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Hiking Kilt
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Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt on 08/15/2006 22:02:00 MDT Print View

There was some talk recently about a kilt for hiking. You can buy them from several places but I really didn't like the ones for sale. Several years ago I made a "Great Kilt". this is the type that the expression "The whole 9 yards" comes from. The "Great Kilt" takes 9 yards of fabric - more or less. I found some "Black Watch Plaid" in my local fabric store on sale. It was woven Poly something fabric and very nice. It also was a little on the heavy side. When the big kilt was done it looked OK but was really heavy for hiking. I had a lot of the plaid material left over and thought someday I will make a "skirt" only style kilt and see how that works for hiking.

Last week I was working on my new Hammock but had to stop while I waited for some material I have on order.

I decide to get my kilt information out and make a new kilt.

The material is the same "Black Watch Plaid" I had used for the "Great Kilt" and weighs 6.89 ounces per sq yard. Figuring out how to do the pleats just about drove me nuts. I quit 3 times and had to take long walks before starting back to work. The finished kilt weighs 11.8 ounces. Yes, I know that isn't very light. The kilt took about 1.75 sq yards of material.

I am thinking of making another one out of some really light Cuben material. I would line the kilt with a dark color material that would not add much extra weight. That might solve the see-thru problem of the Cuben material. With the right lining material I think I can do this at or near a finished kilt weight of 3 ounces.

Edited by bfornshell on 08/15/2006 22:02:50 MDT.

Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/16/2006 00:10:51 MDT Print View

You look fantastic in your kilt. It must be a joy to wear. Girls know all about the merits of this sort of ventilation. You've inspired me to make a wrap-a-round skirt out of the black ripstop remnants that were left over from making my double quilt.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Great Kilt on 08/16/2006 02:22:53 MDT Print View

Hey Bill,

I've been thinking about hiking in a great kilt as well. I read on the internet that in the past the great kilt was also used to sleep in at night. I asked a question about that somewhere else on these fora, but haven't gotten a lot of responses.

Have you tried sleeping in your great kilt? If so, what do you reccon is the temperature rating of sleeping in your great kilt?

Thank Eins

BTW cool project.

Edited by EinsteinX on 08/16/2006 02:23:37 MDT.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Great Kilt on 08/16/2006 12:17:18 MDT Print View

Bill ... the Kilt looks great!

I watched the movie "Rob Roy" over the weekend ... in the intro scene the lads are coverting from hiking to sleeping in their great quilts, and although it is Hollywood, they do seem to have strived for realism. Of course, 9 yards of material at at least 4 oz per yard ... 36 oz, but it replaces pants, sleeping bag, jacket, ... quite a practical garment.

I would second the temperature question ... about the temperature rating of a great quilt? 9 yards of material, or 27 ft long, would give you enough wool for several wrappings.

What is the temperature rating of a wool blanket, does anyone know?

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt on 08/19/2006 00:00:56 MDT Print View

Linsey, Thanks for your kind comments.

Einstein, The other morning it was about 74 degrees in my house. That is cool for this time of the year in south Texas. I got out my Great Kilt and used it as a blanket. I was fine but even without a thin blanket I would have been OK. The material in my Great Kilt is a Poly- something and light weight. I would guess it would be about as warm as regular cotton t-shirt material.

Mark, See comment above on temperature rating of "my" Great Kilt". I rented the "Rob Roy" movie. In the part where they were sleeping they seemed to just unfasten the top part of their kilt and wrap it around themselves. I have no idea what the low temperature a decent weight wool kilt might be good down to. My Great kilt material weighs 6.89 oz per sq yard. I don't think that would be warm enough to replace anything I would sleep under anytime except maybe on a warm summer night with a low of 65 - 70 degrees. I think I would still need on some good light weight long underwear.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt/CheerStic Air Pad Combo on 08/19/2006 00:33:14 MDT Print View

I decided to modify the Silk Shell I made for my CheerStic Air Pad and turn it into a Hiking Kilt/Air Pad. The Silk Shell had sleeves to hold 12 CheerStics and when they were laying flat looked like pleats. Since I made the first Kilt I have had pleats on the brain. The Air Pad Shell was 27" by 36" long. The CheerStics are about 23" long, about the length of my Kilt. I added extra Silk to both ends of the Air Pad Shell so it was the same length as my first Kilt. I folded over the top edge to make a waist band and pressed down the sleeves (now the kilt pleats). The Silk is white and I will dye it some dark color.

In Silk Kilt Mode it weighs 1.9 ounces.

At night I will convert the Kilt into my sleeping pad by sliding the inflated CheerStics in the sleeves (Kilt pleats) and have a short Air Pad to sleep on. The Air Pad is 36" long by 23" wide by 3" thick.

In CheerStic Air Pad mode it weighs 5.88 ounces.

