Backcountry Forum

Make Your Own Gear

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
BackcountryGear.com
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance


Stay Healthy--Eat Well

MARY JANES FARM ORGANIC MEALS

Mary Janes Farm Organic Backcountry Meals

NATURAL HIGH GOURMET MEALS

Natural High

 

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#150918 - 05/31/11 06:44 PM To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y?
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
Hello everyone, anyone who knows me here knows im fairly minimalist. and lately while im pitching tents or hanging my hammock and hammock stuff. ive been having tarp envy. know ive grown used to my creature comforts and really want a Tarptent Contrail but i have a dear freind that needs a tent aswell and im thinking of building henrys tarptent for him and if i like the design building one for myself aswell. i would need to buy a machine and order supplys but with my calcul;ations a cheap machine and mattereials for two tarptents would cost me aboust as much as on contrail. id also like to build myself and my freind some sort of ul packs as we currently carry load hauling monsters for even overnighters. so im basically ast the age old question of due i sake a leap or not any advice would be welcome thanks a ton for any comments
sincearly SAMOSET

ps litttle to no sewing exp
_________________________
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.

Top
#150923 - 05/31/11 07:09 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Samoset]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
A comment that I often see from people that have done so is : this is my second version (or third...)
So do keep in mind that often the first one does not work out.
Another thing is that the cheap sewing machine may not be up to it, so here the "buy cheap,buy twice" kicks in.
And to use another cliche', what many don't tell you is the "in for a penny, in for a pound", that is once you start you keep going but you also keep spending...
So I would suggest that if it is to learn to sew and have fun making it, go ahead. If it is about saving money, probably not...
BTW, the new Contrail is a lot more refined than the original TT design.
Franco
Disclosure : I am with Tarptent, however if you buy one Contrail or ten over there, it does not make any difference to my bank balance.

Top
#150930 - 05/31/11 08:28 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Samoset]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Learning to sew like an expert takes a lot of time. It's a skill that requires a lot of patience and meticulous attention to detail.

But, learning to make stuff for yourself with a sewing machine does not really require the same level of perfection as if you were selling it.

I bought an old (antique) Singer sewing machine for less than $100 on eBay to make harnesses for my burros. The stitches I made are not perfectly straight, but they are strong and the end result worked very good. I also made some gas tank covers for my boat, and sewed up some seams in some old clothes I have, and a few other little things. The old Singer is now another tool in my little workshop and I like having it there when I want to use it.

I am a big fan of DIY projects, and learning now skills, so I say you should go for it. If you hate sewing you can always sell your machine and use the money to buy something else.

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#150931 - 05/31/11 08:32 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Franco]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Samoset, It can be done! I did it, I built the Jones tent two. I built a G4 pack from a kit from Quest. I made all my silnylon stuff sacks. I made my stove Pot Cozy for my Wal mart Grease Can.I have since switched to a Hennesey Hyperlite Hammock. I then made a Silnylon Cat Tarp!. Bear in mind, I am a Road construction worker, that is always laid off in the winter. While I have gotten pretty fast at making gear now, it doesnt start out that way.It takes time and all my attemps have been succesfull. Ask yourself,how handy am I? I have always been able to build anything I attempted. Not all people are that handy, though they long to be? If you think you can do it you can. Saving money, depends on where and how much bulk material you buy, and destroy? It also depends on If you figure your time is worth anything!I did it more for the challenge and to keep busy! Good Luck!

Top
#150941 - 05/31/11 09:38 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Kent W]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
That's awesome Kent!

I'll probably be making a simple tarp soon. I need to get some cleaning and organizing done in my workshop before I start any new projects though blush

Making a few Stuff Sacks would be a perfect starter project. You'd learn how to set up the machine, do some simple stitching, and get a feel for the process. Plus, you'd have some stuff sacks when you're done, and who really cares if the seam is a little crooked on one of those?

_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#150948 - 05/31/11 11:47 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Samoset]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
You'll have to start by buying the equipment and materials, so in the short run D.I.Y. projects probably won't save you much money. In the long run they may or may not, depending on cost of materials and how much you value your time and labor.

But I don't make my own gear to save money; I do it first because I can make a piece of gear exactly how I want it, with as many or as few extras as I think I need. Second, I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from using my home-made gear in the field (I'll admit my ego gets a boost when a fellow hiker complements my workmanship).

So my short answer is: go for it. It's a fun and rewarding hobby.
_________________________
My blog on politics, the environment and the outdoors: Haiwee.blogspot.com

Top
#150950 - 06/01/11 01:54 AM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Haiwee]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

The gear I make for myself is either because I can't buy what I want, or I enjoy making it.. I pretty much don't make gear to save money - they beancounter in my head counts my hours and frustration factor and I never come out ahead of what I can buy.

