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Sewing Climbing, Mountaineering and Backpacking Gear

by Amelia Greenhall - 04/23/2019

Some gear that I think it would be good to sew for climbing, mountaineering, scrambling, backpacking.

QGNN7383 Early 2009-ish stuffsack, before I knew how to properly finish circle base seams, and about to be repaired.

What makes something a good candidate for sewing climbing gear?

These are things that hit in the middle of the venn diagram of:

  • expensive enough that they’re worth making yourself
  • failures while on a trip probably won’t kill you (aka not a piece of gear that is going to protect a fall or hold body weight - all protection/harnesses/etc are out. Rain jackets too.)
  • can make a lighter version
  • can make one that fits you better (e.g. #Sewingtall for me, and also more minimal)
  • nobody currently makes it but it would be good to have (eg, cuben fiber version, or something you made up)

My list of things

Ordered here roughly by my likelihood of developing patterns for them, or making them from existing tutorials/patterns and writing them up:

Climbing rope bag with tarp

DONE! Here is my tutorial

Fleece neck gaiter (hood/neck warmer)

I’ll probably make a tutorial for the one I use soon, it’s great and has held up well since I made it. I take it on almost every trip with me, and also stuff it full of clothes and down jacket(s) to make a pillow at night.

Stuff sacks of all sizes - circular & rectangular

I have made quite a few of these, and bought quite a few of these, and they are so useful.

  • https://thru-hiker.com/projects/silnylon_stuffsacks.php

Compression bag

Ours is nearing end of life, also pretty heavy. I’d like to salvage all the buckles off it and make a new, lighter one.

Summit pack (very light backpack)

In 2008-ish REI brought these old style bags back, but they’ve gotten wildly over complicated and I just want to replace the simple one I just retired after 10 years of use… with a few improvements. Cost $25-$60.

Ultralight backpacking backpack

45L ish - Lab Pack - SGT Rucksack and GVP G4 pack on this page

Ultralight tarp for sleeping

Thru hiker style. Cheap source of light waterproof material is the trickiest thing here. Could it be out of tyvek like we made our tent ground cloth? - https://thru-hiker.com/projects/tarptent.php - https://backpackinglight.com/myog-cuben-fiber-tent-hankinson/

Ice axe leash

I just use a piece of webbing with water knots at the ends, but something lighter and very simple could be nice.

Lightweight mittens

I really like OR brand mittens and have re-bought the same light-weight wool pair a few times as I’ve worn them out. Kind expensive, and I’d like to have them be a little longer on my wrists - so a good candidate for diy. Still, I’d also happily buy them again. I’d also like a very light fleece pair for different trips. - pattern - ok but maybe too much volume

Ice axe end covers for axe and spike

$15 for black diamond versions, and they could be lighter - the neon orange plastic is kind charming though major overkill for the job. I imagine a DIY version could be thick fabric and much lighter.

Synthetic sleeping quilt, double or single

  • (“diy backpacking quilt” -https://www.gearaid.com/blogs/learn/diy-backpacking-quilt
  • https://thru-hiker.com/projects/down_quilt.php Adam and I sewed a Jardine kit in 2009, and it was pretty fun, but there are a lot of ways that more modern quilts (like the 2p Enlightened Equipment down one that we use the most) are even better in terms of a foot box and a little flap between the shoulders. I wouldn’t want to get into DIY down filling, but synthetic is also useful.

Hand jammies for crack climbing

Kinda expensive for something that is very small and simple. I’ve used OR and Ocean crack climbing gloves and liked both of them well enough, but could see making some changes to the design.

Ursack like micro-bear food storage bags in various sizes

Side and nose flaps for attaching to sunglasses

Cool 60s / 70s photos show people using leather flappy things attached to the sunglasses nose bridge and while doing glacier travel - similar

Lightweight crampon bag

Not an urgent essential, because my current main backpack has an external crampon sleeve. But something lightweight and waterproof for tossing into the summit pack on day hikes that use crampons would be good. The bag that came with my crampons is way too heavy to use.

Fleece socks

Adam has some and I am jealous. Also, after my down booties wore out I haven’t bought them again, but maybe I should do that instead.

Light hiking gaiters

So simple, don’t take much fabric, typically expensive. Sometimes over-designed and therefore too heavy. Good candidate.

Sturdy mountaineering gaiters

Expensive for how much fabric they take. But possibly not worth making… the ones I have last a long time and do seem to need their heavy duty construction that a home machine would struggle with.

Sleeping hammock

Very lightweight one could be nice… possible to do pretty inexpensively?

Hammock under-quilt

Maybe ?? I feel like this wouldn’t see enough use for me personally.

2p bivy sack

Maybe just something to keep the bugs off when otherwise sleeping with no tent? Not too much of a problem though, and most times we're sleeping without a tent it's either an unplanned bivy or going really light and might not want to add any extra weight.

Clothing

This is stuff I want to make for myself or Adam, but probably wouldn’t release patterns for:

  • Short sleeve button down shirt - Done, need to sew more.
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt

— Amelia Greenhall

sewing-climbing-gear

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Want to hear when I write more stuff like this?

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