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  1. #1
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Default I built a North Face synthetic underquilt for my HH

    Brace yourselves; this'll probably be a long one.

    I have a Hennessy ULB Asym and have been reading far too much on here and a few other sites about insulating the bottom. I'll be giving it its first use in a week on a seven or eight night hike on the AT in CT/MA. The nighttime weather up there has been in the 50's lately.

    I've been experimenting with various pads the last week or so. I'd finally settled on a cheap 3/8" CCF pad from Target that was 27" wide. I trimmed it to fit and it was pretty good, but then I read Sheldon's post yesterday and got scared again of sweat/condensation because of the pad.

    Since starting this hammock thing, I've thought an underquilt seemed like the best thing, being very warm and on the outside, so that once you climbed in, you wouldn't have to think about it or mess with it. I don't want to use down, though, and it seemed like a complicated thing to make myself, having to worry about being sealed correctly, not compressing the insulation, etc.

    A buddy gave me a $75 REI gift card last night, so I went up there today to look for something to make an underquilt with. I was about to buy an REI short Polar Pod, then found this North Face Allegheny:

    http://www.thenorthface.com/opencms/...productId=8432

    It uses TNF's proprietary HOT insulation and is rated to 40 degrees. It's just a rectangular bag with a drawstring at the neck and a full zip. Best of all, it's drab green and black. Weight is 2lbs, 9 oz. I would have gotten the regular, but they only had the long size, so I got that. Cost was $70. Insulation looks to be 1.5" high.

    I was going to just use the top half of it and put drawstrings at the head and foot, but then found these plans specific to the UL Asym:

    http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/AG8RQ7d...%20pattern.jpg

    I unfolded the bag into a big rectangle, then cut it to the dimensions listed. I was able to preserve enough of the top drawcord channel to use and then sewed a silnylon sleeve onto the foot. I sewed tie-out loops to the six corners. On the top and bottom drawcords, I tied one end to the tie-out loop at that corner and the other I fastened a large-ish cord lock to use as a stop.

    The only change I made to the plans was to cut darts at the two side corners. The darts are ten inches deep and nine inches wide and do a perfect job of keeping the sides snug.

    I cut the shape out, sewed the cut edges closed, then sewed a hem by just double folding them.

    It fastens to the tarp with 550 cord at the head end, elastic at the foot (so it'll slide to the side and back when you get in) and connects directly at the side to the hammock side tie-outs. All quilt lines attach to the hammock attachment points with very small hooks. The head and foot lines each attach to a sliding 550 loop on the tree lines.

    It took about five hours to make (including dinner and two episodes of Family Guy). The result is much nicer than I expected. The fit is very good and it seems like there's plenty of room to be insulated in a variety of positions. Finished weight is 24 oz. including all lines and a stuff sack. The volume is lower than my sleeping pad, so I think it'll pack up nicer (plus, I've always hated packing a non-Z-Rest pad into my pack).

    Not quite as warm as a JRB, and 4 oz. heavier, but $150 cheaper and synthetic for those of us into that. I also really like the green/black thing. I think if it works as well as I hope on my upcoming trip, I'll probably wind up making a nicer one from scratch from a Ray-Way quilt kit. I could probably make it for the same weight, but warmer.

    Anyway, that's the end of my fascinating tale. Here are some pictures. There's one with it on my empty hammock, one with my girlfriend in it (now she's two kinds of hot), one of it packed into its stuff sack, and the last one of it laid out on the ground.
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  2. #2
    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default good job

    looks very similar to the first underquilt i made with walmart materials...you get my applause for the do-it-yourself mantra, nothing wrong with synthetics either. synthetics are fairly easy to work with, on my second underquilt i used primaloft batts from OWF and aluminum coated sil-nyl like Stevenson uses...in the end I prefer down and I'm not to keen about getting into a tent and using a gas mask while making a quilt!
    Start out slow, then slow down.

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    Default

    Awesome job...now you'll have people asking where you got a TNF underquilt!

    I couldn't get the link to work for the plan, though...could you repost?

    For a warmer underquilt, just make a small quilt and put it inside the underquilt. Then you'll have an underquilt and a light quilt for warmer weather, or put them both below the quilt and use something else inside for colder weather. The only weight penalty of that over a thicker quilt is two layers of nylon...a few ounces. But you get a very versatile system for much cheaper.

