DIY Poncho Liner Under Quilt (PLUQ) (Sew and No-Sew)

Here’s another one of my early illustrations, updated and improved, showing how to convert a US Army poncho liner into an under quilt.

In my early hammock camping days, I couldn’t afford a down-filled under quilt and I most often used a closed-cell foam pad when temperatures dropped. I still wanted  to try an under quilt with my Hennessy Hammock, so I started playing with a poncho liner.

The no-sew version works okay, but it’s difficult to seal the edges 100 percent. The sewn version is nice if you want to add some additional insulation, like a layer of Climashield® or other synthetic insulation.

diy-no-sew-PLUQ

diy-Sewn-PLUQ

diy-pluq-cross-section

  66 comments for “DIY Poncho Liner Under Quilt (PLUQ) (Sew and No-Sew)

  1. joseph curwen
    February 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Thanks a lot Derek!
    With your drawing, i made a sewn PLUQ last summer, and i am very happy with it, even now during winter!
    http://uppix.net/e/8/3/167fad07bb1f16f42c2a35408a6cf.jpg

    • Derek
      February 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Thank you Joseph! I’m glad it’s working for you.

    • Tra
      August 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      I just made one! I used a combo of sew and no-sew methods and it works fantastic. I cant wait for the weather to cool off a little to use it! Thanks for the great book and site Derek!

  2. Steve Serfass
    April 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    It’s a good idea I’m sure, but I can’t sew, and I don’t really understand it all, winter camping for me I’ll just stick to a tent, love my spring/summer/fall hammock trips though

    • Derek
      April 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      We’ll just have to come out your way and do a demo one of these days :) You can try a no-sew PLUQ by just tying up the strings and then putting it under the hammock. Do you use any insulation besides a sleeping bag for 3-season hammock camping? A pad perhaps? I used a pad for years before I could afford an under quilt and it worked well for temps down to 40°F.

  3. jbrescue
    May 7, 2013 at 6:07 am

    What temperature rating would you guess for the PLUQ?

    • Derek
      May 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Like any insulation, much depends on the user (hot/cold sleeper, sleep style, clothing worn, etc.). I would rate the PLUQ at 45°F (7°C).

      • Niko
        April 14, 2014 at 9:14 am

        Your rating sounds about right. I had a double PLUQ on a trip in september. During the nights temperatures dropped to roughly 2-3°C (35-40°F). I was just about right, but it was right on the edge.

  4. Bill
    May 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I am beginning my first summer in a hammock. Last night I had a 70 degree night, and it got cool on the back. I used a sleeping bag, but its hard to manage it in a hammock. Any best suggestion?? Poncho liner outside, pad inside, or suggestions to get into sleeping bag easily and not slip down your hammock….

    • Derek
      May 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Hammocks excel at heat loss (convection) so even on hot summer nights it’s nice to have something under you to keep comfortable, even if its just a little. A pad works but can twist out if you’re not careful. Most sleeping bags will compress as you lay on them so you may not get enough insulation even if you do wriggle in.

      One trick is to get into the sleeping bag while you’re standing up and then lay into the hammock.

      Under quilts like the PLUQ are great. They hang under the hammock and are not compressed when you lay down.

      Insulation that doesn’t compress works great in a hammock if you’re laying in it (such as a closed-cell foam pad or synthetic insulation). On my backpacking trip in Hawaii all I brought was a fleece blanket. During the night, I had the fleece wrapped around me and it was just about perfect. Your own preference and metabolism will dictate what you can and cannot get away with. Hot sleepers may not need anything more than a silk sheet.

    • Derek
      May 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      For me, I recommend unzipping the sleeping bag except the for the foot box. When you get in the hammock, slip your feet into the foot box and tuck the bag around you like you would a quilt. Use a pad or under quilt for warmth under you. It’s much easier to use quilt-style sleeping bags in a hammock.

  5. Andrew
    June 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    hey derek,

    im looking into making a no sew pluq, and i was wondering if what you have shown here is the best way to do it or if you have come up with a better way of doing it since posting

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • Derek
      June 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      This illustration and instruction was updated from the original. This is the most recent version available. The only other “mod” I would recommend would be to just tie off the shock cord on the ends instead of running it through the channels. This simplifies the design even further.

