For a mere 25 dollars in materials, a sewing machine, and about 4 hours, you can make a lightweight fitted quilt that will keep you toasty warm either at home, or in the wilderness.
This design incorporates an integrated foot box for comfort and ease of use.
Backpacking quilts, when appropriately sized provide warmth similar to a sleeping bag, but save weight and material. Anybody using a DIY quilt for backpacking should test their gear before heading into the wilderness. What is toasty warm for one person, is a miserable night of freezing cold for another.
Step 1: Sizing and Materials List
Being warm is all about your materials. For this project, I chose to use a fleece liner for extra warmth, and a nylon ripstop shell. Both of these were obtained from a local discount store for less than $3 per yard.
The dark colored fleece will retain body heat, and the nylon will repel water, and improve durability for camping use.
Insulation in this project is the key. The thicker the insulating material, the warmer you'll be. I used 1/2" polyester batting, and a layer of Insul-Brite. Insul-brite is not necessary for indoor use, but it makes for a very toasty and warm quilt.
Sizing: Since everybody is different, I made this quilt to fit me, you may want to adjust the dimensions to match your height and shoe size.
The quilt starts as 2 pieces of material, 72 inches long. (if you're over 5'8, consider making a longer quilt)
At the top, the material is 50 inches wide, which will make a 48-inch wide quilt.. For the foot area, the quilt is tapered down to 42 inches. If you have "normal sized" feet, 38 inches would be fine for most people.
Liner: 2 yards of fleece, or dark colored soft material of your choice (more for taller quilts)
Shell: lighweight nylon ripstop fabric, or other wind-resistant lightweight material
Insulation: 2 yards of 1/2" polyester batting (twin size is cheaper than by the yard)
2 yards of Insul-Brite (optional)
Blue painters tape
Basting pins (large safety pins)
Sewing machine (or needle and thread for those with LOTS of time)
Polyester thread (standard issue fabric thread, not the heavy stuff) - black is ok.
New sewing needle for your machine
For a truly lightweight and compressible Backpacking quilt, you can use Climashield or Polarguard from your favorite online outdoor fabric supplier for your insulation. For a warmer quilt, either use thicker insulation, or multiple layers. Just remember: the thicker it is, the harder it is to sew.