Aug 26, 2005 at 6:06 pm #1216696
I think Bill may have the answer on this one, but there may be some other people out there that know of something lighter.
As I’ve said before I believe very strongly in animal rights and do my best not to use animal products etc.. So you can see my dillemma when it comes to a sleeping bag / quilt. I have two options 1. I use hand picked Eider down from Nunatak (which isnt very likely) or 2. I go for Synthetic.
This doesn’t worry me so much these days since the weights of synthetics are almost reaching similar levels of down.
So the question I am asking is what is the absolute lightest fabric that could be used to make a synthetic bag?
I’ve seen Bill mention some silk at around .5oz which seems to be the lightest so far. I’m just wondering is there anything lighter that is feasable to be used?
If my logic is right a synthetic bag doesnt require the use of downproof textiles since it is mainly there just to cover the insulation. This to me seems to open up the amount of fabrics that can be used. I have also noticed many times before that the material used for the outer bag for down is the heaviest part of the bag. Upto 60% of the total weight. My thought is that if lighter non-downproof fabrics can be used for a synthetic the overall weight cost of a synthetic bag may pay off.
I also considered the effect of wind since these materials may not be too wind resistent. But I am going to go the way of a BMW or MLD bivy in short time, which should eliminate this problem.
The bag I want to make will most likely be a 40F bag since my lowest temps in winter barely reach the 30s. On a side not here I’m just curious to know what the average nightly temperature will be for the PCT? My friend and I are planning a through hike in 07 and to date I’ve found no such information. It seems that because most of the material on it is from the area people must already know what temps to expect.
And finally does any one know where I can find a pattern and some instructions for a bag? Im going to make adjustments to it to fit the other criteria that I want but something to start with would be helpful.Aug 26, 2005 at 8:34 pm #1340952
i could be wrong, but on mark verber’s site he quotes a letter from r. jordan discussing the minor but key differences in primaloft and polarguard. very interesting.
i got a 2004 north face propel 40F at campmor a couple months ago. quantum and polarguard. for 129. it’s an amazing bag and weighs just 16 oz. i just went back there (assuming you can barely BUY the materials for that price) and they seem to be gone. a quick search of the web may reveal a few closeout bags like this somewhere out there.
you could customize it pretty easily. it has no zips or hood. i plan on wearing with cocoon pants and and micropuff pullover down into the thirties…
i just got a MLD soul bivy. a really well made sack.
i saw some patterns at thru-hiker website. if i recall. good luck.Aug 26, 2005 at 9:30 pm #1340954
@quiltbinderLocale: Southwestern Indiana
Thru-Hiker has 0.8 oz/sq yd DWR ripstop nylon, but it sounds like you want something lighter. Silk might just be the way to go.
Rockywood Fabrics homemade gear page:
Scroll down on the left side to “Sleeping” and check out 6.”Jeff’s Bag” That would be a start, for some ideas.
For info on how much insulation to use check out the info on the Ray-Way Quilts kits, on synthetic insulation. Their quilts look scrumptiously warm and cozy. If I weren’t using down quilts, I’d probably make one of theirs.Aug 26, 2005 at 10:04 pm #1340956
Jacob, Do you know where silk comes from and how it is processed. I only ask since you state that you want to “do my best not to use animal products etc.”
Silk comes from silk worms. I helped raise some a few years ago. It was very interesting. We bought 100 silk worm eggs and were sent 680. I think they all lived. You can’t believe how much they eat toward the end of their growing period.
In the wild they go from a silk worm and then spin a cocoon around themselves. After so much time they turn into a moth. They eat there way out of the cocoon and fly away. This cycle repeats itself over and over.
When they are grown for their silk they are allowed to spin their cocoon. After a certain number of days in the cocoon (I don’t remember how many) the cocoons are put in an oven and the heat kills the silk worm. The cocoon is then processed into a fine spun thread. This thread is woven to fabric.
After knowing this, if you still want information on using some very light weight silk for your sleeping bag, let me know.
Aug 27, 2005 at 12:43 am #1340965
Thanks guys, already a huge help.
that bag looks something like I want. I can work with it anyway.
I already knew how they made and processed silk. The issue of rights rested in that area a good many years back. I was trying to decide whether invertebrates or which invertebrates showed only fixed animal behaviours rather than those with cognitive though. I came to the conclusion that most invert phyla are without sentience. So the answer is I don’t mind the silk manufacture. And I would be very greatful for information on what the limits of silk are and where I can get freakishly light stuff.
