I've been working on a Bridge Down Under Quilt since Ed announced his discount for HF members. Also, I have created Bridge Pad Sleeves to use Pads under our Bridges. The Speer SPE doesn't work for me for 2 reasons:
- It won't handle the "T" formation I use to get the width we like, and
- pads inside a hammock simply do not work for me. I also incorporate the pad sleeves into our Bridge Under Quilts so that the pads can be used to supplement the down if needed.
First, the pad sleeves.
For the pad sleeves I make a second Bridge Hammock, identical to the Bridge Hammock under which it is to be used except I use guy line cord on the arcs. I use 1.75 Lash-It for this purpose, but any other guy line cord could be used also. I sew 5 sleeves to the top side of the under Bridge as shown: (note: one sleeve is hidden under the top of the "T" - see below for a better picture of all 5 sleeves)
Here the under pad holder and pads are shown attached to the Bridge:
Two things to note:
- the under Bridge hammock for the pad sleeves must be an exact duplicate of the Bridge under which it is hung. It may be possible that this requirement is not needed or I am being too stringent here, but it is the only way I have been able to get this to work well.
- the four corners of the under Bridge must be fastened such that the four corners exactly match-up with those of the main Bridge Hammock.
In using the under Bridge pad holder, the under Bridge is like a second skin for the main Bridge and holds the pads tight against the under side, no air gaps whatsoever. The tightness also keeps the 3/8" Gossamer Gear pads that we use from buckling. The under Bridge and pads are like a second skin.
I extend the arc cords 2' past the corner of the under Bridge. I slip a micro-cord lock on and use the micro-cord lock to fasten the under bridge to the suspension triangle cords of the main Bridge. I hang the under Bridge and pull the corner to exactly match the main bridge corner, then fasten the under bridge to the main bridge using a single half hitch, pull tight and slide the micro-cord lock tight against the main Bridge cord. This sets the proper position of the micro-cord lock. I then fix that position for the micro-cord lock using a slipped overhand knot and then chain the slipped bight to obtain a thicker cord that is easier to handle. This makes the half hitch toggled. Repeat on all four corners. To remove the under Bridge, simply undo the the toggled half hitch. To hang, simply tie the toggled half hitch, no need to redo the knots securing the micro-cord lock
Now the Bridge under quilt.
As I discussed elsewhere, I decided against side-to-side baffles and used end-to-end baffles. I used one side-to-side baffle to segregate the head end from the foot end.
Also, I wanted to take advantage of the Bridge design and reduce the amount of down used and hence the weight. My primary goal though was to have enough down left over from 4 of Ed's bags to use in a down hood. So 1 oz for the hood and 11.4 oz for the under quilt.
Since complete side-to-side coverage isn't needed at the foot end of the Bridge, I decided that the foot end of the under quilt would only be 20" wide. That matches the width of the Gossamer Gear pads we use and have found to be adequate. My bridges are 44" wide on the ends and after some investigation and experimentation, I decided that making the head end of the under quilt 38" wide would be more than adequate.
I wanted the baffles to be 4" high. So that left me with the problem of how to distribute the down so that I used only 11.4 oz.
After a lot of computer simulation, I decided on the following configuration:
The inner shell is outlined in red, the outer shell in black and the baffles are shown in blue. I have sleeves on the top of the inner shell for our Gossamer Gear pads in case we might need them also. The sleeves are in purple.
The inner shell is a exact duplicate of the Bridge hammock using guy line cord on the arc. This is the same strategy that I use for the Bridge under pad holder above.
The head end chambers are 42" long under the torso and stepped back to 36" long for the outer 2 chambers. The outer 2 chamber then intersect the arc 7.72" from the end of the chamber and then follow the arc down to the bottom of the arc.
The 4 leg end chambers are 30" long.
After much computer simulation I finally arrived at the down distribution shown. The numbers show the amount of overfill for each chamber.
This picture shows the pad sleeves sewn in place on the top of the inner shell:
Here the end-to-end pad is in place in the 3 sleeves:
Here the head end side-to-side pad is in place:
and here both pads are in place:
I decided to use fabrics available locally for the baffles. I have used chiffon before, but this time decided to try Organza available at the local JoAnne Fabrics. It is available in various colors besides black. I decided on white since that makes the baffles stand out from the dark colors I used for the shell and makes it a lot easier to work with them. The Organza has another advantage over noseeum - it is only 0.8 oz/sq yard, Lighter than noseeum and equal to the weight of nanoseeum, but cheaper than the nanoseeum. If you use the JoAnne coupons the Organza is about $4/yard.
Here are the baffles sewn to the under side of the inner shell:
This shows the outer shell cut from the 1.1 oz/sq yd ripstop nylon:
The white lines are tailors chalk showing where the baffles are to be sewn to the shell.
I decided on a box design for the under quilt, i.e., instead of sewing the edges of the two shell halves together, I used a 4" strip of the ripstop to keep the edges a constant 4" apart. Think of this as a solid edge baffle. This solved two problems:
- how to close the ends of the interior baffles - simply sew the baffle ends to the edge strip.
- I get a constant 4" depth all the way to the edges. The edges do not gradually thin down to zero and I get full utilization of the down.
To stuff the chamber with down I used the vacuum cleaner idea written about on the forums. It works great. Suck up some down, reverse the hose and blow the down into the desired chamber. Note: be sure to hold the chamber opening tightly around the wand tube or you WILL get blow-back. Also, do not let go until the vacuum has completely stopped for a few seconds before removing the wand from the chamber to let things settle down.
I was only able to suck up at most about 0.20 to 0.30 oz of down and then had to blow that into the chamber. Any more and the down stuck firmly in the wand tube.
One further note that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere: I found that by hanging the quilt up on a line with the chamber openings at the top, you can use gravity to keep the down safely in the chambers while filling. Simply insert wand and blow down into chamber where gravity works to hold it there. I got no stray down drifting out of the chamber whatsoever.
I filled 2 chambers, with the first held closed with clothes pins while doing the second. I would then sew the 2 chambers closed.
Here is the completed Bridge Under Quilt:
On the head end shown, I used black for the edge strip - it is visible here:
On the leg end I used purple for the edge strip:
Completed weight specs:
Empty Shell: 10.20 oz
down used: 11.55 oz
Total: 21.75 oz
Not bad for total coverage. The down is placed only where needed. No excess coverage. The Bridge design allows this. I haven't thought about trying the same for a gathered end hammock. I think it would be a lot more difficult for a gathered end hammock.
I used a little more than the 11.40 oz of down I desired. Warning: be careful in sucking up the down, once you have it sucked up, the only place to put it is in a chamber.
The central head end chambers with 20% overfill measured between 5" and 5.5" of loft. The leg end chambers with 10% overfill all measured 5" of loft.
The 2 outer chambers on the head end with zero overfill measured 4" of loft.
Hung under the Bridge and got in.
Zero compression of the down even when sitting up and all of the weight is under the butt.
Checked this with others in the Bridge Hammock.
By using the second skin inner shell, it prevents compression of the down. The second skin moves with the occupant and the outer shell then stands off a constant distance. The box design helps in this since the edge strips allow the outer shell to stay a constant distance from the inner shell. If the edges had been sewn together, then the outer shell would not be able to hold off a constant distance. Actually, the box design is the more important part in maintaining the constant distance and preventing down compression.
I haven't done the stuff sack yet, but am thinking of using one of the dry bags from Wal-Mart.