DIY UnderQuilt

Any day now I am expecting a nice little package from Adam & Jenny from Hammock Gear, and inside that little package will be a sweet cuben fiber 20 F Phoenix Under Quilt (along with a nice 12 oz summer down quilt!) In the mean time, I got bored and thought that I would try my hand at my own DIY UQ. For this little project, I decided to go cheap just in case it did not work out, but naturally, still wanted it to be effective (if it turned out…)

So, I headed to the local Wal-Mart and picked up a few items. Some I had at home, and others I needed to pick up. Here is a check list of items that I decided I needed for my UQ:

  1. 5 yds of $1.50/sqyd ripstop nylon (appears to be ~ 1.7 oz/sqyd)
  2. 45 in x 60 in PolyFil Quilt Batting
  3. Cheap emergency mylar sheet
  4. 3 mm cord
  5. 2 cord locks
  6. 2 small Wal-Mart carabiners

I had everything at home minus the ripstop nylon and the PolyFil batting. I bought 5 yds of the ripstop nylon simply because it is so inexpensive, but 4 yds would have been adequate. After it was all said and done, since I already had the other items at home, I ended up spending about $13 on supplies.

So, to begin with, I spread out the mylar sheet on the floor and placed books at each corner to hold the sheet down. Next, I opened up the PolyFil batting and spread it out in one corner of the mylar sheet. Then I simply cut the mylar sheet along the edges of the batting and then used a small amount of Elmer’s glue to tack the edges of the batting down to the mylar sheet. Once this was complete, I measured out the ripstop nylon and began sewing…

I began by hemming 3 of the edges, and then sewing channels in each of the 3 edges. Once I did this, the ripstop nylon was essentially a large pocket. I then took the mylar sheet with the batting attached and slid it into the pocket. Once this was done I hemmed the last edge of the ripstop nylon pocket and folded it over, again, creating another channel. Finally, I sewed a seam about 6 inches in from the edges all around the now finished under quilt. (This seam stabilized the mylar sheet with the batting so that it would not slide around inside the ripstop nylon pocket.)Now I just needed to run the cord through the channels I had sewn. For this I used the 3 mm cord that I happened to have lying around. I ran one end of the cord through one of the channels along the long edge of the under quilt and then back down the other side. Then I simply cut the cord and tied the 2 ends together. I attached a small carabiner to each end.

I also ran a shorter section of cord through each shorter channel along the sides. On one end of this cord I attached a small wooden toggle so that the cord could not pull back through the channel. On the other side I attached a cord lock. Using this, I can cinch the short ends together so that the ends will cradle around the hammock, (hopefully) eliminating any drafts.Now, it was time to take it out and hook it up. First (due to the vapor barrier effect of the mylar sheet) I made sure to position the under quilt with the mylar sheet closest to the underside of the hammock. Then I attached one of the carabiners to the whoopie sling at the foot end of the hammock, and then the other carabiner to the whoopie sling at the head end. After this I tucked the hammock inside the under quilt, lined up the under quilt around the area I would like it to be, and then cinched the ends of the under quilt together.So, after it was all said and done, here are some basic specs:

  • Width: 43 in
  • Length: 60 in
  • Weight: 19.3 oz
  • Expected Rating: 40 – 45 F

And yep, as I am sure most are already saying, “Dang, that thing is heavy!” And you are right. If this thing is good even to 40 F, at 19 oz, it is quite heavy. But, like I mentioned earlier in the post, my goal was cheap.  So, in my opinion, and with this in mind, for $13 and the joy of doing this myself, I am perfectly happy with my 19.3 oz DIY UQ that might keep me warm to about 40 F! (Besides, if you will also remember, I have a much nicer one coming from Hammock Gear that should be here any day now ~ look for a review sometime next week, if it is here by then.)

So, my impressions:

  • I really like the length of this UQ. (~Neck to mid-calf)
  • In ~ 70 F temps, it was really hot.
  • I think I need to replace the channel cords with shock cord.
  • Due to the mylar sheet, it is a little crinkly.
  • I need to figure out something better than the small wooden toggles.

So, enough reading…here is a video that I made earlier today…

So, that’s it. Thanks for reading and watching. And like I said, if you have any suggestions (or even questions) please let me know!


4 Responses to DIY UnderQuilt

  1. lenexamike says:

    Thanks for the video. I followed your plan and made a nice underquilt over the weekend. I used some oven mitt fabric (metalized with fabric attached) instead of the metalized ground sheet. Combined that with the poly insulation and seemed to sew nicely. Final weight was just under 3 lbs. Looking forward to giving it a try in the field once it warms up a little. Thanks again !


  2. chokapi says:

    Hey, Stick. I’m just getting into hanging, my own self. I was thinking about a DIY UQ as I’m in the NE. I’d thought getting a cheap sleeping bag (~$15) and then using one of those windshield blockers that are reflective on one side. They’re foam-backed, so may provide some insulation as well as reflection. They’re super light and cheap. I get mine from a local $1 store. I use them to make koozies for FBC.

    Further, would it make sense to make the UQ run more of the length of the hang? Basically, sew it to look like a cigar when loosely rolled up by folding it along the diagonal, and then cutting off the extra and sewing the open seams shut. Or, I suppose you could tack the fabric first and then cut. You’d get better coverage beneath, as well as a tighter fit near the suspension.


    • Stick says:

      There are lots of ways to go about making an inexpensive underquilt. If you are looking for more info, I would definitely suggest to head over to Hammock Forums and search there. Lots of great info, with more experience than me.

      Sorry I can’t help much on this topic, but I am more of a ground dweller… 🙂



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