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Which hammock?

Which hammock? Often the first question asked when hatching a plan to try out hammock camping. Well, without doubt a longer hammock is more comfortable, with hoards of would be hammockers turned away after been scrunched into an 8 or 9 footer. My first hang being no different; a two toned silk Chinese job that required curling in the foetal position and toughing it out ’til morn. Anyway, I personally even struggled with 11′ hammock due to previous knee damage from sports, so I definitely couldn’t sleep properly in the sub 9′ ones. I think it’s a shame that so many would-be swingers are left on the damp, slug infested ground, having tried to like hammock camping but the hammock itself wrong.

Hammocking rocks! providing, of course, that the hammock doesn’t suck, but there’s a hump of knowledge that needs to be climbed before it beats the arse off of a tent. If there are trees about you’ll invariably find me in the hammock due to it being such a comfortable way to enjoy nature, more immersed in it while being even more comfortable.

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A basic 11′ square cut hammock with ‘knotty mods’ to deal with flappy edges. Cheap, simple and supremely comfortable.

A hammock of 10.5′ to 11′ is just about perfect for most adults and makes for a supremely comfortable, nearly flat, diagonal lay. This flatter lay reduces the banana shaped lay of a smaller hammock, which is usually fine on the hips, but can put strain on the knees (hyperextended) and often times shoulder squeeze too. The hammock itself needn’t be expensive and I actually try to steer my customers to the cheaper, super simple, rectangular (with maybe a knotty mod to handle flappy edges). A DIY/MYOG is a brilliant introduction to hammocks, easily shortened, modified etc. Mostly, more complex and fiddly designs don’t add to the comfort but can add drastically to the cost (there are great exceptions but for brevity I’ll ignore them here). With many long time hammockers there’s generally a shift away from the all in one designs and instead favouring much simpler hammocks (there’s only so much new fangled doodads on forums to try out). In my opinion a hammock should be easily cleaned (they get stinky) and cheaply replaced as a simple snag can quickly make it unusable, a long day on trail makes this all the more likely.

However, there’s a small snag …. long hammocks just plain don’t fit under bog standard tarps which poses an issue if you are trying out hammocks and not quite sure about them, yet. So with this in mind I realised that you can add a bit of pseudo length with a stretch footbox, as your feet rest in the area just beyond the main body of the hammock. This goes slightly against my usual ethos of removing what isn’t necessary but did make a hammock thats about as comfortable as a hammock ~12″ longer, and as the footbox stretches you can still lay sideways, relax and enjoy the view.  A shorter hammock at  9.5′ length should fit under your more bog standard tarps without having to shell out on a fancy hex tarp.

The most important aspect I want to get across is length! We all know it matters no matter who you’re getting it from or if you’re doing it yourself. Don’t deprive yourself of some good swinging folks 😉

Scotty

 

 

 

 

Quit eBay, for good.

I’ve recently left eBay for good after various privacy issues (blatantly going through customers emails), deletions of listings and all the usual you’d get from eBay, including some comical fakes.

Anyway, I will be setting up a quilt purchase/builder on this website and listing everything else on Etsy and maybe folksy. In the meantime feel free to contact me for everything I had listed on fleebay and I’ll just bob that through PayPal. I still have tarps, sleeves, hammocking, suspension, quilts, underquilts, etc and all cheaper than on ebayIMG_20170818_184849_241

‘D’ baffled quilts

 

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Right so, these have turned into something of a signature piece of mine after first playing with the design a couple of years ago and I thought I’d better explain myself a little.

First of all they don’t actually have baffles at all but rather a pseudo baffle created on the inside of the quilt by an excess of fabric there, they are actually sewn through in design. Regular sewn through baffles are really just a summer quilt or winter toppers  (going over a thicker main bag or quilt) affair and can’t be used in anything below about 10C. So while sewn through’s are limited is some ways they are very handy in others, primarily, toughness: the weakest link in a sleeping bag or quilts durability are the baffles that are mostly some form of mesh but sometimes fabric similar to the bag itself. As the baffles are sewn close to their cut edges this can create weaknesses in already lightweight materials and possibly failure. Once a baffle does go it pretty much goosed and good only for the bin.