However if anyone still knows of any synthetics approaching this weight I would love to know.Aug 27, 2005 at 1:29 am #1340966
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
If you see this post, would you mind replying and telling me a bit about the MLD Soul Bivy? What I am particularly interested in knowing is how easy/difficult it is to get into and out of the bivy. Have you tried it in the rain yet? If so, how heavy was the rain and how long was the bivy exposed to it. Any other info about the bivy you feel is worth sharing would be appreciated as well. I’ve already read the specs. Many thanks, pjAug 27, 2005 at 10:50 pm #1340997
bivy is beautiful. it’s got a little zip down the side a ways, (it was a prototype so i’m not sure how it compares to his basic soul bivy.) it’s pretty easy to get in, a bit of climbing and scooching. par for the course. my sleeping bag has no zip at all…LOL.
i’m going to sew an additional grosgrain loop onto the grace tarp i got as well. a bit further under the edge (to hang the bivy). better to protect my head from eventual rain.
haven’t had any precipitation in weeks. i’m in southern cal. 105 in the shade today. maybe tomorrow i’ll do a hose spray test and let you know the results. best,Aug 28, 2005 at 1:13 am #1341002
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Many thanks for the swift reply. Appreicate the info. I also had Mr. Bell put a side zip (amongst other mods) in the Epic Soul Bivy he made for me a while back. Would really appreciate hearing ’bout the results of your “hose spray test”. Thanks again. Take care, pjAug 30, 2005 at 9:49 pm #1341133
I just noticed that thru-hiker had some pretty light Spinn. I think I’m going to buy a few yards of it and fashion a tarp and a pack from it. It seems like a cheap way to go.
I dont suppose anyone knows where to get the cuben fabric and the silk that Bill has been using. I’ve poured over the old forum pages but couldnt find it anywhere.
Also does anyone know where I might pik up some Delta or 3D? I read in that article that BPL may have lots of it due to bulk ordering. Maybe Ryan would be able to assist.Aug 31, 2005 at 9:00 am #1341153
@quiltbinderLocale: Southwestern Indiana
Thru-hiker also has 3-DSep 16, 2005 at 6:21 pm #1341713
@vickrhinesLocale: Central Texas
High quality down – 800+ cubic inch – does not need much in the way of ‘down proof’ fabric because ‘down-proof’ really means ‘quill proof’, and high loft down has few quills. The lightest stuff you can find will work – consistent with the desired level of durability and wind/weather resistance. I’ve had good luck with 0.8 oz ripstop on the outside and inside. If I could get something lighter, I would use it on the inside.
With synthetic insulation, I think the only consideration for the inside fabric is something to keep the insulation from snagging on you and your clothing. You might even consider non-woven material.Oct 4, 2005 at 5:20 am #1342372
I get the impression that its waterproof (zero porosity is what they say). But having never used it or seen it I can’t coment. However if it is, it may be a nice cheap solution to really light tarp and pack fabric. And it it can stand up to kite flying it must be reasonably strong. I might just buy a few yards of it and see how it goes.Oct 4, 2005 at 5:35 am #1342373
I bought 10 yards of this material to play with. The true weight is about 1.14oz per (real) sq yard of (36″ by 36″). This stuff is good for a lot of things and at $3.00 a yard it is very cheap. It is more or less waterproof. I say more or less because in a heavy rail it will mist through. It gets what looks like condensation on the inside. I know someone who made a tarp out of it and another person who used it for a pack.Oct 4, 2005 at 1:56 pm #1342388
Bill, how would you compare that stuff to working with Cuben? to Sil Nylon?Oct 4, 2005 at 2:12 pm #1342389
darn double posting on refresh…Oct 24, 2005 at 9:00 am #1343565
Just don’t use ripstop… I have found it in fact rips all too well.Oct 26, 2005 at 8:07 pm #1343779
So Bill, what is your source for the light silk?Oct 26, 2005 at 8:24 pm #1343782
I’ll save Bill the trouble since I’ve asked that question a lot and so have others on other forums.
chinasilks – habotai 21H is 0.57oz on Bill’s extremely sensitive scale
I think the 26L is about 1.05oz
if you search the forums for silk it will show up in another thread.Oct 26, 2005 at 8:39 pm #1343784
Dear Post Anonymously, I have posted the place where I get silk in many Anonymous places. I am surprised you haven’t run into it. Check out all your old Anonymous hideouts and you are sure to turn it up.
