Making your own outdoor gear

Marion Fernandez
 

Shopping for outdoor gear can be frustrating for multiple reasons. Much of it has a price tag that will send us running for the hills and even then it may not be exactly the gear that works best for your needs. But there is always another option: you can make your own gear. Even if you would never define yourself as the greatest DIY person, there are many gear options out there that are not too challenging to do yourself.

Pillows

Making comfy pillows yourself

Let’s start off with one of the easiest things on our list that you can make. You can make your own sleeping bag pillow that will roll up well in your bag and be easy to carry on hiking trips. Muslin works well because it is sturdy. You just need two identical rectangles of fabric. Place the right sides together. Sew around three edges, most of the fourth, turn the case right-side out, stuff, and sew up the hole.

Sleeping bag

Ideally, you should not be making your own sleeping bag if you are sleeping in freezing temperatures. You need to be safe and have a bag that has the right temperature rating for your needs. But if you are camping in summer, you can make your own. You should pick out two types of fabric, getting at least a couple yards of each. You will also need to get some quilt batting. Then you need to lay the two pieces of fabric on top of each other with the batting in the middle.

Using a needle and thread, tie knots throughout to keep all three layers together. Fold it in half the long way. Get a long zipper and sew it, connecting the bottom and side of the bag, leaving the top part open.

Lantern

Easy DIY lanterns

Without a doubt, one of the cheapest do it yourself projects out there, a candle lantern is easy to make. Grab an empty can, a long nail, some wire, a short piece of wood, and a candle. Using the nail, punch holes around the sides of the can. Use the wire to wrap around each end of the piece of wood and wire it to the can to make a handle to carry it with. Then drive the nail right through the bottom of the can to hold onto the candle.

Backpack

Maybe all of the backpacks you have come across don’t have the features you want. Then there is no better reason to make your own. Choose a pattern that you can alter to design one yourself. Use a canvas material instead of nylon as nylon likes to shred and causes trouble when it does, making it hard to use and even harder to keep. Canvas can be waterproofed easily. Make sure to get plenty of Velcro or zippers to have ways to close your new bag. When complete, you will be happy you chose to do it yourself.

Tent

Making your own camping tent

There are actually a couple of ways that you can make your own tent. You can try sewing it yourself using pieces of canvas or cotton, both of which can be waterproofed. Or you can use a couple of tarps, some rope, and a few sticks to create a more durable lean-to style tent. It is not going to keep the cold out so make sure that you have plenty of layers and a warm bag to sleep in.

The tarps will keep the rain off and provide you with shelter from the other elements of the woods. Tyvek is what contractors use to keep walls dry during construction and is a great material to keep you dry outdoors.

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