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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 05/31/2009 15:52:14 MDT Print View

Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap


I have been quietly working on this idea for a few months. You can go back and check one of my threads about the new external frame I was working on where I mentioned a material I had discovered that worked well for Pack Bags. This material was used for bags to hold something and the bag was made to be thrown away after being used. I started thinking about other materials that might be recycled into SUL gear.

SUL as definded here was very easy for me to achieve using the new materials such as Cuben Fiber and a few others. There is however, a cost factor and I started looking for other material that were free or cheap.

This really came to light a few days ago when someone here had a light weight Down Quilt made and the cost was posted was $450. I have been making most all my gear now for several years and I guess I lost track of what things are selling for.

Is it really necessary to spend that kind of money to have SUL gear?

Can we find enough really cheap or almost free (as in recycled) material to build a decent set of Super Ultra Light (SUL) gear?

I think so but most of this will require sewing your own gear. Sewing is not as hard as you might think. Start small and work toward the more complicated things. Things in you live may get so bad over the next few years that you might be very glad you know how to sew.

The complete gear list has to be under the 5 pound weight limit as defined by BackpackingLight.com as SUL and survive a continuous hike of at least a 165 miles on a trail system such as the Appalachian Trail. The material used for this gear needs to be readily available so as many folks that want to us it can get it.

I think the total - weight / cost - will be a good surprise to many.

1 - Backpack:

I have been playing with one type of material that turns out to be good for packs. I have even used this material for shoulder straps and hip belts.

You can see the first pack bag I made out of this material in this picture.




The material weighs 3.4 ounces a square yard but the total weigh for a decent size pack should be well under one pound. The material is very strong and easy to sew.

The real $$ cost of this pack (the material is from something meant to be thrown away) might be $5.00. I will post more about this material as this project moves forward.

2 - Bivy:

Bottom Material:

Gossamer Gear (GG) sells a "Polycryo Ground Cloth.

I bought one of their (2) packs several years ago. At the time I thought this stuff might be good for other things but since I was using a lot of Cuben Fiber I never made anything with it. When I first got mine I weighed it to see what the square yard weight was. It is 0.568 ounces per sq yard.

The ground cloths cost (2) for $8.00. Now that I am looking for cheaper alternative materials I am re-looking at what I might be able to make with this material.

I have made several Bivys using Cuben Fiber as the bottom and Pertex Quantum as the top. I will try a Bivy using one of these Polycryo Ground Cloths for the Bivy Bottom.

From GG about the Polycryo Ground Cloths:

"The Polycryo ground sheet is constructed from industrial grade cross-linked polyolefin. This material is extremely tough for it's weight, with amazing puncture resistance. It has a tensile strength of 15,400 p.s.i. (1,083 kg./sq. cm.) per ASTM D-883. It is waterproof, but very slightly breathable (1.09 gms of water vapor/100 sq.in./24 hours). At 0.55 oz./sq.yd. (16 g.), it's HALF THE WEIGHT of our Spinnsheetâ„¢ ground cloths. You will have to replace this more often than tougher alternatives, but it's very economical. These single ground cloths are shipped as a 2-pack so you have an extra. Our medium size is 40" (102 cm.) wide.'


Ground Cloth Link

Top Material:

Frogg Toggs make a poncho out of a very nice material that is said to be 100% waterproof and breathable. It would seem that this material would make a good top material for the Bivy. I need to find out the size of this item but just in looking at it I am sure it is big enough.


Frogg Toggs Poncho

I believe that Frogg Toggs is made from something like 3M Propore. I have a sample of the 3M Propore and it weighs 2.37 ounces a squard yard.

A Bivy made from the GG ground Cloth and the material from a Frogg Toggs Poncho should weigh about 6 ounces.

Cost: I have found the Frogg Toggs Poncho listed on two different web sites. It is selling for $11.50 at one place and seems to be on close out at $8.95 on another web site. I will call both on Monday and confirm prices. Using what seems to be the MSRP of $11.50 for the Poncho and $4.00 for one GG Ground Cloth, the total Bivy cost would be a bit under $16 plus shipping, tax etc.

