Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

Half-Bag Insulated Pants

So I'm looking for new ways to multi-use my gear, and I usually don't bring a jacket and just use the JRB No Sniveler as a poncho. But what about my legs for even colder weather? I wondered how much modification the JRB Nest would need to be worn as pants. We discussed it shortly on this HammockForums thread (starting on post #5) and I put some pics on my JRB page. It works, I guess. But it leaves a big gap in the crotch and backside (or frontside if you wear it the other way), so I was thinking about a better solution.

Bill Fornshell posted pics on this BPL thread of an old REI half-bag (elephant's foot) that doubles as insulated pants. So I decided to prototype a half-bag like the REI one. This is a very rough prototype using only $1/yd nylon and some velcro. I barely even measured the cuts and haven't put in any insulation yet...just put it together to see if the concept works. For insulation, I'll probably use down and just sew-through instead of baffling it. Once I get the dimensions right, I think the concept will work.

It's pretty easy to make. Just use a pants pattern, but put velcro on the inside leg seams instead of sewing it.

I started a new Hammock Forums thread to discuss this project so it doesn't get mixed up with the JRB thread linked above.

Half-Bag Insulated Pants
Laid out completely flat. The hole in the middle is the waist. To make pants I'd attach the top left to the bottom left and the top right to the bottom right. To make a half-bag, I attach the top left to top right, and bottom left to bottom right.
Closeup of the foot end...just a drawstring and cordlock. That snugs it around my ankles in pants mode, and seals off the footbox in half-bag mode.
Worn as pants. It kinda looks like they're connected between my legs b/c they're so baggy, but it's actually separate as you can see below.
Pants from the rear. Pretty much a normal pair of pants.
Close-up of the crotch where the velcro comes together.
Close-up of the crotch when put together as pants.
Close-up of the drawstrings at the feet. These drawstrings are used to seal the footbox when used as a half-bag, just like the JRB quilts' drawstrings.
Laid out flat in half-bag mode.
And me laying down inside. It doesn't quite come up far enough...I guess that's why the REI ones are more like overall with suspenders. They'll have to come up over my belly button as pants for them to be long enough to use as a half-bag that covers my waist.
Worn as a vest. It's much smaller and more manageable as a vest than the NS is as a poncho.
So would it work?
Maybe it has potential.

I could bring this and the No Sniveler for cold conditions. Wear the NS as a poncho and these pants around camp. Then for bed, I'd use the NS as a top quilt just like it was designed, but I'd use the half-bag either on my torso or on my legs.

I could also bring a down jacket, the half-bag and the NS for even colder temps...wear the pants and jacket around camp. Then for bed, I'd convert the pants to the half-bag and wear the down jacket, with the NS as a normal top quilt.

But Feathered Friends sells the Helios down pants for 15 oz. Why not just sleep in the down pants and down jacket with a top quilt? Assuming the half-bag would weigh more than 15 oz (mainly due to the velcro, although small zippers might be a bit lighter), would the half-bag really be that much warmer than down pants to warrant the extra weight? Dunno...guess it depends on how much heavier the final product would be. Down pants don't have the option of being worn as a vest like this does, either.

As a side note, the Mt Rogers quilt is big enough to be worn around the entire body. Adding Nest-style slit about 40" long would enable anyone with ~40" inseam to wear the bottom like pants, then snug the top up around them. Just put in some armholes and find a way to snug up the extra length and I think it could work. Might be worth another look to see if the Mt Rogers could be used on the HH with that added slit, too.

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