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Gear Workshop The Gear Workshop forum is for the discussion of homemade backpacking gear, gear modifications, and repairs.

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Old 08-14-2014, 07:47 PM
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FirstRWD FirstRWD is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Backpack: Detours 40L or Bike Panniers
Sleeping Gear: Homemade Synthetic Quilt
Shelter: North Face Mica FL 2
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: WI
Posts: 85
Questions about sleeping bags and rebuilding them

Hopefully this fits this section. I got my hands on an old down bag with a trashed zipper. I'm thinking of recycling the down and making a new bag. It does seem kind of heavy for a down bag, though. Here are the questions. Is there a way I can tell if this bag is just heavy because it's made for cold temps? Is there a way I can tell if it's quality down? It does seem like an older bag. Perhaps it's just heavy because of the use of different fabrics, compared to the "high tech" fabrics of today? If I do determine this down is of decent quality and worth using, my question then is about bag material. This may seem silly to many, but I want an inner material that feels good to the touch. I try to sleep in my boxers as long as I don't get cold. Sleeping in full clothing tends to leave me feeling tangled up and waking up throughout the night to straighten pant legs, etc. I must move my legs a lot. Is there an inner material that you have experience with that you'd recommend? I know some of the more plastic-ish tech materials can feel clammy on bare skin if you're in one spot for very long. Admittedly, I may have only dealt with the cheaper ones if that makes any difference. Are there modern light-weight materials that don't get clammy, or should I just sacrifice the weight and figure out the lightest natural type material I can? Sorry for the long post. I have been searching and reading, but the answers from first hand experience available from you all often ends up being worth 1000x what I find randomly searching the internet.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:55 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Associate Member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: New South Wales
Posts: 275

ONE way to make any sleeping bag more comfortable (and warmer, and keep it cleaner for longer..) is to use a "liner" bag inside it ~ silk or cotton during the summer; maybe a polyester fleece during the winter or at high altitude.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:01 AM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
Practical Backpacking­™ Valued Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 503
If you can't track the bag by make and model the only way to determine down quality is to remove the down, examine it for signs of deterioration, place it in a tube and weight it to determine the degree of compressability. I'd have to research to get the weight and tube dimensions.

You would them have to make a new bag, dealing with bed-sized material and then stuff the tubes with down - something not easily done by hand. It would be a difficult task at best, and buying the materials would not be cheap.

I make gear, but this is not a project I would undertake. YMMV
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