      • robanna
        July 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

        “The only other “mod” I would recommend would be to just tie off the shock cord on the ends instead of running it through the channels.”

        Are referring to the side, end, or all shock cords? Just run them through the ribbon ties?

        You also say that the no-sew is difficult to seal the edges. Do you think it would be easier to seal if that one long edge was straight vs a triangle? I was thinking of finding a way to fold that triangle in to make that edge straight. Maybe add a ribbon loop in a straight line with the corners to run the cord through.

        • Derek
          July 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

          The poncho liner under quilt began as a quick and inexpensive way to insulate the bottom of a hammock, by folding over a poncho liner and attaching it to the underside of a hammock. The no-sew version is a quick-and-dirty method that does the job, but it isn’t very efficient, depending on how well you gather up the short ends and get the long sides to hug the hammock.

          The original design of the no-sew mimicked some of the high-end quilts with shock cord running through the long edges to help snug up the quilt. The problem is that the shock cord isn’t contained and gets turned around while packing. Additionally, the long edge that is tied isn’t sealed well and loses a lot of heat. The last time I hung my no-sew PLUQ it took a few minutes to unravel it and I swore I would just sew it up and save me the hassle.

          One advantage of the no-sew was to keep the poncho liner versatile so you could keep it as a blanket or top quilt if you wanted. If this is your goal, I now recommend you sew the PLUQ using the instructions I have listed for the weather shield, giving you a full-length top and bottom quilt in one.

          The “mod” to put the shock cord only on the ends as opposed to running it along the long edges was to eliminate the hassle and potential rat nest of cordage.

          Another way to make the no-sew version is to fold the liner in half like a gate fold. Tie the edges together but now the shock cord can run under two folded edges on the long sides. You still need to run the shock cord on the short ends to gather up the ends.

  6. July 5, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Hey Derek! Thanks so much for the great artwork and book and ideas! I’m new to hammocking and underquilting and the whole thing, so I’m learning a lot as I go along. I’m using my ENO DoubleNest hammock indoors for the time being, trying to learn how to sleep well in it. I’ve had neck and back problems in my bed for a long time and I’m trying sleeping in a hammock to alleviate these problems. I’ve been doing it for about a week and I’m pretty satisfied with the results. I bought a Rothco Poncho Liner (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FK8XQ8) because I read this post of yours, and I tried following your no-sew instructions last night and failed miserably.

    I folded the poncho liner width-wise (original size: 62″x82″; folded size: 62″x41″) because I thought that would give me the best coverage underneath, laying diagonally, in my ENO DoubleNest. But when I tried to lay in the hammock, I found that both my head and feet were sticking out from the underquilt. I think that if I would have folded the poncho liner length-wise (original size: 62″x82″; folded size: 31″x82″), I would have had enough length, but the width wouldn’t have covered either my head or feet with me laying diagonally.

    What I ended up doing was just running a bit of paracord through the top and bottom channels, gathering those ends a bit, and then tying the poncho liner, single layer, underneath my hammock to the carabiner at the top and bottom ends. I think it worked out perfectly, even though the poncho liner was only its original, single-layer thickness.

    I’m a very hot sleeper, and we’re in the miserably hot and humid summer of New England, so that probably has some bearing on my results.

    But I wanted to see if you had any suggestions for me. From your pictures, it looks like you’re folding the poncho liner width-wise (along the shorter middle), but I don’t see how that fits underneath all of your body when you’re laying in the hammock diagonally. Do you have any pictures of how this looks with your hammock setup? Am I doing something wrong? Are regular, non-DIY underquilts longer and wider? Or maybe I’m just not understanding how underquilts are supposed to fit. The way I have it now, the poncho liner fits around my hammock when I’m not laying in it, and when I’m laying in it, the underquilt fits just about entirely underneath my hammock, the whole way up and down.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and see if you had any advice for a newbie. =:)

  7. November 8, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Hey Derek! Excellent info here … thanks! You indicated that this PLUQ worked well for temps into the 40s. Is that with or without the Climashield insulation? If you mean without, then how cold can you go with the Climashield? Also, will one square yard of insulation be enough? How heavy does that make the entire UQ, and will it compress well with insulation? Thank you so much!!

