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  1. #1
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    Adding Down Insulation to a PLUQ?

    Howdy Hammockers.

    I'm brand new to this forum and the world of hammock camping (First Post!). I'm interested in making my own start-up gear from inexpensive components or with what I already have available. I already have a hammock (ENO doublenest) and suspension straps (ENO Atlas--the non-stretchy kind) for family camping. I also have an REI tarp that should work fine as a rainfly, plus plenty of cord for ridgelines/guylines and stakes for anchors. I'd like to make my own underquilt and bug net to complete a hammock set-up for 3(Minnesota)-season backpacking. Right now, life precludes me from hiking more than 2-3 days at a time, so while size/weight are important factors, they aren't THE important factors. My main goal is to make rugged, functional gear cheaply, using materials I already own.

    All that said, I'd like some feedback on a couple of ideas I have for insulating a PLUQ with down (as a PLUQ alone just won't cut it in Minnesota most of the year). My first design idea is to 'quilt' the two halves of the PL together by stitching 8-10" pocket-cells along its length. I have plenty of down/feathers from an old, ripped comforter that I can use to stuff the cells. After sealing in the down, I would finish using the no-sew PLUQ method of threading suspension paracord/cinch cord through the PL hems. My second idea is to make a standard no-sew PLUQ, and then modify an old down parka to slip in between the PL layers--perhaps adding fasteners of some sort to keep it in place. This way the UQ becomes more modular: I can use the PLUQ alone in the summer, then add the parka for warmth during the fall/spring. This design also allows me to add other insulation (e.g. space blanket) on an as-needed basis. The downside of this design is that the parka will be a bit shorter than the the PLUQ, so I will need some way to keep my feet and legs warm enough (one solution I've considered is turning the parka sleeves into leg warmers, and then cinching the hood around both feet ).

    Any comments, tips, etc would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
    craige's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Down Insulation to a PLUQ?

    I'm no expert but... honestly I wouldn't 'waste' good down in a pluq, from what I understand it is just polyester batting inside. My guess is that the heavy pl would compress the down if you put it in the middle.

    How much down do you have and what is the down-feather ratio? If you have enough then you would be better just to make a standard uq, 1.1 ripstop and no seeum mesh can be bought cheaply from diy gear supply... it would probably cost you around $20 to buy the fabric for a quality 3s quilt.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the comments. My thinking was that the PL would add a bit more warmth to a down core than nylon alone (and perhaps be a bit more durable?)...I assumed that the the weight of the PL wouldn't be enough to compress the down significantly, but as I'm extremely new to all of this, that probably isn't a correct assumption.

    I have no idea what the feather:down ratio is in the comforter--it's almost 15 years old and I can't even remember where I got it (probably from Bed Bath and Beyond or a department store). As I recall it was a 'mid-quality' comforter: not the cheapest loft available, but not the priciest, either. I'll shop around for some ripstop and see what I can find. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    The real issue is this: PL's are heavy, and not downproof, so your down would eventually leak.

    For the cost of a PL, you could buy enough fabric to make a really nice underquilt. (of course, you would need to buy down...)

    Now, if you wanted to go Cheap, you could make a bag of feathers to put in the PLUQ. It'd be hard to keep yourself on it, and keep the feathers shifted around.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  5. #5
    Boston's Avatar
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    Down is the most expensive part of making an under quilt. You could just buy 6 yards of down proof nylon ($5-6/yard) and do sewn through baffles (not as thermally efficient). For a little more $, and a little more effort, you can buy no-see-um mesh and make make actual baffles.

    It'll be light weight, and more importantly, compressible to a very small size.

    A single PL rolls up to maybe 6" x 14"...maybe. Add the down and it'll be even larger.


    Putting down between the PL layer's probably wont work like you're thinking. The layer's will compress the down unless you hang it very carefully (lots of fiddle factor) or make the PLUQ deferentially cut...which will reduce it's effectiveness when nothing is between the layers.

  6. #6
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Way to think outside the box!

    Buuut...I have to agree with my fellow forumites that the down would likely wind up compressed too much to be effective and eventually would leak. It would be kind of like putting a 425 big-block V8 into a Geo Metro: sure, you probably can, but it isn't going to work out very well in the long run.

    However, using that down from the comforter in a quilt made with 1.1 oz/sq yd seconds will likely turn out lighter than the PLUQ, and certainly will work better. If you still want to use the PLUQ, nest the quilts (this will require a little finesse; you have to snug 'em without smooshing the down one against the hammock) to boost your temp rating.

    DIY Gear Supply has 1.1 seconds for $3.20 a running yard plus shipping right now; four yards should be enough to make a partial-length underquilt. The cost of a down underquilt is really in the down, not the material (unless, of course, you're going for a technical fabric like M50 or NoBul).

    Hope it helps!
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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  7. #7
    L.D. Cakes's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone above, the down would get compressed in between the layers of the PLUQ because down looses its insulating ability when not fluffed. The simplest solution and to stay within the guidelines of using what you have, is to keep the space between the PLUQ open and slide a pad in there or even one of those reflective car sun shades.
    Love many, trust few & always paddle your own canoe. American Proverb

  8. #8
    PappyAmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLRider View Post
    DIY Gear Supply has 1.1 seconds for $3.20 a running yard plus shipping right now; four yards should be enough to make a partial-length underquilt. The cost of a down underquilt is really in the down, not the material (unless, of course, you're going for a technical fabric like M50 or NoBul).

    Hope it helps!
    Just tried to order some - DIY only has 2 yds remaining in both Olive Green and Gray 1.1 seconds.

    Shucks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Down Insulation to a PLUQ?

    For a partial uq, you would need 3 yards. The material is 54" wide, which is more than long enough... you just need width x 2 plus about 4" for the outer layer....

    I hope he gets more! I love the green 1.1!
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  10. #10
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PappyAmos View Post
    Just tried to order some - DIY only has 2 yds remaining in both Olive Green and Gray 1.1 seconds.

    Shucks!
    Give it a wee bit of time. I'm almost certain that he'll get it back in stock; 1.1 2nds has to be near his top seller, given his customer base. You might try e-mailing Scott or trying to get a hold of him via PM here to get an idea of when he might have it back. I've always found his customer service to be nothing short of excellent.
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
    --Floridahanger

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