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picts of my gear
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Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
picts of my gear on 09/03/2008 11:31:14 MDT Print View

I’ve been making most of my own gear for two years now. I’ve often referred to my gear on these forums in gear lists and such and I’ve had a few people ask for pictures. Well I finally got a camera so I thought I’d post pictures of the stuff I’ve made. I’ve been encouraged by the gear that I’ve seen on the forums so I hope my pictures will encourage a few of you to try sewing your own gear too.

This is a Ray-Way tarp and net tent. I made the net tent 6 inches taller. Tarp:18oz
Net tent:14.6oz
Ray-Way tarp and net tent

This is a deluxe Ray-Way quilt. I really recommend the draft stopper to anyone who makes a quilt. It really makes the quilt seem wider. 26oz
Ray-Way quilt
Quilt in stuff sack

Thru-Hiker minima vest with 1.8oz primaloft sport. I took the scrim out when I made it. I recommend the athletic cut. 5.4oz
minima vest

This is a bomber hat I made from sleeping bag scraps.
bomber hat

These are the mitts I use for winter. The blue and black ones are silnylon vapor barrier, the grey and aqua ones are polarguard 3D and the black outer mitts are store bought. The overmitts have a bit of insulation as well. The mitts were made from scraps I had from the tarp and a quilt. The combo is extremely warm.
vapor barrier: 0.4oz per pair
polarguard mitts: 1.8oz per pair
Swany overmitts: 5.7oz
Winter mittsWinter mitts worn

These are silnylon vapor barrior socks. I put socks on over top to keep them up rather than sewn in elastic. .5oz.
Vapor barrier socks

I made this Climashield balaclava for sleeping in on winter nights. I hate the hoods on sleeping bags so I use this instead. It's made from left over scraps too. 1.3oz

This is a neck gaiter that has climashield and silnylon on the front so it doesn't frost up. It's for sleeping too. 1.4oz
neck gaiter

This is a silnylon vapor barrier shirt I made from the Thru-Hiker Liberty Ridge Shell pattern. It's a really good pattern. It fits like a glove. 3.4oz
liberty ridge

These are vapor barrier pants. They have zippers to the knees and straps under the foot to keep them from riding up. 3.1oz
liberty ridge
These are climashield insulated pants made from the liberty ridge pattern as well. They are 2.5oz climashield, 1.1oz nylon, have articulated knees and weigh 9.4oz.climashield pants

This is the best item I sewed. It a Whitney Down Jacket from Thru-Hiker. It has 1.9oz nylon on the outside, .9oz momentum on the inside, .5oz overfill, a moulded tooth zipper and it weighs 17.7oz. It turned out great. I wear it everywhere in the winter. I've had tons of complements on it from people who didn't even realize I had made it. I love their reaction when I say "Thanks. I made it." One coworker didn't believe I'd made it until I showed her that there were no tags or anything. If you decide to make one I recommend the relaxed fit if you want to layer and get the .5oz overfill and put it all in the middle three baffles on the arms. They are a bit underfilled. I switched the white elastic drawcord that was provided with a black one for aesthetics. I'd also recommend sewing the toggles in place so you can tighten the draw cord with one hand.whitneywhitney2whitney 3
Let me know what you think and if you have any questions don't hesitate to post.

Edited by conly on 09/03/2008 12:07:46 MDT.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: picts of my gear on 09/03/2008 12:35:58 MDT Print View

Thomas, very fine work my friend! I especialy have a thing for the vapour barrier pants and jacket...been looking for some that light for some time...

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Re: picts of my gear on 09/03/2008 13:32:58 MDT Print View

amazing work!

A question regarding silnylon vapor barrier shirt:

Have you worn it with a pack? I plan to make one and am not sure how my pack will behave when wearing the slippery silnylon shirt.

Brett Warren
(warren98) - F - MLife
Inspiring on 09/03/2008 14:52:01 MDT Print View

Wow, that is some great stuff. I am considering making my own Whitney Jacket, and its inspiring to see one turn out so well. Two questions thought, what is your opinion on the Ray-way quilt materials? I would like to make one, but Ray's web site is a little light on details when it comes to what exactly the kit is made of. Would you recommend the Ray-way quilt kit? How do the materials compare to stuff available from Thru-hiker?
Second, did you use a pattern for your mittens, and if so where did you find it?
Thanks for posting pictures of your stuff. As a beginner gear maker is nice to see such that a thorough homemade kit is possible. My long term goal is to have a completely homemade kit.

Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Re: picts of my gear on 09/03/2008 22:27:10 MDT Print View

Huzefa S: I have worn the vapor barrier shirt with a pack. I haven't found it slippery but I've never worn it as the outer layer. I usually have a fleece vest on and a Marmot shell overtop to keep the snow and wind out. If you decide to go the silnylon route I'm not sure I would recommend it as an outer layer because of the slipperiness and it's not as durable as other fabrics but it's great as a base/middle layer.

Brett Warren: I would really recommend the Ray-Way quilt kit. It's the first thing I ever sewed. The Ray-Way quilt materials are a great compromise of cost, performance and durability. The Climashield insulation is good, however, it is heavier than you might expect. I started a thread once about the weights of the Climashield quilts vs. the Polarguard 3D quilts. Here's the link:

Theoretically, Climashield should be warmer for the same weight of Polarguard but with a smaller loft. Ray still uses the loft of an insulation as a measure of it's temperature rating so he uses a heavier Climashield to achieve the same loft. If you read the other thread you'll see my opinion of Climasgield vs. Polarguard. The Ray-Way quilts have about 7oz of insulation. Most other quilt manufacturers would give that a much higher than 40F rating. You might be surprised by the warmth of the quilt.