    • Derek
      November 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Not all poncho liners are created equal, so I should have a big caveat on the instructions :) All the PLUQ’s I’ve made were from surplus military supply, and some of those were in better shape than others. New, non-military liners are even better (thicker, better fill) at keeping you warm. The Climashield or Primaloft fill can help a lot, so long as you keep it from compressing under the hammock (you have to make a sort of differential baffle between the inner layer, insulation, and outer layer). Without any insulation, I feel very comfortable at 50-60°F. Adding insulation helps it go into the mid 40s. Poncho liners are heavy. I think mine was 28 oz. I think where the PLUQ has a benefit is for those looking for an inexpensive, easy to make, entry-level under quilt, especially if you can get the poncho liners for a good price.

      • November 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply Derek! (BTW, your site is incredibly helpful!)

        I picked up a “like new” liner on Amazon for $20. I’m going to try the “no-sew” method and give it a try first to see how cold it will go for me, and then take it from there.

        Also … any idea how much Climashield would be needed to fill it?

        Thanks!!

  8. Kio
    January 20, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Hi Derek,

    I am in the UK and was wondering if you have any suggestions of where to buy/obtain material for using as insulation?

    • Derek
      January 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I wish I had a good source for you. I did a quick search and didn’t see anything promising. The ones I use include Thru-Hiker, Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics, and Quest Outfitters. DIY Gear Supply also sells Insultex.

      • Kio
        January 30, 2014 at 1:51 pm

        Hey Derek,

        I found an EU supplier for Primaloft insulation! (http://www.extremtextil.de/catalog/Insulation) How many grams would you recommend I purchase to insulate the PLUQ?

        • Derek
          January 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm

          Thanks for the link! That’s a great resource.

          I might be committing some sort of PLUQ blasphemy, but I think I should come out and say that if you are going to add extra insulation, you might as well ditch the poncho liner and make a de-facto synthetic under quilt. What I mean by that is to take two sheets of ripstop nylon shell material and sandwich the insulation. The end result will be warmer and lighter.

          I’ve made several Poncho Liner Under Quilts. They make a great “beginner” under quilt, especially because they take a quilted blanket and turn it into a hammock under quilt with very little investment in time, money, or skill. However, PLUQs use material that is heavy for the amount of insulation they provide. This is even worse if you get a low-quality liner where the insulation is fairly flat. In my experience, the PLUQ is best used for summer and maybe some “shoulder” season use. I’m most comfortable with the PLUQ in temperatures around 50-70°F (10-20°C). Colder than the mid-50s (10°C), and I’m not comfortable.

          Sandwiching insulation between a folded PLUQ can help make it a little warmer, but you really have to be careful about folding it so there is a “pocket” so the insulation can loft. I’ve made some PLUQs with insulation and once you tighten it up, the insulation between the layers is still smashed flat, so it doesn’t do much. You can’t just fold it in half. You need to make sure the “outer” layer is longer than the “inner” layer, if that make sense.

          One of the best PLUQs I made was a much more involved process than I’ve illustrated here. Not only did I cut off all the edging and draw strings, I also cut the liner into two pieces to get an inner and outer shell. I also used other fabric to create baffles to help make a gap between the inner and outer layers. It sort of defeats the purpose of a PLUQ.

          How much insulation is dependent on how warm you want the quilt. I wouldn’t go by the weight so much as the loft. Typically a 2 in (5 cm) thickness of synthetic insulation will keep you warm to around 35°F (2°C), but the weight will depend on what quality/brand of insulation you choose.

