The Agonizing Choice – Hammock Gear Economy vs Premium Quilts for Your Thru-Hike

Choosing between Hammock Gear's budget-friendly economy quilts and ultralight premium quilts for your thru-hike is an agonizing decision. We break down the key differences to help you decide.

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Josh Koop

I live with my wife and daughter in Katy, Texas and my local trail is the Lone Star Hiking Trail which is an amazing way to experience the Sam Houston National Park!

hammock gear economy burrow witha versus sign and the hammock gear premium burrow in a match up
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Many options for backpacking quilts are available for someone building their gear up for a thru-hike. The issue with most quilt choices is that they can be quite costly.

This is when Hammock Gear showcases a unique blend of benefits, providing budget and high-tier gear at reasonable prices. Let’s discuss their two-tiered system for quilts by digging in on Hammock Gear economy vs. premium quilts.

The main difference between these two will be the premium offers more options for down and fabric to help you drop serious weight. In contrast, the economy focuses on color choice and keeping the price reasonable for anyone new starting to get a good piece of kit.

If you want to check out more on their site, you can check them out here. Below, I will dig into the differences between the two and why you may or may not choose to upgrade to a premium quilt.

A Brief Intro to Hammock Gear

For those who haven’t heard of Hammock Gear, they are a quality cottage gear company making amazing gear for the outdoors for over a decade. They are based in the USA, making everything in-house to their specific designs.

Hammock Gear provides a range of gear for hammocking and backpacking but is most well-known for its ultralight gear, including quilts which they produce in both an economy and premium line.

All of their products are available in a wide range of colors and customizations, which is one of the reasons they have such a passionate following.

Their quilts have won multiple awards and been featured in many well-known publications, so it’s safe to say they know a thing about making quality gear to help you survive those colder nights on the trail.

This is why I own a 20-degree economy top quilt and a 30-degree economy underquilt for my hammocking adventures, keeping me toasty to 20 degrees and in absolute comfort!

Getting to Know the Economy Quilt

The hammock gear econ burrow line of quilts is geared at providing quality at a very decent cost point, helping to get new backpackers on the trail with a great piece of kit at an incredible value.

The economy quilts are available in 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40-degree temperature ratings and use a mix of high-quality materials to achieve their performance.

The exterior is made from 20d nylon taffeta with a durable water-resistant (DWR) finish and is available in various colors. The fill is an 800-fill power duck down with hammock gear using the highest quality fill power down they can source.

The quilts are constructed with box baffles and sewn-through construction to keep the weight and packed size down as much as possible. The baffles are vertical to help prevent down migration and keep the quilt performing at its best with horizontal chambers in the footbox for maximum warmth.

View of the opening side of the Hammock Gear Economy Burrow

Hammock Gear Economy Burrow

Upgrade your camping experience with the Hammock Gear Economy Burrow, a budget-friendly gem that doesn’t compromise on quality. Expertly crafted for optimal comfort and warmth, this meticulously designed sleeping bag offers a lightweight solution without breaking the bank.

  • Approximately 2-3 Weeks to Ship.
  • This budget ultralight quilt is made with 20 denier nylon taffeta fabric that features a Nikwax DWR® (durable water-resistant) coating to help shed moisture.
  • Wide width is highly recommended for adequate coverage when used in ground sleeping scenarios.
  • Customizable color options for both inner and outer shells
  • Customizable length and width options for the perfect fit

Understanding the Premium Quilt Difference

The premium line of quilts is aimed at being ultralight and choice, allowing a backpacker to tweak their quilt to get the perfect camping experience.

The premium line is available in 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40-degree temperature ratings with hammock gear using your choice of 850 or the highest quality 950-fill power goose down they can source.

The exterior is made from a 10D ripstop nylon/nylon taffeta featuring a water-repellent finish and is available in various colors. The quilts are constructed with either box baffles or sewn-through construction to keep the weight and packed size as small as possible.

The main reason to choose a premium quilt is that it offers more options for down and fabric to help you drop serious weight. In contrast, the economy focuses on easier minimal choice and keeping the price reasonable for anyone starting to get a good, reliable piece of kit.

Hammock Gear Economy Burrow

Hammock Gear Premium Burrow

Elevate your camping game with the Hammock Gear Premium Burrow, a budget-friendly masterpiece that redefines outdoor comfort. Crafted with precision and designed for the discerning adventurer, this sleeping bag delivers unparalleled quality without the hefty price tag.

  • Approximately 2-3 Weeks to Ship.
  • This ultralight quilt is made with 10 denier nylon taffeta fabric that features a Nikwax DWR® (durable water-resistant) coating to help shed moisture.
  • Wide width is highly recommended for adequate coverage when used in ground sleeping scenarios.
  • Customizable color options for both inner and outer shells
  • Customizable length and width options for the perfect fit

Breaking Down the Key Differences

Now that you have a better understanding of the two types of quilts that Hammock Gear offers, let’s talk about what I feel are the core differences between the choices:

Overall Cost Increase

The average premium costs about $85-140 more for a drop of 3-5 ounces overall weight for those who want to dial in their kit and drop weight.

This is a serious benefit, but the economy version is a fantastic way to save some cash for those just getting started.

Down Fill Power Options

One huge benefit to the premium option would be having your choice of goose down in either 850-fill or 950-fill goose down, whereas the economy offers only an 800-fill duck down.

Goose down is preferred by many as it has more loft per feather, so you need less of it to fill the same space in a baffle.