The nylon is pretty good. The momentum at Thru-Hiker is better but it is more expensive. The 1.1oz nylon that Ray uses is better than the 1.1oz nylon at Thru-Hiker. The Thru-Hiker 1.1oz nylon I've used is good but it's really shiny and slick. The nylon that Ray uses is fine for a quilt. I wouldn't use it for clothing if I could avoid it.

The yarn and grosgrain ribbon that comes with the kit are top quality. The real deal with the Ray Way quilts are the instructions. They are first rate and I recommend them to even the most seasoned sewers. Also, if you compare the prices, you can't beat Ray's.

If you'd like to get Polarguard 3D you can buy it at Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics ( right now. They don't make it anymore so jump on the chance if you want it.

As for the mitts, I sort of used a pattern. I started with the pattern for fleece mitts at Thru-Hiker. It took I think four tries with cheap stuff from Walmart to get the mitts right. The pattern at Thru-Hiker is way to small for insulated mitts. Every time I made a new prototype I added an inch or two to the pattern until it was almost unrecognizable. Mitts, oddly enough, are the hardest thing I've ever sewn. They are difficult to get the size right and all the sewing (most of which is far from straight) is packed into an annoyingly small space. Any slight mistake such as taking too much seam allowance can ruin the mitt. I tried to make a pair of mitts for my dad for his birthday and I couldn't do it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to make another pair of those mitts even if I wanted to.

I'm pleased with the mitts because the are really warm. They have 1.5 inches of loft on the back and .75 inches on the palms. Of course, that's been significantly compressed from use. I live in Winnipeg, Canada where it's really cold and the mitts are a God sent. I work in an outdoors store and even the best North Face and Mountain Hardware mitts aren't as warm.

Next on the agenda: my own design of winter tepee tent and winter sleeping bag. I have a North Face winter bag but I don't like current winter bag designs. I have a few ideas I'd like to try.

Edited by conly on 09/03/2008 22:31:55 MDT.

Brett Warren
(warren98) - F - MLife
Thanks on 09/03/2008 23:07:50 MDT Print View

Hey, thanks for the detailed reply. I can sympathize with the mittens (hence my question). The first article of clothing I had ever tried to sew were a pair of mittens.

It wasn't backpacking related, but I had an awesome winter hat made with heavy cotton duck cloth and faux fur. It was the warmest had ever owned and really wanted a pair of mittens to match. I went down to Jo-Ann fabric and bought the material and a mitten pattern, which was sized for women's hands as most patterns sold at Jo-Ann are. To make a long story short, after 3 tries at just the thumb I gave up.

I think I might try and revisit mittens now that I have a little more experience under my belt. But the first time sure was tough.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Re: picts of my gear on 09/04/2008 06:22:14 MDT Print View

Thomas, thanks for replying.

>I usually have a fleece vest on and a Marmot shell overtop to keep the snow and wind out.

A bit off-topic but what temps are you talking about? It seems a pretty warm layering.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: picts of my gear on 09/04/2008 10:06:00 MDT Print View

Thomas, you've made your gear very nicely! I especially like the hood, hat, mittens, myself. Also noticed that it looks like you finished the zipper on your Whitney really well. Mine doesn't look that clean (yet!) Any pointers on sewing in the zipper? How's about finishing the bottom end of the zipper and cut you had to make on the pullover VBL? Thanks for sharing your stuff!

Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Re: Re: Re: picts of my gear on 09/04/2008 10:16:57 MDT Print View

Huzefa S: It's usually pretty cold. You can expect temperatures around -5°F most of the time in January but it can easily get colder. There's usually about one week each year when the temperatures drop consistently below -20°F. When I winter camp I have to be prepared for really nasty weather the coldest temperature last year was -43°F and the coldest wind chill reading ever recorded was -70.8 °F. Interesting side note: Winnipeg (where I live) is the coldest city in the world with a population over 600 000.

Edited by conly on 09/04/2008 10:30:26 MDT.

Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Re: Re: picts of my gear on 09/04/2008 10:25:53 MDT Print View

Brad Groves: For the zipper, I'd suggest really using a lot of pins and making sure the zipper doesn't move around as you sew. This is especially important because any slight movement will be noticeable because the other half of the zipper wont necessarily match up perfectly. Be very deliberate and patient as you sew zippers. They are the first thing people notice if they're done poorly. If you go slow and really straight they'll look great. Also, trim them a bit shorter than you think you might need. If the zipper ends a little short that looks a lot better than a zipper that is a bit too long. If you really want it to look polished go back and sew another line of stitching next to the first one. It'll give you two lines beside each other and it looks more professional. You can see that I did that on mine. I'm not sure what you're asking about the pullover VBL.

Edited by conly on 09/04/2008 10:26:23 MDT.

Scott Jones
(Endeavor) - M
Re: picts of my gear on 07/12/2014 15:04:44 MDT Print View

Do you have a pattern for the climashield balaclava or instructions on how to make this?
The pictures of all your gear look very good, but I would like to try to make the balaclava

Anthony Huhn
(anthonyjhuhn) - F - MLife

Locale: Mid West
Old Thread on 07/14/2014 22:21:01 MDT Print View

You might want to pm the author, the thread is 6 years old and I doubt he still checks it.


Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Re: Re: picts of my gear on 07/14/2014 22:24:53 MDT Print View

I didn't use a pattern for the balaclava. I made up a pattern using an old hood for the bomber hat. Then, I made a few changes to make the new pattern for the balaclava. I've since made a new one using down because the one you see in the picture wore out. I basically just sewed all the pieces together for each layer and then sewed them together inside out, except for a small section. I then turned it inside out and finished the last little bit. It's the same thing to make a quilt or a pillow. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any good patterns out there for down or synthetic balaclavas. The good news though is that they're so quick to make that you can make a few and try different things out.