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  1. #1
    Senior Member Roe Ring's Avatar
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    Down Bag Mod to TQ

    I have an old Kathmandu down bag that I bought in NZ about 10 years ago. It has 500g (15oz ish) of goose down filling and is 86" x 60" in size. Mummy shaped so the 60" is only true at the head end.

    I need a TQ to complete my hammock set up and this bag has never really had the use it deserves, so I'm going to mod it into a TQ.

    I've searched the forum and it seems a relatively easy modification, but I have a few questions for all you experienced DIYers on HF

    1. For those of you that have modified your bag, are you still happy with the result or do you wish you had saved the bag and bought a bespoke TQ?

    2. Should I trim the bag down to standard TQ dimensions (80" x 48"), is there any benefit in keeping the extra length & width or is it just excessive?

    3. If I do reduce the size, I was planning on shaking all the down into the retained sections which will effectively increase the over-stuffing. I think it has the capacity for this. With the hood removed and all the down stuffed into the reduced sized quilt, I will have an 80" x 48" TQ with approx 14oz of down. I want a warm 3 season quilt, but is this over-kill?

    Many thanks

    Mark

  2. #2
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    IMO just use the bag as a quilt. The only alteration I _might_ make is to remove the zipper. But I wouldn't even do that if I had to open the seams to do it. I use my old sleeping bag as a top quilt and am very pleased with it. I like the added width because I like to wrap and tuck. I use the hood as a crumple pillow if need be. Personally I wouldn't change a thing.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Mancat's Avatar
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    keep the width unless you are gram weenie. I love my sleeping bag/tq. It does have a dual zipper down the side so I can leave the legs zipped up and stick my feet out. I have a down bag, but I found it too warm for anything over 35 degrees. YMMV. I left my bag intact.
    "If animals could speak the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much."
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    "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! NO MORE WOOD!"
    - Mancat

  4. #4
    Ditto on the comments above. I left mine intact. It doesn't have a hood and it has a two part zipper, one that stops short leaving a footbox and the other opens the footbox for venting. So it's like having a true TQ. I don't count grams so it works for me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    I'm looking at a short down mummpy sleeping bag the same way right now, side-by-side to a true hammock camping top quilt for comparison.

    Something I noticed from the bag maker's general literature is that shifting of the down is a design-feature of 3-season models. The direction of shift depends on the baffling and the model.

    If this bag permits it, I might consider shifting some down horizontally away from the zippers and -- gasp -- seal off the outer few inches on each side with two columns stitches.

    I do understand though, that if I do this, I'll wind up with down-permeable holes in the bag if I ever remove the stitches. Seam-seal to close them?

  6. #6
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    Not Good

    I cut a wedge out of each side and removed the hood from a center zip bag. I'd have to agree with the previous comments too. It was a huge pain and I made a gigantic mess. The baffles in the bag were continuous along a few strips from head to toe. Instead of redistributing equally it just bunched up on each edge but added nothing to the center section. Oops......

    I've got another cheap zide zip bag ($35 ebay find). If I can figure out the whole baffle thing again I might try cutting this one down but probably not.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Senior Member Roe Ring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DemostiX View Post
    If this bag permits it, I might consider shifting some down horizontally away from the zippers and -- gasp -- seal off the outer few inches on each side with two columns stitches.
    That was my plan too; shake the down away from the side zips and stitch in a new edge line. That'll take a wedge off each side, 6" at the head end down to nothing at the footbox.

    At the moment, the bag has a side zipper which means that when I use it as a TQ the hood is to the side and either gets in the way or suffocates me.

    Another issue with the bag is that all the baffles seem to be filled with the same amount of down. Meaning that the foot end has more loft than the head end. The modification would address some of this problem by stuffing more down into the head end baffles.

    I probably won't save much weight or size because I'll be keeping as much down in the quilt as possible, but I hope it'll be a more practical piece of kit once it's modified. I cant see it getting much use in the hammock in its current state.

    Where are all the gung-ho, devil-may-care, late night WBBB buyers when I need some encouragement to do something that I probably shouldnt everyone is being far too sensible thanks for all the advice so far anyway. I know it makes sense.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Roe Ring:
    While the cause and inspiration is from here, we haven't provided the last word on precautions and steps that will make this (mostly) successful. A search of archives here and elsewhere would be easy and worthwhile, so all stitches possible are in place, so to pun.

    RE: The hood. Yes, the recently designed one here seems thoroughly tailored. Credit evolution in the high end competitive mountaineering market for that. You may have contemplated decapitation, but I sat here with the bag around me and hood on head as though in the woods / boondocks / bush, and thought of the drawn hood as a good part of it. On the other hand, if the bag converted to use as overquilt is used seriously, you'll want a hat or similar on your head, not next to it. Or so it is often advised.

    If you commit to stitching, please report results. I recall some baffle systems touted by the maker as labyrinths, so down could be deliberately but not so much casually shifted. Truly a YMMV setup, and maybe discarded as too high-maintenance. The bag I am looking at, for example, does not have a tag attached describing just how to shift the contents if it is more complicated than just shaking it.

  9. #9
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    If you must... you must. So try this but don't say we didn't warn you!

    Assuming the baffles go around the bag, which is the way they _should_ go.. and that they tube baffles _not_ box baffles....
    Doing one side at a time... Shake the down to the opposite side of the bag. Flatten the fabric of the bag as much as you can to keep as much of the down inside as possible.

    Stitch _2_ (two) lines of stitching about 1" apart placing the inside line at the width you want the bag to be.

    Cut the excess fabric _outisde_ of the second stitch line. That gives you a flat flap on the outside edge of the side. Fold that flap to form a rolled hem and stitch it in place. Do the other side.

    To remove the hood,... dig out one of your old tents... the bigger the better... Do the same stitch line thing... This one won't be as successful... Take the uncut bag into the tent and cut the fabric away the same way. You are in the tent because the nature of the baffle is that you will not be able to keep all the down in the baffle. Cut the fabric while you are _in_ the tent. For the amount of down you will lose I do not believe it would be reasonable to open the baffles and try to redistribute the down into the bag. When the down as flown all over the inside of the tent,,, (we'll get to that in minute. Just know it's going to happen.)

    Carefully move the bag back into the house taking as little of the loose down as humanly possible. Sew the flap as for the sides.

    While missus is out on an excursion of diversion which you have sent her on... make it a long one... Take a cast off pair of panty hose and cut one leg off. No No the ones on the shower bar are off limits... find one in the trash can. Secure the cut off leg to the extension wand of a canister vacuum cleaner... do not try this with an simple upright you MUST have a hose. Let the leg stick about 1.5" into the wand when the cleaner is off. Move the whole shebang out to your tent and carefully unzip the door. (You did close it up as you left.. right?) Using the wand of the cleaner suck up the loose down in the tent. When that job is complete remove the leg from the wand and tie a knot to make a little down baggie. Save that for a project that requires just a tab bit of down.

    Put all your preparations away and hope your cash flow is still intact when she comes home from her diversion.

    Show the missus the magic you made but under no circumstances explain how you did it. Magicians never reveal the secrets and you really don't want her to know.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    So, that's how wars of conversion are really fought, with all the intrigue and logistics, all the deceptive financing and hidden costs . Veterans are wonderful to have around.

    We thank you, sir, for your service. Now we can understand the mistakes after we make them ourselves.
    I especially liked bringing in / out the tent. DIY hammockers probably otherwise explain the appearance of them as the place they slaughter fowl -- is there another proper home use?

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