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  1. #1
    New Member Rachel's Avatar
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    DIY UQ from sleeping bag?

    Hey I'm just starting out with this whole hanging thing, and the bank account is already feeling it. I'm going to start out just sleeping on my cheap Wally World ccf pad, but how hard would it be to make a UQ from the cheapest down sleeping bag I can find? I searched around a bit, but couldn't find a post on the matter. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member packeagle's Avatar
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    I think that if you take into consideration the amount you will spend on a down sleeping bag and then modifying it you can make a better DIY down UQ for a comparable price. I haven't done the math, but a purpose built under quilt will most likely function better for you in the end.

    To answer your question there are many ways to make an UQ from sleeping bag the most common ways include cutting a hole in the foot box to make the sleeping bag into a "peapod" or cacooon fully encasing the hammock 360°. The other method would be to cut out a rectangle of quilt roughly 40"x72" and sewing a channel on each side using grosgrain.

  3. #3
    Senior Member krugd's Avatar
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    This comes up regularly and there are many posts. I did a google search on sleeping bag mod hammockforums.net

    and the first entry had 4 or 5 threads to check out.
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  4. #4
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    To answer your question, you really need to identify what your objectives are. Is weight an issue? If not, people have made very good UQs from cheap surplus poncho liners. Also, that opens the door to other relatively cheap synthetics, some of which are not much heavier than low quality down.
    Is compressibility an issue? Again, if it's not, then you may want to use a less costly synthetic. Finally, what temperatures are you looking to use it in? At lower temps, down definitely has an advantage in terms of weight per degree of temperature drop. How handy are you with a sewing machine?Modifying a synthetic bag is easier than having to worry about down floating all over after you cut into a down bag. If you are good with a sewing machine, as somebody suggested above, you may want to try your hand at making a quilt. Some relatively inexperienced sewers here have made very nice quilts with a modest investment of time and money.

  5. #5
    New Member Rachel's Avatar
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    I'm definitely no sewing professional. I go light, but not ultralight, my pack is on the smaller side but I've never had trouble fitting what I needed. Thank you for the help. I'm going to try google searching that way. I don't think I'm confident enough to sew my own, but I've got some old rectangular bags laying around I may chop up and see what I can do.

  6. #6
    Senior Member thepikey's Avatar
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    You know I wasn't good at sewing either, in fact, I hadn't been around a sewing machine since my home economics class in junior high. But to date I've made my hammock, a tarp, one pe foam underquilt, a whole bunch of stuff sacks, and I'm about to take on a primaloft UQ and TQ. They're not the prettiest, but they are functional. My point being that don't let the idea of the project scare you. My confidence is improving and each project gets better and the money I've convinced myself I'm saving is a great motivator.

    Sleeping bag mods are common and are not terribly difficult. The most frequent design is sew the channels like previously suggested. Good luck!
    Coimhéad fearg fhear na foighde.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RootCause's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel View Post
    Hey I'm just starting out with this whole hanging thing, and the bank account is already feeling it. I'm going to start out just sleeping on my cheap Wally World ccf pad, but how hard would it be to make a UQ from the cheapest down sleeping bag I can find? I searched around a bit, but couldn't find a post on the matter. Thanks!
    Definitely do the research on the forums, there are several threads that make for good reading on sleeping bag to UQ conversions.

    Another alternative is to use that venerable CCF pad until you can save up enough coin to buy a commercial underquilt. (Or until you trust your sewing skills enough to make one.) You're still getting the comfort of the hammock, you're using gear that you know and trust, and it works!

  8. #8
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    The easiest way to do so is to use it as an improv PeaPod. Unfortunately, with the bug netting on the BlackBird, that's going to be difficult.

    However, converting a sleeping bag to an underquilt isn't too hard; all you really need is a few cordlocks, some 1/8" shock cord, and a couple of mini 'biners.

    Dejoha has a very fine thread located here that outlines how to turn a poncho liner (a lightweight synthetic blanket; M&C Army Surplus over on 13th Street carries them in the $30 range) into an underquilt that will work down into the 40s for most folks. Admittedly, that isn't a down sleeping bag, but the basic idea is sound for turning most bags into an underquilt.

    I've successfully used the sewn-up version, with a single layer of added insulation, down to 25F comfortably (most folks would be comfy with this at about freezing; I'm a very hot sleeper). With a pad and a hot water bottle, I'm good on the bottom down to about 20 (most folks would be comfy at about 25 to 30). My report on that is located here.

    It isn't the lightest solution, but my total investment in the final product (minus the sewing machine I bought) came to about $40.

    If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

  9. #9
    New Member Rachel's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm a REALLY cold sleeper. I love my 15 degree bag when it's about 40 (well I have to vent it every once in a while). I was checking out the surplus place on 13th for some other stuff a few days ago and looked around, but didn't even consider a poncho liner. I would probably like that for summer if not some cooler nights. Thankfully I have a mother that doesn't live all that far from me who may not be able to sew a straight line, but she sews some pretty impressive curves. I'm going to attempt to enlist her to chop up and old one and see what happens. Or if I get really ambitious I might just go with loops instead of a channel. I think I could handle that. The ccf pad with some duct taped wings from another old one is the way I'm going to go for the next couple weeks, but I think I'm too excited to wait longer than that to try something lol.

  10. #10
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Also remember that you can always stack a pad with an underquilt to get some more warmth. I find that a sit pad sized piece (just enough to cover from my butt up to my lower shoulder blades, and the width of my torso) offers a good 5 to 10 F boost. A larger pad should offer correspondingly greater warmth.

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