Down quilt

Discussion about making bushwalking-related equipment.

Down quilt

Postby andrewa » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 8:08 am

Recently made new quilt for my hammock (or summer camping).

Shell made from 1oz nylon with mesh baffles, and filled with cheap Aussie sourced "550 loft" down. shell weight 220g, fill weight 250g, loft about 5-6cm. I've put 3 press studs along the lower side edge over about 45 cm, and a drawer cord across the bottom, which allows a footbox to be made. This is a prototype made for a mate. About to make another using 900 loft down from Thru-Hiker.

Simple design, easy to make. Have previously made differentially cut down bags and jackets, but, at the end of the day, the simple cross baffle design is way more practical for me, even for snow camping.

Andrew A
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Re: Down quilt

Postby andrewbish » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 1:57 pm

Nice bit of DIY, Andrew. Nice of your mate to be the crash test dummy, too. :)
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Re: Down quilt

Postby Tony » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 2:15 pm

Wow, very nice work, how long did it take you.

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Re: Down quilt

Postby andrewa » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 4:52 pm

Thx . I made it one evening and it took an hour to fill using vacuum cleaner and cardboard tube technique.

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Re: Down quilt

Postby Bluegum Mic » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 5:35 pm

Looks amazing. Its one thing on my list of things to make. Was there a particular design/website you followed?
Cheers
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Re: Down quilt

Postby andrewa » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 8:29 pm

No, Mic, it's my own design/sizing, however the thought process came after reading Roger Caffin's site. If you haven't looked at it, it is well worth a read, as it has stimulated my thought a lot about design of gear, and much of what you get commercially seems "over-engineered".

I am often after "niche" gear for my pursuits, and, as I like sewing, and designing, it is fun making my own stuff. I also used to work in MDs when a student in the 80's, so got very involved in discussing design issues with customers (and justifying the over-design of stuff!!).

A quilt like this is a great project, as it is flat, and doesn't require 3 dimensional thinking, as it does making an over designed differentially cut mummy shaped bag. Keep it simple (you know the KISS concept). Sort out the dimensions of the quilt and baffle/wall height/width etc; sew the baffle walls in; sew one side closed by inverting the edges , pinning them, and sewing them together; invert and pin the edges on the side you are going to fill (it's important to ensure that it will sew together evenly once it's filled), and then I do short sections of large stitches (to pull out later), where the walls are, leaving room to fill the baffles between the stitching, and then once filled, it's simple to sew the final seam, and pull out the big stitches. I've previously always filled sleeping bags in a tent, by hand, and made a lot of mess, but this time I used a vacuum cleaner, with mesh over the tube, and a cardboard tube to suck the down up, and this worked well, although my scales were not accurate enough to allow me to weight the down used per baffle, however I judged it by sight, which seemed to work OK.

Have fun. Making you own gear is v easy........ unless you choose to over-design in with lots of un-necessary curves etc!

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Re: Down quilt

Postby Nuts » Thu 13 Oct, 2011 10:19 pm

andrewa wrote:Thx . I made it one evening and it took an hour to fill using vacuum cleaner and cardboard tube technique.

Andrew A


Ok, whats the vacuum cardboard tube trick?
Nice job, good design. what do you mean with the press studs andrew?
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Re: Down quilt

Postby andrewa » Fri 14 Oct, 2011 6:40 am

There are 3 press-studs over about 45cm on the lower outer edges , which allow these edges to join in making the footbox. The drawer cord then closes off the bottom.

You use the vacuum cleaner to suck down into a cardboard tube, then put the tube in the baffle and push the down out with a plunger that you've made that fits inside the tube. In theory you should bs able to weigh the down in each baffle this way dependent on your scales. You stop the down being sucked into the cleaner by taping some mesh over the end. Very clean technique. Did it in the middle of a room with almost no mess, which is miles better than hand stuffing.

A
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Re: Down quilt

Postby phan_TOM » Fri 14 Oct, 2011 7:02 am

Thats a great looking quilt Andrew and you make it sound so easy!

I've been thinking about doing a project like this for a while, maybe making a quilt for the warmer months/top quilt in the hammock and if it goes well an underquilt to match. It would be nice to cut some weight and like you said, you can make it to your own spec without any over-engineering (or over-pricing :evil: )

I think you've given me the final bit of inspiration that I needed to get off my *&%$#! and have a go

What are the overall dimensions and can you tell me where you sourced the components?
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Re: Down quilt

Postby HitchHiking » Fri 14 Oct, 2011 8:04 am

Very nice work! The 550 down will still do the Job! Looks really great.
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Re: Down quilt

Postby andrewa » Fri 14 Oct, 2011 11:10 am

I've given it to my mate so can't measure it. It was about 2m in length so as to allow length for the footbox, and do cover his head, and about 3/4 the width of an open mummy style sleeping bag - just enough to tuck over me , and a slight taper.

Fabric/down easily available from thru hiker in US. With 900 loft down I'm hoping 150g will be sufficient. I got the 550 loft stuff a few years ago in ? Braeside in Melb, but, for the buggerising around driving there and back, it's more worth while working and buying better down online. Mesh for baffles came from Spotlight.

A
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Re: Down quilt

Postby Mark F » Sat 15 Oct, 2011 4:08 pm

If you are going to get the down from thru-hiker, perhaps you should get his quilt kit which has fabric, baffle netting (0.7oz) and down. I have just made one am very happy with the materials - no comment on the build. I made a tapered design 140cm at the top tapering to 100cm with 13cm baffles. I made it a bit long - but I am sure it is much better a faction long than short!

A couple of design points to consider. I have used the quilt for about 30 days in the Pyrenees (HRP) as well a couple of weekends since I returned. Conditions in the 0-15 degree range. I use it with a short Neoair and 4 folds of a Thermarest Z-lite for the feet which is also used as a back pad in my pack.

Ray Jardine talks about a "gorget" on his quilts which seems to be making the top edge of the quilt curved. I built this into my quilt extending the centre of the top edge 13cm in a smooth arc. It does seem to let the quilt drape better around the neck area for a good seal.

I made the foot area flat with a 30cm open ended zip to allow conversion to a box foot. I definitely prefer the box foot in cooler conditions but flat for most of the time. The foot has a draw cord across the base and I built the base with a extra strip of Momentum material exactly the same as a baffle. The draw card is in a external channel attached between the outer fabric and the extra baffle. This has the benefit of creating the equivalent of a down filled flap when the draw cord is tightened up.
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