Hammock Sleeping Pads vs. Underquilts

Hammock camping underquilt vs pad

Unless you get out in your hammock on a regular basis you might not even realize just how comfy you can make it. Sure, sleeping in the bare hammock is a pretty nice ride but it can get even better! But when it comes to under quilts vs. under pads it is really a matter of personal preference.

You will find that your level of comfort can be increased exponentially by choosing the right kind of quilt or pad for your hammock.

What is an under quilt

You are already cocooned inside your hammock, bug net and tarp, why not add another layer. That layer would be the under quilt. It is called an under quilt because it is literally attached to the underside of the hammock.

The under quilt is all about insulation. Your hammock is great in the warm and even cool weather, but you can get cold fast when your body is pressed tightly against the hammock and the cold air underneath is sapping your body heat. Now imagine a quilted layer that eats you up like a soft pillowy taco shell!

Your body heat is trapped by the quilt and you are left nice and cozy. Under quilts are often filled with down or a synthetic insulation that will help hold your body heat in. It’s a simple little

What is an under pad

The under pad is basically additional padding inside your hammock. The under pad slips into your hammock and you lay on it inside of your hammock. Unlike the quilt that is attached to the outside of the hammock, the under pad gives you better support.

Under pads come in a wide variety of designs. They can be made up of foam, cloth material or even blow up style pads. The under pad is about comfort, but it will not heat you the way that an under quilt will.

If you find that the hammock is not enough support for you an under pad is a great option and could change the way you look at hammock camping.

Under quilt pros

The under quilt transforms your hammock into something new. It does this in many ways that are incredibly beneficial. Now you have a sleep system that captures your body heat and holds it all night long.  


An under quilt is a warmer option than the under pad or sleeping without a pad altogether. In cold weather this really stands out. If you have the under quilt and a good wool blanket you are going to be able to take a lot from mother nature in the colder months.

Extend hammock camping season

The under quilt will not mess with how you sleep in your hammock. Because the pad goes inside your hammock it means that you are going to have the sliding and slipping pad to contend with. There is also something strange about being on a pad in a hammock. Pads seem like they belong in a tent.

Under quilt cons

While an under quilt is a great hammock camping companion nothing is perfect. There are some cons to hammock camping under quilts that can be a bit of a pain.


The under quilt is designed to hold heat. It is amazingly effective. The under quilt need only be included in cold weather. Cool nights don’t stand up to the quilt and you could find yourself sweating or uncomfortable in the middle of the night.

More to carry

An under quilt is like carrying a separate sleeping bag. It is big and bulky even when rolled up. If you need it for a cold night, it is worth the extra weight. Just be sure you are going to need it.

Sleeping pad pros

Multi use

Probably the best thing about a sleeping pad is the fact that you can use it both in the hammock and in a tent. It is a sound use of your money. This is particularly true if you are on a tight budget. You want to have as many multiuse items as possible.


Sleeping pads or under pads can cost exponentially less than the average hammock under quilt. A hammock under quilt can be hundreds of dollars when filled with premium down or synthetic insulation.

Price is always going to be a benefit for those who are more frugal hikers and campers. Even cheap foam can be cut to fit under you and used as an under pad.


While the under pad will never be as warm as an under quilt certain pads will have insulating properties. While they can never insulate like a quilt, some nights will not require a quilt. The under pad is great for those nights that are right in the middle. Too cold to go without any coverage but not cold enough for the

Sleeping pad cons


Most sleeping pads are not going to give you the kind of coverage you need for a cold weather situation. You will find that parts of your body hang off the sleeping pad. This can also be tough on the type of person who tosses and turns.

A sleeping pad will not cover your body entirely and that can be a problem for many people who enjoy hammock camping.


Sleeping pads are slippery and that is a problem. They move around at night and while you can fall asleep in just the right position, it is rare that you wake up in that position. At its worst you might find yourself waking up several times a night trying to get back on the pad and get it positioned properly.

This will take its toll on your quality of sleep.


You may think that hammock camping is not for you because of things like discomfort and/or the cold. Just remember that there is always a person just a little crazier than you. Someone who has discovered a strange method or means to stay out in the woods a little longer.

Hammock camping under quilts vs. under pads is really a matter of personal preference. Your camping season doesn’t have to end when the cold weather comes. Your body may not like how the hammock holds you.

The under quilt and the under pad can fix both of those problems. In fact, they are an incredible combo that can be used together in very cold temperatures. If you combine them with a wool blanket you can sleep comfortable all the way down to freezing.

Add them to your adventures as the weather cools and the wild lands become truly solitary. 

Related guides

How To Find The Best Hammock Straps

35 Hammock Tips For First-Time Campers

How To Hang Your Hammock Between Two Trees

How To Choose A Camping Hammock

How To Find The Best Hammock Top Quilt

19 Hammock Mistakes

Leave a Reply