Eagle’s Nest Outfitters is a well-known maker of hammock products, and graciously supplied me with an Ember 2 underquilt for testing and review. For those not familiar with hammock camping, an underquilt is sort of a half sleeping bag suspended underneath the hammock. Generally, when the temperature drops below about 70 degrees, most people tend to get cold trying to sleep in a hammock. Using a sleeping bag in the hammock does not work to keep warm because body weight compresses the underside of the bag. Moving the insulation outside of the hammock allows loft and provides the warmth needed.
The ENO Ember 2 is designed to be easy to use and not cost an arm and a leg. The Ember 2 measures 95 inches by 45 inches which covers the entire bottom of hammock. Synthetic insulation provides a temperature rating of 50 degrees and a nylon shell with a DWR finish helps to keep moisture at bay. Short shock cords at the end of the underquilt are used to attach it to the hammock suspension. When attaching the Ember 2 to your hammock, try and get the shock cords tight enough to keep the underquilt in contact with your backside. If the setup is not tight, airspace will form underneath when you lie in the hammock and will most likely cause a bit of coldness. I find that an underquilt actually lifts the empty hammock just a bit when it is tight enough.
The ENO Ember 2 weights 22.8 ounces on my scale. For an underquilt with a 50 degree temperature rating, the Ember 2 might be just a bit heavy but not by a lot. The extra ounces make the Ember 2 really easy to use. The Ember 2 is cut to have a hammock-like shape instead of the more usual flatter quilt that cinches up at the ends. Also, the Ember 2 is quite a bit longer and tapers down at the ends just like a hammock. This shape provides good coverage at the ends of the hammock and helps to prevent wind from blowing between the hammock and underquilt. Even if the tension is a bit slack, the Ember 2 tends to stay warm because the air is trapped.
I slept in the hammock using the Ember 2 when the temperatures got down into the lower fifties. I didn’t even get a chill, so I’d say the temperature rating of 50 degrees is pretty accurate. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary because some sleep warmer than others. I tend to get cold a bit easy so some may be able to use the underquilt in even cooler temps. The Ember 2 worked well with my 10 and 11 foot hammocks.
If you aren’t overly worried about being ultralight and would like to save your cash for other gear, the Ember 2 might be a great choice for you. The Ember 2 comes in a variety of colors and ships with a stuff sack. The underquilt packs down to about sleeping bag size. Retail price is $99.95. Check out the Ember 2 and other great hammock camping products at www.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com.