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/Product.aspx?baseno=1765T&plp=Frogg_Toggs_Dri_Ducks_Action_Poncho_-_(Waterproof_For_Men_and_Women)&utm_source=Yahoo&utm_medium=PaidSearch&utm_term=Frogg_Toggs_Dri_Ducks_Action_Poncho_-_(Waterproof_For_Men_and_Women)&utm_campaign=PMYAHOOINC9&codesProcessed=true

3 - Shelter - Tarp

My first thought is to make a tarp out of 3 GG Ground Cloths sewn, glued or taped together.

The Tarp would be about 10" by 12' and the tarp material weight would a little less than 2 ounces. Add in some weight for the tie out line ( 1.42 oz) 6 stakes made out of - you pick it ( 1.23 oz) and a few secret things and you have a big tarp that weighs under 5 ounces.

Edited by bfornshell on 06/02/2009 19:51:51 MDT.

peter kvamme
(karacolor) - F

Locale: midwest
Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 05/31/2009 21:08:37 MDT Print View

Please do restart this topic again, you peaked my curiosity when you mentioned a strong, almost free material at 3.4 oz/yard in the another thread. Even if you do not want to give us an in depth post, any chance you would share what kind of materials you are considering?
Always fun to watch your projects evolve.
Peter

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 05/31/2009 23:28:49 MDT Print View

I second Peter, please do repost your original threadstarter Bill. I read it last night and was about to reply when my inet connection packed up - it was late anyway.

You may have seen the discussion regarding the possibilities of a SUL air filled quilt on Steven's cuben/down quilt thread, I have started a new one for it. I for one am in total agreement with your observations about the availability of light materials for cheap or free.

Does this mean you might have some surplus 0.33 Cuben I can buy off you. ;-)

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Super UL / Super Ultra Cheap on 06/01/2009 06:42:07 MDT Print View

I will follow this thread closely also.

I enjoy working with construction grade tyvek for this very reason. It is relatively light,not expensive, water resistant, strong and bondable. It could be used to make numerous items typically found in most gear lists. A bivy, shelter, rain protection (cape, chaps) and even a pack bag. I think a 9' x 150' roll costs around $100.00, and it can often be found in usable size scraps for free. The tyvek material is not super UL but does provide a good performance/weight/cost ratio for MYOG projects.

mark henley
(flash582) - F - M
Ground Rules? on 06/01/2009 18:25:40 MDT Print View

Do we include MYOG?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap - pt 1 Bivy on 06/02/2009 19:57:47 MDT Print View

This is all about MYOG but a long spoon from some ice cream place works as it should be free.

=====

Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap PT 1 - Making the Bivy:

The first picture shows the GG Ground Cloth laying on my pattern. The size of the Ground Cloth is almost the same size as my pattern. I am leaving a 1" seam allowance. This will allow me to turn it under to reinforce the seam.

1. GG Ground Cloth on the Pattern.




2. The GG Ground Cloth is cut and weighs 41 grams or 1.44 ounces. Cost for one of 2 GG Ground Cloths = $4.00 plus shipping.



3. The Propore on the Pattern ready to mark.



4. The Propore cut and ready to sew. The weight of the Propore Bivy Top is 4.7 ounces. Cost as a new Frogg Toggs Poncho = $11.50 plus shipping. I have 2 Frogg Toggs Ponchos on order and when I get them I will make another Bivy out of one of them.



5. Ready to start sewing.



Estimated cost for the materials only for the completed Bivy = $17.00 (+/-) a bit.
Estimated weight of the completed Bivy = 6 ounces (+/-) a bit

Sewing to follow.

NOTICE!!!!!!!!!

I had a lot of problems finding a way to sew the Polycryo material.

I would suggest anyone that wants to sew with this material that you do many tests and stress the seams a bit till you are happy with the sewing method.


6.


7.


8.


The Bivy weighs 6.1 ounces. I will make a small hood out of Propore and attach the hood sometime over the next day or so.

A "Waterproof / Breathable Bivy" like this can be made for about $17.00.


If you have an idea you would like to share leave a me comment.

Edited by bfornshell on 06/02/2009 20:00:20 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 06/03/2009 10:45:21 MDT Print View

> The Bivy weighs 6.1 ounces. I will make a small hood out of Propore and attach the hood sometime over the next day or so.