  9. Beth
    February 6, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Hi, I sewed the long edges of a poncho together, and used grosgrain ribbon along both long edges. I ran some thin cord through the ribbon sleeve, thinking I could use it to pull the shock cord through, but then I wondered if I could just tie the shock cord to the other cord, leaving non-shock cord inside the gros grain ribbon sleeve. The cord sticks out of the ribbon sleeve about 3 inches on each end. Will running the shock cord through the long ends help in some way, or should the cord/shock cord combo work?

    I ran shock cord through the poncho’s edging, rather than sewing together the short ends with ribbon. I can use the shock cord to snug up the short ends, but since I didn’t sew the short ends together, I can still stuff something–extra insulation, a jacket, possibly a sleeping pad (though I don’t know if that would help in any way) between the two layers of the poncho. Should it work ok the way I have it configured, or do you recommend I sew the short ends and run shock cord through the long edges? It’s too cold to test outside right now, but the weather’s perfect for sewing. Thanks for the great web site!

    • Derek
      February 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Beth, the way you describe making your PLUQ is exactly how I made one of mine; indeed, how I illustrated making it originally (using some string or line instead of shock cord through the channels). It works and is completely viable. For me at the time, I think it was necessity as I don’t think I had enough shock cord to go around the entire circumference of the quilt. You can also just tie shock cord on the ends and not run it through the edges. The advantage of having something running the entire length is that you can adjust and move the under quilt while you are in the hammock.

      Keeping the short ends open is a good idea, especially if you do want to add or remove insulation.

      The trick to making any under quilt is to make sure there is a difference in length between the inner and outer fabric layers. This difference ensures that the the quilt will provide loft when the quilt is curved around the hammock and occupant and doesn’t just get smashed and collapsed. This is a little tricky with the poncho liner because it is just one piece of fabric that is folded over. To achieve a “sort of” differential design is NOT to fold it in half, but rather before the halfway mark so the inner fabric layer is shorter than the outer.

  10. Beth
    February 20, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Something made me remember that I have a Klymit X frame sleeping pad, that I don’t really use. But I got to thinking about sticking it between the two layers of the poncho liner and then inflating it some. If it’s sandwiched inside the underquilt, I wondered if might work as variable thickness insulation. Do you think that might work?

    • Derek
      February 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Sure! Give it a try. It sounds like it could work.

  11. Cory
    April 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I started making this and then read the comments about this not being very warm past 50 degrees. So I thought I’d just canabilize my wife’s cheap Target 40 degree bag, (with permission) cut it to the deminsions of the PLUQ add some channels and shock chord and see what happens. It’s about 2 pounds. A pound heavier than I’d like, but should be more comfortable than my pad. Have you tried anything like this to much success?
    My first venture with a sewing machine. I turned that hour project into three hours fast! Its Martha Stewart meets Frankenstein!
    I’m headed out for my first hammock trip this week.

    • Derek
      April 19, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Nice! Yes, I’ve cannibalized sleeping bags just like you’ve described. The advantage of the PLUQ is inexpensive materials. Weight is one of the trade offs.

  12. April 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Derek … my wife is working on the UQ right now .. thanks! Here is her question: why not stitch the ends closed with thread, rather than install a “sinch” cord to gather the ends?

    • Derek
      April 22, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      All the edges should be sewn closed. You add channels on all the edges so you can add in shock cord on the edges. On the short edges, the shock cord (or just regular cord) helps to cinch up the edge to better conform to the shape of the hammock—it helps to gather the short ends. I hope that makes sense!

      • April 23, 2014 at 5:30 am

        Got it … !hanks! One more question: Shock cord makes the UQ hang a little. Paracord keeps the UQ tight beneath me. Is there a preferred way to hang the UQ? Should it fit tightly, or loosely?

        • Derek
          April 23, 2014 at 6:07 am

          Shock cord should also fit tight. You might need thicker/stronger cord. The advantage is that it is elastic and will stretch and move with the hammock.

  13. cagezero
    April 23, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Would it be OK to substitute 1/16 shock cord for the 1/18 shock cord?

    • Derek
      April 24, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Of course. Use what works best.

  14. Dan
    April 23, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    what do you think about using velcro to attach the underquilt , cheep sleeping bag, to the bottom of the hammock ?