    Isn't it so much more fun to make your own stuff?

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    Default

    Nice job ...I did a similar project with the Exped wallcreeper...But I succumbed to the JRB quilts.........

  5. #5
    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default my latest hammocking packing technique

    I like to keep the top quilt in the hammock,
    the underquilt attached below,
    and the weathershield attached below the underquilt.....
    so with the Luxurylite I have been simply taking off the fly and putting it in the the top (smallest cylinder) with my camp shoes (so if both are wet and muddy who cares), then i stuff the whole hammock kit into the large bottom cylinder...i would hate to return to setting up each component of this sleep system...this way i'm hanging in 5 minutes even after getting in to stretch and retigtening......
    Start out slow, then slow down.

  6. #6
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the positive responses.

    Medicine Man, I was thinking about leaving the underquilt attached, since I'm sure I'll be using it for the whole trip. I hadn't thought of leaving my top quilt inside. That's not a bad idea. I was worried about the additional bulk of having a whole other quilt, but, man, not having that sleeping pad in my pack makes all the difference in the world. I'm sewing my top quilt tonight and even with my three pound sleeping bag in my pack, I have so much more room now. I can't wait to see what it's like once I have the quilt.

    Jeff, I included the plans as a jpg here. Basically, you start with an 80" x 48" rectangle. Mark the middle corners to be 28" down from one side and 28" up from the other. Then mark the top and bottom of it to be 24" wide. Cut off the corners and that's it. I also cut the darts that I mentioned before, which made a huge difference for getting a nice fit with no gaps.

    Great idea about a second underquilt. I was thinking that if I go camping when it's really cold, I could bring my CCF pad with me and put it between the underquilt and the hammock. That would also give me a going to ground option if I needed it. I'll still probably sew another underquilt later on just because I'm sure I can do it lighter, but I'll be losing the cool TNF label.

    I do like making my own gear, but my sewing skill is not what it could be. I made my own tarp, a tarp with integrated netting, and a separate netting shelter, but all that stuff was extremely simple. I tried making a backpack once and it came out pretty comical. I would like to have as much homemade stuff as possible, though.

    I leave for Massachusetts on Friday. I pity my company, because my productivity at work is going to be about zero between now and then.
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  7. #7
    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default Patrick........

    here's a photo showing a typical closed cell pad inside the hammock:
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/gallery/sh...cat/500/page/9

    This combo worked well in cold weather. The sleeping bag in the photo is a WM Ponderosa rated at 15F and has 3-4 inches of loft around the whole hammock. in the photo it is pushed down to allow me getting into the hammock. The hammock is a cheapy CrazyCreek and this combo works well for really really cold temps. The whole at the end of the 'tube' is taken care of by a down balaclava.
    Start out slow, then slow down.

  8. #8
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Default

    So, that's a regular sleeping bag that wraps around? Seems like a warm solution. Do you also then sleep with a quilt or something over you inside the hammock?

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    Springer-->Stony Brook Road VT MedicineMan's Avatar
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    Default Patrick

    no quilt inside, no need at 17F.
    just something to block up the hole at the head end of the hammock because the way the hammock wraps and the way the Ponderosa has no hood (couldnt use it anyway in this application) you need to block the hole from drafts.
    the ponderosa is not normal though in the fact that it has two zippers which are intended to allow it to be completely unzipped and used as a big down comforter..that second zipper is at the footbox and allows the hammock support rope to leave with only the minutest hole.
    the ponderosa can be used with other hammocks like the spear but alas not with my favorite the HH.
    Start out slow, then slow down.

  10. #10
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Default

    Nice. Is that a big bag? Seems hard to picture a regular sleeping bag going all the way around my hammock.

  11. #11
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    Default heres a link:

    http://www.westernmountaineering.com...2&ContentId=36

    def. big and 2lb 9oz....but for winter use only you negate the bug netting and a separate top quilt.....its a specialty deal, one for when you know its going to be bone cold and no chance of rain....the minimalist tarp like the one supplied OEM with a Hennessey would be the tarp for this setting just to sheet sleet/ice/snow.....
    Start out slow, then slow down.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick
    Brace yourselves; this'll probably be a long one.

    I have a Hennessy ULB Asym and have been reading far too much on here and a few other sites about insulating the bottom. I'll be giving it its first use in a week on a seven or eight night hike on the AT in CT/MA. The nighttime weather up there has been in the 50's lately.

