Ultralight Winter Down Bag




Introduction: Ultralight Winter Down Bag

Steps on how to make an Ultralight -5-10C / 15-20F cold weather goose
down bag. Overview of materials and design, steps, and review of final product.


-Total weight 930g or 33.5oz

-Cold temperature rating range (-5-10C/15-20F)

-High weight to warmth goose down fill (695g or 24oz)

-Highly pack-able

-All-in cost 100$


-Lightweight synthetic fabric like nylon, (~2.5yrd inner and 2.5yrd outer)
-Down, preferably goose, and at least 700 fill rating

-Mosquito mesh (ie Noseum mesh) for buffles-Zipper (#5 YKK coil zipper)

-Polyester thread -Shock cord 1/8" 1-2yrds -Cord locks (2)

-Sewing machine

-Scissors -Fabric Pencil or marker

-Tape meter -Fabric glue or tape

-Lots of pins

-Patience Got materials from www.Ripstopbytheroll.com

0.5 oz NS50 Noseeum mesh × 3

Outer - 0.75 oz MEMBRANE 10 Ripstop Nylon

Inner - 0.66 oz MEMBRANE 10 taffeta nylon × 5

Bought Down locally from a craigslist kind of site

Step 1:

1. Decide on design and shape, total weight of down fill and weight to
go in each section, width of sections and buffles size. Also, think if you like to make zipper flap to prevent heat loss, like in this video

Step 2:

2. Cut fabric into shape (both outer and inner parts). Use masking tape to hold fabric in place
3. Mark buffle sections locations with fabric pencil or chalk

4. Synge fabric to prevent fraying

5. Mark and cut buffles strips (unless you have mesh in a roll - highly recommended).

Step 3:

6. Hem outer and inner fabrics on ALL sides. Use 1/2 inch or 1.25cm seam allowance. 1 stitch line is enough
7. Add vertical buffle if you plan on adding zipper flap. 1/4" allowance

8. Sew in horizontal buffles

9. Sew in buffles to outer/inner fabric connecting them both

Step 4:

10. Use fabric glue to catch vertical buffle on one side of the outer.
Using glue is very helpful in holding all fabrics together and really helps during stitching together later on.

11. Make reinforcing triangle to go between end of zipper and foot box. It should be of same fabric as upper but folded twice to make it stronger.

12. Add this triangle to a place where end of zipper going to be and attach to outer fabric. You may also add a strip of reinforcing material to go between fabrics to make it stronger. Use fabric glue or pins. Once in place stitch it in

13. Measure out zipper you like to use. Attach one side of zipper to upper fabric in step 10. Again, use glue to catch parts together. Also, using pliers to press fabric together helps create stronger bond

14. Attach inner fabric, to outer fabric in step 10 (if using flap , than to flap). Again use glue or pins

15. Stitch inner and outer and zipper fabrics together. Go slow and take your time. Do at least two lines of stitching. Keep zipper closed not opened, otherwise one side might be longer and it would be hard to match lengths of each side when doing the opposite side.

16. Reinforce the ends well, both at the end of bag and the top

17. Close the bottom of the bag by stitching the lowest section shut. Do at least two lines

Step 5:

18. Make a shock cord sleeve for the hood. It should be 2-2.5 inches
(6-7cm) in width. Just fold once and stitch along one side. Once done sew it in at the top of bag and close top section

Step 6:

19. Cut fabric for foot box. Easiest is round or oval foot box. In this
case 35cm x 25cm or 15 x 10". Cut buffle mesh for mid section

20. Connect both outer and inner together using buffle.

21. Use pins or glue to catch most of foot box material shut and then stitch closed everywhere except very top. Leave few 2-3 inches open at one end where you will add down.

22. Weigh desired amount of down and fill foot box sections. Close with clips or pins

23. Fill zipper flap with appropriate amount of down. Using paper towel or other tube works well. Close with pins. 24. Before filling the main sections I recommend to first stitch zipper flap

25. Fill in main bag sections. Folded cardboard paper in a form of a cone works well. Use tape to keep paper in shape. Fill by handfuls and use something like hiking stick to push into section. Once filled with desired amount, close off sections with pins.

Step 7:

26. Stitch foot sections close
28. Turn bag inside out and attach foot box to main body of the bag. Use pins to hold in place while stitching. Do at least 2 lines here, preferably more

29. Move back to side with pin closed sections. Open one by one and add other side of zipper. Use glue to catch it in place and hold with pins.

30. Stitch the other side together. Make sure to do at least two lines and reinforce the ends like in step #16

31. Open zipper and add sliders. Make sure you use thinner end of slider on the bottom. Add 2nd slider if desired, but using opposite side of it to get on zipper

32. Feed shock cord through hood sleeve. Using old pen or wire helps here. 33. Add cord locks at the ends and tie knots at the ends to prevent sliding off


Step 8:

Go out and enjoy...well if you can or when quarantine is done

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    Question 1 year ago on Step 7

    I don't understand how you can say the materials cost is under $100 if loose goose down is selling for $30-40 for 3oz packets. That total just for the down works out to $240-320. Do you raise and process your own geese? ;-)


    Answer 1 year ago

    Hey Stew, the total cost was 106$ , and like I mentioned lower cost is due to lower down cost. In my case I bought it locally, it was cheap 20$ for a 4kg mix of down and feathers. It was a good quality with large down clusters but not sorted. It would be easier to do with ready down but I wanted to do as much from scratch. I have a video where I show how I sorted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id9EWFOrRiU Also, 30-40$ per once or 3 oz is on the sites in the States. You can check Alixpress, there are producers that sell it cheaper, but I recommend doing research as sometimes alixpress gear has questionable quality or comes from live plucked birds.


    2 years ago

    Very nice. I have used a cheap soldering iron to cut nylon - cut and melt in one go.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Great idea


    Reply 2 years ago

    Very clever! I should keep in mind. For my other tent project I used an old iron :)


    2 years ago

    WOW! Superimpressive sleeping bag, but video and instructable as well! Really awesome! Perhaps another useful tip (although pins work really well), is to use "wonderclips" instead of (or in addition to) pins. I have found they even grip on superslippery Sil-Nylon. Oh, and I really liked the glue tip as well. I'm definitely going to use this. Thanks so much for sharing!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. Yes you are right, clips work well, i just didn't have enough at the time. Some parts though pins better because you can stitch over them, like in areas where it is delicate


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! Yes , for my next project I did use some of them as well, great point. Hope you can make one...I wish I could spend more time testing it now


    2 years ago

    Impressive! I have booties and snow pants I want to make using a re-purposed sleeping bag. Haven't won a bid on a cost effective used lightweight low temp bag yet. This is an inspirational other route to consider. Amazing how expensive these can be. Thanks for sharing!


    Reply 2 years ago

    I know, I have couple old Western Mountaneering bags and the price they sell now is astronomical