Does the fabric used make any difference in the performance of the sleeping bags?
Yes, it does. The fabric affects weight, temperature rating, pack size, durability, quick drying ability, wind resistance, and water resistance.
I received some excellent questions from customers asking more information about the fabrics used. I am sharing all technical information below and the back story about why and how I made my own custom fabrics.
Let’s dive in! If its too technical, feel free to skip to the back story.
- 10D shell
- We made a new technical 10D shell fabric with a durable ripstop weave that is super light, yet exceptionally strong.
- We started with an extremely high thread count (500T) nylon and finished it with a unique multi-cire process to make the fabric highly windproof without any coating. This allows the bag to be used in windy conditions while minimizing convective heat loss.
- Finally, we added high quality C6 DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish that keep the quilts dry from external moisture, minimizing conductive and evaporative heat loss.
- 10D liner
- We made the world’s first 10D vapor barrier fabric with a taffeta weave that has silky soft hand feel for ultimate next-to-skin comfort.
- This vapor barrier fabric solves the problem of condensation in sleeping bags, keeping the insulation dry and performing at its highest thermal efficiency. It also improves overall warmth of sleeping system by minimizing conductive, convective and evaporative heat loss.
The Blue Bolt quilts feature a patent-pending design combination of a vapor barrier liner and a breathable draft stopper, which lets the moisture breathe out and keeps the clammy feeling away. This allows Blue Bolt quilts to be used in far warmer conditions than what is possible with vapor barrier clothing or liner bag.
By combining a windproof and DWR shell and a vapor barrier liner, the Blue Bolt quilt can be used out in the open under clear skies or inside a tent during bad weather without getting bag wet from condensation.
Back story of why and how I made my own custom 10D fabrics
As a DIY outdoor gear maker based in India, I have spent a decade working with ultralight fabrics, from 7D to 30D, purchased from US companies such as RipstopbytheRoll, Thru-hiker, TitaniumGoat, OWFinc, Rockywoods, Quest Outfitters, and Seattle fabrics and European companies such as Shelby and ExtremTexxtil.
In 2019, I decided to turn my “make your own gear” hobby into a sustainable business of making custom high performance sleeping quilts for Indian and American customers. I soon found that the increasing prices of ultralight fabrics due USA – China trade wars, high international shipping fees and 28% custom duty on imported goods made the cost of the imported fabrics prohibitive.
In July 2019, I visited China and spent 3 weeks visiting mills, showing them original fabric samples, getting samples made and testing them (almost all samples failed my quality tests) and nearly giving up before finally making a breakthrough. I, more than ever, appreciated all the effort of the various companies making high quality fabrics available to the DIYers in the market.
In these 3 weeks, I learned more about fabrics and what makes a fabric high quality than in my 10 years of working with ultralight fabrics. It was extremely challenging because I had high quality standards and refused to compromise on them. I want to make the world’s best outdoor sleeping quilts using the best materials.
One challenge was how to make a 10D fabric windproof without coating (which impairs quick drying performance in case the sleeping bag gets wet). Nearly all samples I got from mills, including some with high 500T+ thread counts, were too breathable and had poor DWR – these might work for other sleeping bag companies but they are not good enough for the goal I have with Blue Bolt products.
One company made me a 520T taffeta sample which was very windproof and extremely soft but had very poor durability. The breakthrough came when one mill combined a high thread count 500T ripstop with a unique multi-cire finish.
The other challenge was to make a 10D vapor barrier liner fabric which would be very soft against the skin and lighter than 15D silpoly. Few companies could make a 10D coated sample and most samples failed my quality tests. Some would become sticky after washing which was unacceptable. But one company got back to me with a revised sample that had amazing luxurious hand and vapor barrier affect.
In the end, I not only got the high quality fabrics I wanted but was also able to negotiate a low MOQ first order which made it possible for me to get these fabrics without a huge financial investment.
More questions? Ask me by direct message or in the comments below.