    I've been experimenting with various pads the last week or so. I'd finally settled on a cheap 3/8" CCF pad from Target that was 27" wide. I trimmed it to fit and it was pretty good, but then I read Sheldon's post yesterday and got scared again of sweat/condensation because of the pad.

    Since starting this hammock thing, I've thought an underquilt seemed like the best thing, being very warm and on the outside, so that once you climbed in, you wouldn't have to think about it or mess with it. I don't want to use down, though, and it seemed like a complicated thing to make myself, having to worry about being sealed correctly, not compressing the insulation, etc.

    A buddy gave me a $75 REI gift card last night, so I went up there today to look for something to make an underquilt with. I was about to buy an REI short Polar Pod, then found this North Face Allegheny:

    http://www.thenorthface.com/opencms/...productId=8432

    It uses TNF's proprietary HOT insulation and is rated to 40 degrees. It's just a rectangular bag with a drawstring at the neck and a full zip. Best of all, it's drab green and black. Weight is 2lbs, 9 oz. I would have gotten the regular, but they only had the long size, so I got that. Cost was $70. Insulation looks to be 1.5" high.

    I was going to just use the top half of it and put drawstrings at the head and foot, but then found these plans specific to the UL Asym:

    http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/AG8RQ7d...%20pattern.jpg

    I unfolded the bag into a big rectangle, then cut it to the dimensions listed. I was able to preserve enough of the top drawcord channel to use and then sewed a silnylon sleeve onto the foot. I sewed tie-out loops to the six corners. On the top and bottom drawcords, I tied one end to the tie-out loop at that corner and the other I fastened a large-ish cord lock to use as a stop.

    The only change I made to the plans was to cut darts at the two side corners. The darts are ten inches deep and nine inches wide and do a perfect job of keeping the sides snug.

    I cut the shape out, sewed the cut edges closed, then sewed a hem by just double folding them.

    It fastens to the tarp with 550 cord at the head end, elastic at the foot (so it'll slide to the side and back when you get in) and connects directly at the side to the hammock side tie-outs. All quilt lines attach to the hammock attachment points with very small hooks. The head and foot lines each attach to a sliding 550 loop on the tree lines.

    It took about five hours to make (including dinner and two episodes of Family Guy). The result is much nicer than I expected. The fit is very good and it seems like there's plenty of room to be insulated in a variety of positions. Finished weight is 24 oz. including all lines and a stuff sack. The volume is lower than my sleeping pad, so I think it'll pack up nicer (plus, I've always hated packing a non-Z-Rest pad into my pack).

    Not quite as warm as a JRB, and 4 oz. heavier, but $150 cheaper and synthetic for those of us into that. I also really like the green/black thing. I think if it works as well as I hope on my upcoming trip, I'll probably wind up making a nicer one from scratch from a Ray-Way quilt kit. I could probably make it for the same weight, but warmer.

    Anyway, that's the end of my fascinating tale. Here are some pictures. There's one with it on my empty hammock, one with my girlfriend in it (now she's two kinds of hot), one of it packed into its stuff sack, and the last one of it laid out on the ground.
    it looks pretty awesome to me bro neo

  13. #13

    :banana



    wow. very cool. I did something similar (temporary though) just got a sheet, tied the two corners together on each end, tied to hammock, put my sister's sleeping bag in there. Used mine to sleep in. Obviously this isn't a permanent solution, but I'm wondering if I should go down to the stores with my scale and weigh and try and buy a good bag...

    Or if I should just go JRB. Also would be lighter than my current system. the Jacks are very cool- I like their business manifesto, but I'm short on cash. hmm.. I need to rob a bank or something. parents not happy after flea induced temper. (stupid dog!)

    If you want to not do it yourself (DIY is very cool anyway) I would go Jacks. This this the best underquilt (synthetic) plans I have seen.

    way to go!

    titanium
    Last edited by attroll; 09-15-2005 at 00:12.
    just call me TH
    woman with altitude

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    hm... that gives me ideas for using some of my own older gear...

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    Default Neo

    Quote Originally Posted by neo
    it looks pretty awesome to me bro neo
    Neo, you gotta learn how to edit, bro.

