Hello everyone. I've been lurking around on the forums doing some research and finally decided I'd undertake the task of making a under quilt. I thoroughly enjoy camping and have grown fond of doing so in a hammock. Until now I've been using an old green army mat inside of my hammock along with a 0 degree Teton XL synthetic down bag for cold weather camping (and will likely be what I continue to use when temperatures drop below 35 degrees F). This setup has worked in the past with a few readily apparent downsides. 1) the Teton XL is massive and heavy. 2) the sleep mat is wide and catches on brush when attached to the outside of my pack. 3) Trying to sleep on top of a slick sleeping pad in a slick hammock in a slick sleeping bag is not easy.
So in an effort to make my hammock experience more enjoyable I've made an underquilt and purchased an Ozark Trail down sleeping bag from walmart. The change in these two items alone decrease my weight by at least 3 pounds and the cut down the bulk tremendously.
Without further ado I'll try to explain my build as well as I can and what how much I spent on each of the items as cost was a huge driving factor in what encouraged me to build rather than buy.
1st the down- I live in southern Ohio but Columbus has a few good thrift stores so I went on my merry way and found a Down comforter for 20 dollars (only used maybe half of the down so we will call it a 10 dollar cost) The tag says at least 75% down, but I'm very satisfied with the quality of the down.
2nd- The fabric used is Calendared ripstop nylon which I got from Joanns fabric for about 6.00/yrd for a total of around 25 dollars.
3rd- I got 5mm (would have liked 4mm but I settled for 5mm) elastic cable at a local craft store for 5 dollars (enough to do the whole project plus a few yards left over)
4th- Polyester thread -$3 at walmart
Total cost is about 40 dollars - give or take
As this will likely be a 3 season quilt and this is my first DIY project I decided to do a stitch through design rather than actually sewing in baffles. I, with much help from my mother, sewed 3 sides of the 2 fabrics together. I bought gray for exterior and black interior, as I've read that a dark interior aids in heat absorption. After sewing 3 sides together I folded the edges over to create channels for the Elastic cordage to run in and sewed those in (on the 3 completed sides), leaving them able to slide freely. Next came the fun part... stuffing the down. I'm sure I wasted at least 20% of what I harvested but I stuffed the quilt outside as I was at my mothers and did not want to make a mess at her house. I roughly measured equal amounts by handful then brushed each chamber towards one end to measure and equal out the amount in each. After stuffing the chambers, I sewed up the remaining side, created a channel and sewed in the elastic cordage.
In the pictures you'll see orange shock cording, it is exposed in he middle on either side and can be pulled in the middle to cinch the ends to create a tight seal around the hammock. The cord can be held by either a cord lock or simply tying a knot to keep the cord in place.
While I do not have a set of scales to weight this set up I believe that it weighs well under 2 pounds and compresses easily to the size of a football.
I used this UQ once last night in an Equip hammock from walmart and Ozark Trail Down sleeping bag that is rated for 32 degrees F. The temperature dropped to 33 degrees F last night. I felt that 33 degrees was pushing this setup past what it can comfortably do, and while I did sleep I woke up more than once feeling chilled. I had on a light set of Merino wool base layers with a fleece cap and was constantly readjusting to give cold spots some extra insulation just to have another cold spot form.
I'm sure this has been about as clear as mud but I just hoping to give someone else new to DIY a little extra motivation to take a shot at it. Im very proud of what I've made and hope to continue creating my own gear.
I welcome any feedback that may benefit me in my next project.