I'm new to hammock camping, so I have really enjoyed the wealth of information available on this forum. After reading dejoha's descriptions on how to reconfigure an army poncho liner as an under quilt, I decided that this would be an easy and inexpensive way to provide good insulation for the upcoming cooler weather. I took a little different approach than dejoha, and spent a lot of time looking for an underquilt pattern to use for my Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock. Since I didn't find any patterns I liked, I ended up making my own variation of the KAQ pattern (thanks Patrick!) modified for use with the GT Ultralight or similar gathered end, symmetrical hammock. I'm posting my pattern and construction description here with the hope that it will inspire more DIYers to take on this easy and rewarding project.
This underquilt is constructed from the following:
1 Army poncho liner - $15
2 Yards 3.7 oz. Climashield Combat (two layers) - $30
20 ft shockcord - $3
4 ft nylon webbing - free (re-purposed from a worn out Corkage Caddy)
Thread and such - $2
Total cost = $50
I developed my pattern using a bed sheet purchased at the salvation army. I attached it to the weighted hammock and tried various dart locations and end configurations before opting for side darts and end tapers. This design fits well with the dimensions of the poncho liner.
I tried to re-use as much of the poncho liner as I could, so the first task was to seam-rip the edging off of the liner. This was very easy to do, and gave me plenty of edging to make the shockcord channel along the edge of the quilt. I used a soldering iron to cut the liner pattern and made the liner from one half of the PL, then made the shell from the remainder. Using my dimensions for the liner leaves enough material to make the shell the same length as the liner but 2 inches wider. This provides a differential cut to the quilt to keep from compressing the climashield. To account for this difference in width I pinned six mini pleats, each using 1/2 inch or less of material, at the head and foot end of the shell, and sewed them down when sewing up the quilt as per the KAQ instructions. An uncompressed sleeping bag in its storage sack was used as a form to drape the insulation, liner and shell over while assembling and pinning the quilt for sewing.
I'm not sure what the finished weight is, probably around 28 to 30 oz. The quilt fits nicely in a 9" x 16" stuffsack I made using thru-hiker.com instructions.
This project took about 6 hours to complete. I finished the quilt the Saturday before Labor Day, and used it the following week with a low of 50 degrees. It was plenty warm for that temperature and had to be loosened up from the hammock when the temperature reached 60. The two layers of climashield combat should keep it comfortable into the low 30's or lower; I figure I'll have plenty of opportunities this fall to test out its lower comfort range!
Thanks to all the members who have provided the innovation and inspiration!