When you get a new underquilt from Hammock Gear you find that there is an "S" biner is attached to two lines on each end of the underquilt. Those two lines make up what I am calling “the primary suspension” and “the secondary suspension”. The primary suspension is all one piece and it slides though the long channels on the side edges of the underquilt. It is brought together at one end with a simple overhand knot. The secondary suspension lines are shorter and they are attached to the 4 line locs located at the corners of the underquilt. There are specific reasons I have decided to go with this method to suspend the underquilts.
The primary suspension was the sole method of suspending the under quilt in the past. Many people have used this system without any problems at all. In fact, they say they like the flexibility of being able to adjust the quilt toward the head or foot end when they do not get the perfect hang angle (which happens to all of us on occasion). What is also nice about the primary suspension is that the shock cord running down the length of the channels does a great job of "hugging" the side of the hammock. This keeps out drafts and insures that the quilt is being pulled up all along that channel for a great fit.
"So if it was so great, why change anything?", you ask? Great question! My answer is this...In my opinion (which was shared by a growing number of people), there were some inherent problems with using only the primary suspension.
First, since it was comprised of a single 14 feet piece of 1/8 shock cord, it was not uncommon to experience some sagging when temperatures began to approach freezing. The problem could be resolved by shortening (and therefore tightening the suspension) but that can be cumbersome in the wee hours of the night when it is cold outside. Also, sometimes it required an excessive amount of tightening.
Second, the primary suspension, when used alone, tended allow the underquilt to experience what I call an “accordion effect”. When a user sits down in the hammock, they grab the edge of both the hammock and the underquilt and hold them together. This insures that they are not sitting in the just the underquilt alone, and subsequently dropping quickly to the ground (yep, most of us have tried that trick and hoped no one was around to see it! ). Anyway, as you push that edge of the hammock and quilt down, you are stretching the quilt’s primary suspension on that side. When you roll into the hammock and the quilt suspension comes back up, it scrunches the under quilt along that side. This causes the quilt to become a bit shorter and also to droop away from the bottom of the hammock a bit. Sagging = cold. Experienced quilt users may know what I mean. The drooping is remedied, again, by tightening up that long, single line suspension. There is not much that can be done to keep the quilt from experiencing this accordion effect because each time the user moves a bit the in the hammock, they are stretching and relaxing that line….scrunch..
The secondary suspension was added to alleviate some of those shortcomings associated with using the primary suspension alone. It effectively keeps the underquilt pulled from the corners so there is no loss in the effective length of the underquilt. Also, because it is working with the primary suspension, the secondary suspension significantly reduces sagging that can occur when shock cord is subjected to sub-freezing temperatures. Another advantage to using the secondary suspension is that the line locs allow the quilt corners to be adjusted individually. This can sometimes help if you are having any problems with shoulder slippage that can sometimes occur with a more extreme diagonal lay.
“How do I move the quilt closer to my head or feet with this new suspension?” . While it is a bit trickier with the new suspension, it is not hard at all. If you want to move the quilt more than 3-4 inches toward your feet, just loosen the line locs at the head end and tighten the ones at the foot end. Visa Vera if you want to move the quilt the other direction. It is easier to do this is outside the hammock but I do it from inside the hammock without much trouble at all. The ¾ length Phoenix is easier in this regard, for obvious reasons.
A nice thing about the new suspension is that everything is replaceable. You should get many years out of your gear but if any of the lines break, it is quite easy to put in a new one. Let me know if this ever happens and I will send a replacement for free. Another thing to note…you do NOT have to use the secondary suspension. If you have always had good results with only the primary suspension, you can continue to use that system with all new quilts. You can even save a bit of weight (not much) by removing the secondary suspension altogether.
The "S" biners are meant to attach to the hammock suspension. It should not matter what method of suspension you are using, straps or whoopie slings. Clip the "S" biners to your hammock suspension. This is the point where you will probably want to a make some adjustments similar to those described above.