I am starting to work on a new gear list I am calling my "crazy light" gear list. I will use it on part of my "October Surprise" hike. The first 5 or so days will be your typical SUL gear list and then I will try out my "crazy light" gear list. The Silk Kilt/CheerStic Air Pad will be a part of my "crazy light" gear list.

I will take a few pictures on Saturday and post them.

Edited by bfornshell on 08/19/2006 00:38:42 MDT.

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
A Well Turned Calf on 08/19/2006 00:35:55 MDT Print View

With handsome calves like yours, you definitely don't want to be covering them up with pants!

Like white water kayakers say, "Real men wear skirts".

Nice project.

If I recall correctly, when bedding down, Liam Neesum unpins the single broach releasing his kilt and freeing it up for bedding.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt on 08/19/2006 01:09:07 MDT Print View

Hi Al,
Thanks for the comments, I think.

Yes, I should have said broach. I just replayed that part of the movie and he just unpins his broach but did not take off his belt. He just sort of wraps the top part of his Kilt around the upper part of his body. The movie has a lot of good shots of all the stuff that goes with the Kilt. I need to make a shirt that looks like the one he had on.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Silk Kilt (1.9oz)/Air Pad(3.49oz) Combo on 08/19/2006 11:26:10 MDT Print View

Pictures of my new Silk Kilt in Kilt mode. Kilt weight is 1.9 ounces.

Pictures of Silk Kilt converted to my CheerStic Air Pad. Kilt/Air Pad - Weight only for 12 CheerStics is 3.49 ounces. Silk Kilt weight is counted as "clothing worn" and not counted when it is used as the Air Pad Shell. The Air Pad weight is counted as 3.49 ounces. The CheerStic Air Pad is 24" by 36" by 3" thick.

In colder weather I can use a set of Poly Tubes with Down in them to turn the Air Pad into a short very light weight Down Air Mattress (DAM).

Edited by bfornshell on 08/19/2006 11:27:14 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/20/2006 20:05:46 MDT Print View

An excellent way to get multiple use out of gear, Bill. working your clothing into the sleeping pad is excellent.

And all in working towards the next step in lightweight - - "crazy light". As if SUL wasn't light enough. Hehe.

So how long 'til someone starts using gear filled with helium? Have we discussed this yet?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 11:47:23 MDT Print View

"There was some talk recently about a kilt for hiking."

Angus McFornshell

This is so frought with opportunity that the mind boggles. Let me just quote the Bard of Avon:
"O brave new world,
That has such people in't!"

Or better yet, Frank Baum:
"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas [or Texas] anymore."

Or me:
"That sure as Heck should keep anyone from stealing his first aid supplies!"

Here's some links that show how to wrap a great kilt:

Edited by dwambaugh on 08/21/2006 12:00:22 MDT.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 12:46:05 MDT Print View

Hi Dale,
That is a good link. I have that one and many others. The link to the "How To" that I used to make my "Great Kilt" seems to be gone. I have a printed copy so I may scan it and put it on my Blog.

I am thinking about making another "Great Kilt". I am going back to one of my original ideas. Using silk I am going to make this one in a way that I can turn the lower part of it into a CheerStic Air Pad shell and the upper part of it into an insulated Top Cover. This then would be my sleep system.

I would put the insulation in it at night for the Top Cover part just like I add the CheerStics when I use the new silk kilt as an Air Pad. The Top Cover should work well for moderate weather and be very light. I need to decide if I want to use Down or a synthetic insulation. This will be the "Key Stone" of my "Crazy Light" gear list.

On a side note. I have made two more pack frames. I am working on one now that is made to carry a "Lot" of water at the waist line or a lot of food for something like an "Alpine Hike" or just for a long time between resupply.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 14:02:29 MDT Print View

Love your idea's Bill ...

1.6 yards wide by 9 yards long yields 15 square yards. 1.7 oz Silk (16 m/m)should yield a material weight of about 26 oz. unless you're using a lighter weight silk. A 6 yard great Kilt sounds more likely ... about 16 oz?

I'll be watching this space with great interest!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 15:35:03 MDT Print View

Hi Mark,
Thanks for the comment and other information.

I made my "Great Kilt" to my size and it was 60" by 80". This is called a "4 Yard Great kilt". They don't have to be 9 sq yards if you are not that big. I am 6' tall and at about 157 pounds. The waist length only needed to be about 60". To figure the waist length you more or less start at the left hip and go across your front to the right around your back and stop at the right hip. For me this was close to 60". The skirt part needs to be about 22 to 24 inches long and the rest is what you drape up and over your shoulder.

For the first one (prototype) I will start out with my first silk kilt. I will make the silk Top Cover and then sew the Top and Bottom pieces together to make a sort of "Great Kilt" looking thing. It will not be 60" by 80".

There is a "maybe" element to all this and I will decide how I like it when it is finished and tested.

The weight of the current silk kilt is 1.9 oz. I estimate the sq yardage necessary for the Top Cover part to be around 6.62 sq yards. At 0.57 ounces per sq yard for the 4.5mm silk I should end up with a total weight for the silk Great Kilt (thing) of about 6 ounces. The math gets a little complicated and I will know for sure when it is all finished.