This means that if you duck down, you get the same performance but more lower-rated fill required to get similar performance in warmth.

Fabric Options

To help you lower the weight, the premium quilts use a 10D nylon or nylon taffeta, which is thinner and easier to damage but also softer next to the skin.

In addition to the 10D fabric, the premium offers many more color choices for the inner and outer fabric, allowing you to have a more customized appearance.

The economy uses a 20 Denier nylon taffeta fabric which is more durable and heavier in weight but more suited to a new hiker and the accidental abuse that can happen.

hammock gear premium burrow fabric color choices
Hammock Gear Premium Burrow Fabric/Colors Choices
hammock gear economy burrow fabric colors
Hammock Gear Economy Burrow Fabric/Colors Choices

Warmth to Weight Ratio

The premium shines as the weight drops significantly while providing the same warmth and temperature value.

The chart below shows how the weight with cost, and warmth:

Temperature & Fill TypeWeightPrice
0°F (-17°C) Degree Economy Burrow (800 FP)30.23 oz$239.95
10°F (-12°C) Degree Economy Burrow (800 FP)27.21 oz$229.95
20°F (-6°C) Degree Economy Burrow (800 FP)23.95 oz$199.95
30°F (-1°C) Degree Economy Burrow (800 FP)20.65 oz$189.95
40°F (5°C) Degree Economy Burrow (800 FP)17.67 oz$179.95
0°F (-17°C) Degree Premium Burrow (850 FP)26.60 oz$319.95
10°F (-12°C) Degree Premium Burrow (850 FP)23.37 oz$299.95
20°F (-6°C) Degree Premium Burrow (850 FP)20.48 oz$279.95
30°F (-1°C) Degree Premium Burrow (850 FP)17.45 oz$259.95
40°F (5°C) Degree Premium Burrow (850 FP)14.82 oz$239.95
0°F (-17°C) Degree Premium Burrow (950 FP)24.44 oz$419.95
10°F (-12°C) Degree Premium Burrow (950 FP)21.71 oz$379.95
20°F (-6°C) Degree Premium Burrow (950 FP)19.16 oz$339.95
30°F (-1°C) Degree Premium Burrow (950 FP)16.41 oz$309.95
40°F (5°C) Degree Premium Burrow (950 FP)13.77 oz$279.95


The smaller, finer goose down shines in the ability to compress and pack within your backpack.

This allows you to look at smaller backpack options like the Zpacks NERO or Waymark EVLV, as you can eschew a stuff sack and fill the gaps in other gear with the quilt.

The premium hammock quilts will compress down smaller and easier, making them a great choice for those who want to save space in their hammock suspension.

Duck Down Versus Goose Down

The two down have some slight differences in performance, but for the most part, they will perform similarly.

Two big things to think about are some people have down allergies to either duck or goose, so understanding this can help you better prepare.

The second is sometimes, with duck down, people say it has a smell. This may be due to the person or sourcing, so always take out any quilt and air it out for a few days before use.

Is the Hammock Gear Premium or Economy Warmer?

No matter which you choose, a 20-degree version quilt is a 20-degree quilt. Neither provides more warmth based on temperature rating alone.

Down from a goose requires fewer feathers to achieve the same warmth as duck down, meaning technically, that goose down is warmer per ounce.

Many people will find a sewn footbox warmer than a zippered foot box performance. Outside of this, the baffle layout will provide maintenance down in the right area through vertical and horizontal baffles that run the length of the quilt.

Do I Need A Wide Quilt?

While many may wonder if they need a comprehensive version of the quilt, this is easily answerable, and if you are using your quilt in a hammock, you will want to get a regular width.

If you use it while on the ground with a sleeping pad, you will want a wide quilt to help seal you from the ground and drafts.

In a hammock, the hammock itself is on the sides of you with an underquilt. The top quilt covers the very top of you, but as ground sleepers, your sides are open to the cold night air, and only directly under you is a pad insulating you from the ground.

The wider quilt helps ensure you are not getting drafts from the sides on the ground.

Why Would You Choose To Overfill?

Overfilling on the down in your backpacking quilt keeps them lofting even in poor conditions and continual hard use.

I had overfill added to both of my quilts to increase their humid weather performance and for when thru-hiking to offset the constant use and dirt buildup.

Most insulation-related gear over a thru-hike will begin to perform worse due to this grime building up on the down, duck, or goose, causing it not to get the loft it used to. This can then cause worse performance the longer you hike.

For both quilt options, premium or economy, you can select an overfill option with a custom quilt and amount.

Note that an ounce of overfill will be another ounce on the overall quilt weight, so it is easy to go overboard and negate any weight benefit to the goose-down fill should you add 3-4 ounces of additional overfill.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Hammock Gear Economy vs. Premium Quilt For Your Thru-Hike

Now that we’ve gone over the key differences let’s answer the question: which quilt is best for you? Either of Hammock Gear’s quilts will be a great option and offer a variety of benefits, but here is a quick overview:

The Hammock Gear Economy is best for:

  • those on a budget
  • beginners
  • those who don’t mind a little extra weight
  • those who need more durability in their backpacking quilt

The Hammock Gear Premium is best for:

  • those who want the lightest weight hammock quilt possible
  • experienced hikers and backpackers
  • those who don’t mind sacrificing some durability for a lighter-weight quilt
  • anyone wanting more color choices in their hammock quilt

No matter which hammock gear quilt you choose, you will surely have a great time backpacking on the trail, if you want to look at sleeping bags check out my post here!

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