I have started to plan out a few camping trips and decided to go through my gear to make sure what I had and what I would need for the upcoming season. I am revamping my sleep system, going from car camping with an air mattress and a rectangular sleeping bag to lighter weight option of a sleeping pad, quilt and if car camping a cot. I am in great need of a new sleeping bag and I have tossed around the idea of going with a quilt instead of a bag for multiple reasons I will list down below. While researching I came across a craze among the backpacking forums and a few tutorials on how to make my own summer quilt out of a down throw blanket and for a fraction of the cost. I’m adventurous, why not give it a try. If it doesn’t work I will just have a couple new throws for around the house!
So I ordered the Double Black Diamond Packable down throw from Costco.com. It comes as a set of 2 for $39.99. I happened to get it at a time of a manufacturing sale of $10 off so my total after tax and shipping was $41.34. Quite the deal in my opinion! They are also available on amazon but at the cost of $36.41 to $44.99 depending on color and its only for 1 throw not 2.
Heres what Costco’s site says about the product’s details:
The rugged Double Black Diamond™ packable down throw is extremely light and portable. Less than 500 grams and packs tightly into its own drawstring stuff sack.
The fine denier polyester/nylon fabric shell is tightly woven over 400 threads per inch, and is filled with high loft 700 fill power.
Each throw has more than 168 quilted 5” square boxes to keep the down from shifting and provide even warmth.
Perfect for sporting events, travel, camping, and hiking. Toss one in your car, and another in your bag.
700 fill power
Large clusters for high loft
5” quilted box stitch – reduces down shifting
Self-piping on edges
FreshLOFT® process ensures the down is clean of dust, dirt and allergens
Comes with toggled drawstring stuff sack
Care Instructions: Machine wash (gentle cycle; see care instructions); May be dry cleaned
Dimensions: 60” x 70” (152 cm x 177 cm)
Made in China
Reasons I wanted to switch to a quilt over another sleeping bag are as follows:
1. I always feel a little claustrophobic in sleeping bags. The way they restrict your movement really bothers me. If I were to get a new bag I would go with either a Nemo spoon shaped bag or a Sierra Design backcountry bed sleeping bag. They seem to give more freedom and comfort while sleeping especially while side sleeping but aren’t really the lightest options.
2. I move around a lot when I sleep, I am a side and stomach sleeper and it is super easy to adjust sleeping positions while using a quilt. You don’t get all tangled up, twisting your bag around with you as you thrash around trying to get comfortable again.
3. Temperature regulation. I’m usually either too hot or too cold so I want to be able to stick my leg out, uncover my arms, or just toss the quilt off in a split second only to grab it to warm back up the next second.
4. Maybe most importantly, Quilts weigh less! There is less material and also NO zippers!
Quilts differ from mummy bags in that they typically do not entirely surround your body, but instead can be tucked under your body, leaving your torso in direct contact with your sleeping pad which will provide the insulation for your back. The argument for doing this is simple, in a down mummy bag, the compressed feathers under your body offer little or no insulation anyway, so why not eliminate it altogether thus saving weight! As for the hood, do you really need a hood in summer? And if you do, couldn’t you just wear a hat? In the event of colder temperatures, a pull-on, down hood or hood of your jacket offers the same insulating effect as a mummy hood, and doubles as camp wear should you need it. Eliminating the hood also shaves off a little weight and with all this material that’s suddenly not there anymore you can compress them down even smaller and save a ton of space in your pack.
5. I might try out a hammock sleep system it’s widely known that sleeping bags and hammocks together tend to be a struggle most of the time. Yes it can be done but, if there is an option that is less of a hassle and will keep me just as warm seems like a win win. I love that I can use a quilt both on the ground and in a hammock, the versatility is amazing!
6. Lastly, quilts are becoming more and more popular and I wanted to try one out for myself. Some manufactures already have some great quilts out there and some companies have plans in the works to start producing them.
Here is the plan to sew a footbox into the Costco down throw:
Turn the throw so it is “inside out,” fold the sides in to the middle and pin and sew together, now flatten back out like just had it to pin the middle and pin and sew across the bottom seam. When you sew up the middle seam try to go up far enough so it is closed to about your knee level. I am short so mine is about 20″ so 20″-25″ will be good for me. The baffles are 5″x5″ so count up 4 to 5 baffles. Here is a great YouTube video of someone doing exactly what I am trying to achieve he just pinned the bottom first. Also in this other video shows someone sewing it a little differently and also states that due to the loft of the baffles which are approximately 3/4″ it should be about a 50° down quilt. I intend to make and carry 2 of these in case of colder weather I also will be pairing it with my TNH self inflating sleeping pad which had an r-value of 4. I have seen a few other reviews of people claiming to use these down to 30° and even one person below that. We will have to just test and see for our self!
Now that it is all sewn together I’m going to test it out and I will post an update on what I think, how it works, and any improvements or changes I would suggest.
Thank you for checking out my DIY down summer camping quilt! Check back for more reviews of camping and archery gear also please look around my site for other reviews such as the TNH self inflating sleeping pad that I hope will pair well with my new quilt and also my review on the Moon Lence portable camping chair. Coming soon (I am just awaiting their arrivals) will be my initial impressions of the Coleman Trailhead II cot and the Dimples Excel Sleeping Bag Liner! Have a great day everyone!
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