Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/09/2009 22:01:44 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/10/2009 01:24:36 MDT Print View

Very well done Roger!

So what to tackle first - a Caffin tent or a Caffin quilt?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/10/2009 01:42:08 MDT Print View

Or a ... ?

Cheers

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/10/2009 07:38:28 MDT Print View

Very Nice, Roger.

Concepts, materials, and the niggling details.

This should inspire anyone so inclined to give it a try.

Sebastian Ventris
(sabme) - F - M

Locale: SW UK
Synthetic on 06/10/2009 07:49:35 MDT Print View

I like the light weight quilt design.

I'd go for a synthetic insulation version, also easier to make. Might loose the zip out too.

Edited by sabme on 06/10/2009 07:51:53 MDT.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
quilt and bag on 06/10/2009 08:22:45 MDT Print View

Wonderful article with helpful diagrams and photos.

Thru-hiker.com has methods and diagrams for adding a hood to your bag and no-see-um netting can be used for baffles.

A simple way to add a hood to a quilt is just to add another piece of down filled section to the top edge and close it over your head with a zipper or just a few snaps. I got this idea from another thread here a year or so ago.

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2037304560045831896yNKphW

Here is another site for a MYO quilt:

http://home.comcast.net/~neatoman/quilt.htm

Photos of MYO Sleeping bag: NB: no-see-um baffles and foot box part of original piece of material

http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/572953260iPmbJb

Edited by rambler on 06/10/2009 10:26:02 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: quilt and bag on 06/10/2009 15:04:46 MDT Print View

Very nice details Roger. Shame I'm a back sleeper, so can't make use of the flip-over hood.

Another really simple way to make a footbox is to just use a drawcord along the bottom edge of the quilt (ala JRB), with a draft tube behind it. This make the quilt very versatile as it can be left open and flat when really warm, or cinched up tight when colder. So many ways to make a quilt! At least anyone contemplating the task has got some very good ideas and details to get them started.

My next project has got to be a Roger Tent! I just can't figure out how to make those bent pole joiners...hint hint.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/10/2009 15:18:15 MDT Print View

Roger, this has got to be the most lucid, descriptive break-down I've seen of how to build a sleeping bag. Thank you.

One point of interest: have y'all ever noticed the shot in the Western Mountaineering catalog where an employee is sewing in a baffle? I've spent far too much idle time looking at that photo in recent months trying to figure out if they just sew the strip in, or if it's folded back upon itself. I think it's just sewn right in. Reckon I'll have to call them and find out one of these days. But there's no arguing that doubled over will be stronger.

Glad to see someone else likes the center zip!

Cheers-
Brad

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag on 06/10/2009 16:30:15 MDT Print View

Excellent how-to article. Makes it look like we can all make one. My wife already told me to not even think about a quilt. My projects tend to become her projects.

I don't want to jeopardize our string of 33 years. Also, I have this nightmare of waking up and being beaten with a hiking pole, but I can't see or move because I've been sewn into a down sleeping bag.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: quilt and bag on 06/10/2009 16:36:31 MDT Print View

Hi Lynn

Yeah, but the tent is a LOT more complex!

> I just can't figure out how to make those bent pole joiners...hint hint.
Ah, that should be fairly easy for you. It's called a University engineering workshop ...

Contact me direct if you want.

cheers

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Manufacturers who will fill your down chambers for you? on 06/11/2009 15:11:29 MDT Print View

This was an EXCELLENT article. Thank you SO much for writing it. I've got all the mats for making a down quilt for two, and I've been putting it off, intimidated that I will get stuck in the details. I feel confident jumping in now - that I will not have over-looked something vital.

One thing that did strike me though: the comment you made about some manufacturers being willing to fill the down for you. This is the one part that I've been the most worried about and dreading...

Does anyone have any experience with this? Know current manufacturers willing to do this? And do you have to buy the down from them? Because I already have my down... :(

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Manufacturers who will fill your down chambers for you? on 06/11/2009 16:02:14 MDT Print View

Sharon, I wouldn't sweat stuffing the down. I use a digital scale tared with a small plastic bucket. I pull down from the bag I got it in, add to the bucket until I reach my desired weight. Then I take handfuls of down from the bucket and shove them directly into the proper baffle. I do this in the bathroom, sometimes with the door shut. The last project I'm pretty sure I had less than 0.25 oz of down floating about; it picked up quite easily, just swept my hand across the counter top and the floor, put the down back in my bag. No problems. No reason to dread. Simple!