Jacob you type to fast. But that is Ok.Oct 30, 2005 at 4:48 pm #1344023
This is a general question to everyone but again I think guru Bill holds the answer.
I just ordered enough yardage of the 21H to make up my two quilts. I got my samples this morning and whilst the silk is very light weight. I think If I baby it it will last me long enough for new technologies to advance in other fabrics. However the real question is do you think I could use a wash in or spray on DWR to give this fabric a bit of water shedding capability. If so which is the best to go with? Most require the fabric to be tumble dried do you think silk will stand up to this on a low heat?
I use a bivy anyway but if I wanted to ditch the half lb bivy I would like just a little protection from water.
thanksOct 30, 2005 at 5:13 pm #1344025
Do a test wash of a small piece to satisfy yourself. I think you will be surprised at how durable it is. I pre-wash all silk before I would dye it. You can also get several heavier kinds if you need something to take harder treatment. My hammock out of what you have is about 2 years old and holding up great. I am about to make a new hammock out of some of the 0.57oz per square yard stuff. 3 yards times 0.57 and you have a very light hammock. Add your straps and if you need one a bug net and it is still very light, I think easy a piece of SUL gear.Oct 30, 2005 at 6:13 pm #1344027
I have done a few tests on it to see if i can pull stitches out and also some pretty heavy pulling and tugging on it. It seems very strong in fact they all seem very strong but sometimes lightness is just the most important thing. I am going to use the .57oz stuff for this job and just give it a good wash in of DWR. This will lower porosity to some extent but I don’t think Im going to have any breathability problems in silk. The only other thing I was worried about is dirt passing through the weave and into the 3D but I guess this really shouldn’t be a problem and this sort of thing can be washed out.
I was wondering if I could make a hammock out of it. I think if the stress points were made properly It could definitely become a SUL piece of gear. However I thought if you have the time and you use a DAM you could probably knot a mesh up from the lightest spectra or kevlar or some other kind of light weight line. I’m not sure what weight it would be but definitely in the SUL category. I’ve seen quite a few sites on how to make fishing nets etc. from this kind of knotting. It’s very similar to a kind of crocheting that I’m trying to get my grandmother to teach me called tatting.
Anyway It’s cheap stuff anyway at $4.35 a yard I can only but try. I think my estimated weights for an over sized quilt made from this silk were 18oz for a 40 degree quilt and 11oz for the 70 degree. I’ll post weights when it’s done.
on another note. Do you think it would be possible to make a Air Mattress with not quite so much loft as yours (say down to freezing) out of 3D or Delta? For most who use down this wouldnt be a consideration but for me I think it would be a possibility.Oct 30, 2005 at 7:25 pm #1344034
Joshua asked the following back a few posts and I never answered his question.
Q- “Bill, how would you compare that stuff to working with Cuben? to Sil Nylon?”
A- I treat all material about the same, that is to say I test some of it first to see how my sewing machine is going to deal with it. I change the machine settings as I need to and then write down in the back of my sewing machine book what settings work for what material. I have found that I sew all this really light fabric about the same. I organize myself the best I can so I don’t have to rib seams and sew at a slow speed vs a fast speed. When I first started sewing I pinned everything. Now I only pin the difficult stuff and I use quilt maker pins which are a thinner size than your standard straight pin. I would call the spinnaker material crispy, the silk really soft and the Cuben softer than the spinnaker stuff.
Q1- “However the real question is do you think I could use a wash in or spray on DWR to give this fabric a bit of water shedding capability.
A1- This is a question I have asked myself but have not tried anything yet.
Q2- If so which is the best to go with?
A2- Someone reading this may have some ideas for you to start with.
Q3- Most require the fabric to be tumble dried do you think silk will stand up to this on a low heat?
A3- Use a “delicate setting” and put your silk item into something like a pillow case. You should tie the open end closed.
I use a bivy anyway but if I wanted to ditch the half lb bivy I would like just a little protection from water.
I have friends who laugh at me when I talk about looking for a way to save a gram or two on things that are so light already. I even laugh at myself at times. Your Bivy at a half pound or 8oz is the same weight as 19 standard OREO cookies or 1013 Calories.
have done a few tests on it to see if i can pull stitches out and also some pretty heavy pulling and tugging on it. It seems very strong in fact they all seem very strong but sometimes lightness is just the most important thing. I am going to use the .57oz stuff for this job and just give it a good wash in of DWR. This will lower porosity to some extent but I don’t think Im going to have any breathability problems in silk.
