I did it. I sliced into my new Marmot Helium and turned it in to something worthy of being in the mountains in September. It weighs 31 oz, is chocked full of down, has not one cold spot, and is luxuriously wide.
First the bag weighed 35 oz. Then I cut off the hood, the first baffle, the full length zipper, and the zipper baffle. Then it weighed 24oz. Next I took all the down from what I had cut off and stuffed it in to the quilt. Then I took down from my old Marmot Helium and stuffed even more down into it. Then it weighed 34 oz. Then I sewed the seams up and took it to the laundry and washed it. Now it weighs 31 oz. *
This isn’t the ethereal kind of loft you get from having just washed your bag, this is the solid kind of loft you get when your baffles are full of down. If you slept in a shelter with this bag you’d have to say, “Please excuse my loft.”
For this project you will need: thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine, and a mummy bag. Also a vacuum cleaner to clean up with.
To make the seams, I just turned both edges inward, pinned them, and then sewed them up.
Difficulty rating: easy. Tip: I did this with the down dirty—dirty down is much easier to handle than clean down.
*I brought two bags to the laundry and they both came back 3 oz lighter. Which seems like it might justify the weight of a silk liner.
Update: I headed out to the PCT with new quilt in late May. In the mountains above Idyllwild, less than 200 miles from the Mexican border, the temperature dropped to well below freezing, the wind was blowing 50-80 mph gusts and it snowed.
I was camping in Z-pack Heximid tarp which let in a lot of the wind. The bag kept me warm till I rolled over and then I would get cold—I missed the zipper. I think quilts are better for people how don’t move around much while they sleep. Maybe if I had put elastic straps to hold it around my pad or ties…..
Now I carry a Z-packs 10 degree bag with a stretchy liner. Mostly I sleep with it as a quilt but when it is very cold I zip it. I also went to using the Gatewood Cape as a tent because it blocks the wind better than the Heximid.
7 thoughts on “Home modified 0 degree quilt”
Wow! That is awesome. It looks so comfy. I wonder if I could just find an old down bag or jacket and stuff some extra down into my Golite quilt. You know, to give it a bit of a boost to the temperature rating. There’s nothing really wrong about my quilt except that it might be nice to be toasty warm at 20 degrees instead of just merely alive.
Well, the key was that the down in my old Marmot Helium was the best down I have ever seen. Better than what was in my new one. I feels lofty like supper light weight wool puffs. So I would go with good down. You can get3oz of 900 fill down from thru-hiker. com for 29.99. http://thru-hiker.com/materials/insulation.php
If you do pull your down out of an old bag, I would recommend not washing it first. Dirty down is a lot easier to work with than freshly clean down.
How are backpacking quilts used? In a couple of the articles linked to your Mar. 22 post people mentioned that down compressed under a body is not effective insulation. Do you put these quilts over you, tuck the edges around your body and rely on your sleeping pad to insulate you from the ground? Looks like you did a very professional sewing job. You are obviously multi-talented considering you rebuilt your cabin door, built the bench and now “tailoring”.
Right, you just stick your feet in the foot pocket and pull the bag over you like a blanket. If it gets really cold you tuck the edges around you. It’s the way I sleep most nights in a mummy bag anyway.
Ha! I didn’t do a professional job at all. It was the first thing I sewed since that apron in 7th grade home ec. All you have to do is fold the two pieces of fabric inward, pin, and sew. Anyone could do it.
It feels great to build the gear I want instead of the frustration I feel trying to make do with what’s out there. So now I’m all gung ho for gear making.
Didn’t you buy a new sewing machine a while back? Or were you just shopping for one and getting ideas from your peeps?
Yeah, I bought it last year but I didn’t get the scissors, thread, and pins till recently. 🙂
I know what you mean by being able to make the gear you want. I’m not very good at making gear, but I made a nice mosquito net tent. I’m terrible at sewing but even though my mosquito net tent won’t win any sewing prizes, it works and now I have one. I also make my own shoes which is completely insane but now I don’t have to try and try to find shoes that fit me only to be bummed out when they stop making them. I can just try and try to make shoes that fit me myself.