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  1. #1
    Bug-Bait's Avatar
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    Underquilt vs Padding

    Aside from the cost factor, cc pads being less expensive, why wouldn't one choose to use an underquilt instead of a pad? Wouldn't it allow you to be more comfortable since you would be laying directly on the hammock fabric and allow it to conform to your body rather than have a foam layer in between?
    I have a Big Agnes sleeping bag but am wondering if I should not use the insulated air mattress that I purchased with it and put the bag right into the top loading home made speer hammock that I am currently working on.
    I'm a three season packer. Are there other insulation issues that should be thought about in regard to padding vs use of an underquilt...other than having a "sit pad"?
    Thanks,
    Michael
    qpens

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Going to ground when temps exceed the underquilt's ability, sleeping in shelters and hostels, simplicity (not having to worry about adjusting for air gaps), etc. There are some advantages to pads.

    But IMO these are outweighed by wrestling with the pads, condensation, bulk, etc. I think cost is tough for a lot of folks to set aside, though.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    True - some of the pad's disadvantages can be addressed. I don't really consider the HH system a pad...he calls it an underpad but it's open-cell so you can't go to ground with it. When I think of pads, I'm thinking of non-compressible insulation like inflatables or CCF.

    I haven't tried the GG pads though - do they hug the hammock well enough from underneath that you don't get buckling and air pockets?
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

    - My site: http://www.tothewoods.net/
    - Designer, Jeff's Gear Hammock / Pack Cover by JRB

    IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES LONGER

  4. #4
    Senior Member headchange4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpens View Post
    Aside from the cost factor, cc pads being less expensive, why wouldn't one choose to use an underquilt instead of a pad? Wouldn't it allow you to be more comfortable since you would be laying directly on the hammock fabric and allow it to conform to your body rather than have a foam layer in between?

    Thanks,
    Michael
    qpens
    It was for that very reason that I made the leap and bought an under quilt. I wanted to get rid of the pads inside the hammock when possible. I am know pad free except for the coldest conditions.
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  5. #5
    Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by headchange4u View Post
    It was for that very reason that I made the leap and bought an under quilt. I wanted to get rid of the pads inside the hammock when possible. I am now pad free except for the coldest conditions.
    Me too. I prefer my underquilt, can carry a pad for "nippy" weather like we had at Mt Rogers. For me, it's easier to get in the hammock with a underquilt and an overquilt. Using a pad (or even worse 2) AND a sleeping bag nearly requires you to be a contortionist just to get to bed.


    Doctari.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Guys --

    As I posted in another thread, I'm always on the lookout for the perfect pad...I'm still a heathen that hasn't been converted to underquilts.

    But I'm always willing to discuss religion so, for your cool and 'nippy' weather experiences, what temps are we talking about? And how much insulation weight does it cost to buy those low-temp capabilities?

    The Oware pad I use (40 X 60") slips very little if any in my Hennessy. While the foam material itself is not as slippery as ground pads I've used I think the main reason I don't experience much slippage is its size...there's no place for it to go. Its size also allows it to cup around my shoulders providing some extra insulation and some wind block.

    While it's not perfect (e.g., it's bulky to pack, its cold limit is in the mid-20s, etc.) it only weighs 7oz. But to mitigate condensation I clip a light fleece throw to the pad. While that appears to work, it also adds another 15oz to the system and I think that's a pretty big weight penalty (total is 22oz). I've been dwelling on the idea of cutting the throw in half (an idea from the Pads forum) and using it just under my torso thereby dropping 7oz. All the parts of this system cost less than $40.

    For all you underquilt fans, how do your systems compare? The factors I'm interested in the most are total weight, low-temp capability, time/convenience of setup, and cost. I know I'm a sinner but the sin feels sooo good. Stll, I could be saved...

    FB

  7. #7
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddleback View Post
    For all you underquilt fans, how do your systems compare? The factors I'm interested in the most are total weight, low-temp capability, time/convenience of setup, and cost. I know I'm a sinner but the sin feels sooo good. Stll, I could be saved...

    FB
    Patrick's Potomac weighs around 28 oz., gets most people comfortably to 30F, takes no setup time when used with my "BB sack", and costs $180 retail. If you can sew, you could make your own for about $90 and tailor it, reducing weight and bulk. Even the full-size commercial version is way less bulky than a pad, though.
    "Physics is the only true science. All else is stamp collecting." - J. J. Thompson

  8. #8
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeDee View Post
    What I really don't understand is why you think that the pad MUST be used INSIDE the hammock.

