Making Your Own Sleeping Bag
Perhaps the most discouraging thing about leading a life full of outdoor adventure is the prohibitive cost of the equipment you would have to buy. Take backpacking, for example. As a beginner with no equipment of your own, one would have to get a backpack, a tent, hiking gear, first aid kit, cook wear, and a sleeping bag. All of that stuff can set a person back more than a thousand dollars. If you’re just a beginner, though, and uncertain about this potential lifestyle shift, you may be reluctant to spend that much cash. There is an intriguing alternative to all that spending, however — you can just make your own camping gear, starting with your very own, customized sleeping bag. Even experienced outdoorsmen might want to try this just for the fun of it.
When making your own sleeping bag, there are a bunch of things to consider. Start with picking out the material. You can just get a pair of old comforters or buy four sheets of nylon. Having comforters on hand is a little less complicated as you won’t have to worry about the insulation. Still, insulation material is widely available so purchase enough to fill in the nylon. The type of insulation is up to you. I could suggest down, but you might as well buy a sleeping bag as this is a little more difficult to find and more expensive. Next, you would need a number 5 zipper, needle, heavy thread, and a pair of scissors.
For the first step measure how big you want the sleeping bag to be. Take your size into account, as well as how much you want to be able to move inside it. Add an extra inch or two for the seams. Cut the nylon sheets to the desired measurement and sew two sheets together on three sides. Leave the top open to allow for the insulation material to be inserted. Do the same with the other two sheets of nylon. It would be better if you had a sewing background and an industrial sewing machine handy. If not, hand sewing the materials should be sufficient, if a little tiring.
After inverting the two nylon sacks to hide the stitching, get your insulation material and cut it to the size of the sacks. Insert the filling at the top of the sacks and sew the top ends shut. Next, quilt or stitch the insulation into the nylon. After you’ve cut out any extra seams, you’ve got the two halves of your new makeshift sleeping bag.
Afterwards, you can either sew the sides together, add a zipper on either side, or both. Either way, you should still stitch into the insulation material to provide better fortification. Once you’re done, congratulate yourself; you’ve just crafted a decent amateur sleeping bag. There is, of course, always room for improvement. You can learn how to add a hood to the bag. You can also learn how to make baffles if you really want to use down filling. If you’ve learned to do all of these things, you can call yourself something of a sleeping bag design expert.