Doing the math from your provided specs provides: GG Ground Cloth (1.44 oz) + Propore Bivy Top (4.7 oz.) = 6.14 oz. What do you expect the hood to weigh? If it comes in around an ounce you'll have a very competetive bivy here.

mark cole
(marklivia)
Yeh Bill! on 06/03/2009 11:46:13 MDT Print View

God I love the way you think Bill. Keep it up.

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 06/03/2009 11:48:06 MDT Print View

THIS is gonna be a great thread! Thank You Bill.

re: 3.4oz/sqyd pack material
Sounds intriguing ... is it a woven material by any chance? (working my brain trying to guess what it is)

re: polycryo
It has been said here on BPL forums that polycryo is the material used for heat shrink window insulation film. I have both and the tactile feel is the same, weight is the same within precision of my scale and I have noticed that the GG polycryo has shrunk a bit after being in a tarp's stuff sack on the outside of a pack on a hot sunny day. So, maybe it is the same material. If so, it is available in 62"x210" sheets for $9.89 and 84"x120" sheets for $8.39 (add shipping) at Amazon. I have not checked prices at local mass retail outlets.

The 84" width would make a single piece tarp for many folks who are also using a bivy.

Water bottles:
These might be pushing the boundaries required to reach SUL but the reused 1 liter soda/water bottles I use weigh in at 1.6oz (compared to 0.8oz for a 1 liter platypus).

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
GG Ground Cloth Tarp on 06/03/2009 12:38:41 MDT Print View

Bill,

Great looking bivy there. Are you suggesting that the Polycro could be used to make a tarp? That would be quite a precarious tarp to weather a real storm under, no? Material seems very prone to puncture and tearing....though, I've only babied it so don't know for sure.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: "Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap" on 06/03/2009 12:42:28 MDT Print View

(great thread)

I've been keeping my eye out for sources along these lines for a while now.

One idea for a pack is to use one of these poly recyclable grocery bags that most stores are selling now as a base. Even REI has one for $1 ---->

(rei shopping bag example link)

reibag

Tyvek leftovers are often available for free at construction sites (of course there are far fewer of these now), or on craigslist.

I also really like the idea of using wood/cane/bamboo for poles, frame components, utensils, etc. and intend on pursuing this more once I am done building our house.

It would be interesting to see some hypothetical SUL/SUC gear lists with dollar totals and sources.

Edited by biointegra on 06/03/2009 13:26:44 MDT.

Matt Mahaney
(Matt_Mahaney) - MLife

Locale: In the District
Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 06/03/2009 15:18:18 MDT Print View

Great thread. I've been wondering about how the GG ground cloths sew. What types of problems did you run into, Bill?

Steven Bergeron
(TheTurk) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap on 06/03/2009 22:48:40 MDT Print View

Bill,

Thanks for the posting. As always, very generous of you to share so much about your work.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap - Frogg Toggs Poncho Bivy on 06/05/2009 18:10:07 MDT Print View

Instant Bivy:

I received the two Frogg Toggs Ponchos this evening from Sierra Trading Post. Three and a half days after I ordered them. Quick shipping.

The Poncho is 52" wide by 87" long. The Poncho has three snaps on each side to close the Poncho when you are wearing it. The Poncho weighs 238 grams / 8.4 ounces.

The first thing I wanted to try was snapping both Ponchos together to make an "Instant Bivy".

I got in between the two snapped together Ponchos. My room was 76 degrees "F" and I think I started to get warm in the "Instant Bivy".

The cost for a Bivy like this would be $24.00 for the two Ponchos.
The weight for two Ponchos used as a Bivy would be about 16.8 ounces. This would figure out to $1.45 per ounce.

I think a Bivy made from two Frogg Toggs Ponchos would make a good multi use piece of gear. A Poncho when needed and your Bivy at night.

The Frogg Toggs DriDucks material maybe as good or better than eVent and it sure cost a lot less.

