Backpacking quilt from down bed quilt

Posted by: Anne

Backpacking quilt from down bed quilt - 02/27/10 06:00 PM

Has anyone ever made a backpacking quilt from a down bed quilt? I'd like to give it a try as they can be had inexpensively on ebay... people might have them lying around in fact. Usually they have cotton covers and so would have to be covered with nylon.

Do you think the cotton cover would add too much weight? And of course you could shape the original down quilt to basically be a core for the top by running a double row of stitching then cutting between them (this would keep the down from leaking all over the room when you had to cut the original quilt).

Very interested in making my own gear and I have very good sewing skills... I need to be braver so many people on here it's their first time sewing and they jump right in!
Posted by: Tango61

Re: Backpacking quilt from down bed quilt - 02/28/10 09:32 PM

Welcome to the forum!

I think it would add too much weight if you just added nylon to cover the cotton (even cutting it down to shape).

Since you are new here you may not be aware of all the great articles in the non-forum part of this website.

Go here to see how to make your own down quilt.
Scroll down and look on the left hand side of the screen

I've made a synthetic quilt and it wasn't too hard. The hardest part is keeping the silnylon from slipping all over the place. But, if you practice by making some stuff sacks and other things you'll quickly get the hang of it.

You can also get lots of good information over at

Enjoy and let us hear back from you and oh, take lot's of pictures. We like pictures!

Posted by: lori

Re: Backpacking quilt from down bed quilt - 03/01/10 11:18 AM

People do this, but they generally harvest the down and put it in the new shell.

Aside from the weight of the cotton, you would need to make the nylon breathable - a totally waterproof shell would make the quilt uncomfortable for you, as it would trap all your perspiration inside with you, and while this is a tactic to keep you warm in sub freezing temps you don't want this when you're above freezing. And if you make the nylon breathable, moisture can get in and saturate the cotton, which will then not dry out fast, which is why so many backpacking primers will tell you not to use cotton clothing, especially in winter. Making the entire quilt heavy and wet.

So I would look at various instructions for homemade quilts and harvest the down to put in the new quilt.
Posted by: billk

Re: Backpacking quilt from down bed quilt - 03/07/10 02:38 AM

This could be worth a try, especially for a relatively warm-weather quilt. The cotton shell would be a bit heavier than you might like, but remember that there was a time when the best sleeping bags had shells of Egyptian cotton...the same material used in good quilts.

Most homemade backpacking quilts are baffled, which makes them much warmer. Many, if not most, quilts are sewn-through, so probably wouldn't be suitable for lower temperatures. The trick is deciding what "lower" means to you.