Hammocks

UGQ: Underground Hammock Gear Straight Outta Michigan

by Mac Misseldine

ugq outdoor brand profile
Photo: UGQ Outdoor

UGQ is one of the most respected brands in the hammock camping community, a perennial favorite of ultralight backpackers who scrutinize weight and packed size.

You won’t find UGQ products at REI or Backcountry.com, but that’s by design. These guys don’t do stock products — everything’s made to order in Jackson, Michigan.

UGQ doesn’t have a deep product lineup, but their quilts and tarps are highly customizable. We’re not just talking about picking your favorite color — you can tailor almost every aspect of a UGQ quilt or tarp to your liking and style.

ugq quilt woods
Photo: UGQ Outdoor

Of course, picking your favorite color is still the fun part. In fact, UGQ has a special relationship with Ripstop by the Roll where you can order specialty fabric with unique colors and designs, or even print your own design using their OutdoorINK technology.

So, whether you’re looking for an ultralight underquilt, a luxury overstuffed top quilt, or a one-of-a-kind tarp based on your own graphic design, UGQ is an excellent choice.

About UGQ

UGQ was founded in 2011 by Paul and Missy McWalters. The company has grown a bit from their original home-based business, but they still design and craft all of their products in their hometown of Jackson, Michigan.

UGQ is laser-focused on manufacturing the lightest and highest quality backpacking gear on the planet. Their products are designed to deliver everything you need while stripping away everything you don’t, so you’re not wasting any pack space or weight. They use the lightest materials possible that are durable enough to withstand years of backcountry adventures.

ugq shop
Inside the shop at UGQ Outdoor.

Every UGQ product is handcrafted by a small team of highly invested American workers, so you can expect the highest attention to detail. There’s a reason they’re usually scheduling custom orders out 5-6 weeks — quality takes time and attention, and they’re not going to rush the process just to get more business.

Products

UGQ is an excellent example of quality over quantity. They don’t have a deep product line, but everything they manufacture is top-notch. Considering the premium materials and the fact their products are handcrafted in the USA, you’ll find UGQ products offer a tremendous value.

Hammock Top Quilts

ugq top quilt
Photo: UGQ Outdoor

The UGQ Bandit is highly customizable, so you can easily tailor its warmth, fit, and style to your liking. It’s designed to fit like a glove with exceptional drape, eliminating dead air space that leads to cold spots.

The proprietary nano-mesh baffles are strategically placed to concentrate the UltimaDOWN where it’s needed most, maximize loft, and allow for thermal convection. Thanks to isolated chambers on the torso and footbox, you can independently overstuff one or both sections for even greater warmth.

The Bandit is one of the best hammock top quilts on the market. Considering the quilt’s price point in relation to its premium quality and construction, it’s a fantastic value for a high-performance quilt.

Hammock Underquilts

For a match made in backcountry heaven, grab a UGQ Zeppelin underquilt to go with your Bandit top quilt. The Zeppelin actually topped our list of the best underquilts, earning the Editor’s Choice badge of honor and our unreserved recommendation.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Zeppelin is one of the most customizable underquilts on the market with three UltimaDOWN fill power options, five temperature ratings ranging from 0℉ to 40℉, six fabric types in a wide spectrum of colors, and multiple lengths. It’s naturally overstuffed to 130%, and you can add up to 4 oz of additional insulation for maximum warmth.

The Zeppelin and Bandit are both extremely popular with backpackers for their ultralight weight and reliable cold-weather performance.

Tarps

ugq hanger tarp
Photo: UGQ Outdoor

One of the best aspects of hammock camping is sleeping under the stars, but sometimes inclement weather calls for some shelter. Fortunately, UGQ has you covered with a variety of tarps you can use for minimalist shelter to block out the rain, wind, and snow.

UGQ’s most popular form of minimalist shelter is the catenary-cut SilPoly Hanger Tarp, constructed with a low-stretch 20D Sil/PU-coated ripstop polyester or an ultralight 15D Sil/PU-coated taffeta polyester. It’s available in 10-foot, 11-foot, and 12-foot lengths, or you can upgrade to the XL SilPoly Tarp for an extra foot of length and two feet of additional width.

When you’re expecting heavy rain or snow, consider the SilPoly Winterdream Tarp. This tarp uses the same base fabric as the standard SilPoly Hanger Tarp, but with double doors and high-strength snap closures at both ends so you can batten down the hatches when severe weather strikes.

If you’re a creative soul who likes to express your unique style on the trail, check out the OutdoorINK® Cat Cut Hex Tarp. UGQ has a relationship with Ripstop By The Roll where you can order custom fabric from their online store, have it shipped to UGQ, and UGQ will make a custom tarp. They have hundreds of prints to choose from, or you can upload your own design for a truly one-of-a-kind product.

On a budget? Check out the Penny Pincher Tarp for reliable quality and performance in a more affordable package.