    What prevents you from using the pad underneath like the underquilt?

    Funny how people get tracked on one way of doing things and don't consider other methods and then keep repeating this fallacy over and over to others.

    Take a look at the Hennessy underpad - works as good as an underquilt for hugging you. You don't have to use it alone - lay a really good ccf pad that is flexible like the GG thinlights on top of the Hennessy underpad - works great. No hassle pad use - it doesn't move when you do.

    I'll concede that an underquilt gives more coverage, but the GG thinlights are less weight: GG 3/8" thinlight - less than 6 oz. JRB underquilt - 20 oz min. Now before you get excited, I think the underquilt is a great idea and use one also and I think the JRB products are superior.

    But please get over this notion that pads MUST be used INSIDE the hammock. That is simply NOT true.
    My issue with pads outside isn't keeping them from moving around, it's buckling and air pockets. And with your weights, I don't think you're accounting for the suspension you need to keep a pad tight to the hammock. A UQ can use a lot less suspension and get a lot better fit. Pads simply have more structure to them, no matter how thin they are. Especially CCF.
    "Physics is the only true science. All else is stamp collecting." - J. J. Thompson

  9. #9
    Senior Member blackbishop351's Avatar
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    No, I haven't used the Henessy product, but I've got one coming so I'll be trying it soon. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it, compared to a quilt.

    Though I haven't used a SS myself, I've seen one in use and I've tried several experiments with pads underneath a hammock. I wasn't impressed at all with the pad fit on the SS, but maybe that was due to user-specific error. My own experiments couldn't get a decent fit at all and were quickly discarded. I would have had to add a LOT of tie-ons to a CCF pad to even get close to the fit of a UQ. From my experience, I don't think a quilt's fit can ever be duplicated with a pad. Then again, maybe I'm not trying the right pad. I do have a bit of trouble believing that ANY 3/8" thick pad could be flexible enough to eliminate (or even significantly reduce) buckling, though.

    I have another issue with pads, and that's convenience. I pack my hammock, sock, and UQ into one complete package, which goes from packed to hung and adjusted in less than two minutes. That same system wouldn't accommodate a pad underneath. Too bulky and stiff, resulting in the wrong packed shape.

    The JRB suspension is extremely light - probably lighter than what's on your SS. Both the JRB and KAQ suspensions use 1/8" or smaller shock cord.

    Thanks for listing the complete weight. I wasn't implying that you were trying to give an inaccurate picture...I just noticed that you were using the SS suspension for your cheap pad, but only listed the weight of the pad. The JRB weight doesn't need to include a weathershield though, because every commercial underquilt at this point uses a DWR shell - plenty water- and wind-resistant. The sil used for the SS actually worries me on the condensation issue.

    Your pad setup is definitely cheaper. But looking at your other numbers, I don't see much of a weight advantage. Add to that the added comfort and ease of packing/setup with a quilt...to me, a quilt is worth the price difference. Especially if it's one I make myself, only costing around $90. The SS underpad/undercover, by the way, retails for $130. And then you're adding a pad to get the same temp range as a quilt anyway.

    Honestly, I'm probably a bit naturally biased against the SS because of the false advertising. I've never heard of anyone who can use that setup to the temps that Tom Hennessy claims. I'm also not the biggest fan of Hennessy's super-commercialization. They do make a pretty nice hammock, though.
    "Physics is the only true science. All else is stamp collecting." - J. J. Thompson

  10. #10
    BillyBob58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbishop351 View Post
    No, I haven't used the Henessy product, but I've got one coming so I'll be trying it soon. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it, compared to a quilt...........

    The JRB suspension is extremely light - probably lighter than what's on your SS. Both the JRB and KAQ suspensions use 1/8" or smaller shock cord.

    ......................... The sil used for the SS actually worries me on the condensation issue.

    And then you're adding a pad to get the same temp range as a quilt anyway.........