OTOH for stuff I like making, I get a lot of enjoyment out of it,
so I do still make stuff, and I modify stuff, to get what I want.
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


Top
#150966 - 06/01/11 01:18 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: phat]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2751
Loc: California
My sewing for backpack gear is less exacting than when I had to sew prom dresses for my girls when they were in high school! My backpack gear looks like hell (would get a "D-" in sewing class)but as long as the stiching is strong and the design works, it is OK. I sew prototypes out of old sheets if I am uncertain about the design. I sewed a prototype pack out of old stuff sacks, and it actually was good enough to use on two long trips. I now know what changes I need and will simply tear apart the pack and use it for a pattern when I buy the more expensive material for the final. I agree with everyone else, home-made gear takes a lot of trial and error and sewing is a skill that takes some time to learn. I am of the age when all girls had to take sewing classes in junior high. My Mom sewed everything so I learned a lot from her too. Also- be careful when buying a machine- some of the cheaper machines are not suitable for heavy fabrics such as pack cloth or Kevlar.

Top
#150968 - 06/01/11 01:28 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: wandering_daisy]
kcdan62 Offline
member

Registered: 05/24/11
Posts: 19
Loc: Kansas City Missouri
I wish I new how to sew my wife use to love sewing but she had to have a patern or it wasent going to hapen. All I rember was she kept telling me she needed a surger I have know idia what that is. But moved and sold every thing.

Top
#150971 - 06/01/11 01:33 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Samoset]
frenchie Offline
member

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 461
Loc: Lyon, France
A second hand machine should be affordable. A good one, don't bother to get one with too much electronics, it's purely overkill for gear and general stuff. Or borrow one for a try, and have somebody explain and show the basics.
There is much more than gear that can be done with minimum skills!
I learned to sew on my grandmother's 1935 Singer (no money to buy things, just enough for the material. The machine I use now is hardly more sophisticated, plus the "reverse" stich is plain dead, but apart from that it goes like hell.
Well, going through several layers of heavy cordura or Spectra didn't do much good...

Top
#150973 - 06/01/11 02:33 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: frenchie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I can save money buy making my own gear. Here is how:

1. My wife has a machine already. In fact her mother gave it to her. My mother has always sewn things for me. That means I have 2-3 people who know how to sew who I can ask for help.

2. I am constantly looking at the dollar fabric bin at Walmart, and looking for sales at other fabric places. I have been lucky to find 1.1 oz silnylon, 1.1 oz uncoated nylon, and some heavier 4 oz ripstop something. This is a major reason why I can save by making my own gear. However, it is really hard to find the right material this way. It is kinda like panning for gold. But when I do find some fabric, I buy the bolt. That also means I buy fabric when I don't have a project in mind at the time.

3. I don't count my time as money lost. If I am sitting at home watching TV, or sewing, I get paid the same either way.

I think if I take one of those away, it wouldn't be worth it. For the price of full price silnylon, you can pretty much buy a sil-nylon tarp. The sewing machine we have isn't that great. That means I have to do a lot of babying to get it to sew decent. In other words, it takes longer, so if I counted my time, I wouldn't save any money.

There are other factors that don't involve money. I have a goal to have 100% homemade gear. This is just personal satisfaction. I am getting closer though.

Before you buy a machine, ask around to borrow one. You would be surprised who has a machine they would be willing to lend out. That would at least help in deciding if you want to buy one later or not.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

Top
#150991 - 06/01/11 10:15 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: frenchie]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
When I decided to make gear I bought a old 1927 Singer Model 99 on ebay for 50.00 .This is all you really need and will sew most anything that fits under the foot. These oldies dont have a bar tack function but multi stitching seems to compensate well! My wife still cant sew! She is amazed I can? My grandpa was a upolsterer. I guess it is in my blood?

Top
#151005 - 06/02/11 01:37 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: billstephenson]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I found that sewing in iself was a fairly pleasurable exercise. It has the advantage that should you mess up, you can rip the seam out and start all over again - a big advantage over woodworking.

My early efforts looked bad, but they were strong and the gear worked well. I eventually got to the point where I sewed up a fishing vest (Dads do not make prom dresses!) which looked quite decent. I also made up some items without patterns. Some of these are still functioning today.

It helps if there is a machine in the family. If so, you will soon begin to save money.

Top
#151123 - 06/05/11 01:45 PM Decided To D.I.Y [Re: Samoset]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
Thanks every one for all your feed back. Ive decided that i will be looking for a machine. and am open to any recomendations on brands types. or if anyone has a used machine they would be willing to sell. il be posting a wtb thread on forsale forum.

ive found a few projects around the house to start with and some old cloths i could repair for easy practice before i commit to my brand new matterials.

i plan to make some drapes for my living room and some hammocks for my front porch as my first prodjects. and im fairly anxious to get started.

one of the biggest deciding factors for me was that i do have two growing boys the fact that i could mend there cloths and make them lightweight quilts and packs and taylor them to there needs as they get bigger and older.

thanks again everyone SAMOSET
_________________________
Some peopole live life day by day. Try step by step.

