View Full Version : 11 oz. down underquilt

2003-02-23, 21:03
After a couple of false starts I have finished a down underquilt for a HH Expedition A-Sym. It uses 1.1 oz dwr rip-stop on the outside to allow it to "breathe" yet stop undersplash, weighs in at 10.86 ounces and places 1 1/2 inches of down below my back and kidneys.

You can view it at:


I don't think that we have heard the last word about underquilts yet, but if you are considering making an underquilt, this may save you a couple of dead ends.

Hammock Hanger
2003-02-24, 19:37
only my draft tubes are going side ways. It worked really well for me on my last hike. Outside and under is definately the way to go. HH

SGT Rock
2003-02-25, 22:58
That looks great.

2003-03-01, 00:25
Your work is beautiful and impressive and I think your total quilt weight is desireable and I'm sure if you didnt want to pack it with the snakeskins the compressed package of the 11oz. quilt would be quite small.
Currently I am still experimenting with my 'pre-quilt' of cheapo materials found in the Walmart bargain bin, but it looks so promising that it will probably end up as a summer underquilt.
Also, your photo documentation of the underquilt was awesome and should help all of us in our pursuits of an underquilt for our A-syms.
One question:
When you said you weighted the hammock for occupancy did you do it with a living subject or other weights. This last week I laid in my A-sym and had the seamstress measure from top-to-bottom to get an idea of the rough dimensions of what we are making...just curious.
Thanks again for the documentation of your excellent work...
p.s. If you would like to sell your underquilt contact me! Seriously! I plan on having several underquilts to choose from depending on anticipated conditions.

2003-03-01, 11:27
"When you said you weighted the hammock for occupancy did you do it with a living subject or other weights?"

The short answer is "yes" .......... I did both.

For my first attempt I used heavy pillows (heavy pillows off of furniture .... not typical furniture cushions but not light bed pillows either - blankets may work)to approximate the shape that I wanted. That worked reasonably well, but for my second attempt I set up the hammock and had a person lay in it (more stretch)while I worked on the pattern. The pattern was made of cheap(on sale)cotton fabric that I clipped to the hammock and gathered with large binder clips until I had the shape right. When I finished it had construction notes written in magic marker on masking tape all over it, including the areas where I wanted to increase the thickness of the down.

I found it useful to then set the hammock up in the same room where I sewed the quilt and at that time I went back to the pillows to approximate the shape of the hammock with an occupant. I was having a hard time visualizing what side of which piece should go where, so having the hammock set up was really useful and I did make adjustments to the shape and to the stretch of the elastics while it was set up that way.

The photo of the hammock with underquilt that appears in the link was taken with my daughter "modelling" it (you can see here knee).

Hope this helps.

2003-03-02, 21:26
Actually, I was going to ask when you were going into production, and place an order. That's a beautiful piece work!

2003-03-02, 23:21
I dont have an A-sym:( I plan to make my own however, only w\ primaloft. What and how much material did you order for that? WHere did you get it from, and how much did it cost? Im curious to know how much it would cost to make one...

Brian-the only 15 year old here

2003-03-02, 23:37
The Primaloft (12oz), the sil-nyl for the bottom (3rds), the aluminized sil-nyl(3 yds) for the face abutting the bottom of the A-sym, the elastic, the mitten hooks and d-rings, all totalled right at 100$....from OWF
If Mr.Klinsky would sell his to me I would offer $250 and not hesitate!
Before long I will have far more into the quilts than the cost of the hammock, in fact bought the Arc Alpinist just for hammock use so in that vane I am already far beyond the HH A-sym in price but hey, hiking backpacking is my love and hobby along with sea kayaking so the money spent could be for less well intentioned pursuits!

2003-03-02, 23:47
I did by the Thermolite bag thinking I was going to use it for the reflective sil-nyl, but since I found some at prices that make Stephenson look like thieves those plans changed. Yesterday I order a piece of 'The Diode' to play with. It uses ceramic/metal/plastic in a membrane to reflect heat. The ceramics are very promising for weight and are being incorporated into paints that give houses increase R ratings of 19 with just a few mm of coating. So my total outlay so far for quilting materials is closure to $130 not counting the Arc Alpinist.
I do love the 11oz. down quilt though, we may be able to pull off the Primaloft version but never in down.....so Mr. Klinksy, if you have the plans I would love to send them to Nunatakgear and have them do for me what you did!

2003-03-03, 12:37
Grizz, Simva2020 - et. al -
Thanks for the compliments. No, I really don't want to go in to production. One of the reasons that I posted the quilt on the net is that I wanted it to be accessible to anyone who wanted to make one - and anyone who is interested in making one can consider this an open invitation to do it and a committment that if they need help I will be happy to talk them through it.

Brian -

Make an A-Sym?? Good for you. Alternatively - the hammocks described by Ed Speer in his book Hammock Camping are straightforward and he includes instructions for making one - and he too, uses underquilts.