I will add in the weight of the insulation when I decide what kind and how much I am going to use.

Edited by bfornshell on 08/21/2006 15:37:15 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 16:02:23 MDT Print View

Seems that a nice DWR-treated polyester plaid would be fitting for a hiking great kilt- light yet breathable. A sewn kilt could be pulled off with just about any fabric, but it seems the great kilt would need some texture to provide enough friction to stay in place. Pertex would be interesting, but perhaps too slippery. I'm thinking of the protection provided by the top section when considering fabric selection.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 16:06:15 MDT Print View

I understand! ... the Light Dawns!

Thanks Bill, for the illumination ... a 4 yard great Kilt for you would probably be a 6 yard for me, but the principals should hold true regardless.

I'm wondering if, not regular space blanket material, but the emergency Bivy material would be an effective covering when used in conjunction with a silk liner or sheet? The Silk would wick away any clamminess in a perfect world. Tinny from MiniBullDesigns listed the Adventure medical Bivy as his sleeping bag down to about 45 degrees, but of course, he's a Maine native. If you could get an effective 50 out of the Bivy and an extra 10 out of the silk liner, you could have an effective 40 to 45 degree sleeping system for what ... 6 oz Kilt, 6 oz Bivy, 4 oz worth of air tubes ... 15 oz? Toss in a 1 inch down quilt and you might be good down to 20?

Just a passing thought .... I'm going to take the Bivy along on my next cool weather Lake Georgetown trip and try it with the silk liner to see how it works. I will tell you that My Son and I used the Bivys in conjunction with 45 degree bags (colman Canyon 32's) and were toasty down well below freezing with slight dampness in the bags come morning.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Re: Re: Hiking Kilt on 08/21/2006 16:32:43 MDT Print View


Another thought that may or may not strike some creative juices on your end ...

I've been doing some research into the gear that soldiers, such as in the civil war, the War for independence, the spanish am war, etc carried that enabled them to march such long distances and still be an effective fighting force when they arrived.

They had a few really good ideas about traveling light ..Haversack and RucksackCarrying equipment

The Haversack was loaded with about 3 lbs of rations, cook kit, toothbrush, and other personal items for a total of about 6 to 7 lbs.

The rucksack with poncho, tent, wool blanket, extra shoes, and extra clothes came in at around 25 lbs.

The Canteen carried about 3 pints of water and weighed about 4.5 lbs full.

If we updated the concept .... 2 lbs of rations removed from pack weight, 1 lb of personal gear with cook kit and ultralight Haversack (AM mini kit for Water).

Great kilt removed from pack weight, 3.5 oz tubes, 6 oz emergency bivy?, 1 oz cuben rucksack, 4 oz cuben poncho w/ line and stakes, 1 lb for High loft pullover, hat, gloves, and socks.

That's a bit over 2 and a half pounds. Three and a half if you replace the Em Bivy with a 16 oz down blanket.

If the Blanket is like a Jacks-r-Better with a head hole, so it can be used as a down poncho liner, then you can cut the High Loft pullover, so you're back down to the sub 3 lb range again.

Just thinking out loud

William Webber
(micwebbpl) - F
Knickers on 08/23/2006 10:07:42 MDT Print View

In the "I don't care what other people think, I'm aiming for practicality" department, I've taken to wearing home-made knickers.

Knickers are essentially very long shorts, or very short pants.

The goal is to have the pants leg end somewhere between the top of your socks and the top of your foot.

That way you get complete sun protection, but at the same time you get VERY good ventilation. (I've tried hiking in shorts but burn too easily, even with sunscreen; regular long pants are just too hot.)

On the kilt front, the only kilt I've considered is a silynylon or garbage bag "rain kilt" as recommended in the Complete Walker - when used with an umbrella it provides good lower body rain protection without overheating.

Edited by micwebbpl on 08/23/2006 10:22:26 MDT.

michael a blandina
(hairball) - F
HairBall's skirt enthusiasm! on 08/24/2006 11:26:47 MDT Print View

I hiked the AT last year in a Mountain Hardware sport kilt and absolutely loved it! Not only is hiking in a "skirt" far more breathable, it's over the top and on the "lunatic fringe" that all of us who hike light and make our own gear love. I'm super psyched to see your design since my kilt is trashed after 2000 miles and I refuse to spend $50 on a new one. I love the sleep pad shell design and think that I'll give it a go round. Cheers!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Up-Date: Kilt / Balloon Bed on 02/03/2007 11:00:09 MST Print View

I dyed the white silk Kilt black and the picture shows it being used at Wood's Hole Shelter on the AT in Georgia last October as the shell for my balloon bed. The balloon bed is torso length.

Me laying on the balloon bed.

The silk Kilt used alone weighs 1.9 ounces.