Top
#151132 - 06/05/11 05:46 PM Re: Decided To D.I.Y [Re: Samoset]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3889
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Well, I love my Singer 99, same one as Kent has, but I think mine a lot newer (mine was made in the `40's I think wink

It only does straight stitches, but I think I have a "Zig Zag" attachment too, though I've never used it. I have a bunch of attachments, but mostly they look to be for lighter weight material than I would normally want to use. Some might be good for silnylon though.

The great thing about those old Singers is, you can still get parts and accessories, and they will sew very heavy duty material. When I first got mine I took some old leather belts and stitched together three layers with no problem. For packs you'll want to do that with nylon webbing for the straps and belts, and some machines just won't do that.

So, for the money, durability, and price, the old Singer 99 is pretty darn hard to beat for a beginner to start out with.

Others here that have more experience will certainly have more insight into what newer machines, or other older ones, you might look at.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



Top
#158801 - 12/15/11 10:52 PM Re: Decided To D.I.Y [Re: billstephenson]
Ffej Etaps Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/14/11
Posts: 12
Loc: Montreal, QC Canada
Always DIY. No need to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it (yet). Here is the answer to your problem:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BuQ2X-oW...mp;feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgCUc_aUn...mp;feature=plcp

There, that's a good place to start....

Top
#159004 - 12/20/11 08:45 AM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: Samoset]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Samoset, I encourage anyone to DIY who has the desire. Been doing it my whole life....grow up on farm land and that comes with the territory. If anything, you'll gain from the knowledge of the process, which is priceless. Don't expect to save money since procurement of parts, design/construction time, and re-do's all balance out with buying retail, but you'll usually get what you want if you build it yourself. The re-do's diminish as you climb the learning curve. Most of my gear is homemade or modified 'off the shelf'. Quality of your creation is 100% controllable by you. Some of my stuff is not available anywhere, since I invented it for me, as you will do.
The sewing part, for my household and me, is just a standard home skill and we've got several machines in the family...I have three, plus a serger, since my wife and I sew play costumes part of the year, plus our girl's dresses and alterations. Like any skill, sewing becomes routine once you learn the basics. You'll learn the best places to buy fabric (someone mentioned Walmarts clearance bin...excellent!) buckles and stuff. Find yourself a good old, all-steel-guts, machine and go for it!
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

Top
#159039 - 12/21/11 11:34 AM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: finallyME]
PappyBanjo Offline
member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 20
Loc: Maryland
I totally agree, FinallyME.

One of the reasons that I like backpacking is that I like the illusion that I could live without civilization. Having to carry a bunch of expensive, industrially manufactured stuff with me kind of ruins that. Sorta like seeing the wires holding up a spaceship in a SciFi movie.

Besides using stuff that I made myself is its own source of satisfaction AND making it is also my idea of fun. So the labor envolved counts as recreation.

Not everything can be justified by a cost/time calculation. If it was, there'd be no point to backpacking at all.
_________________________
"Just enough to stay warm, dry, hydrated, and fed."

Top
#159042 - 12/21/11 12:08 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: PappyBanjo]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Even years ago, I was amused by the disconnect between going off into the wilderness to "rough it," while utilizing hi-tech items like nylon fabric (clothes, ropes, and packs) and heiarc welded pack frames, and all the rest of it. Consider how we reach the trail heads these days...I'll bet most of us don't use a horse and buggy, or even a horse....

Top
#159154 - 12/22/11 09:30 PM Re: To D.I.Y Or Not to D.I.Y? [Re: oldranger]
RobertL Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 174
Loc: Oregon
After 10+ years, I've come nearly full circle on the issue DIYing gear. Long story short, I've cut way back on DIY mainly because it takes so much time away from other things I should be doing ... fitness and strength training for one, and boy do I need the training. eek Right now I'm training every day and if I were to take on a big project, like a tent, the training would suffer and I can't afford that.

I'm planning on a 2013 PCT thru-hike and have all but decided to buy a tent rather than make one ... unless I go with a tarp - that I'll DIY. Unlike 10 years ago, there are some really good lightweight tents out there for not a lot of money. I'll still be carrying my DIY backpack, raingear, and a few other items, though, so it's not all in vain.


Edited by RobertL (12/22/11 09:32 PM)

Top

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Knife, Fire Starter, Ignition Source
by Jim M
07:34 PM
Bivvy bag with wired peak
by Petro1234
12/10/17 01:06 PM
How cheap can you go?
by EMT Dave
12/05/17 07:07 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Greetings - and a question
by valongi
11:35 AM
Just found out about UCO candles
by toddfw2003
11/30/17 08:41 AM
Hitting the eagle rock loop, Ark in 3 days
by toddfw2003
11/19/17 11:31 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Plant based insulation...
by billstephenson
11/18/17 02:58 PM
lightest grommets to use
by toddfw2003
10/22/17 06:13 PM
avalibility of thin ti rod
by the-gr8t-waldo
01/26/17 04:45 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
1 registered (), 19 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
valongi, Atkinson J, Dcarpenter, Woodland, ultralight
12469 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
HOME
Backpacking.net
Family Hiking
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Outdoor Gear Daily Deals
Outlets, Sales, Bargains

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum.com