Thursday, May 19, 2016

DIY Gear ~ Sleeping Quilts

Over the weekend, I finished sleeping quilts for E and Z for this summer's Colorado Trail hike.

The idea behind the sleeping quilt is that it's lighter than a sleeping bag, allows for ventilation, so you don't sweat and then get cold during the night, and you don't lie on top of any of the insulation, smashing it down. I made one for myself last summer and tested it out on our two-week Colorado camping trip. It worked really well, mostly. The two drawbacks were that there's nothing between you and your sleeping mat, so if it's too warm to wear sleeping clothes with long sleeves and legs, you stick to the mat, which is not that pleasant. Also, I was cold when we camped at Sand Dunes, where it got down to the 30s at night.

I'm a little nervous about being cold on our trip, and even more nervous about our kids being cold. Lightweight backpacking philosophy is to have a lighter bag and wear your warm layers while you sleep. I hope that works. Ray Jardine, the godfather of lightweight backpacking and the manufacturer of these sleep quilt kits, claims to have used this same bag on a trip across Antarctica, should be warm enough. Just to be on the safe side, I added a layer of insulation that I had cut off the make the bag the right length to the torso area of E and Z's bags.

The quilts are not difficult to make, just fussy. And I don't do that well with fussy. Making them does give me a great appreciation for the workers in sweatshops who manufacture our clothes and gear. Now I just have two more to make and the countdown is on!

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