Many years ago our first outdoor projects were always stuff sacks!
My wife made me a series of nice cotton stuff sacks for the MSR Wisperlight stove we used to carry. They had to be stout cotton because they doubled as a pot holder! Also, they were a little bigger than the factory sacks so it could also hold our spoons, lighter, repair kit, and the windscreen.
Then we made all sorts of light nylon pack liners for waterproofing packs on canoe trips.
eventually we made several Ray Way kits. A double quilt, several of his stuff sacks and one funky hat kit. Using his kits introduced us to some very high quality materials.
Making stuff yerself is fun and can be addictive. You might want to experiment with a cheap polycro tarp before making an expensive silnylon one. Don't forget that you can also make yer own alcohol stove too!
But, for a nice little sewing project how 'bout a pair of shell mittens?
I recently invented a pair and documented the process.
Shell mittens are just that, big uninsulated mittens that can be worn over mittens or gloves or just by themselves.
Ever go backpacking on a blustery day and wind up trying to stick yer hands into yer pockets? It isn’t easy when yer wearing a backpack, and it is impossible if your holding trekking poles, a staff or an umbrella.
Just the shells can be worn in the rain to keep your hands warmer and dry, as the water sluicing down your rain jacket will otherwise keep your hands wet all day. Of course in that case you’d have to put the gloves on first, then your rain jacket, so the water runs over the gloves and not inside the cuffs.
Mittens do reduce your dexterity, but this isn’t a big deal in most conditions and they can be easily slipped off.
They are idea for wearing over fleece gloves.
Fleece gloves are cheap and very warm – When dry. Sadly they soak up water like a sponge, so they do need protective shells.
Shell mittens are also idea for digging snow caves, quinzees, snow trenches, for riding bikes in cold and / or wet weather, ( over normal bike gloves ), snowball fights and so forth.
They are easy to make. The palm needs to be made from something waterproof, like coated nylon. The backs should be something water resistant but breathable, like uncoated nylon.
Thankfully I have plenty of both kinds of material salvaged from an old tent.
The Inspiration –
“Lighten Up” by Don Ladigin and “Trail Life” by Ray Jardine
Cutting out the material
Pinning it together ( and pie and tea! )
Almost forgot to sew the gatherers on the cuff first – Note these were cut off the waist of an old set of BDU trousers!
Way, way to small!
Don't get discouraged by failure, think of it as evolution in progress. The New Pattern. Once a pattern is finally right, it is worth keeping in case you might want to make more in the future.
Success! And the fleece gloves to be worn under them in cold weather.
The glove is 0.4 ounce and quite compact! I’ll never notice a pair of these in my pack or pocket. I have yet to add something to gather the cuffs and seam seal them, so they will be heavier when done. It was getting late and I was finished for the evening, and I haven’t decided what to use. I could put a draw string in the cuff, add a Velcro tab, or use the tabs from the old BDU trousers.
If nothing else I have learned how to make waterproof gloves, so that is one less thing I have to buy. It would certainly be simple to make fleece, wool or rabbit fur mittens to wear under them, so I should always have warm hands!