Wednesday, August 18, 2010

backpacking quilts

Last summer, since we were "newlyweds," I made a two-person backpacking quilt so we could snuggle in the mountains....
This year, as "old-timers," we are trading in the two-person quilt for single, individual, all-our-own quilts.
The two-person quilt was too small and uncomfortable. We cut it on the small side to shave a few fractions of an ounce off our pack weight. Unfortunately, to stay warm, we had to lay perfectly still on our backs :(
I remade the two-person (which we affectionately named "the whale" after the color of the fabric - whale blue - the shape, and the size of the quilt) to fit Adam as a single quilt.
Here it is in action! (plus his matching bomber-cap):
The outer fabric is Epic in Whale Blue
the insulation is one layer of 0.5 oz and one layer of 0.3 oz
the lining and wind flaps are .9 oz uncoated nylon in Grey

Here is the new single quilt I made to fit me:
The outer fabric is Momentum (0.9 oz nylon, micro rip-stop, DWR coated on one side)
The insulation is two layers of Primaloft One (5 oz and 3 oz)
And the lining is 1.1 oz uncoated nylon

It is a rectangle with an oval foot box.
1. I quilted the 2 layers of batting to the lining nylon and strips of nylon acting as the outer fabric. I used these strips so I didn't poke holes in the outer fabric, which would make it less water resistant.
2. Prepare the two pieces: main rectangle and oval foot box.
To prevent bulky seams and ensure all edges are sealed against fraying, I prepared the two pattern pieces by layering the fabric with right sides together, sewing around all sides twice - leaving a gap to turn the piece right side out. I then turned each piece right side out and sewed that gap shut. I have two (a rectangle and an oval), separate, quilted and sealed pieces that I can now use to assemble the bag.
3. Assemble the bag.
To create a partially sealed bag/quilt, I folded the rectangle lengthwise with right sides together, and sewed a 24 inch seam for the lower leg of the bag/quilt. I then sewed the oval foot box to this circular part of the bag. I sewed all seams twice for extra strength.

4. Some accessories
a. At the head of the bag/quilt, I included a channel of fabric for elastic cord. This allows you to cinch the quilt around your neck and head to keep you warm and hands-free!
b. Nylon flaps. In the layering, before I sewed and turned the rectangle piece right side out, I included rectangles of nylon to act as wind flaps/handles. This creates more fabric to hold on to when wrapping the quilt around you without adding extra weight. This also makes a windproof edge you can tuck under your back when laying down to sleep.
Some of these things are hard to explain, but the pictures help. Contact me if you want more details or help in making your own backpacking quilt...or look up other examples online.
c. Triangle of fabric to strengthen and support the lower leg seam.
Now we will be warm and comfortable up in the mountains. Yahoo!
We like to go lightweight.

Here I am (looking like a scout) carrying a large - but light - pack with all the camp gear for two people.
Adam carries the pack with our climbing gear (rope, harnesses, rock shoes, cams, tricams, slings, hexes, nuts, etc.). If we won't be climbing on our backpacking trip, then we distribute the gear from this one pack into two smaller packs. We can go very fast when we pack this light!

1 comment:

Little Lisa said...

My dad has been lightweight backpacking for about ten years now. I remember watching him sew his own quilt, getting help from Grandma. So cute!

It is hilarious to see pics of him on his trips. He's 6'4", so from the front you can't even tell he's wearing a pack. In contrast, all his friends/the Scouts/whoever have massive get-ups that dwarf them in size (and probably weight).

Jeff and I don't backpack much down here since there are sadly NO mountains, but if we did, we would go light!!!

I love seeing all the fun you're having Tess!