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Thread: LDPE Quilts

  1. #1
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    LDPE Quilts

    I've been a DIY hammocker for over 10 years, and have gotten a lot of useful ideas from this forum. In all that time I've never tried to make my own quilts. I have a lot of 1/32" LDPE foam like they use for packaging/cushioning. I know some folks here have worked with this material and I'm looking for some advice. Here are some of the questions I have, but feel free to answer questions I haven't thought to ask as well.

    How many layers should I use for a 3 season, sub 40 quilt? Same top and bottom? I know some people have done 1 or 2 layer quilts but the material is thin and incredibly light. Is that really enough? I'm planning on covering it with ripstop nylon.

    I think MacEntyre has said that differential cut is sufficient for maintaining a small gap between layers, but lots of folks use pleats. What are folks real-world experiences with this and what do you recommend?

    Should I perforate the LDPE or not? Top & bottom? I don't anticipate any really cold weather usage. Is condensation a problem in moderate conditions?

    I'm considering a draw-string footbox, but with an insulated flap that can fold in before I close it for added warmth. Does that sound like a reasonable solution to the cold feet problems?

    For top length I'm thinking I want to be able to just pull it over my head when needed. Any advice on this?

    I tend to slide around a bit in my sleep. Would I be better off with a full-length under, or is that overkill?

    What am I forgetting to ask about?

    I'll shut up now and listen... Thanks!

  2. #2
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    If it is solid foam, it will have condensation problems. I have some similar foam and it does float and block the wind, good for some things..a quilt isn't one of them.

    If you can't blow thru it, it really won't work well as a quilt. Breathability is your friend. Perforating it with a bazillion tiny holes may allow enough airflow? Too many holes will allow heat to escape.
    I tried to make a quilt from the foam. I used darts to create a decent bowl shape. More darts to snug up the ends, and four shockcords to hold the whole thing under the hammock.

    Before I did the darts, the foam panel looked like a coffin shape (wide near the head, wider by the shoulders, then tapering down towards the feet). Then dart the edges, head end and foot end, till it fit the occupied hammock like a glove.
    I tested it for a few days and had condensation issues, so I shelved the idea.

    hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Insultex is basically this stuff with 2 layers of polyester scrim quilted to it. Macentyre has a setup where he perforates this same foam to make it more breathable. As far as I can tell, he's successfully making product with it.

    Condensation is always an issue, but if you make tiny slits of holes in it, you might find it useful...

    Search for PE Foam. or polyethylene foam or packing foam... I think WV has some experience, but check out Macentyres threads...
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


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    I was thinking using carpet tack strips to make a rig for perforating. Nothing elaborate, just enough to get the job done. From Gargoyle's post it sounds like I'll want to perforate top and bottom. Anyone else have feedback regarding condensation?

  5. #5
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  6. #6
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    So I made an LDPE UQ using 3 layers of 1/32" foam sandwiched between the lightest rip-stop nylon I could find at Joann's. It's full length and the finished width is about 46". I took it to Maine about a week ago for a 5-night trip. There were two or three nights in the 40's, and one night was raining and windy. I slept quite comfortably using a cheap 30 degree synthetic bag as a top quilt, and I didn't notice any condensation issues.

    Now I'll try making a similar top quilt, ditch the sleeping bag and see how it works.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Pics or we can't replicate your results! :-)

    Glad to hear it worked!
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  8. #8
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    I have a roll of polyehtylene foam with carpet tack strips mounted on a perforating drum. It helps make the resulting hammock insulation more stuffable, but it remains barely breathable.

    The Molly Mac Gear IX UQs use both a differential cut and pleats called InsulTubes.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
    www.MollyMacGear.com

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