Posted by: jpanderson80

Underquilt - 05/11/09 02:11 PM

I've been investigating the underquilt world for the past 2 months in preparation for creating one for my Hennessy ULBA.
The designs have been narrowed down to a basic Klinsky model. I've made a few changes to the model, and I want to run it by everyone here. Please tell me what you think.

Grosgrain trim - I like this better than a simple hem, both aesthetically and functionally.
Lack of large diagonal elastic - Klinsky put a large elastic diagonal from one side tie out, underneath, and then to the other side tie out. I think it can be eliminated without any performance loss.
Shock Cord vs. Elastic - rather than elastic being installed around the perimeter of the quilt, I envisioned shock cord running through the grosgrain and out to tie outs on the hammock support line. This would allow me to have better control over the space between the hammock and underquilt and the ability to replace the shockcord if needed over time. I was thinking about two long pieces - one for each long side - and two short pieces - one for the head and foot.

Other information: I'll be harvesting the down from an old blanket, so while it will not be 800+ down, I'm using what I have, and I expect to use most all of it. I'm not sure actually how much down I have to work with so this part should be an adventure all by itself. (Thinking about the tent set up in the living room... LOL) I'm using 1.1oz DWR ripstop for the shells and I haven't given much thought to the actual suspension at this point. I can figure that out later. I expect the entire project to be about 16-18oz or so.

Any thoughts about the modifications? Is the shock cord as good of an idea as I think it is - or not?
Posted by: phat

Re: Underquilt - 05/11/09 03:56 PM

I'm not convinced you need a shock cord on the permiter at all.

If you think about it, as long as it's made so the sides stay
high, you're good. you need enough shock cord at the end to provide some "stretch" so when you get in the hammock the quilt is held snug against your bottom, but isn't pulled off the hammock (it's not structural). I do this with my poncho all the time (integral designs silponcho) which I shockcord at one end and tie sides high to hold insulation against my butt. You really
just need the shockcord at one end to provide some "stretch" to hold it against you when the hammock is occupied.

Have a browse through here to see what I'm talking about:


now with an underquilt, you wouldn't want the insulation to be compressed, so what I'd do is the back panel against me that you consider would be kept snug up by a shockcord gather at one end, then you have no issues with an elastic. The trick then is to make the top layer bigger, so that when the back panel is taught against you the "top" (well, facing the bottom when underneath you) is still poofy and not compressed.

Not sure how to accomplish that well, other than perhaps sewing all the shockcord and ties to what will be the "against you side" - filling the hammock with some weight, attaching the panel so it's nice and snug and shockcorded in, then
basting or otherwise attaching bits of the "top" so you know how big to make it so it's still poofy when the against you side is taught. but done right it would kick butt and require no silly
elastics or other goofyness - I know what It *should* do but my sewing skills are legendarily bad.

Posted by: jpanderson80

Re: Underquilt - 05/11/09 04:37 PM

I considered no elastic/shock cord along the long sides at all, but after investigating other designs and Jacks R Better, I thought it best to add it. I figured that for the 2oz of shock cord weight, I'd have some extra insurance against the quilt gaping open somewhere along the sides.

What does the Jacks R Better design have? Anyone have one?
Posted by: Dryer

Re: Underquilt - 05/11/09 06:24 PM

I just made an "underquilt" with Phat's rain poncho idea in mind. Instead of my poncho, I used a nylon ground cloth that is with me all the time anyway....didn't want to tie up my poncho, in case it rained.
Anyway, the nylon sheet is exactly as long as the Hennesey, and 59" wide. It's hemmed all the way around. I sew'd tie loops to all four corners using grosgrain. I folded the sheet in half, and sew'd loops at the folds, so 6 loops in all.
With the thing folded in half, it holds the quilt batting just fine. I put a patch of velcro to hold the ends closed...easier to work with. Shock cord holds it about where my head would be. The other end is right at the hammock bottom opening (i only need my back insulated here in Texas). If I want to insulate the entire hammock, I simply unfold it and un-double the insulation.
I found that prior to getting in, the quilt simply needs to roughly form with the bottom of the hammock. With my weight inside, it's tight enough to stay in place, but not crush the insulation, or billow in the wind. It can still be used as a ground sheet or gear tarp if I'm on the ground.
Seems warmer than a foam pad (i can shove the pad in the quilt too!) and a heck of a lot more comfortable!
Basically its a big pocket with tie out loops. 1/8" shock cord does the trick on the tie loops.
Posted by: lori

Re: Underquilt - 05/11/09 07:29 PM

Originally Posted By jpanderson80
I considered no elastic/shock cord along the long sides at all, but after investigating other designs and Jacks R Better, I thought it best to add it. I figured that for the 2oz of shock cord weight, I'd have some extra insurance against the quilt gaping open somewhere along the sides.

What does the Jacks R Better design have? Anyone have one?

I have two JRB quilts. The suspension is two shock cord lengths with a biner at each end. Biners attach to corner grosgrain loops on the quilt, you put the cord in a prussik on the suspension line on the hammock, and use the end drawcords to gather the ends of the quilt up against the ends of the hammock. Works very well.

The Kickass Quilt design, on the other hand, has channels that run along the sides of the quilt and cords that are attached to the hammock. The design is available online - you can probably find it in the articles at hammock forums.
Posted by: TurkeyBacon

Re: Underquilt - 05/13/09 12:01 AM

I harvested some down from two thrift store blankets recently. Just be advised, its lower quality down than you would expect. The blanket has heavier and better quality shell materials to hide the crappy down inside. My sleeping bag has many many tiny feathers constantly coming out. I thought they would all find their way out leaving the quality down behind, but there is a never ending supply of tiny feathers. After sleeping in it twice (it works great), my clothes were covered in tiny feathers both times.
I had low expectations for the down, so I'm not disappointed. I love the bag and will continue using it with the crappy down in it, but consider yourself warned...
Posted by: jpanderson80

Re: Underquilt - 05/13/09 02:03 PM

Yes, I did consider this. I expect that it will be 550 or 650 fill-power. Anything over that would be tremendous. But at $30 for 3oz of down... I'm saving myself nearly $100. That was a big enough savings that I considered this project worthwhile. This is one of those "use-what-you've-got" projects.

After more reading and looking around, I don't know what to do about the shock cords along the length of the sides. I think for now, I will plan on sewing in a tieout loop at each corner and if need be, I can go back and insert the shock cords along the long sides if I think it is needed. Hmmm... Thanks for the help everyone.