    • Derek
      April 24, 2014 at 8:44 am

      There are tradeoffs, certainly, with Velcro®. First off, it snags on pretty much everything. I would use the Omni Tape variety, which has hooks and loops on both sides. It snags less, but its not 100%. The real challenge with that sort of attachment is the requirement to have your underquilt be as wide as your hammock. A lot of under quilts stay within (often less than) 45 in (114 cm). Hammocks, particularly gathered-end variety, are 60 in (152 cm). You could add on some fabric “wings” to span the gap, but you will lose coverage, particularly around your shoulder. When you lay diagonally in a Mayan-style hammock, the underquilt also lays diagonally to match you. This is how an under quilt can be narrower than the hammock to save both weight and bulk. If you lay diagonally but your under quilt’s insulation isn’t as wide as the hammock, you’ll find your shoulders and lower legs off the insulation. This is why, if you did attach side-to-side, you’d need a really wide under quilt for maximum coverage. I hope that makes sense.

      • Dan
        April 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        Thant does make sense. that was my initial concern with underquilts, I have a ENO doublenest deluxe a very wide hammock 80in if i remember right. That why i was thinking if the underquilt, a fully opened sleeping bag, was attached directly to the hammock that might work better that a bungie suspended underquilt.
        Thank you for the quick response.

  15. Andrew
    April 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I have an older coleman mummy bag, i am not sure its supposed rating in warmth. But i had an idea of using chock cord to basically tie it the bottom of my hammock as a quick and easy underquilt. what advice would you share? is this a good idea?

    • Derek
      April 24, 2014 at 8:46 am

      I’ve made a few under quilts out of up-cycled sleeping bags like you describe. I usually cut off the hood, if present, and then cut and sew the ends to make it fit. Rectangular sleeping bags are the easiest to convert. In fact, some child-size sleeping bags are perfect for converting. They can be a little wide, unless you want to trim and sew more.

      What I usually do with those DIY projects is just sew grosgrain loops on the four corners and attach shock cord directly to the loops instead of trying to add a channel along the long edges to hold up the under quilt.

  16. Andrew
    April 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Thank you for your advice. Another question: concerning the mini carabiners. Are the biners used on the underquilt shock cord weight bearing? Do they need to be climbing grade or are the cheaper ones adequate?

    • Derek
      April 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      For clipping under quilts you can use simple clips. Only in holding human weight do you need climbing-rated gear, specifically for hammock suspension. I’ve used all kinds of stuff for under quilts including mitten hooks and toggles.

  17. Dan
    April 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    do the bungie suspended underquilts stay under you when you lay diagonally ?

    • Derek
      April 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Yes. That is one feature of the elastic shock cord: it can move and stretch as you move. Your body acts as anchor points to hold fast the corners of the under quilt to keep it in line with your body. The quilt sort of hooks your shoulder and foot to stay in place.

  18. May 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Derek-

    Great stuff here (and in your book as well!). Anyway, I’m getting ready to dive in tonight (my first hammock-related DIY project) and had a few questions (this is the no-sew version):

    1) I couldn’t find any 3/32″ shock cord, so I ended up buying all 1/8″. However, I started wondering if there was a reason for the smaller diameter — will the 1/8″ not fit? Or is it just a weight issue?

    2) In the picture, it looks like the end shock cords are only running through one layer. I was going to try the gatefold message that you mentioned in the comments. Would you still only run the shock cord through one half or would it go all the way around. I’m having a hard time visualizing how that would cinch up.

    3) For the gatefold, I assume you have the open side up (towards the butt)? Since it’s no sew, I supposed I could flip it either way, but depending on your answer to #2, it might make a difference.

    • Derek
      May 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      David, welcome!

      1 – The shock cord is variable. Use what works best. Smaller may not hold up the quilt. Unless your channels are really, really small, the 1/8 inch will fit.

      2 – The perimeter shock cord doesn’t cinch up. It connects to the ends of the hammock to suspend and hold the under quilt up against the hammock. If you run the shock cord through the under quilt (around the perimeter) the quilt can slide back and forth allowing you to get a good fit. Some under quilts only have shock cord tied to the ends, which is another way to make it work.

