, or would a closed cell foam pad be better?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  2. #2
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    Welcome.
    Best advice I can offer is test out your gear with the hammock and see what works best for you.
    We all sleep different.
    Some find the pad uncomfortable or hard to keep in place.
    Some don't like trying to wiggle into a bag while balancing inside the hammock.
    It may not be an issue for you.
    Have a good hang.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  3. #3
    Member aztech's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    welcome from the bay area also

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Welcome to another Californian!

    Mountain air can get chilly at nights. I've hung in the Western Sierras in early fall and in the summer. On two nights I underestimated the nightime lows and suffered a poor night's sleep for it. I use a pad and it keeps my underside warm enough. Your bag should be plenty for a top quilt. First time out take up the pad, and you can experiment with and without the pad for the temperatures you encounter. Compression of the sleeping bag insulation under you might cause you to be cold underneath without the pad, but depending on the temperature the bag might be sufficient.

    Which areas of the Western Sierra do you frequent?


    -Mike

  5. #5
    Mr. Arrowhead pgibson's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    Gargoyle has you started on the right path. What you need to account for with a sleeping bag is that all of the bag you are laying on is compressed. The lofted up bag is there to hold in warm air generated from the heat of your body. In a hammock due to it wrapping around you not only is the bag under your back compress but so can some of the sides. A wide pad or an under quilt are the best solutions. Most of us have gone though a "test what works for me" faze. Try your bag, your pad, then you will have a starting point of personal knowledge to work from to see what suites you, your area and the temps that you will see.

    O and welcome to HF.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ears's Avatar
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    well first off, welcome, and secondly gargoyle isnt just good looking, hes also correct.

    i am in the similar boat as you, learning from expirence. anyway.

    the UQ is there to create an air barrier, the fill acts like a sleeping bag and with that protection plus the air being trapped in your hammock pocket your underquilt created you should be protected from the EVIL CONVECTION wind that will steal your sleep. the pad does the same thing...to a point. remember the pad is for flat surfaces....that being said there are specific hammocks that make double layers for just that purpose. a great example of good ole USA made all around superduper hammock is the WBBB also known as the warbonnet blackbird.

    but as you look at the plethera that is the choices of hammocks you will notice a few kind of differences. the single wide and double wide are not the same and the double layer/single layer. ones wider, the other multi layered for more options.. there are some great DIY forums with a thing called the SPE i dont know what all the accronym stands for but i think its super pad extendorizor... that helps use the pad in a single layered hammock and with the extended pads prevents the dreaded SHOULDER SQUEEZE.

    now this may sound all confusing.. and it is, really im not sure which is better, i dont have a hammock yet so im basically beltching out or regurgitating even. all the vast knowledge that is imbedded in my brain from this amazing forum.
    enough of my babble
    Rah! and welcome.
    I'm a Hammocker stuck in a tenter's body.....

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    SPE = Segmented Pad Extender

    It's side wings for your pad from shoulders to hips. Definitely helps if you are going to use a pad instead of an underquilt.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ears's Avatar
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    thanks oneye, i was pretty sure i had the E part right but not SP!
    I'm a Hammocker stuck in a tenter's body.....

  9. #9
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    Welcome from Shangri La in California...jealous yet?

    I'd recommend you experiment with pads so you find out if they work for you or not. You are going to need some kind of bottom insulation. My pad experiment lasted one night, well make that three hours. Try your set up in the backyard until you get it set. Happy hanging and welcome!
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

    Earth First! We'll dirt bike ride the other planets later.

  10. #10
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wilit View Post
    Hey all,

    Been lurking for a while trying to read up before I start asking questions and get the "use the search" responses. I love backpacking but my back has become a lot more fitfull lately. I'm trying to lighten my pack by ditching the tent. I'm also hoping the hammock will be more comfortable.

    I have to say I'm a bit confused about the underquilt/pad thing. I plan on using my 25 degree sleeping bag, so how necessary is a pad or UQ? I typically only backpack in the western Sierras in the summertime. I do have a 3/4 length thermarest pad that I can use, or would a closed cell foam pad be better?

    Thanks,
    Ryan
    As already stated, your bag will flatten from your weight, and won't be near as warm- if warm at all- at those spots of compressed loft. A synthetic bag won't compress as much, but still likely will not be near as warm for your back/butt as on top. Down will probably be near useless under your body weight. You don't need a pad for cushioning, but do need it for insulation. Bottom line, if it is cold enough to really need a bag/quilt on top, you are almost certainly going to need something besides your bag under you. Pad, UQ, HHSS, IX UQ, something. Unless you figure out how to use your bag pod style, wrapped entirely around your hammock. A few have managed to do that quite well.

    Pads will for sure get the job done. If you can keep it under you - some can- many can not, varies with person, hammock and pad. That difficulty is why many hammocks have double layer/pad pockets.
    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
    Romans 8:18,21-22

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