Don't be intimidated by making that underquilt. PrimaLoft is a good choice and certainly easier and faster than working with down. Down is more time consuming than difficult and while it's per ounce cost is high you only use a small amount so the materials cost is similar to PrimaLoft.

The actual dollar cost of making the under-quilt is not too bad. - figure 2 1/2 yards of 1.1 oz. rip-stop at $5.45/yd for the liner and 2 1/2 yards if 1.1 oz. Rip-Stop DWR at $5.85/yd for the outer shell the cost of your insulation. If you are trying to keep the cost down you can use Thinsulate 200 + which is not as light or compressible as PrimaLoft but is supposedly warmer and about 1/3 cheaper - I am a firm believer in venting off moisture & condensation so I did not use silnylon. I have, however, used silnylon in other projects and was interested to find that even though the dwr allows water vapor to pass through there was no noticible difference between silnylon and dwr ripstop when it came to wind resistance, 3/16" shock cord and several yards of 5/8 elastic add a bit to the cost but not a lot. I made my own toggles from 1/4" dowel so that I could play with the lengths but 8" of 1/4" dowel doesn't add much to the cost.


Try Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics www.owfinc.com or www.thru-hiker.com for fabrics. Down is available from thu-hiker, and a good Canadian source of thinsulate or PrimaLoft is from Textile Outfitters at www.justmakeit.com (don't forget to figure the exchange 1 C$ = about .66 $U.S.)

Good Luck with your project.

2003-04-01, 21:30
Thought I'd post a source for extremely high quality down. I had given contacts to purchase other materials for the quilt and have had a couple of inquiries about down.

Before I found this source I ordered down from the US and it always came through with no problem and no customs, so I would guess that down can be sent the other way as easily.


2003-08-01, 05:24
My wife and I finally finished our 2 underquilts. I'm going on a trip next week near Denver and will be trying mine out for a couple of days. I will let everyone know how it worked and post some pics when I get back.

They were not that hard to make once we figured out the pattern and got some help from CanoeBlue.

They make a big difference. While we were doing the final fitting the other day there was a very noticable temp difference when the underquilt was on the hammock and that was with the outside temp in the mid 80's, it should be nice and toasty in the cooler temps.

I haven't weighed the final underquilt yet but last time I weighed it it was about 13 oz (I think).


SGT Rock
2004-04-18, 18:15
Just bringing this thread out of the past since there has been a lot of discussion about it lately.

2004-05-05, 15:07
I was thinking about making one of these for my HH, but it's not an a-Sym. Anyone have any thoughts on modifying the pattern, or should I just start at the beginning as CanoeBlue did?????


SGT Rock
2004-05-05, 20:19
My guess is if you invest the time like CanoeBlue did, you can get the thing figured out in about 2 days working with it. If you make the one like PeterPan and Smee do, then you could simply change where the side ties are since their version is a rectangle that shapes by using drawcords at the end.

CanoeBlue's Version:

Pros - smaller, lighter, and supposedly fits inside the snakeskins with the hammock.

Cons - I'm not sure, other than it is pretty specialized.

PeterPan's and Smee's Version:

Pros - Multiuse as clothing and a summer quilt. Possibly easier to make fit.

Cons - heavier and bulkier than CanoeBlue's system.

2004-05-05, 21:29
I thought this must have been an older thread since I couldnt view the pics. Gotta start lookin before I leap I guess. Streamweaver

2004-05-06, 08:57
I have not tried to fit the underquilt pattern to a HHammock that is not an A-Sym and Sarge is right that it is quite specific to the hammock for which it is intended. If you do use the pattern it will need some modification. My guess is that the basic concave shape of the underquilt is going to be pretty close to the shape that you need, but the positioning of the elastic between the tie-outs and attachment points to the hammock will have to be moved.

You may find that working from the pattern offers a better understanding of how the thing goes together than starting from scratch or you may wish to just go to it. In either case I would suggest making a mock-up out of an old sheet or some cheap sale fabric, not of the whole underquilt, but of the first (inside) layer -If that layer fits well then everything else will fall in to place. Then - hang the hammock & attach the mock-up with clips (I used Binder Clips from an office supply) - pin the elastic to the mock-up to get the positioning right - have a fiend climb in and move clips and elastics around until you have a good fit - and now you've got a pattern.

If you wish to contact me with specific questions please feel free to do so & I will try to talk you through it. I am not an expert with either patterns or with sewing and someopne more skilled than I could have assembled that underquilt in a fraction of the time that it took me - but I have talked several people through the process.

Good luck with your project.

SGT Rock
2004-05-06, 08:59

That is alright. The underquilt does look sweet.

Here are links to see both of them:

CanoeBlue's Quilt (http://hikinghq.net/images/hammock/canoe_blue_quilt.jpg)

Peter Pan & Smee's quilt (http://hikinghq.net/images/hammock/000_0144.JPG)

Sorry CanoeBlue's quilt picture is smaller, but that is the only version I presently have.

