DIY One-Season Top Quilt or Liner

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15 Responses

  1. seth mcalister says:

    fleece has different weights, right? do you know what weight fleece you used for this? I’d love to be able to get it into the 280g range for an upcoming trip. a 280g tq will put me xul.

    • Derek says:

      Yes, fleece has different weights. I’m not sure the weight of mine. I cannibalized a blanket for mine. I’m guessing it was a mid-weight.

  2. This tutorial can be used to convert a rectangular sleeping bag into a top quilt?

    • Derek says:

      You don’t need to do much to convert a rectangular sleeping bag into a top quilt, just unzip it down to the footbox and you’re good. If you want to really do surgery, remove the zipper and sew it back up, adding snaps, ties, or sew up the footbox as illustrated.

      • Well i hope all turns out well after the surgery, i have a 3Lb coleman sleeping bag that i bought it last year before doing hammock camping, and is too bulky and heavy to used it on the hammock, i’m gonna convert it into a top quilt. at least i expect to cut off some weight and bulk.

        • Derek says:

          When I go car camping or on summer camps, that’s when I bring out my bulky heavy gear that can take a little more abuse. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Desert Snake says:

    How might this design work as a early fall/late spring under quilt?

  4. Clint says:

    Derek, How did you anchor the Hammock to the walls? Great idea for the kids rooms…I think…

  5. Vela Anderson says:

    I jut got my fist hammock (WBBB) and I’m not sure what I want to do about insulation yet. I already have a Thermarest pad and a 20 degree down bag. Should I just use these with my hammock, or ditch them for an under quilt and top quilt? I want to save weight, but I’d rather not spend another $300 if I don’t need to. I just want to be warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot! I’ll be thru hiking the AT. I’ve been told an UQ i necessary, even in the summer?

    • Derek says:

      An under quilt isn’t necessary, but it can make hammock camping a little easier and more enjoyable. Some folks swear by them, while others insist that pads are fine. If I were you, I would try the pad/bag combo first and see how you do. I used that combo for years. The only complaint I had was in the dead of winter, I needed more padding and insulation, which increased weight and bulk. Switching to an under quilt and top quilt saved weight and was ultimately warmer for me with less gear involved. Cost is a barrier. But you don’t need a top quilt, if the sleeping bag you have works for you. Convert your sleeping bag by unzipping it down to the foot box and simply drape it over you just like a quilt. As it gets colder, slide the pad _inside_ the bag to keep it from sliding away from you.

      When it gets warm, you still need insulation underneath you. In fact, I’ve found that a hammock requires more attention to the insulation beneath you than when sleeping on the ground, due to convective cooling. They are great at keeping cool in the summer, sometimes too great. When I lived in Virginia with high heat and humidity, I slept most of the night with nothing, but in the early morning hours, I needed something — a fleece sleeping bag was enough.

      As I said, some people find no issues with using pads. I sometimes even pull them out to use on some trips.

  6. James says:

    Love the site! Just bought the kindle edition of your book – loving it so far too.

    My partner and I just bought our first hammocks (we went with the skeeter beeter pro). We’re struggling where insulation is concerned. We both camped a lot in our youth but don’t have any old sleeping bags lying around, so that’s not a simple/cheap option for us.

    We’re planning on backpacking mostly for our camping, and price is a pretty significant issue for us, so I’m thinking of starting out trying your DIY suggestions for underquilts and top quilts – the one issue being we live in Canada and want to be able to camp at least April – October… which means facing 20s (F) is pretty realistic.

    Do you have any suggestions of a good starting place? Will your DIY solutions with some added insulation work in those kinds of temperatures? What would your tip be for cheap/effective insulation for folks who don’t already have sleeping bags and pads kicking around?

    Thanks so much!

    • Derek says:

      Welcome to the site! My great-grandpa settled portions of Canada, so I have some affinity to the North :)

      If cost is the driving factor, doing projects yourself can save some money. Do you already own any camping gear such as sleeping bags and pads? If so, you can use those in your hammock as-is. I used a cheap, blue, closed-cell foam pad for a few years until I could afford an under quilt. Pads are inexpensive and light, and you can double them up in colder conditions.

      If you really want to get dirty with DIY, you might consider sewing your own under quilt. Synthetic insulation by the roll from ThruHiker.com is one place to get good prices and materials. You can make a synthetic quilt for much less if you have some basic sewing skills.

      Thrift stores and military surplus stores are also great places to find good deals on gently used gear at good prices.

      But to be quite honest with you, if you plan to hammock or camp more often, I would highly recommend investing in good quality insulation. Hammocks can be made super cheap and still be high-quality. Insulation becomes your life-blood and will pay for itself many times over.

      • James says:

        Thanks for the reply Derek!

        Unfortunately we don’t have any old sleeping bags lying around – which is the problem. We’re trying to get something good/affordable together for this year before investing in better equipment once we’ve saved up some.

        Without old sleeping bags kicking around, the best choice seems to be DIY – I don’t want to invest in a sleeping bag when it’s only going to be a placeholder… but maybe we’ll find a good deal in a surplus store to get us through the year.

        Thanks again! Looking forward to our first hammock outing.

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