      3 – The no-sew option is not 100% fool-proof and has some gaps. I would only use the no-sew option if I wanted to transform the poncho liner into a multi-use garment, or if I only used it during the summer, or if I just really didn’t want to sew :) It’s a useful hack, but sewing up the sides really helps seal the heat in better and gets you better performance.

      • May 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm

        Thanks for the response! I wasn’t clear about #2 — I was talking about the end cords (the orange line in your diagram), not the blue one.

        But that’s good info about the longways cords. I was going to just tie them to the ends, but you’re right, leaving it free would allow me to move it back and forth. I have my tarp ridgeline set up that way and really like it.

        Honestly, the main reason I’m doing this project is because I was unhappy with a pad and wanted to see how much better an underquilt would work, comfort-wise. If I like it, I’ll probably pick up a “real” UQ before the summer ends.

        • Derek
          May 2, 2014 at 6:32 am

          Okay, gotcha. The short ends need to be gathered together to match the gathered shape of the hammock. If you use a bridge hammock then you don’t really need to gather the short ends at all. You can use lighter shock cord on the ends because they aren’t holding anything up. It helps that you can adjust how tight or loose you gather up the ends based on where the quilt is located on the hammock. You can also loosen the ends to open up the quilt for more ventilation on hot days.

          • August 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

            Derek,

            Just to clarify, on the no sew version: Am I making the openings for the shock cord on the upward facing side of the bottom layer only? I assuming the top layer rides along because of the ties.

            Just order a liner on ebay for $20. I’ll probably go 1/8th” on all shock cord so I’m not buying two different cords.

            Is there a source for shock cord/cord locks you recommend?

  19. July 4, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Derek,
    Yesterday I sewed for the first time since high school, 30 years ago… Anyway, I made a PLUQ and of course modified it a little (can’t leave well enough alone).. Anyway, I modified it by using a layer of microfiber bed sheet between the layers.. It’ll insulate and block a bit more of a breeze at little cost in the way of weight or space, and it doesn’t krinkle like space blanket..
    Also, 7/8″ grosgrain ribbon, doubled over just doesn’t have the space needed to get 3/16″ shock cord through.. If you have perfectly straight sewing, right on the edge, you can get away with it but I’ve decided the next one will be made with 1.5″ ribbon instead. A little harder to find at a local store, it’s easily available online. And speaking of online, while I like to help out my local sewing stores, $1.50 each for cordlocks made in China is crazy.. If I’m going to use Chinese cordlocks, I’ve decided that $4 for a bag of 50, shipped from China on eBay is a little better on my pocketbook.. :)

    Thanks again for your site and all the suggestions!!! I borrowed my retired Mother’s sewing machine to make this one, but my own machine should be here this week and I’m looking forward to PLUQ 2.0 with modifications from the original design..

    http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h276/djpagel/photo18.jpg

    • Derek
      July 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Great job and great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  20. slbear
    July 9, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Derek, Great Job on the book and website. Like many here I’m a new hanger, and getting ready for a trip next weekend. I got the woobie from a local surplus and was thinking about the no-sew option until I’ve tried it at least once. Gate folded no-sew seems like a good place to start so I could add insulation (maybe even a fleece blanket for a field upgrade when car-camping). My question is about the lack of wind-proofness in the poncho liner. Your sew option suggested insulation between the layers, and I’ve heard Climashield or Insultex mentioned. I think both of these would provide at least a partial wind barrier, but it seems like it’s in the wrong place. Shouldn’t the wind barrier be on the outside of all your insluation? With just the woobie I have, I’m thinking a breeze will quickly rob any stored heat away. I was thinking maybe adding a layer of 1.9 nylon from Joann to the outside, which seems to be harder to breathe through. Doing that right would push me into sewing, which my wife will help (she says), but at that point maybe I should just use the nylon and and some synthetic quilt batting my wife has left-over. I’m grateful for any advice you have on these options. Thanks again for the info you’ve already shared. -Slbear

