I am a novice at the very least when it comes to camping. Camping gear, quality camping gear comes at a cost some of it to high, so when I can I create what I can. Since my journey has begun it has lead me to the point of trying to find an affordable sleeping arrangement for camping and it has been a daunting task. I am not as young and springy as I once was and the idea of sleeping on the hard and cold ground is as far as it gets from comfort for me.
Hammocks in general are great but only in areas with close sitting trees, so my search continued. Next came cots, while supplying a definite comfort level I was searching for, it however was severely lacking int the mobility department. Finally I came upon an affordable and fairly convient way to attain a sleeping area, the sleeping mat. From this point I became inundated with information, closed cell, open cell, self-inflating and every combination of them. I came to the conclusion that to get the comfort level I wanted I would have to pay so I decided I had to create my own plus it would also be a lot more fun.
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Step 1: Supplies
- 6'x8' Rug & Carpet Pad
- Home Depot, Store SKU # 294560, $24.95
- I wanted something nicer but all the local stores only sold it by the roll.
- Not exactly 6'x8'
- 3M 24 oz. Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive
- Home Depot, Store SKU # 453501, $12.99
- This stuff is AWESOME!
- Sleeping Bag (Rectangular)
- Got mine used from Good Will, $5.00
- Reflective Emergency Survival foil Blanket
- Had an extra one lying around but they usually go for just a couple of dollars.
- Hobby knife / seam ripper (Take apart sleeping bag)
- Sewing Machine or if you have a lot of patience then needle and thread.
- Someone who knows how to use sewing machine, Sister-in-law.
- Utility Knife
- Straight Edge of some sort, 6.5 foot 2"x4"
- Tape Measure
Step 2: Cut, Cut, and Cut
My initial thoughts were to have a sleeping mat that was two feet by six foot. Since the pad was not exactly 6'x8' I measured across and then divided by four and came up on the safe side with 23" increments. The length I did not mess with but it was a little more than six feet.
I used a long piece of lumber as square as I could find to create a straight edge.
I measured 23" from end then lined up 2"x4".
Take utility knife and make cut.
Measure and repeat.
Cut off any extra material.
This image is all four pieces stacked (1.5" thick) with excess removed which was not much.
Step 3: Glue, Glue, Glue, and Glue.
I wanted to attach the survival blanket to the top pad to retain warmth for winter camp.
I laid down the survival emergency blanket out side and weighted down the ends with extra wood.
Sprayed a good coat of 3M 90 Spray Adhesive onto the blanket as well as on one of the four pads.
Let it sit for a minute then place pad glue side down onto glued side of blanket.
I walked over it to make sure there was a good adhesion.
For the rest of the pads I sprayed each pad and glued them together.
Step 4: Un-stich and Sew
I took the sleeping bag apart being careful as possible the seams that ran across the sleeping bag held the polyester filling in place. in the end I came away with a nice piece fabric and a 8' zipper, not bad for five bucks.
It was plenty of material to cover pad with plenty to spare.
I lucked out on the zipper it was the perfect fit was roughly the width of the pad, 1.5".
I was little tricky but if you are as lucky as me and have someone that knows how to use a sewing machine you should be just fine.
I wanted the slip to be zipped on to be able to remove to wash after use. Also if I need to replace the pads I would only lose half the project.
The finished project ended up with a pad around 6'x23" with a rolled up width of a 11".
I went to Wal-mart and picked up two 4' straps to keep the pad together and be able to attach it to my backpack.
I have not had a chance to take it out on any extensive test but overall it look like it will last for a while.
This is my first instructable so any advice and input will be greatly appreciated.
- The weight came in just under 9 lbs.