BSA project
Posted: 17 July 2007 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2007-07-17

Our BSA troop is starting a project that involves making our own lightweight gear.  The theme is “light on the back, light on the wallet”.  We were extremely fortunate to have a vendor donate a substantial quantity of Climashield XP and have another vendor offer some great prices on fabrics, but we are a little stumped as to which materials are best for which project, plans and techniques and so forth to complete the project.

Our project will involve creating tarp tents, quilts, insulated caps similar to a Ray Jardine style, but the packs we hope to make would need to be made of a sturdier material (teenagers are tough on gear).

Any suggestions for low cost materials, plans, tips, etc?

Thanks a million,

Mike

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  158
Joined  2007-05-14

Mike

That’s a big question to answer in a single email but I’d be happy to give you some started points. Most people offering kits or directions on the web will give reccomened fabrics they used. I would decided on what project to do first then look for a kit or directions.

Two good ones on the web are the free G4 backpack directions on the Gossmer Gear website. Another is the tarp tent shelter avalible on the Tarp tent website. I so think AYCE may have a link on this site since he sells a kit.

There are a number of DIY who have made sleeping bags and now the popular quilts. check out http://www.backpacking.net/makegear.html

I’ll let AYCE or someone help with the Climashield XP ;-)

Good luck.

Joe F

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2007-07-17

Thanks Joe.  The project will be taken on in stages.  The quilts and the tarp tents are close in terms or priority, with the backpacks bringing up the rear.  This is due to upcoming trips scheduled and the availability of existing gear.  I was shocked to get a generous product donation from the folks who market Climashield that should be arriving in the next few days, but am a bit stumped on the other items.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 08:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  158
Joined  2007-05-14

Just in terms of difficulty I think working with insulation on a sleeping bag is a hard first project. Necessity may be a driving force but it has little to do with skill set and I think it’s important to have a positive first project.

Tents and tarps aren’t hard to sew but dealing with large sections of fabric presents it’s own challenges. That said I don’t know if you’ve sewn and worked with patterns. Either way everything is possible.

I might start with some stuff sacks, to get used to working with slippery fabric like silicone-coated nylon and lets face it who doesn’t need stuff sacks. Pack covers are another great first project.


Joe F.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2007-07-17

My sewing is rather limited to tons of merit badges and a few craft projects.  Only one involved the use of a machine.  I think I’ll take your advice and tackle the small project first to develop the skill and confidence level before going on to ruin a bigger project.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 July 2007 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  432
Joined  2007-05-07

Joe’s advice on starting simple and working up from there is great advice, and it sounds like you’re going to do that.

Esp if you’re going to try and manage projects for more than one person, really carefully plan out your cutting marker to maximize your use of fabric resources and minimize waste. 

As the leader, your job managing other folks will be easier and your final product of higher quality if you prototype carefully any group project.  If you’re personally going to design anything, scale models often uncover large errors at a fraction of the expense of a discarded full-size failure.

There’s tons of web and print resources for you to take advantage of.  Give yourself a long leash and it won’t be long before you’ve got some nice gear made.

AYCE

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 August 2007 05:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-08-21

As a former Asst. Scoutmaster and amateur gear maker, you have taken on a huge, but terrific, project. I tried this after scouts in my former troop were really excited when I gave a demo of my homemade g4 pack, tarptent, and other lightweight gear. Your biggest challenge is going to be keeping the guys interested in making the gear, especially on some of the more challenging projects, such as sleeping bags, tarp tents, or quilts. These are time consuming and somewhat challenging and as I’m sure you know, scouts don’t always have the longest attention span.

As others have suggested, you should start with simple projects that will allow the you and the kids become familiar with the feel of the fabric, the machines, the various seams, and sewing in general. If the guys get bored with sewing a bunch of stuff sacs, then they are less likely to attempt a sleeping bag or quilt or tarp tent.

A good project that I had planned for my troop to gauge their real interest (beyond how cool it would be to make your own gear) was to make silnylon patrol flags. We practiced felled seams on the edges with grosgrain loops and we even added velcro for attaching ribbons. We used scrap material that I had on hand and I purchased some second and third quality material from some the sources.

We had 6 machines on loan from various mothers. In the end, most of the boys got bored of cutting and sewing (except for one patrol that actually finished the project and ended up with a cool flag) and the others just wanted to run around or work on merit badges. The hardest part was keeping the boys that were not sewing or cutting interested and with 20 boys at meetings, it is hard to keep everyone involved. So, we never moved onto anything bigger. I hope your troop is more motivated.

FYI-AYCE has a terrific formula for making stuff sacs of all sizes right on this site along with everything else you could every need . . .

Good luck to you.

Neil

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 August 2007 08:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2007-08-22

I’ve made a couple of quilts and many, many waterproof stuff sacks.  Love my quilts, but the scouts in my troop couldn’t have made them.  I’d estimate it took me 12 hours to make a quilt.  (I’m just a novice at this, but I love DIY projects).  The scouts in my troop wouldn’t take the time, make the effort, or have the attention span to do this, IMO. Our scouts were too interested in cars, girls, football, goofing off, and generally just being teenagers.  Shoot, I had to probably have 3 hours from my wife to get mine done.  If you’re going to do this, you need to get the moms who know how sew on board early.  Our senior scouts did make stuff sacks (silnylon w/ extended ends to twist and stuff under drawstring, then sealed the seams).  These were a huge success.  It took three scout meetings (with two moms with sewing machines to help) for 14-18 scouts to each complete thier stuff sack.  We also made pepsi can alcohol stoves.  I think we endned up with about 5 good stoves, but these 5 scouts were able to use skills that aren’t often recognized in scouting, so it was also a great project.  Good luck with your troop.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 October 2007 03:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  39
Joined  2007-10-14

As to what fabrics to make packs for teens that are “sturdier” i would suggests 210 oxford where other packs use 1.9oz rip & 1.9 oz rip where other packs use silnylon, using 330 cordura for the back/bottoms & a heavy mesh like poly b from quest or the rawhide mesh from OWFinc.  As for patterns of course the G4, but also worth consideration is the LAB Pack, i think plans for that can be found here some place. (if i were to use the LAB i would add at least 1 side pocket if not 2)

This should still result in light weight packs, but they should last much longer.  Also, if teens make/own their own equipment they suddenly learn how to treat it with respect, it is just my stuff they break!

That is prob what i would do if it where me. ( i would use the RAY-WAY Pack pattern because I’ve used it many times with great success, but you’d have to buy one if you didn’t already have it and the other packs are probably just as good)

Marsh
(I’m not a scout leader, but i am a Youth Pastor and I take my students hiking whenever i can)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 December 2007 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  7
Joined  2007-05-17

How have the Scout projects turned out?  I am a Scout leader and am very interested.  I had trouble motivating my scouts to make any gear.

Thanks

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 February 2008 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
Recent Registration
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-05-14

An easy get started project I did was to make hammocks.  I used the hammocks as a requirement to make a camp gadget.  I used 3 yards ($1/yd) of nylon from wally world.  I tied an overhand knot at each end of the material.  Then I used webbing (8 feet) to attach to the knotted end of the material to make a hammock.  The cost of each hammock was $7. I could have increased the price of each hammock by using better nylon tubing.  However the boys are small and don’t need the super size strength that I need.  At the end of the nylon tubing I sewed a loop to pass the end of the tubing through to make a slip knot to slide over the knotted end of material.  This may wet their appetite to making more equipment, tarp, bug shelter, bag.

Profile