    • Derek
      July 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks for coming and sharing slbear! It is rewarding to know how popular the poncho liner under quilt has been over the years, but I need to reiterate that it isn’t without faults, weaknesses, and drawbacks. Some of the reasons for its popularity is its low cost and relatively low learning curve for a DIY project. The military poncho liner, particularly the surplus variety, have thin insulation. Your assessment is correct about its breathability. However, if you are going to go through the trouble of adding extra insulation and an outer shell, you might as well make a full-fledged synthetic under quilt. The poncho liner is heavy, and at 30 ounces, doesn’t provide much warmth for its weight. You can make a much lighter synthetic under quilt with one or two layers of Climashield and a nylon shell for half the weight.

  21. Jerry
    July 14, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Is this rating guess without a sleeping bag?

    • Derek
      July 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Correct. You can get warmer if you use a sleeping bag. I often use top quilts which lack a back side.

  22. Jason
    September 1, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I’m about to make one of these for an October trip. I noticed that this seems to be a different design than the one you posted on HammockForums.net. It also seems to be more recent. Does this version work better?

    • Derek
      September 1, 2014 at 11:47 am

      It’s just a more refined design.

      • September 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm

        Just finished mine. Just waiting for the Blackbird to arrive.

      • Jason
        September 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

        Thanks Derek. I wasn’t sure which of the 3 different plans was more effective. In your forum thread, you specifically mentioned troubles getting a snug fit with your first setup. It seems like this 3rd one would be easier to adjust while laying in the hammock. I think I’ll try this one. Unfortunately, the Blackbird is still in the custody of the USPS. Testing will have to wait for now.

        By the way, your book was a huge help. I learned a number of things in it that I had not happened upon in my internet research. Thank you.

        • Derek
          September 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

          Thank you and you’re welcome! The PLUQ started off as a no sew idea because I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit my poncho liner to permanent service. That changed as I gained more experience with it.

          • Jason
            September 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

            I think it’s a great idea. Poncho liners are incredibly warm for their thin and light profile. I already own a couple of them, but I don’t want to alter them permanently. I have plans for down insulation for next year, so this just needs to get me started. The upcoming trip will be to the Arkansas Ozarks in October. Current predictions are about 40/50F overnight. Between the PLUQ, poncho, another PL, pad, space blanket, sleeping bag, and wool blanket… I should be able to make some combination work out for me.

            Thanks again for the insight and education.

  23. Ray Smith
    October 5, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I made a no sew poncho liner under quilt by folding the poncho liner in half, tying the ends together and using shock cord and safety pins. The tied ends go under the hammock, two channels are made with safety pins on the outside to hold the shock cord. this worked pretty well as a 3/4 length under quilt, but the ends need to be cinched tight to the hammock.

    I have since sewn grosgrain channels to hold the shock cord and several loops to the ends to the cinch the ends tight to the hammock . The poncho liner under quilt works good to about 45 degrees F.

    I got a car wind shield reflector idea from a buddy and tried that; but it slides around too much and does not keep the elbows warm. To go below 40 degrees F I am going to try sliding the car wind shield reflector into the poncho liner under quilt. the fall camporee is coming up in a couple of weeks, I’ll let you know how in works. Nights can get cold in Upstate New York in October.

    Thanks to a Christmas present of a grand trunk hammock and your book, I no longer am a ground sleeper.

    Ray ‘of Sunshine’ Smith

  24. Ray Smith
    November 22, 2014 at 4:26 am

    At the fall camporee at Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY I tried sliding a car wind shield reflector inside my PLUQ. It worked great. I set up my hammock on a backyard hammock frame (no trees around the fort) with a tarp over the hammock. I set the tarp to break the wind coming from the east. Of course the wind shifted to come from the north and now my tarp was a wind tunnel, but I was nice and toasty. I had my 35 degree F sleeping bag and sleeping socks. (I have a hard time sleeping with socks on but when the night got cold it was worth it.) The wind coming of of the lake makes the fort a popular place to fly kites. the wind kept increasing and it started to rain and sleet. I ahd fun though.

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