Project reviews

Sleeping Quilt

This is pattern review 4 (sleeping quilt) of my 4 part series on diy backpacking gear. You can read parts 1 (Jones Tent 2), 2 (Alpine Rucksack) and 3 (GVP pack) here. I began replacing my traditional weight backpacking gear with light and ultralight backpacking gear in 2006. I read several books on the topics of light and ultralight backpacking. Light, ultralight and super-ultralight backpacking involves carrying base pack weight (everything except consumables) of less than 20 pounds, 10 pounds and 5 pounds respectively. Traditional backpacking is carrying a base pack weight of 20 pounds or more. The general consensus was that the backpack, tent, and sleep system were the items with the largest weight saving potential.

In 2012 I decided to purchase and sew a Ray Way sleeping quilt kit. You can purchase your own kit here:

Ray-Way Quilt Kit

The premise behind the sleeping quilt is that the portion of your sleeping bag that is underneath you has no loft to keep you warm. Effectively the only portion of a sleeping bag that does provide warmth is the portion draped over your body. If only half of your sleeping bag is providing warmth, why not use a quilt like you do at home.

This quilt kit features custom sizing, a foot box, gorget, and draft stopper. It’s available as a 1 person model and a two person model, and comes in 10 different solid colors which can be mixed and matched. The fabric is polyester and there are two different weights of insulation to choose from. I choose the 1 person with purple interior and exterior fabric and the warmer Alpine insulation. The Alpine insulation would best mimic the insulation found in my 3-season store-bought sleeping bag. I also purchased the stow bag kit in the same color.

Note these pattern is for personal use only.

Here are my thoughts on this kit.

The clearly written instructions were easy to follow. The Ray-Way website suggests that the sleeping quilt can be completed in 5-8 hours and I found this to be the case. Unlike when I sewed the slippery silnylon tent, I had no issues with the tension of my sewing machine and having to redo sections. I completed the stow bag in about an hour. It was the easier diy gear project I’ve sew to date.

Here are two photos of my completed sleeping quilt and the matching stow bag.

Tanya's Ray-Way sleeping quilt inside stow bag (Project Review by Sewn By Tanya)
Tanya’s Ray-Way sleeping quilt inside stow bag
Tanya's Ray-Way sleeping quilt (Project Review by Sewn By Tanya)
Tanya’s Ray-Way sleeping quilt

The purpose of this project was to create a sleeping quilt that was lighter than my 3.3 pound (1.5 kg), 3-season sleeping bag, without sacrificing warmth. My custom fitted Ray Way 3 season quilt weights 2.0 pounds (0.9 kg).

Here’s a comparison of my pack weight reduction for store bought versus homemade gear. Home made option 1 is my modified Jones Tent 2, 3200 cubic inch Alpine Rucksack and Ray Way Sleeping quilt. Homemade option 2 is my Jones Tent 2, 4400 cubic inch GVP pack, and Ray Way sleeping quilt.

Store bought

Homemade option 1

Homemade option 2

3200+ cubic inch backpack

5.5 pounds (2.5 kg)

2.4 pounds (1.1 kg)

1.3 pounds (0.58 kg)

3 season tent

5.9 pounds (2.7 kg)

2.8 pounds (1.3 kg)

2.8 pounds (1.3 kg)

3 season sleeping bag

3.3 pounds (1.5 kg)

2.0 pounds (0.9 kg)

2.0 pounds (0.9 kg)


14.7 pounds (6.7 kg)

7.6 pounds (3.3 kg)

6.1 pounds (2.8 kg)

As you can see, there are substantial weight savings to be had by replacing a traditional backpack, tent, and sleeping bag with light weight ones. Since I began the process of replacing my gear, the number of companies that specialize in creating light weight or ultralight weight gear has increased. You may not need to sew you own in order to obtain non-traditional gear items. However, sewing your own is still the best way to acheive a custom fit of fabric items.

Do you backpack? Have you made any backpacking gear?


Sewn By Tanya Project Review: Ray-Way Sleeping Quilt Kit
Sewn By Tanya Project Review: Ray-Way Sleeping Quilt Kit

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