Monday, November 4, 2013

A 21 Ounce Quilt for Under $100.00!

One of the three heaviest items in a Scout's pack is his sleeping bag. Not only is it most likely to be the heaviest, it's usually the largest single item sometimes requiring a bigger pack. This one item can cause another piece of gear to be larger and heavier. On a recent trip a newer Scout told me he couldn't carry a tent. After putting his sleeping bag in his pack, there was no more room. I helped him find room but it was a tight fit. By the way the pack he was using was one of mine I don't use any more because it's so big. 

Some years back I noticed I had stopped using the zipper on my sleeping bag. Instead I was draping it over me like a blanket. It made it easy to regulate the temperature on warmer nights and was plenty warm on cold nights. On very cold nights I could wear my jacket for extra warmth without interfering with the loft of the bag. 

My first real quilt was a homemade one with .8" of Climbashield XP insulation.  The rating of such a quilt should be above 50 degrees. On a couple occasions I've used it down into the 30s by just puting on a jacket and an extra shirt. 
The quilt in the picture contains 5oz. Climbashield Apex. One of the advantages to this material is it only needs stitching around the edges. This makes the sewing as simple as making a pillowcase. You can order the materials from ThruHiker.com on their kit page and they will supply you with 2 1/2 yards of insulation, shell and liner. All you need is some 100% polyester thread, a sewing machine and a pair of sciccors. 

When your package arrives, lay the materials out flat. I went ahead and laid the three pieces the way they would be sewn. Bottom layer is the Climbashield. The middle layer is the liner with the dull side up followed by the shell, dull side down. Give it a day or two for the wrinkles to relax. 

Make a pattern out of newspaper. You will lose 2" in both directions when you sew it together. I made mine 85" long and 54" wide at the top.  This makes the finished quilt 83"x52". 
Pin the pattern to the assembly and cut it out. Rotary cutters work great but a good pair of sciccors will do the job too. 
Once the quilt is cut out, tack the assembly together with a few stitches every 10"-12". This isn't absolutely necessary but will help to keep the Climbashield from bunching up in the machine. Then sew the two long sides and the top. Now turn the quilt right side out so that the dull sides of the shell and liner are out.  Trim the Climbashield so the liner can be folded over it and sewn. Fold the end of the shell to the inside and stitch the final end of the quilt together. 

To make a foot box, fold the quilt in half the long way. Starting at the folded corner of the 40" end sew the two sides together and continue sewing up the back of the quilt about 20". The foot box keeps the quilt from pulling up and exposing your feet in the middle of the night. 
The over all rating of this quilt is 38 degrees. Keep in mind that with a fleece and long underwear you can go much lower and remain comfortable. Best of all it compresses in your pack to almost the size of a football!

Enjoy your new quilt.