Q-“The only other thing I was worried about is dirt passing through the weave and into the 3D but I guess this really shouldn’t be a problem and this sort of thing can be washed out.”
A- I don’t think dirt will pass through the silk.
Q-“I was wondering if I could make a hammock out of it. I think if the stress points were made properly It could definitely become a SUL piece of gear.”
A- I am going to use the 0.57oz silk on my new Hammock. It will be an Ed Speer style hammock and will just have a knot on each end of it. I only weigh 150 pounds so I don’t think I will have a problem with the lighter material. No sewing. I will use a cord from West Marine called T100, 3/32″ – 950 pound test. This cord will weigh about 0.06oz per foot. I will connect one end to the knot on my hammock and will use tree huggers on the tree and tie this cord to the tree huggers. The cord was $.41 a foot. The West Marine product number is 3474665.
Q- However I thought if you have the time and you use a DAM you could probably knot a mesh up from the lightest spectra or kevlar or some other kind of light weight line. I’m not sure what weight it would be but definitely in the SUL category. I’ve seen quite a few sites on how to make fishing nets etc. from this kind of knotting. It’s very similar to a kind of crocheting that I’m trying to get my grandmother to teach me called tatting.
A- I was going to weave some spectra cord like Kitebuilder -WAS- selling. There supply dried up. I know what tatting is and have some friends that do it.
Q- Anyway It’s cheap stuff anyway at $4.35 a yard I can only but try. I think my estimated weights for an over sized quilt made from this silk were 18oz for a 40 degree quilt and 11oz for the 70 degree. I’ll post weights when it’s done.
A- The price and weight is why I will use silk for a hammock and not the Cuben. Big difference in price and not much difference in weight.
Q- on another note. Do you think it would be possible to make a Air Mattress with not quite so much loft as yours (say down to freezing) out of 3D or Delta? For most who use down this wouldnt be a consideration but for me I think it would be a possibility.
A- Sure, I just have never made anything yet with a synthetic insulation. I have been sitting on 10 yards of the good stuff for at least a year. I want to try it for a rainy weather set-up. I want to see Ryan’s new “Cocoon” line quilt. Pertex Quantam/Polarguard Delta.
“When it pours – Delta scores”
How is that for a logo/sales pitch?Nov 6, 2005 at 5:12 pm #1344486
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Hi Bill… It’s been a while. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for about two month there and so haven’t been keeping up with the discussions here.
I’ve been meaning to ask. I’m designing my eighth generation of camping hammock and am thinking of creating one that will act as both a hammock and a bivy for the ground. Somehow I want to get it so that the bottom half is waterproof and the sides and top breathing. I’ve already made a double-layer hammock (as in Risk’s double hammock) using silnylon bottom layer (sort of a permanent Garlington insulator) and a 1.1 nylon inner layer. The space in between would be used to house lightweight insulation (perhaps open cell foam, like Hennessey’s Super Shelter… but it is bulky, and useless on the ground). I just worry that using silnylon on the outside would create condensation, though I haven’t had any problems yet when hanging out in the park near my house. The mountains might be different.
What I want to ask is do you think that Pertex Quantum or Epic fabric might be used for making a water resistant outer shell? Would they just not be waterproof enough for a bivy on the ground? (The reason I need the bivy aspect is because a lot of walking in Japan is above treeline).
Also, I wondered if, with your designs of an ultralight DAM mattress, you have ever considered integrating the inflatable tubes into the bottom of your hammock? This way the hammock would be both warm and compactable and could be used on the ground without having to carry an extra layer of fabric in the external mattress. Also, do your sponsons in your DAM get filled with down?
So much to think about, so much of which can only be properly understood when you get out there and really use the stuff…Nov 6, 2005 at 5:52 pm #1344487
I’ve been toying with this idea in my head as well. I like the idea of a hammock being comfortable and all but often wonder if trees will be available. Insulation underneath is another issue, i though if i just used a cutdown pad for the hammock it would only go so far. But having the option to put it on the ground is what i really wanted. My idea was to just make and extra long and wide bivy that I could tie the ends of and lash to a tree. Top and bottom both made from either quantum of .8oz ripstop with DWR coating. It can be double layer because the top and bottom of the bivy serve as the two layers to fit a pad between. As for on the ground. I’m willing to make the sacrifice of 1oz (mylar) or 1.3oz (GVP groundsheet) to make sure I have a breathable bottom for the hammock and a waterproof bottom for the ground. This was also taking into account that the tarp will be used on both setups.
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