Introduction

The Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt (~15 ounces / 425 g, MSRP from $275) is a tapered, somewhat customizable underquilt aimed at experienced hammock users. It incorporates a number of performance features differentiating itself from the majority of available offerings, such as strategically placed insulation and a unique suspension system.

a red underquilt against a stark white background
The Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt. Photo: Enlightened Equipment

Review Context

I started playing around with hammocks in 2012. As I became more comfortable with them, hammocks slowly became my preferred warm weather shelter. At first, I used different sleeping pads for insulation. I eventually purchased my first hammock underquilt in February 2017. I have used a total of three hammock underquilts prior to this article from two different manufacturers.

This Performance Review is comprehensive in nature (read about the differences between Performance and Limited reviews here) and draws on my experience with the Enlightened Equipment Uprising over 18 nights in the winter of 2020/2021.

Features

  • tapered width, narrower than the industry standard
  • primary suspension ridgeline hooks
  • differential cut
  • reduced insulation under the legs
  • ethically-sourced down from an RSD-certified supplier
  • silnylon stuff sack
  • 100% organic cotton storage sack

Specifications

The Enlightened Equipment Uprising is a premium underquilt. While it is not a full custom build, during the ordering process one can choose different lengths, down fill power, fabrics, colors, and temperature ratings. Specifications will vary greatly depending on the chosen configuration. While some of the more popular Enlightened Equipment top insulation options have in-stock merchandise; both of their underquilts, the Revolt and Uprising, are only offered under their respective custom configurators. One chooses from the following options (The specs for the quilt I received are in boldface type) :

  • down fill power options: 850 and 950
  • temperature ranges: 40 °F (5 °C) / 30 °F (−1 C°) / 20 °F (−6 °C) / 10 °F (−12 °C) / 0 °F (−17 °C) / −10 °F (−23 °C)
  • length: short (53 inches /134.6 cm) / regular (78 inches / 198.1 cm)
  • three exterior fabric denier options: 7d, 10d, 20d
  • two interior fabric denier options: 7d and 10d
  • optional draft collars to avoid cold spots between hammock and underquilt
Screenshot of optionsa screenshot from Enlightened Equipment's website, illustrating all the colors, lengths, and temperature rating options available.
A screenshot from the Enlightened Equipment website of the available options on the Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt.

Product Category Overview

As we start taking hammocks into cooler temperatures, we need to consider insulation options to avoid losing heat through convection. While a traditional sleeping bag or top quilt can be draped over one’s body, we still need insulation from below. Some hammockers are able to zip their sleeping bag with the hammock and user inside it (like a cacoon), but in my experience this tends to interfere with the hammock lay and compromises comfort.

Another option is to use a traditional sleeping bag, but doing so compresses the bottom insulation under the user, thus rendering the crushed insulation ineffective.

A third option is to use a sleeping pad. In my experience, closed-cell foam works better than inflatables. But pads can shift, which makes them annoying to set in place while suspended in the air. Standard sleeping pad widths of 20 inches (50 cm) or 25 inches (63.5 cm) do not wrap around the shoulders sufficiently, thus causing cold spots. The shoulder area suffers pressure from the hammock fabric and to insulate it we either use supplemental pads inside the hammock that wrap around our shoulders and upper torso (do an online search for hammock sleeping pad extender) or purchase foam mats in a 40 inch (102 cm) width for use in hammocks.

And finally, some people find the condensation created at times between the sleeping pad and hammock annoying.

And so, while there are these other insulation options, the preferred solution for lower body insulation is to use an underquilt.

a red underquilt wraps a green hammock in a snowy forest
The Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt in action.

An underquilt is a type of quilt that is connected to the hammock, typically through elastic cord, to provide insulation from below without compressing its loft. This solution eliminates the crushed insulation, condensation, and hammock-lay issues of all the other options. Like sleeping bags or top quilts, they can use synthetic or down insulation. Since they only insulate from below, hammock users must still consider insulating the top of their bodies, typically with a blanket, top quilt, or sleeping bag.

Description of Field Testing

Locations

  • eastern and central Massachusetts

Dates & Seasons

  • January through March 2021

Environmental Conditions

  • Altitude: From 100 feet to 1200 feet (30.5 m to 365 m)
  • Weather: From −10 °F to 45 °F (−23 °C to 7 °C). Most nights were calm or with a light wind except for one night with steady, strong winds.

How many user days?

I slept in the underquilt for a total of 18 nights outdoors.

Use Case Scenarios

  • Above its temperature rating: I used the quilt for 7 nights in temperatures from 40 to 50 °F (4.4 to 10 °C)
  • At its temperature rating: I have slept a total of six nights in the 30 to 35 °F (−1 to 1.6 °C) range.
  • Well below its temperate rating: The quilt was also used an additional five nights in temperatures ranging from −10 to 25 °F (−23 to −3.8 °C) layered inside of a Hammock Gear Incubator rated to 20 °F (−6.6 °C).

Performance Criteria

I evaluated the Enlightened Equipment Uprising quilt on the following criteria:

  • usefulness of ridgeline hooks
  • warmth (differential cut)
  • warmth (loft)
  • warmth (draft collar)
  • warmth (provided hardware)
  • durability
  • weight and volume-saving design

Performance Assessment

Usefulness of Ridgeline Hooks

I found the ridgeline hooks on the Enlightened Equipment Uprising Underquilt really intriguing. They are one of the features that attracted me to this underquilt in the first place. Improperly tensioned suspensions, fiddly setups, and cold air entry through gaps between the hammock and the underquilt are all problems with underquilts, so any system designed to address those concerns is worth examining.

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