2004-05-06, 09:36
CanoeBlue, thanks for the offer of help. Have you heard anything from thru-hiker.com as to when your kit might go live? If not in the near future, could you post a materials list that I can order?


SGT Rock
2004-05-06, 09:41
I don't know when the pattern will be up, but I do know that AYCE is in the middle of a move or just starting a move, so his inventory and such is going to be unavailable for a short time. My guess is he has waiting until he is done moving and totally un-packed before trying to add anything new to what he offers.

2004-05-20, 23:06
Hi all,

I was wondering about the pic linked to above of the Peter Pan/Smee UQ... Is the head end of the Hammock to the right in the pic?

The CanoeBlue one looks sweet (as does the PP/Smee), but the PP/Smee would win-out I guess, since I could pay someone else to make it! :D

Little Rock

SGT Rock
2004-05-22, 09:34
Yess, it is to the right.

lucky luke
2004-06-06, 06:26
high all,

well, i had a few days off an decided to make an underquilt for my hennessy backpacker assym. unfortunately the pics got lost in a pc-crash. however:

i bought 3 (5m is less work for you won´t have to use patches) meters of thinsulate liner, like it is used in overalls. insulation stitched to thin black nylon in sqares. its 1.5 m wide.

some bungee-cord. i had 6 mm in white at home.

some leftover fabric for the cord-tunnels.

a few cord-locks, some small and thin pieces of webbing or rope.

1.5 m of #8 zipper, one glider.

plastic foil (app. 1.5m x 2.5m), duck-tape

i hung the hammock and filled it with 3 bags of soil ( app. 180 pounds) and spread the bags like i would lie. 3rd bag goes on top where my upper body would be. so the hammock looked like filled with a real, but not moving person.

place 1 strap of bungee-cord on either side of hammock and tie it to the centerline on both sides. i threaded both through the side-pullouts.

take the plastic foil tuck it under the cords and wrap the hammmock. fold the loose material so it really hugs the hammock bottom and lies flat. tape those flat overlaps to the foil. cut off excess foil over the cords. now you have a plastic bathtub. tape the inner overlaps onto the foil. this is not necessary but makes working a little easier. i had 4 overlapping folded areas. cut the plastic tub in the center of those taped areas so it will lay flat on the floor. this is your pattern fot the insulation. i wanted to makle it a 2-layer quilt, so i cut one pice fist. then ( the ins.fabric was originally intended for some other use ) i had to stich the leftovers together for my second layer. it barey fit, you might want to go with a little more fabric than 3 m.

on each layer of ins.-fabric make cuts according to your foil pattern and cut out the triangles. stitch the fabric together where you cut the triangles and form a tub. with e 2nd layer make sure you watch your left and right side. you want the nylon on the outside when the tubs are sewn together.

make tunnels for the cord on the sides of the quilt. app. 3cm high ( = 7cm of fabric) i decided to take no chance and make a lot of adjustment-points on the outside. one tunnel and a cord-lock in each of the following sections:
left foot to side-pull-out,
left-side-pull-out to head,
head end,
2 sides on right.

a cord lock between each tunnel, held with little pieces of webbing ( like the north face zipper pulls).

start at head and sew in zipper to one of the side-pull-outs. your decision which side. through this zipper you can increase insulation by putting blankets or other insulation inside your quilt. when stiching both tubs together (inside out, dont forget to put the glider into the zipper!) you add the tunnels and the cord-locks, plus 2 loops to thread in the side-pull-out-ropes. i added 4 separating buckles into the corners on the inside to hold an additional blanket in place ( with the other parts of the buckles) .

open zipper and turn outside out. voila, there is your bathtub quilt. thread in elastic cord and tie the ends to the main rope of the hammock. through the cord locks you can adjust tension in each of the tunnel sections. once done you won´t have to change it much.

if you prefer to take the quilt off for packing think about sewing 4 buckles to 2 pieces of webbing and tie this to the main rope. take the quilt off with the buckles.

when you have some extra material sew some long tubes for snakeskins. adjust thickness after rolling the hammock and quilt tight. its amazing how thin it becomes when you try hard.

the quilt stayed nicely under the hammock, especially when the side-pull-outs were threaded and gave 2 more points to adjust tension on the bungee-cords.

at temps around 10 celsius i stayed really coyz and warm, but when a breeze came up the insulation was a little too breezy. i wished for a wind-proof layer on the outside.

happy trails
lucky luke

Major Slacker
2004-06-09, 20:48
Hey Guys,

I haven't tried the HH (kinda pricey), but I've been using a Byer's Moskito Traveler ($40) with an Equinox Silnylon Poncho Shelter (also $40). I think the combo tips the scales at 23 oz. It has worked great for me so far. Is anybody else using anything similar?

I haven't ventured into the make-your-own-underquilt thing. I've been comfortably warm using a 3/8" ensolite foam pad in the hammock under the sleeping bag, but it takes some squirming to get everything into position. Has anybody tried a sleeping bag with an attached pad?