    Honestly, I'm probably a bit naturally biased against the SS because of the false advertising. I've never heard of anyone who can use that setup to the temps that Tom Hennessy claims. I'm also not the biggest fan of Hennessy's super-commercialization. They do make a pretty nice hammock, though.
    I'm one that has come pretty close. (And I believe there are one or two others that have posted here or on white blaze who have done a little better than me). I just looked over at the Hennessy site, to refresh my memory. He says "At that point, I attach the underpad and now the system keeps me comfortable down to 35-40*. If I start to feel a chill at 35-40*,
    I add a lightweight reflective emergency space blanket on top of the foam pad. As soon as the space blanket is used, extra heat is generated from your reflectant body heat which improves the rating of your sleeping bag. This is about where I shift to a 30* bag . This will take me down another ten or fifteen degrees, which keeps me comfortable to about 25*. ".

    That's only a little better than my experience. My only question is, when he makes those statements, is he including the torso and kidney pads? Because you may remember he called off the testing on BGT because he had forgotten to supply the people with these pads that go with the full length pad for winter use. After he supplied these pads and the people retested, several of them were quite successful at lower temperatures. Though there was at least one who still could not reach success below about 50° without adding a closed cell foam pad. But I believe there were three others who did much better. So, YMMV.

    Anyway, in my own experience when adding the very light weight kidney/torso pads/space blanket, I'm definitely good to go to the low 30s and probably the high 20s assuming everything is dry, and wind blockage is under control ( Which, by the way, the undercover really helps with). The only problem I had below 30 was with the backs of my calves (SP?) getting a bit chilled while sleeping on my back. This was taken care of with a jacket under the lower pad. But what worked much better was a Garlington insulator under the feet and legs selection of the lower pad, along with a fleece jacket OR a down vest underneath the upper pad. Which of course I would have with me anyway. With these simple additions and an adequate bag on top (5° rated) I had no cold spots underneath me at 18 to 20° (all results under benign of backyard conditions). For one week in the field I slept warm, never noticing any cold spots, in the mid-30s to low 40s. This was without the addition of the kidney/torso pads or anything else other than the basic pad/space blanket, and a cat's meow bag. So really, my experience doesn't seem that far off from what Tom Hennessy claims.

    Since you have a super shelter on the way, I hope you are willing to work with it, give it a chance and learn to like it. Some people here and on white blaze have talked about the simplicity of the super shelter. But for me it was quite a learning curve. Frankly, I hated it at first. Trying to learn to use it (yes I know, really stupid way to go about it) that first night at 10,000 feet, was a kind of a disaster. A bit of hypoxia to the brain, and the undercover and the hammock of the exact same color blended together perfectly, making it difficult to keep things straight. Also, neither I nor the people who were with me could generate faith in the under pad. It just didn't seem capable of keeping a person warm just based on looking at it. But I have since grown quite fond of the super shelter and it's versatility. Though it's still hard for me to see how that skimpy looking pad works as well as it does, especially with the space blanket. And my confidence in being able to soup it up as needed by adding clothing or Garlington insulators has greatly increased. But for me the pad/space blanket/undercover is still surprisingly warm by itself. It's obviously good for me into the low 30s or better, maybe the high 20s, at least with the torso/kidney pad addition. And the down under quilt is good to, what, the high 20s by itself? So it's real hard for me to understand how a half-inch OCF pad and space blanket can be roughly comparable in warmth to 2 plus inches of down loft. But it appears that it is, at least for some people.

    The main concern I still have regarding this system is with getting the pad wet. I worry that would be awfully easy to do, and quite disastrous if you did. Of course, I would have a similar concern with a down under quilt.

    I personally have not had any condensation issues with the sil-nylon undercover.

    I don't see how any suspension could be lighter than the thin elastic cords that make up the super shelter suspension. As light, maybe, but lighter?

    Regarding the addition of closed cell foam pads, for me a pad is always going to be part of my system anyway. One night of that Wyoming trip I had to sleep above timberline where there was no tree in sight. It would have been one miserable night sleeping on the ground at 11,000 feet if I had not had my pads. So I don't see any reason not to go ahead and make that part of my sleep system. And it seems to me that the addition of a RidgeRest in an SPE to the SS easily gives me another 20° or more, which ought to take me to the single digits.

    But I am intrigued TeeDee's technique of adding the GG pads underneath the hammock, on top of the under pad. I never thought this would work, but if it does it might be even easier than the SPE. TeeDee, what kind of temps do you think you can get with that combination? I guess you ditch the space blanket? Or do you still use it?

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