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  1. #1
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Cheap insulation ratings question

    Eventually, I'm going to make myself a KAQ style UQ with some sort of synthetic - climashield likely. When that time comes I'll evaluate the temps I'll likely use it in, and decide on the weight I need to get me there. I pretty much exclusively do car camping or short overnight hikes, so weight is not an issue per se, but cost is - my wife says I don't camp enough to spend crazy money on it (though I want to change that eventually )

    For the time being, though, I want to try and perfect my DIY skills by making a couple prototypes using regular old cheapo poly batting insulation from the fabric store. That way I can tweak my design, without spending a bunch and or risk ruining $50+ of expensive insulation. Anyone have any info or experience with the insulation abilities/ratings of regular old polyester quilt batting? I'll be camping on the east coast (NJ) spring and summer, so I just need something to keep me comfy if it gets a little chilly at night. Since weight isn't a factor, and neither is packability, if I need to use 4 layers of the cheap insulation, and it weighs four times what the climashield would weigh to get me to the same ballpark insulation level, I don't much care because it'll still be a fraction of the price and give me experience designing and putting these pieces together.

    Any thoughts? I've seen a few references to using something like that in a few threads, but no specific info on how much would be needed.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member BrianWillan's Avatar
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    If your looking to perfect your DIY skills with a thread injector, I would start by getting some cheap $1.50 Walmart fabric and start by making stuff sacks. Once you get comfortable doing that I would make a hammock (gathered end or bridge) with the same cheap fabric. This will get you used to working with a large piece of fabric.

    Once you've done that then I would tackle a full size synthetic underquilt with the proper Climashield insulation.

    My 2 cents worth on the matter and also consider what you paid for this advice too. ;-)

    Good luck

    Brian

  3. #3
    Senior Member JerryW's Avatar
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    Walmart and the fabric stores sell some synthetic insulation - I think they call it quilt batting or quilting - don't remember exactly. It's about 3/4" thick and they have different sizes, usually corresponding to bed or blanket size.

    Anyway, I've used this to make an underquilt. I used two layers. It worked very well, but as you noted, it was about 50% heavier than Climashield. It would work great for practicing your skills.

    I think a single layer would make a good summer underquilt. If you think it would get used in temps below the 50's I'd recommend two layers, though.

    Good luck with the DIY!

    Jerry
    The "Search" function is your friend!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bunk's Avatar
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    I would like to make a top quilt and have looked into what supplies I can purchase close to home (I live in Ontario, Canada). I have found a source for rip-stop nylon and polyester batting which comes as stuffing or sheets.

    For a quilt that would work in temps below freezing would two layers of this polyester be substantial...or should I add a third? I am a little concerned about how much I can compact this quilt with a stuff sack but since I am a canoe tripper...a bit extra weight and size is ok...to a point.

    If it helps, the polyester batting is from fabricland. I just don't know what the quality of this insulation is like and what to expect for heft and size.

    Thanks for the help!

  5. #5
    Senior Member KerMegan's Avatar
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    Insulation is purely a function of how still the air is between you (heat source) and the outside world; almost always colder than you (heat sink)- (NB I am referring to convection here, radiation and conduction can be covered under separate posts..)
    so the thicker the insulation layer that prevents warmth from moving away from you, the better. beyond that you can/must consider the efficiency/weight/compressibility of various materials, and which of these aspects are most important to you.
    translation- 2" of foam will keep you as warm as 2 inches of shredded paper, if they both keep the air equally still. paper is cheaper, foam holds up better in the rain, and is easier to pack and carry about.
    down weighs virtually nothing per cubic inch, is very warm (heat-slowing) per inch of thickness, compresses exceptionally well and costs accordingly very high.
    in between these two extremes there is plenty of ground for experimentation and data gathering.
    Have a great time! KM (who spends too much time reading physics stuff lately)

    PS my first three UQ's were made with poly batting from an ebay score- they won't take me to 20* but are great for anything above freezing- (Just about 2 layers thick, some piecing was involved.)
    Last edited by KerMegan; 08-20-2010 at 12:59. Reason: typos..sigh.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    Climashield is not that expensive, especially if you compare it to buying a couple thickenesses of quilt batting to get similar insualting properties. Where I bought my climashield, you had to purchase full yards, so I bought 4 and needed 3.5. (or was it needed 2.5 and purchased 2 ??) I could have saved a little rounding down the 1/2 yard and shortening the quilt a little. I'm 6'-1". Mine quilt could be a little shorter. You might find you can purchase the climashield for just a couple bucks more.

    It's probably not recommended for the loft, but I also used spray adhesive (the kind that dries, not the kind that remains tacky) to add a little thickness to my torso area with the scraps in my DIY KAQ style quilt. It would also work to lengthen it a little. I sprayed the scraps and added them gently to the main body and tried not to compress it when I touched them together.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bunk's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate your responses. The knowledge on this forum is just awesome!

    I cannot find any climashield or down in my neck of the woods so am looking at ordering it in. For now I think I will stick with the cheap polyester batting and see how it goes.

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunk View Post
    Thanks guys, I really appreciate your responses. The knowledge on this forum is just awesome!

    I cannot find any climashield or down in my neck of the woods so am looking at ordering it in. For now I think I will stick with the cheap polyester batting and see how it goes.

    Thanks again!
    Just make sure to get the roll/sheet kind, not the loose stuff. It tends to come in a few thicknesses - ranging from 1/4" to 3/4" usually. Consider the size quilt you want to make, then get the next size up of batting that will give you the size you need plus some. From experience, you don't want to get batting or insulation that's just the right size. Way easier to work with if you have extra hanging over, sew your hem 3/4" in (at least) from the edge of the insulation, and trim off the excess. That way you'll be sure to not be stretching the insulation thin, and it'll save you a bunch of headache.

    Oh, and one last tip: Cut your shell first, then lay it on the insulation, and cut the insulation a touch larger. Don't rely on measurements you take directly on the insulation and cut them independently and expect them to match up. They probably won't, since the insulation stretches and shrinks and changes shape as you work with it. I learned this one the hard way.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bunk's Avatar
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    That's what I was looking for!

    Thanks bud!!

  10. #10
    silentorpheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentorpheus View Post
    Just make sure to get the roll/sheet kind, not the loose stuff. It tends to come in a few thicknesses - ranging from 1/4" to 3/4" usually. Consider the size quilt you want to make, then get the next size up of batting that will give you the size you need plus some. From experience, you don't want to get batting or insulation that's just the right size.
    I just realized that I talked about thickness and size right next to each other, and that might have been confusing - I had to read it twice, and I posted it!

    To clarify: as far as thickness goes, not sure what thickness is better when it comes to this type of batting. The thicker you get, the more insulation against cold you'll get (to a point). But also the thicker, heavier, and less packable your quilt will get.

    As far as 'size' I referred to, I meant dimensions. At least at my local stores, twin size batting comes in a roll 72"x90", queen size is 90"x108", etc. unless you plan on making a quilt for a Yeti, (not to be confused with the Yeti underquilt ) twin size should give you more than you need.

    Hopefully there wasn't any confusion, but if there was, hopefully that cleared it up. Good luck!

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