The ENO Blaze Underquilt is a piece of gear I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s definitely a luxury hammocking item—priced at $299—and not something you’d call a necessarily “must-have.” Unlessss you’re into winter camping and need to stay warm. In that case, it’s one of the best options out there for a high-quality hammock underquilt.
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Do you need a hammock underquilt?
Whether you’re full-on winter hammock camping or just want to enjoy your hammock in cold weather, you’re going to need some type of insulation.
The popularity of hammock camping has increased significantly in recent years—for many reasons. One main reason is to lighten the load and simplify the camping setup.
Without the extra weight of carrying a tent and the time and hassle spent setting it up and breaking it down, sleeping in a hammock becomes an attractive option for backpackers and campers alike. For a lot of people, it’s just as comfortable—if not more comfortable—than sleeping on the ground.
One main problem people encounter with hammock camping—especially in the winter—is keeping their backside warm. The natural thought is to use a sleeping bag, but many sleeping bags don’t have any protection on the bottom because they’re meant to be used with sleeping pads. In a hammock, you don’t need a sleeping pad since you’re not on the ground, but you do need that protection to keep your back warm.
One way to outsmart this is an underquilt like the ENO Blaze. Even if your sleeping bag does have padding on the backside, there’s an added benefit to using an underquilt when cold weather hammock camping. That is the quilt is made to hang outside the hammock, freely below it, which means your body won’t compress the down or filling inside, therefore letting the quilt better do its job of keeping you warm.
ENO Blaze Underquilt review
The hammock underquilt is made of Downtek water repellent down. It is rated for temperatures ranging 30-40°F when paired with a comparable quality hammock top quilt or sleeping bag.
I found out while using the Blaze underquilt that it’s actually big enough to wrap up, over the sides of the hammock and around you to create a more enclosed sleeping bag type situation, if needed. You can easily rig it like so for added warmth. It also fits double hammocks.
The ENO Blaze Underquilt is pretty large, which surprised me. It’s advertised as a full-length adjustable size quilt. It’s technically 6’6” x 4’ and made for people up to 6 feet tall.
Depending on how much slack your hammock has, you can fix the quilt around the front of your body, using the entire 4′ of width to wrap it around you, creating a little cocoon and providing even more warmth.
Shock cord suspension system
The quilt uses shock cord suspension rails to adjust and tighten around the hammock and you. One shock cord runs along the edge of the quilt with four cord locks—one at each corner—to adjust the slack, tightening it around the hammock. There are two separate shock cords on each end that synch together with separate locks, creating a nice snug fit near your head and feet.
How to set up the underquilt
It is a very easy and fast setup. Once your hammock is hung, you can quickly get the quilt rigged up underneath it.
A shock cord on each end simply goes inside the carabiners used for the hammock straps. From there, tighten and adjust accordingly.
If you’re alone, you can adjust the quilt and then get in the hammock to see how it fits. You can easily hop out to make any more adjustments that might be needed, or even manage from inside the hammock as it’s all within reach.
We had a bit of trouble getting the cord locks in each corner to keep the quilt hung nice and tight below the hammock without sagging, so we ended up putting reinforcement knots in the cord, which worked like a charm. You do want the quilt close to your body to maximize warmth and prohibit (cold) air flow.
The ENO Blaze Underquilt is made from sustainably sourced Downtek water repellent down. It has a ripstop nylon shell and a moisture repelling DWR finish to ensure you stay warm and dry.
Does it keep you warm?
I haven’t used it overnight yet, but I did test it out on a sunny winter day with a high of 39°F. I was wearing a coat and jeans and laid in the hammock for about 30 minutes. I was perfectly warm.
With a sleeping bag or top quilt, I can see the Blaze keeping you warm in temps ranging 30-40°F, as advertised. And I trust ENO’s properly tested it out numerous times to come up with that number.
If you’re concerned about wind, a hammock tarp is also a good idea to help dramatically cut down on cold air drafts or gusts, as well as rain and snow. Again, ENO’s got you covered with various hammock shelter systems and rain tarps.
Considering I live in Minneapolis and winter lasts a loooong time, I’m excited to bring this bad boy along for hikes and other low key outdoor adventures (like reading in the park on the occasional above-freezing, sunny winter day) to make it even more enjoyable—and let’s be honest, possible at all.
Storing/caring for the quilt
The hammock quilt comes with a stuff sack and packs down to the size of a small sleeping bag, officially 7″ x 12″.
It also has a large cotton bag for longterm storage. When not in use, it is suggested to keep the quilt in this larger bag, to let the material breath and maximize performance and lifespan, as you do with sleeping bags.
- Shell material: 20D ripstop nylon
- Lining material: 33D nylon taffeta
- Insulation: 750-fill DownTek
- Packed Dimensions: 7″ x 12″ / 17.8cm x 30.5cm
- Dimensions: 6’6” x 4’ (users up to 6’)
- Weight: 24oz / 680g
Before we depart, I must admit something rather embarrassing. It has come to my attention that I used the quilt inside out. Does that make this review null in void? No, of course not.
What had happened was that I thought the bright green side was for looks and just assumed it went on the outside, even though it didn’t come close to matching the ENO hammock I was using.
Upon Googling for dimensions and spec info as I sat down to write this review, I saw photo after photo of the green side as the liner. It seems the liner material is different from the exterior material, and I’ve reached out to ENO to better understand the differences and how that impacts warmth.
I do know the exterior is water repellent, which in my case, did not matter on the day I tested It. So no, it doesn’t affect my review of the product. Though one might argue my photos—while somewhat misleading—are more exciting and colorful.