T-Hr Minima kit, two thumbs up
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
T-Hr Minima kit, two thumbs up on 10/03/2008 21:22:46 MDT Print View

Note: I just made the thing, and am overcome with enthusiasm. Field testing to follow immediately.

I completed the Minima Vest kit from Thru-hiker. 1.1 oz nylon, 3 oz Primaloft. I modified it to be a pullover by cutting the provided zipper down to 12". My size small, with the sides cut a bit trimmer than the "athletic" cut and plenty of reinforced stitching, comes in under 5 oz.

vest, yo

The directions were very easy to follow, and the whole thing went about as smoothly as I could ask. figuring out how to sew the zipper and reverse sew the arm holes took a bit of head scratching due to the complications of the pullover.

It's fun to have gear that actually fits how I want it. Should serve well when the snow starts flying.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
thru hiker vest on 10/04/2008 09:31:21 MDT Print View

That's hot. What's next?

You hopped right to the sewing on that one!

Troy Meadows
(LightWorker) - MLife

Locale: Sierra foothills
T-Hr Minima kit, two thumbs up on 10/04/2008 18:08:10 MDT Print View

Dave, what kind of experience on a sewing machine did you have before started this project? It looks great. Have been thinking of picking up a couple Minima kits to make for me and my girlfriend.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
experience on 10/04/2008 19:43:14 MDT Print View

I've been messing around moding gear since I was a kid, really. Typically simple stuff, like adding compression straps to an old rucksack back in middle school. More recently I added a extension skirt to a pack, and made a throw bag for packrafting. Stuff like that.

This was the first garment I've made from scratch, and the first time I've made anything from a kit. The directions online were quite clear, though I made the collar my own way, and obviously changed a few things to allow the pullover style.

I should say that my wife sews professionally, so we have a very nice sewing machine (does something like 50+ stitches) and her as a sounding board for a few things. For instance, the combo of slick low denier nylon and fizzy Primaloft makes creep while sewing a big issue. When sewing the liner to the insulation I pinned every 1.5 inches, and this was not overkill.

I would no try this project without a machine that will do an overcasting stitch, joining the pieces in the end stages would be murder without finished edges.

Another wise thing I did was cut and sew a dummy test vest with some cheap fabric we had laying around. It allowed me to tweak the fit (slimming the torso, mostly) when I cut the pieces for the actual vest.

I also cut all the pieces separately. Laying the liner and outer layers and trying to cut two at once would be a recipe for pieces that don't match.

The whole deal, from cutting the test pattern to being totally done, was about 7 hours of work.

I'm psyched to have a better fitting version of something like a Patagonia Puff vest, for less than half the money, and in the color I want.

Wore it to the bakery to get cake for lunch in the rain, and it was nice and warm!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
add. on 10/04/2008 19:51:33 MDT Print View

I should say that I'm 5'11", shortish torso, 160 lbs. I'm glad I got the small kit.

Chris, it gives you all sorts of ideas, like what to make with all the scraps I've got. If you cut economically you have lots left. I could probably make a pair of Primaloft mittens easily.

I'll certainly be making a superlight top bag/quilt for racing and big trips this summer. I'm waiting to see how the insulation works out, and what warmth I experience from it, before picking the insulation for the bag.

A synthetic parka is not out of the question, or perhaps down. Not sure if I'd use a bigger, warmer coat in warm enough temps to merit synthetic. A baffled coat would be the next step for sure.

Riding this afternoon I thought about a nylon wind vest.

Making a bigger version of the pack I had in Yellowstone with a beavertail type pocket would be handy. (I do need an industrial machine for that, tho.)

It's a slippery slope, as the days arm warmer silliness has shown.

arm warmers from socks!

A use for old socks!