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