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Thread: How much down?

  1. #1
    New Member Harvey_Birdman's Avatar
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    How much down?

    I was looking into making a DIY underquilt, but I have no idea how far 1oz of down will go or how much I will need. I was thinking of a 3 season UQ.

    !oz of down seems to go for around $7. At that price I hope 1oz goes really far. I would hate to need a pound, it would cost over $100!!

    So how far does it go? And how much do you use in a DIY 3 season UQ? How about a winter UQ?

    Thanks in advance!!
    Brain under construction! Please excuse my spelling!

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    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Here is a thread that has a nifty calculator in it. It does temperature ratings based upon the fill power and amount of down in the quilt.

    Hope it helps!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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    doogie's Avatar
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    The answer is "it depends". Check out the spread sheets that are floating around in the DIY forum. I used one for my DIY top quilt and it had places to put in the fill power of the down, and the required loft and over stuff amount and would give you how much down you will need in each chamber. I lot of people scavenge down from old sleeping bags or other places. I have stayed away from pillows although a lot of people seem to be using them lately. To me the purpose of pillow down is not to compress, while in a TQ or UQ, you want it to recover after being compressed. I scavenged the majority of my down from an old coat and vest. I made a test chamber and measured how much down it took to fill it and calculated how much I needed for the whole quilt. All that said I don't think a pound of down is too far off. Probably 10 oz min.

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    SwinginIt's Avatar
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    Look at different commercially made UQs and see how much down they're using for a given temp rating, I'm sure everyone is within an ounce or two of each other, and you'll get a general idea of how much of a given fp you need to get your desired rating. Keep in mine the amount is also dependent on the fill power. So if everyone is using 10oz of 900fp it's gonna take more of 800fp to get the same rating.

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    MAD777's Avatar
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    Just to give you a starting point I'll give a brief description of two of my DIY quilts.

    One has 3 ounces of 900 fill power down and I've slept comfortably to 40 degrees while wearing a lot of clothing. I've slept in it to freezing and I also froze. Normally, I don't take it below 50 degrees.

    Another DIY quilt has 8 ounces of 800 fill power down and it keeps me toasty warm into the low 20's. I haven't used that quilt below that temp so I don't know the bottom but it's probably in the upper teens.

    This is important: The length & width of the quilt will determine how much down you will need. My two quilts above are both 54" x 40" not including hems. That is measured on the inner fabric touching the hammock (of course the outer fabric is much larger due to differential cut).
    Last edited by MAD777; 08-10-2012 at 11:56.
    Mike
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    New Member Harvey_Birdman's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, looks like even a DIY UQ is going to be expensive. I have been and will continue to collect anything and everything I can find a thrift stores that has down in it to offset the cost.

    My wife tells me that I am crazy for buying down filled vests that would never fit me, but I am sure that the down in a $0.50 vest is a good investmenst (pun intended).
    Brain under construction! Please excuse my spelling!

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    Member SteveS's Avatar
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    My experience with DIY is that it costs about 1/2 of buying the product. This is not counting time spent researching, building, and the worry of "getting it wrong". I love to make stuff, and it's still a dilemma making the buy/build decision every time I want a new piece of gear. The cheapskate in me wins most of the time, but I spend the savings on more projects.

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    New Member Harvey_Birdman's Avatar
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    Thanks Steve, I may look into other ways of insulating now that I know how much it will cost. Being a coal miner and the coal market being so low I can't spend the money it would take to make a UQ right now. I read about a DIY streatchy underlayer for a hammock on BushcraftUSA. I think I will do that, and put my wool blanket in it for now.

    Thank you all for the info, I hope to be able to make a down UQ when work picks up. But thanks to this thread I now know how much it will cost when I do.
    Brain under construction! Please excuse my spelling!

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    SwinginIt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey_Birdman View Post
    Thanks Steve, I may look into other ways of insulating now that I know how much it will cost. Being a coal miner and the coal market being so low I can't spend the money it would take to make a UQ right now. I read about a DIY streatchy underlayer for a hammock on BushcraftUSA. I think I will do that, and put my wool blanket in it for now.

    Thank you all for the info, I hope to be able to make a down UQ when work picks up. But thanks to this thread I now know how much it will cost when I do.
    Look into Insultex. Really light as far as synthetic insulation goes and low cost compared to down. I'm waiting on some to get here to make a summer UQ with.
    "As a well spent day brings happy sleep, a well spent life brings happy death." -Da Vinci

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    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    No, don't look into Insultex as the active ingredient in it is available much cheaper. Even the major proponent of it here, MacIntyer, has switched.

    But, you can also re-stitch a clean thrift-store polyester quilt.

    On down fill: Before you trust a spreadsheet and someone else's formula, think about it as a simple thick blanket with length, width and height (=loft). There will be several thousand cubic inches of volume, a thin seam of coal indeed, but the same idea. Down has [I]fill power [/I] (FP)= lofting expressed in cu in. under standardized measurement conditions. You fill the blanket, and then overfill by maybe 20% for caution.

    Make your own and you can start off cheap and heavier with $2/oz pillow down. When you are flush and want to reduce weight you can open a stitched seam, empty the quilt of the cheap stuff and put in the hi-test.

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