Do I Need an Underquilt for my Hammock?

Overnighting in a hammock can be fun but it can get cold if you don’t use proper insulation underneath. So, to sleep comfortably in a hammock, you need something that can insulate you from the bottom. There are two common options when it comes to hammock camping; i.e. an underquilt and a hammock sleeping pad. An underquilt is simply a quilt designed to hang underneath your hammock to prevent heat loss. A quilt works fine most of the time, but it compresses down due to body weight, leading to heat loss.

A sleeping pad, on the other hand, solves the heat-loss problem on the ground as well as in a hammock. A pad can provide the same amount of insulation but it slides around at night leading to an uncomfortable experience. Quilts are specifically designed to fit hammocks and you can even find one that is specific to your model for a perfect fit. You may also use a sleeping bag in some situations and it will keep your back warm much like a quilt or pad.

Which one is better for you?

When deciding between an underquilt and a sleeping pad, you need to consider a few things. There are pros and cons associated with both options and the one that works for you will depend on the weather, location, and your budget, of course. I have also written a whole article on underquilts vs sleeping pads for hammocks so do check it out.


Underquilts designed specifically to fit hammocks are comfortable as they don’t slide and stay in place throughout the night. They don’t interfere with a natural hammock sleeping position and provide enough insulation. The downside of using an underquilt is that the loft underneath your body compresses leading to heat loss cold spots. Quilts also don’t perform well in wet conditions. They absorb moisture and lose insulative properties. You can get a premium down quilt with hydrophobic treatment to reduce some of these cons but that would cost you a little bit more.

Sleeping pads

A sleeping pad is another way to keep your bottom insulated in a hammock. When it comes to comparing the amount of insulation of an underquilt and a sleeping pad, there is no universal system to do that and it can even be challenging. Most sleeping pads come with an R-value, which is a measure of heat conductivity and it can’t be calculated for underquilts. According to my personal experience, an underquilt that fits well in your hammock with a premium down is hard to beat for warmth. Also, pads slide around during the night and make noise when you move. So, if you are on a tight budget and weight is your major concern, go for a lightweight sleeping pad and it will do the job just fine.

Setting up a Hammock Underquilt

Most manufacturers include a set of instructions for setting up your underquilt but there are some universal tips that will help you create the best warmth possible:

  • To achieve maximum insulation, keep your quilt dry and clean. Lay the quilt in the hammock first and then attach the ends so that it won’t touch the ground.
  • Reduce the air space between the top of the quilt and the hammock.
  • Make sure the adjustments are snug and the quilt is close to your body but not so close that your body compresses it.
  • Prevent airflow from flowing through.
  • Sung both ends of the hammock and any attachments along the sides to prevent airflow.

Wise Owl Outfitters Flare: Best Hammock Underquilt

Wise Owl Outfitters Flare
Material: 20D ripstop nylon
Rated to: 40°F
Weight: 24 -30 oz.
Pack size: 4.5″ x 6″ – 5″ x 9″

Wise Owl Outfitters is a full-length hammock undequilt that provides the ultimate comfort in any temperature setting. It fits most industry-standard gathered in hammocks and is made with the highest premium quality ripstop nylon available. The quilt also feels great against the skin and it features a quality DWR coating. It has an ergonomic design specifically shaped for the human body. The Wise Owl is both a single and a double hammock underquilt so you can use it with almost all kinds of camping and backpacking hammocks. This quilt is rated to 40 degrees and you also have the high-density poly-fill for insulation.

What I like: Affordable price, lightweight, fits a variety of hammocks

What I don’t like: The double version is not as wide as some other double quilts.

See the Wise Owl Outfitters Flare


An underquilt becomes a necessary piece of gear for hammock camping when the weather turns cold, especially below 75 degrees. You have two options to keep your back warm i.e. an underquilt or a sleeping pad. There are pros and cons associated with both options and which one is best for you will depend on a few factors like weather conditions, weight, your budget, etc.