When hammock camping, the most important aspect is insulation. For the same reason that a hammock feels cool and breezy during a sunny day at the beach, a hammock can get very cold when camping overnight. The breathable nylon allows cool air to freely pass through the fabric without the right hammock insulation.
The most effective and most comfortable insulation system for a hammock is the topquilt-underquilt combo. Simple in design, the quilts keep you incredibly warm while also allowing full range of movement that you wouldn’t get when using a sleeping bag and pad. The downside is the cost. A solid underquilt is a pretty hefty investment of a few hundred dollars. If buying a topquilt as well, that’s can add up to a significant chunk of your gear budget for the year.
Thanks to Costco, you can pick up a 60” x 70” 700 fill down throw for only $19.99. From this you can make your own topquilt and underquilt for just a fraction of the cost.
1.5” wide grosgrain ribbon
1/8″ shock cord
Two Double Black Diamond Packable Down Throw from Costco
Making the Topquilt
Step 1: Start after the second column of squares and sew an extra seam down the length of the throw. Cut the throw along this seam so you have a section of 14 x 2 squares. From this remove another 4 x 2 square section. This will be the base of the footbox.
Step 2: Seam rip the 4 x 2 section so that it forms two baffles. Stuff the down to one side of the section so that all the down is effectively located in a 3 x 2 section. Cut off the 1 x 2 bit of leftover fabric and discard it.
Step 3: The Double Black Diamond down throw features a square quilt design. For your quilt, you’ll want rip the seams to create long parallel baffles instead. This allow for greater loft and better insulation in the hammock. Seam rip the quilt to make baffles. This will take a lot of patience and time, but will result in a much nicer quilt in the end.
Step 4: Lay out the 10 x 2 square section at one end of the quilt with the footbox at the bottom. Sew the pieces together. Fold the quilt over and sew a bit of the other side to complete the footbox. Total length is 80”.
Making the Underquilt
Step 1: Seam rip all the horizontal 60” seams. Shake and squeeze the down to one side of the quilt. Sew a new seam about 25” along the length of the quilt. Cut away the extra fabric and discard it.
After fluffing it back up, the quilt should have a loft of 2”.
Step 2: Take a 1.5” wide strip of grosgrain ribbon and sew a channel along each of the 4 sides. Add a length of 1/8″ shock cord to each side so you can suspend and adjust the quilt on your hammock. Final dimensions are 56” x 44”. This makes a nice 3/4 length underquilt. With the 700 fill down, this underquilt will be good for summer use and mild fall/spring days.
For the budget conscious hammock camper, learn more about winter hammock camping and staying warm without breaking the bank!
All photos taken by Reddit user jcb272
9 thoughts on “How to Make a DIY Underquilt and Topquilt in 6 Steps”
I followed these instructions pretty much to the letter, it came out great even if my old eyes went cross eyed from all the seam ripping. Thanks for a great page!
I’m 6′ 1 and wear a size 12 shoe and making a Costco throw top quilt this way is the best for taller people. My feet have plenty of room in the footbox and the quilt is now long enough to come to the top of my head if needed. The instructions don’t mention hemming the edges that got cut but that is an easy step to add for a better finished product. Also I put it in the dryer on low heat to shake out any loose down and it seams I have twice the loft now then before. Best 20 dollar project I have done.
The underquilt seems short to me, since when you buy an UQ new it is usually 80″ or longer. Did you find it was enough to keep you warm?
The underquilt won’t be a full-sized, but more of a 3/4 length underquilt. For many people that’s enough to keep them warm as it will insulate the core and the butt. The feet may get a little colder, but that’s nothing a pair of thick socks can’t solve!
Made these this past weekend! Awesome and fun project. Can’t wait to go try ’em out.
Plan to get a few Double D quilts from Costco soon and tackle this project. My thinking is; more layers (or additional under quilts) will allow me to go to lower temperatures with more comfort. And when I’m not “deep winter” hanging, bonus UQs for hanging pals.
Anyone know actual temperature it can go to
I wish I’d known about this kit before my last hammock camping trip! I wasn’t able to use my hammock at the campsite so had to go out into nearby woods. It quickly became a survival situation: it was getting cold (15 degrees C / 54 degrees F) and I risked dying from hypothermia. I setup a small fire underneath my hammock to keep warm. By morning, the fire was out, I was cold and my hammock had melted, stretched and there was a large, charred hole on the underside. Ruined – but at least I’m alive to tell the tale.
That wouldn’t have happened if I bought one of these things.
noticed Costco now sells these in a 2-pack for $39.99 now