 

So I thought up away of removing the baffles and the weakness of construction: the D baffle quilt. Having come from a largely bushcraft orientated background I like to see equipment that can be relied upon and even though I’m now very much into the ultralight backpacking side of hiking I still very much value the ‘built to last’ ethics of bushcraft. In doing so I came up with a tougher quilt that actually handles other issues that I didn’t intend to tackle: speedier drying, quicker and cheaper construction, a single continuous ‘baffle’ like a karo step quilt where more down can be added or removed as need through a single hole (I make some with zipper ports for this) and baffles can be fixed if they do break (using a machine or by hand)

So having made a fair few of these ‘D’ baffle quilts I’ve gotten fantastic feed back as there’s virtually no weight increase over traditional baffles and has allowed people to relax and worry less about breaking their essential backcountry kit. All seams are sewn through at least 3 layers of fabric which greatly improves the strength of stitching in lightweight materials as a sandwich of layers will spread loading. The beginning of each baffle is stepped back away from the ends on the quilts to make one continuous baffle to allow easy addition of extra down and acts as an extra thick end baffle to help reduce drafts, much like a draft excluder.

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top: cross section of’D’ baffles free to loft allowing faster dying times when hanging out to dry in the morning. Lower cross section shows the ‘Ds’ compressed enough to create pseudo baffles and reduced heat loss in sewn through area

 

 

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Plan view of baffles linking continually. The down stays put once the footbox is cinched closed 

I hope this helps some of you understand my ‘D’ quilts a little better. They’re available in various sizes and thicknesses, colours, fabric options and down fill options (650, 700 and 860fp). They mostly come in square cut (ie a rectangle) but can be tapered towards the feet (darts are used as these are stronger as baffles are kept in line with the fabric) and I can also do a modular quilt that as a 3 season and a 2 season quilt KAM snapped together as a winter quilt, couples double quilt (guys usually using the 2 season side) or hoodless sleeping bag, creating a single down bag for all year use . You can also buy just the shell with either a zip port or a section of stitching removed to feed the down in yourself, perhaps from a sleeping bag with a ripped baffle ?

Scotty

PS if there is  enough interest I’m happy to write up or video a MYOG/DIY for anyone who is interested in making their own ‘D’ baffle quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Bespoke Ultralight

BeUL is primarily a custom builder of most things fabric based for ultralight backpacking, camping, hammocking, bike-packing and all of those other familiar activities. As such there won’t be a sales website, mass production or anything else like that any time soon. What I am hoping for though is to develop this website with more pictures and details of my previous builds so a quick browse can give you a pretty good idea of what I can do and what you may like me to build. I love the idea that a truly unique one off topquilt or bivy bag can be made and sent anywhere in the world and can go on exciting adventures while providing that deep down satisfaction that only hand made can provide.

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The bigger companies don’t really supply to people who are particularly tall, broad, wide or tiny: a large part of what I do is catering to non average sizes. A good portion of what I do is such things as supplying a bivy bag to a guy who is over 6’6 who isn’t average width (shock horror) or the beefy bushcrafter who needs a tougher hammock. I’m also often asked to push the weight of a quilts down into the SUL range or to build a goretex quilt, always fun to work on these projects 🙂

I love what I do for a living now and actually think I’m pretty decent at it too (immodest ?), I know I’m a pain in not having lots of bits listed as a buy it now and having to ask for prices but I really believe that me building unique one of a kind items is the way I’d wish to run my business for myself and for any customers, all while keeping quality high and Britain manufacturing.

I’ll be continuing to keep up my  BeUL Instagram page and eBay Shop

Inaugural post.

img-20151017-wa0011So after much badgering Scotty Von Porkchop has finally started up a website to make browsing his wares just a little easier.

At the moment this website is just aimed at being a bit of show and tell,  with mainly lots of photos and maybe some instructional and travel blogs. As yet I’ve no intention of using my page commercially for direct sales and will be using eBay and PayPal for now.

I’d also love to see and hear back from customers and with their permission post up those adventures, kit and knowhow up on here too.

Thanks everyone

Scotty Von Porkchop