Cheers-

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Manufacturers who will fill your down chambers for you? on 06/11/2009 20:18:12 MDT Print View

Hi Sharon

Check out the bit in the article about using a cardboard tube inside a large plastic bag. I did this a few days ago and it worked fine.

I don't know about specific USA manufacturers - perhaps someone else might be able to help.

Cheers

Matthew Steingass
(Steingass) - F

Locale: Washington
Much easier than I thought on 06/12/2009 01:27:17 MDT Print View

I was in your same position a little over a month ago. I thought it would be the hardest part of the process but it was probably one of the easiest. I used the vacuum fill method with and completly recommend it. No part of my quilt construction was very difficult but most were pretty tedious. I have a thread about my thru-hiker quilt construction. You should be able to find it in my profile. If you have any problems you can pm me with your phone number since reading a writeup, especially mine, isn't always clear. Good luck.

Edited by Steingass on 06/12/2009 02:00:16 MDT.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
stuffing down on 06/12/2009 06:58:46 MDT Print View

Sharon. Follow Brad's suggesstions about stuffing down. I tried it in a tent and in a work room off my garage. A small bathroom works best. Just hang the baffle to be filled from the towel rack and fill it by hand using the scale to determine what is left in the down container. A few feathers float around, but they are easy to pick up. To keep feathers from sticking to your hands cover them with chalk. Climbers use chalk on their hands, so it can be found in stores that sell to them. (eg. REI) I also use small binder clamps to hold the filled baffles closed. They are found at stores like Staples. They are also can be used as a substuturte for pins in your sewing projects. They do not make holes.
binder clips:
http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/825182/Office-Depot-Brand-Binder-Clips-Small/;jsessionid=00008SVOPwGCOe12LEFWcOIhi0I:13ddq0ud1

When one reads all the directions for a sewing project all at once, it is easy to be overwhelmed and discouraged, but when you go step by step as you sew, they will be come clear and easier to grasp.

Warmlite uses vapor barrier fabric in their sleeping bags, inside on the top. They sell the fabric which is 1.4 oz. silicone coated aluminized nylon at $24 per yard

Edited by rambler on 06/12/2009 07:21:34 MDT.

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
MYOG: Vacuum Fill method? on 06/12/2009 11:12:40 MDT Print View

Hey Matthew - I didn't make the connection when I saw your response, but once I found your MYOG thread, I recognized it right away. I have your write-up bookmarked from when you first posted it! I thought it was a fantastic write-up, and I really like your idea for "ruler" masking tape...

I'm not sure what the vacuum fill method is though. Do you know where I can find more information on it?

And thank you very much to everyone else for the encouragement and suggestions. Definitely is helping to reduce the dread! :)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Lengthwise baffles on 06/12/2009 11:14:19 MDT Print View

Hey Roger, what are your thoughts on the vertical baffles in the blue bag? Do you notice better/worse down control? Would you do it again that way? I could see the technique being particularly useful in a center zip bag... but then, the one I just made seems to keep down in place without trouble. What do you think about that baffle style?

Edited by 4quietwoods on 06/12/2009 11:18:26 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Lengthwise baffles on 06/12/2009 14:01:07 MDT Print View

Hi Brad

My wife complained that the down was forever migrating sideways in her red bag, and suggested vertical baffles would solve that.
I suspect that underfill in her red bag might have been the real problem, but I gave it a go. Yes, better control, but less flexibility.

Cheers

Sharon Bingham
(cowboisgirl) - F - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: "Make Your Own Gear - Down Quilt or Sleeping Bag" on 06/12/2009 17:15:39 MDT Print View

Also, does it matter which side of the fabric (shiny or matte) is facing the down vs. which side is facing your skin?

Or is it just a matter of preference? If so, would a few people mind sharing their preferences, and they have them?

Thomas Trebisky
(trebisky)

Locale: Southern Arizona
Great Article on 06/12/2009 22:39:59 MDT Print View

Plenty to learn even if I never sew my own quilt, (though I think I probably will have a go at it).

And a very enjoyable and effective writing style!