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  1. #1
    Senior Member JerryW's Avatar
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    Top vs. Bottom Insulation

    For a given low temperature, do you want more insulation in the underquilt or in the top quilt?

    For example, I made a top quilt using Momentum and Climashield Combat and it will keep me warm into the upper 50's(sleeping in a tent w/a Big Agnes insulated pad).

    Now that I'm moving to a hammock, what can I expect to need for my underquilt(alone - no pad)? Can I us the same thickness Climashield or will I need more under me? Or less?

    I realize this is pretty subjective, but let's here some opinions and educated guesses.

    Thanks - Jerry

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    My opinion is that the underquilt is insulating 3/4 of your body (back and sides) the top quilt traps the rising heat and helps a little on the side. Therefore, most folks are going to want more underquilt than topquilt. JMO.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    I too have made mulitple Climashield TQ/UQs and I like them very much. Because I made them to fit MY needs, they are lighter and just as compressible as any down items I own (which is many).
    - 40*F and up Summer UQ - 2.5oz/yd Climashield XP 36x51 ~ 7oz. I don't need a huge full size UQ for 3 season use. I supplement with a 3/8 ccf sit pad (3oz)that I carry...the 2 together have taken me to mid-30s
    - 30*F and up TQ/UQ - 3.7oz/yd Climashield Combat 45x63 ~ 15oz. 30*F is pushing this weight for me, but weight/temp ratio on this quilt is very good.
    - 20*F TQ/UQ - 5.0oz/yd Climashield XP 50x68 ~ 20oz. Very warm, but starts getting too bulky.

    These temps are what works for me...
    I agree with Cannibal that typically, I seem to need about 5-10*F more insulation for an UQ vs a TQ (everything being the same)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Perkolady's Avatar
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    I also find I need more insulation under me than over me.

  5. #5
    GrizzlyAdams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryW View Post
    For a given low temperature, do you want more insulation in the underquilt or in the top quilt?

    For example, I made a top quilt using Momentum and Climashield Combat and it will keep me warm into the upper 50's(sleeping in a tent w/a Big Agnes insulated pad).

    Now that I'm moving to a hammock, what can I expect to need for my underquilt(alone - no pad)? Can I us the same thickness Climashield or will I need more under me? Or less?

    I realize this is pretty subjective, but let's here some opinions and educated guesses.

    Thanks - Jerry
    methinks a guy who can saunter in here and show off a DIY hammock AND tarp as pretty as you please is up to whacking out a down UQ.

    seriously.

    I've no experience with the synthetic insulators, but can speak to down. There are estimates on loft needed for a given temperature, I've been warm over a 2" loft down UQ to upper 30's, warm over a 4" loft down to the teens. The latest craze 'round here is to build quilts that cover head to thighs more or less, and use a pad or a backpack or something similar under the lower legs. Brings the weight, bulk (and cost!) of the UQ down. I am a fan of the method myself, the two referenced UQ's above are both of that breed.

    As for the question you really asked, I think of the insulation system as a sort of sleeping bag that happens to have a hammock in the middle of it. Indeed there are designs which are exactly that. So my instincts on how much above versus how much below say they ought to be about the same, perhaps with a slight bias towards the bottom, because DANG once you get a cold spot down there ain't nobody having any fun anymore.

    my $0.05 worth, offered for free!

    Grizz

  6. #6
    Senior Member JerryW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrizzlyAdams View Post
    methinks a guy who can saunter in here and show off a DIY hammock AND tarp as pretty as you please is up to whacking out a down UQ.


    Well, I have thought about trying some down projects. Probably would be a good idea before fall, especially since I might go to the Northern Hang on the Superior Hiking trail. I don't like being cold.

    So, the consensus here is to go a little heavier on the bottom, which is kinda what I figured, so that's what I'll do. I have enough Momentum and Climashield to make a 3/4+ underquilt with an extra layer of Climashield. I'm going to loosely follow the KAQ tutorial I found on this great website. Should make a good late-spring to early-fall UQ.

    What do you suppose I'll be doing this weekend?

    Thanks all!
    Jerry

  7. #7
    Member Tiki's Avatar
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    From my experience as a ground dweller.. the bottom is more important than the top.

    I used to work retail in the outdoor industry and had people complain about being cold in a 20* mummy bag. When I asked them what they had under.. they were like .. huh?! No pad.. owch/frigid..

    For years I just used my pack and clothes fpr insulation.. The first thing I noticed in my ENO double was how cold I was underneath. Now instead of the ground wicking my heat away it is the air.. I think it is even more of an issue in a hammock. The good thing for the hangers is.. UQ's weigh less than a good pad.

    I regularly sleep with a 35* down bag and stay warm when people in 5* bags get cold. Not so in the ENO unless I put a pad under me. I use a pad now. but hope to have a Yeti UQ soon.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TinaLouise's Avatar
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    temps are subjective to the person. And the person is conditioned to the enviroment that they're used to. What I'm trying to say is, I'm in the south and it's hot, humid, here. When the temps dip to about 75 or below, I need under insulation. Might not need top insulation though. Someone further north of me probably is laughing away at needing any kind of insulation at the temps that I'm chilly at!! That said, I've found that I need more insulation under than on top. You will have to figure out by trial and error what temps and how much insulation you will need to stay warm.

  9. #9
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    Too much insulation can cause sweating and that can conversely leave you cool. Sometimes it's tricky to figure out whether I'm overinsulated on the top or bottom, or inderinsulated somewhere. It's a delicate balance...
    .. truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. If you flatter yourself that you are all over comfortable, and have been so a long time, then you cannot be said to be comfortable any more. - Herman Melville

  10. #10
    Peter_pan's Avatar
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    When temperatures are cold I can make a good case for matched tops and bottoms....Although I often go lighter on the top in forcasts above 40*....Likewise I have see folks too light on the top be cold when the temps really do drop....

    Pan
    Ounces to Grams.

    www.jacksrbetter.com ... Largest supplier of camping quilts and under quilts...Home of the Original Nest Under Quilt, and Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock. 800 595 0413

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