1. Both Frogg Toggs Ponchos snapped together.



2. Frogg Toggs Poncho open halfway.

Barrie Grieve
(barrie_grieve) - F

Locale: Fife, Scotland
myog bivi/tarp ? on 06/06/2009 03:43:55 MDT Print View

what about two pieces of equal size 2.5m x 1.5m , one breathable the other not, sewn together down one long side with various tie tabs sewn on.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap - Frogg Toggs Poncho Bivy on 06/06/2009 04:52:08 MDT Print View

Hi Bill, nice simple idea. I wondered about making a bivy out of a clothing grade tyvek XXL overall. Just cut up the leg inseams and glue together. Maybe do the same with the arms for more lofting space for the quilt. I guess it would work for a shorty, but I'm XXL anyway length ways. Would probably be a lot lighter than two ponchos.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap - Frogg Toggs Poncho Bivy on 06/06/2009 05:45:58 MDT Print View

The cost for a Bivy like this would be $24.00 for the two Ponchos.
The weight for two Ponchos used as a Bivy would be about 16.8 ounces. This would figure out to $1.45 per ounce.

I think a Bivy made from two Frogg Toggs Ponchos would make a good multi use piece of gear. A Poncho when needed and your Bivy at night.



Bill, what about using one poncho, plus a gusset to make up the required circumference, instead of the second poncho. You'd probably only need another 10-20" of material, plus a means to attach it to the poncho. Maybe you could attach it directly to the underside of your closed cell mat, and do away with a gusset all together

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Super Ultra Light / Super Ultra Cheap - Frogg Toggs Poncho Bivy on 06/06/2009 11:32:16 MDT Print View

Thanks to all of you that have taken some time to comment.

The great part of all of this is that there is no one right answer.

Their are many different ways to get to an answer and many answers will start with just trying what you have around you. Not everything will work but that is OK also. Each idea should lead to the next idea etc, etc.

The Frogg Toggs - DriDuck material is really nice. It is to bad we can't buy it by the yard. But since we can't buy eVent we can buy the Poncho and use the material from it. As best I can figure the DriDucks material from a Frogg Toggs Poncho cost $2.86 a sq yard.

Going back to my first idea for this material, when used with the Gossamer Gear Polycryo Ground Cloth it will make a Bivy that would weigh a bit less then 10 ounces and a cost of $13 plus shipping.

I have to order a couple more of the GG Ground Cloths.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
window insulation shrink film on 06/06/2009 12:48:12 MDT Print View

jcolten: "re: polycryo
It has been said here on BPL forums that polycryo is the material used for heat shrink window insulation film. I have both and the tactile feel is the same, weight is the same within precision of my scale and I have noticed that the GG polycryo has shrunk a bit after being in a tarp's stuff sack on the outside of a pack on a hot sunny day.

The 84" width would make a single piece tarp for many folks who are also using a bivy."

I haven't seen the GG polycryo ground sheet, but I have some of the window insulation shrink film. It's surprisingly tough, but I'm a little skeptical of using it for a tarp.
Pulling on a 3" strip of it tears with a snap straight across; it doesn't take a lot of force. On the plus side, the double sided tape holds well with zero curing time. Pulling on a 3" strip taped to itself, the tape holds and the film tears. Perhaps if it is carefully engineered so forces are spread across a much larger area it would work. The same film is used for inside or outside "storm windows", just the tape is different, so it must hold up to a certain amount of wind.

Perhaps doing the old trick of using the seams to add strength along high tension lines might work -- by folding it several times at seams and a couple lines of tape.
Two brands at amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/3M-2144W-Indoor-Patio-Insulator/dp/B0000CBJ80/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_b $15.95+shipping.
http://www.amazon.com/Henkel-00-09123-120-Inch-Shrink-Patio/dp/B000NHW2Z6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1244313830&sr=8-4 $8.39 plus shipping.

mark henley
(flash582) - F - M
Bill ... always a pleasure on 06/10/2009 17:24:45 MDT Print View

Hope your feeling up to snuff these days.

I always love these SUL/SUC threads. I think they really force us to challenge our traditional ways of thinking. I mean, it's easy to go SUL if you toss a bunch of cash at the problem.

Using your mind, however, can be a challenge.

I make it a point to take at least one Ultra Cheap weekend hike every season. It gives you a great feeling to reduce your dependence on gear, gear, gear.

Let me put the old thinking cap on yet again.