Skullies

ugq skullies
Photo: UGQ Outdoor

UGQ’s latest expansion is a fun line of skull caps to keep your noggin warm in the backcountry. The Skullies have a temperature rating of 10℉ to 30℉, and they’re available in a bunch of fun prints and colors.

Hammock Accessories

UGQ offers a bunch of accessories and DIY components to go with their hammock camping products, including guy lines, Y-stakes, SilPoly Tarp Sleeves, center pole kits, end pole kits, external pole kits, continuous ridgeline, and LoopAlien® RCA hardware for rapid knotless cord attachment.

Reviews

UGQ’s quality craftsmanship and customer service clearly shines through in the 80+ reviews you’ll find on Facebook. Here are some of the reviews that stood out to us the most:

“I’m totally blown away by both the quality of craftsmanship and the customer service of Paul and Missy. Their attention to detail is superb, and it’s so clear that they want their customers to have the best product and experience possible.”Cole C

“UGQ Outdoor is…on par with major brands like Feathered Friends and Western Mountaineering — however, this hands-on shop sells their quilts for roughly half the price! Equally impressive is their customer service responsiveness and willingness to accommodate requests! I recently took their Hanger 12 and an appropriately-sized 10 degree Bandit quilt on a 230 mile walk across the alpine in the Sierra Nevada. Both performed extremely well. I’d take them again in a heartbeat! UGQ is making top notch gear and selling it for significantly less than all other manufacturers. They could easily charge more, but they are not greedy. These folks deserve some recognition. I highly recommend their gear and supporting their business!”Dan C

“UGQ has one of the best customer service departments I’ve ever dealt with. They have always been friendly and have replied back to me within a timely matter. The quality and workmanship that they put into their gear is top notch. They stand behind their work and will go over and beyond to help and please their customers.”Aaron K

“I just carried one of their Bandit top quilts for 1,600 miles over 3 1/2 months on the Baja Divide Trail in Mexico. It proved to be durable, functional and comfortable the whole way. They make seriously solid gear.”Chris H

After reading reviews like these, it’s no surprise UGQ boats a 5-star rating from their customers. Check the professional reviews out there on backpacking and hammock camping blogs, and you’ll find even more people singing their praises. They’ve also got over 1,000 amazing reviews on their website as well.

Company Policies

There are no stock products on the UGQ website — everything you see online is made to order. Fast Track products generally ship in 2-3 days, and custom products ship in 5-6 weeks. Their manufacturing queue is always fluctuating, though, so check the site before you order for an accurate time estimate.

Warranty

 

 
 
 
 
 
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UGQ guarantees their products will be free from defects in materials and workmanship to the original owner for the lifetime of the product. The warranty does not cover damage caused by normal wear and tear, negligence, accidents, non-standard-usage, improper care or cleaning, lost or stolen items, and after-market modifications.

Note that the lifetime warranty applies to the lifetime of the components, fabrics, and materials of the product, not the owner’s lifetime. Materials and components wear out, deteriorate and fade over time, with the actual lifetime depending on exposure to the elements and how the product is used and cared for.

When a warranty claim is validated, UGQ will repair, replace, or refund the damaged product at their option. The customer is responsible for return shipping costs.

If you have a damaged product that doesn’t qualify for a warranty claim, UGQ will repair the product for a reasonable rate.

Cancellations

Fast Track quilts and tarps cannot be cancelled or modified once an order is placed.

Custom quilts and tarps may be cancelled for a full refund within 72 hours of placing an order. After that, you can cancel or modify an order before your item is in production. Cancellations are subject to a 5% restocking fee, and you cannot receive a refund on the cost of custom-printed fabrics or special order fabrics.

Once a custom quilt or tarp begins production there are no cancellations or modifications allowed. That may seem a little harsh, but keep in mind your custom product won’t reach production until about a week (or less) before the shipping date. So, you really have plenty of time to cancel or modify your order for a partial refund.

Returns

UGQ allows returns for partial refunds up to 60 days after shipping.

Products returned within 14 days of the shipping date are eligible for a 90% refund to the original method of payment, or a 95% refund in the form of store credit. Products returned 14-60 days after the shipping date are eligible for an 85% refund in the form of store credit.

Returned items must be in new, unused condition. The original shipping cost is not refundable, and the customer is responsible for return shipping costs.

Conclusion

We’ll keep this short and sweet. If you’re looking for a top quilt, underquilt, or tarp, UGQ is a strong contender for the top spot. Build a custom product, see how it compares to your other favorites, and check the price tag. Chances are the UGQ custom product will match its competitor in quality and beat them on price.

More On Hammock Camping

If you can’t tell from our wealth of hammock camping articles, we’re big fans of hammocks at Territory Supply. Whether you’re a backpacker looking to lighten your pack or a car camper in search of a better backcountry bed, hammocks are a fun solution for both.

Read our hammock camping checklist for the full rundown on what you’ll need to get started. Then check out our favorite camping hammocks, top quilts, underquilts, tarps, bug nets, and suspension systems for recommendations on what to buy.

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