Modification on the Quilt 350 straps

A little over a year ago I took the plunge and bought myself a quilt. A Cumulus Quilt 350. Cumulus is a Polish sleeping bag and quilt maker, that makes high quality gear at an affordable price. For a few extra euros you can get your quilt or sleeping bag with hydrophobic down.

I had a hard time deciding on whether to go with a quilt or with a sleeping bag. The main contender was the Cumulus Liteline 400, but eventually I went with the quilt instead and bought it last spring. I already had a Panyam 600 from Cumulus that I really liked.

I’ve really tried to like the quilt. I do like how easy you get in or out of it, by just pushing it down, since there’s no fabric under your back, and it is lighter than a sleeping bag. But I haven’t found a way to get the strap system on the Cumulus quilt to work good, without getting drafts.

I toss and turn a lot when I sleep. If I secure the quilt to the sleeping mat the way it’s intended, the quilt follows me when I turn,  which leaves me with the gap in the back when I sleep on my side. Every time I turn I have to readjust the quilt. This could also have to do with the quilt being quite narrow.

I’ve searched the web for solutions, and I know some people don’t use the straps at all. This is something I’ll try, if my modification doesn’t work as intended.

What I did was to untie the shock cord on the quilt, tie rings to the quilt in four places, put mitten hooks on the shock cord and separately strap the shock cord around the sleeping pad and secure the rings on the quilt to the shock cord with the mitten hooks. Kind of a DIY version of the Enlightened Equipment strap system.

I can move the mitten hooks closer to the center of the sleeping mat, or out to the sides, depending on how tightly I want the quilt to be.

I did these modifications last night, and haven’t tried it outside yet. If it doesn’t work I’ll try it without straps, and if I still keep getting cold drafts I’ll probably buy a Litelite 400 instead.

DIY windscreen and lid

Yesterday I thought I’d try to make a windscreen. I have one in titanium, that I bought cheap from eBay, but I thought it would be fun to do one myself, following the instructions from Anders Jonsson using regular aluminum foil (or more precise, the thicker “grillfolie”).

I’m really not good with the sewing machine, but aluminum foil turned out to be easier to sew in than regular fabric and I sewed like I was born to do it.

I measured the circumference of my pot and added a few cm to get the length of the windscreen. After that I folded the foil to get three layers, folded one cm in the bottom and then used cotton thread to sew it. My thought was that cotton would withstand the heat better, as polyester thread would risk melting.

I also sewed in two loops to use with 1g shepherd hooks to keep the windscreen from blowing away. After that I folded the short ends two times and then sew them too. I used a paper clip to hold the two ends together instead of the clip Anders uses in his instructions. I used a hole puncher to make two rows of holes on one side of the windscreen.

I also made a ground reflector, using the bottom of a single use aluminum pie tin and made a lid to the pot from the same material. In the lid, I stamped a small hole in the middle, and made a handle out of thin steel wire twisted into a loop.

My Toaks 750ml pot with a bail handle weighs ~133 grams. The graded 1l pot from my Trangia ULHA weighs 82 grams, plus the gripper from the Trangia Mini that weighs 20 grams. The lid, from the pie tin weighs no more than 1 gram. So using this I lower the weight of my pot by ~30 grams.

Today I decided to try it out. I fired up the stove outside, with an air temperature at 4°C, and soon felt the smell of something burned. After 2,5-3 min the water, with a starting temperature of about 8°C came to a boil.

After my test I saw that the foil had melted at one place. I guess I made it to small.

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Melted aluminum foil

I packed up the sewing machine again and made another attempt. This time I used six layers of foil, and made the windscreen a few cm longer. I also used the hole puncher to stamp holes all around the lower end of the windscreen to allow more air to get inside. I made the loops for the shepherd hooks with lighter thinner fabric too. Other than that I folded and sewed like the first time. Using twice as many layers added weight though, and the new windscreen weighted 21 grams instead of the 11 grams of the old one. Maybe I’ll make a new one with the same size, but with just three layers some other time.

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The new, improved model

I tried the stove again, this time indoors, without using a timer. But the water came to a boil quickly, and nothing melted this time.

It will be fun to try it in the wild. Hopefully this, together with the ground reflector will save some fuel. It was fun to do a small easy DIY project, and the Trangia with the pie tin lid saved about 25% of the weight of my pot. (Let’s not mention the added weight of the windscreen 🙂 )

I’ll test it and see if I like this setup, otherwise I’ll just go back to using the Toaks 750ml pot instead.