  16. #16

    Default

    How did I miss this post before today?? Several of my recent posts are regarding this exact thread. I did a search, reviewed threads, etc,,, but for some reason I didn't come across this thread. Ok, enough ranting. Patrick, Thank You!! I'm alergic to down, & had been thinking about how to make a synthetic underquilt. What you described was partially what I was thinking about,, although, I had found a +20 North Face Fission bag. This is a typical mummy bag, so I'm not sure if it would work the same as starting w/ a rectangle bag. However, looking at the diagram, it seems I could get 2 of those offset pieces (that attach together) out of this particular bag, therefore giving me a +20 comfort rating!! I'm a happy camper now.

  17. #17

    Default

    Patrick, I noticed the bag you used has H.O.T. SL synthetic insulation. I've never heard of that. Do you know much about it, & how it compares to the other insulations,,, Primaloft, Polarguard?

  18. #18

    Default

    Patrick, on the diagram/dimensions attachment in your above post, I don't understand this: "Cutting Pattern for 1 panel, outside of quilt. Repeat for other outside panel. Reverse & cut 2 pieces for inside of quilt." What does it mean "outside of quilt, & outside panel, & cut 2 pieces for "inside of quilt". By looking at the diagram, I figure you just cut 2 pieces out of the sleeping bag like left side diagram, & attach them together like right side diagram. This directive makes me think I need 4 pieces,, but what for,,,, it seems like it's just 2 pieces put together. Am I over-analyzing this. What am I missing here?

    minutes later...............

    Ahhhhhh, I think it just hit me...... Is that attachment for making a quilt from scratch, therefore needing top/bottom of each section in order to fill w/ insulation. Duh Heeeeeeee. I'm a little slow at midnight, sorry guys.

    Confirmation please!! Thanks!

    & Patrick, a one more question. Is this "odd shaped" finished design better? JRB's are rectangle.

  19. #19
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Hey guys,

    Glad to see the responses. I actually just got a chance to try this thing out on a seven night trip through Massachusetts last week. It worked really well.

    Most of the nights I was up there it was around 50 degrees. The last night was 40. I was comfortable the whole time. The only changes I plan on making are to the attachment points.

    Once it was breezy up on a ridge and it would occasionally blow between the quilt and the hammock and chill me a bit. I think I need to add four more attachment points, one at the midpoint of each side, just to help keep things snug.

    Right now it attaches with s-hooks which I pinched close so they can't come off of the quilt loops. A couple of nights the hooks slipped off the hammock rings, though. In preparing for the much colder last night I was out, I wedged a stick in the ring to make sure things would stay snug, but it needs some type of snap ring as a permanent solution.

    The HOT insulation seems great. I have a homemade Ray-Way quilt that is supposed to be rated at forty degrees. The TNF bag I made the quilt out of is rated the same, but doesn't seem as thick. Either way, it was forty or below the last night I was out and I had the best sleep I ever remember having outdoors.

    Anyway, I'm ready to call it a success. I think I'll probably still make one from scratch (or a Ray-Way kit) just because I think it will be a bit warmer for the same weight.

  20. #20
    Registered User Patrick's Avatar
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    Big Dog,

    Sorry, posted right on top of yours. Yeah, you're exactly right. Those plans (which aren't mine -- the creator is listed on the web page) are for making one from scratch, so you'd need four pieces. The left and right side of a "top and bottom", between which would be sandwiched the insulation.

    Since I made mine from a sleeping bag, I just cut one big piece to that same shape, hemmed it, and added the attachment points. Also, I cut the darts I described. These made a LARGE difference in how well the quilt hugged the hammock.

    If I were to make it again, I would probably also make it a bit wider, probably six inches to a foot. The width is almost perfect now, but when the side tie-outs on the hammock are set wide, the quilt keeps them from stretching all the way out.

    I didn't know the JRB was rectangular. I think Just Jeff's homemade ones are as well. I thought that design was great, I was just trying to save a bit of weight and thought the shape might hug the hammock better. One thing I noticed is that you can really feel where the quilt cups the hammock when you're in it. When laying very diagonally, my feet were off the underquilt. This wasn't a problem because my top quilt has a foot pocket that kept me plenty warm, but the rectangle shape might give a bit more foot coverage. Or maybe if I'd let the drawstrings out a bit, it would have done the same.

    One thing I think the shape helped with was getting in and out, although I'm sure it wasn't a big deal. I used elastic on the foot end cords and the underquilt snapped very definitively back into place after I pulled my feet up into the opening.

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