The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 12 February 2017

Making a Ray Jardine Double Backpacking Quilt

Back in February 2009, I made a Ray Jardine (one-person) quilt for a chap called Darren, and I wrote about it here, including a YouTube ‘movie’ I made out of the still photos I took of the making process.

Re-reading that post now, I see that I was unconvinced about the concept of a quilt for backpacking purposes. Fast forward five years, and my view had changed. I duly ordered a two-person kit from Ray Jardine, and in February 2014 I made that quilt (spookily, I now see that construction started three years ago today).

As the YouTube video of the original quilt-making had proved so popular (over 16000 views, as I type), I thought I’d take more photos of the making of the double size, and make a more detailed video-compilation-thingy.

For three years, those photos have languished on my hard drive. Then, yesterday, I received a phone call from someone who was interested in hearing about our experience with a backpacking quilt, which finally gave me the kick I needed to do something with those photos. As with almost all jobs that get put off for years at a time, once started it proved much quicker and easier than expected to produce this:

This is not an instructional video; it’s simply an illustration of the stages of the process (or, at least, those that we remembered to capture).

As for our experience of the quilt, I originally opted for a synthetic fill on the basis that it was the cheapest way that we could test out whether a quilt was for us. If it worked out well, I had intended to make a down version. It turned out that not only has the quilt worked out very well indeed, but we also quickly saw the benefits of the synthetic fill. Principally, with two of us in the tent, in the UK climate (whether cold, still nights, or multiple damp days), we often suffer with condensation, causing the loft of our down bags to dwindle, and would end up spending a night in a B&B to get them properly aired. With the synthetic fill, we worried not a jot when we woke up to dampness.

The only problem I found was that the head section of the quilt (which is the bigger section, and the one that I carry) was very bulky and took up so much room in my pack that it was a struggle if I also needed to fit in five or more days of food. We also found that the original model was very warm. So, in 2015 I made a new head section in lighter-weight fabrics, and in 2016 I made a matching foot section. Details of the weights are given at the end of the YouTube thingy (but, hey, I may as well repeat them here: 1.35kg between us for the original; 932g between us for the lighter-weight version).

1 comment:

  1. Splendid - I've just sent a link to Val & Mike....very timely!