|Ray Jardine, author: Trail Life, The Ray-Way Tarp Book Essential, Beyond Backpacking, Siku Kayak, The PCT Hiker's Handbook. This site features a collection of adventure stories and photo journals pertaining to long distance, lightweight hiking and backpacking, Baja and Arctic sea kayaking, Barrenlands canoeing, round-the-world sailing, skydiving, ocean rowing, bicycle and motorcycle touring, knifemaking, snowkiting, skiing to the South Pole, mountaineering and more!|
"Thank you for your wonderful kits. They are much more than a weekend project, they are passports to freedom - spiritual, physical, and material." Elleyne B.
"Ray and Jenny, Thank you so much for offering your products in kit form. There is definitely *Magic* created while sewing your kits. After thru-hiking the AT in the early 90's, I never thought that I would bond with a backpack or sleeping bag (now quilt) again." Darren P.
"The Quilt kit turned out great, only 1.25 lbs per person with the Gorget and Splitzip options. The Stowbags are the only way to go. I just ordered a Ray-Way backpack kit. Thanks so much for making such great kits that are beyond reasonably priced." Mark H.
"Our first Quilt (and also first ever sewing project) only took a weekend to complete--GREAT INSTRUCTIONS, thanks." Blue & Nika M.
"Thank you so much for offering your variety wonderful kits. Thus far, I have sewn a tarp, net-tent, quilt and stowbags using your kits. I have also recently completed the knife kit and am about to start on the leather sheath. All of the kits produce a great looking final project and more importantly function extremely well while on the trail." James S.
"I finished making my beautiful quilt a few weeks ago and I am 100% pleased with the results. I work with an outfitter here in Tennessee and I can honestly say that nothing on our wall matches the performance of the quilts simple design. And the modest price and some quality time versus $250+ is a no-brainer." Jeff D.
"Just wanted to say thank you for your great kits. 2 Weeks ago i finished my Quilt. I was a bit skeptic about the temperature rating, and i didnt want to freeze, so i ordered the extra layer of 3D. I have never used a quilt before (or a high performance lightweight bag either....) so when i finished sewing it i decided that I really need to test it at soon as possible. The weather that night was perfect - cold and clear with just a breeze blowing from the north. There was a thick layer of snow covering everything and reflecting the clear moonlight. I had a wonderful nights sleep there in my backyard on the snow with my sleeping pad and my new warm quilt and nothing but stars above me. I checked the temperature and was verry impressed when i saw it was -10C (14F) !!! I felt that the Draftstopper and Gorget really helped me in keeping warm." Jonas N., Sweden
"I just wanted to thank you for the excellent backpack. I bought your kit last year while I lived in the US for a short while. As I did not have a sewing machine, I made it fully by hand - it took some 2 weeks several hours per day, but it was fun for most of the time - I was constantly mixing inches with centimeters. I took it canyoning for 2 weeks and it behaved extremely well - just some minor scratches, although I never seriously believed that the pack would stand all the abuse it went through. Now I am also using the backpack for packing hand luggage while traveling perfect size even more perfect weight, I am going shopping with it 35 kg 70-80 lbs without problems and, of course, backpacking. This year I am taking the pack ice climbing and on several backpacking and canoe trips." Atis R.
"I recently finished a quilt kit--thank you so much--it works great! Now that I've made one quilt, the next one will be a piece of cake. Thanks!" Steven B.
"My son and I took our Ray-Way tarps to Philmont this year and they were awesome, rain, hail, wind, always dry and what views the entire trek. We use them all year here in MN and wherever we go. It is amazing to see how much better they work than tents, especially for eliminating condensation and we love the open view. Thanks for the awesome design, complete kits and quality materials!" - Ken D., MN
"I just made a second quilt, this one with extra insulation for winter camping, and had one of the coziest nights ever at bitingly cold Joshua Tree over the weekend. This was under a tarp, while wearing the insulated hat. A ray-way triumvirate!" Scott G.
"I had a lot of fun sewing the tarp. I think the backpack was a little easier to sew because the pieces were smaller. My biggest piece of advice is the same as yours: measure carefully. I spent a long while laying out the fabric and measuring and cutting to make sure I got it right. The drawings where very helpful and everything went together exactly as explained. I can't wait to try it out this weekend." Geoff G.
"This weekend my wife and I took our newly constructed Ray-Way tarp to Anza Borrego Desert SP for its inaugural voyage. We particularly enjoyed sleeping under the tarp which allowed for us to enjoy the perfectly still and balmy desert night without sweltering inside our old claustrophobic *backpacking* tent. Not to mention the other perks in leaving 4 unnecessary pounds at home and the deeper connection to the landscape of stars and sounds of the night." Ben T.
"I'm on page 11 on my backpack kit. The instructions are easy to follow and as this is my forth Ray-Way project and I feel like I can sew anything. I hope to have it finished for this weekend's Scout camp." John K.
"Your kits bring a sense of satisfaction that one doesn't get from buying gear! I know you are not only selling kits to fund your adventure, but that you care about other's experiences. Thank you from the bottom of my heart." Elleyne B.
"Made a quilt last fall, it is fantastic!! Can't wait to make the Tarp (ordered today). Thank you so much!" Matt L.
"I just finished up a thru-hike on the A.T. using your philosophy and sewing kits extensively. 2183.7 miles (includes the approach trail) in 88 days. Thank you two so much for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and sewing instructions with a backpacking novice like me." Paul W.
"This is our first sewing project, and we are having a lot of fun with it." Larissa G.
"I absolutely love the 2 person deluxe quilt. It's amazing how light it is. I love how you can adjust how it's positioned over you so you don't have to have a heat stroke like in a mummy bag. Thanks for putting the kits together and making them available to the public." Jason D.
"Thanks for designing these wonderful kits. I've finished two quilts in addition to the tarp and net-tent. What a great feeling of accomplishment, and empowerment!" David S.
"Ray and Jenny, THANK YOU for sharing your ideas, inspiration, experiences, advice, insight, philosophy, positive /limitless attitude, etc!! I have always enjoyed backpacking and what you call *elbow* room. However, as hard as it is to admit, I, like many others, have been disillusioned by marketers, advertisements, etc...until now! Early this year Molly and I decided to hike the John Muir Trail in August. We purchased 2 backpacks + the DVD, a Tarp, a Net-tent, a Quilt, 2 spools of thread and sewing machine. Having never sewn before I was a little nervous, but your encouragement and the success of others gave me confidence. I completed my backpack, tarp, net-tent, quilt, several ditty bags, stuff sacks for the quilt, 2 umbrella modifications, and a hiker's friend filter. Molly sewed her backpack and dehydrated our homemade food for the trip. In retrospect we are really glad we got these made as they proved indispensable! We were very pleased with the performance of all the gear." Brian L.
"The sewing journey I was on the last couple of weeks was an incredibly deep and enlightening experience to say the least! Sewing the quilt kit, tarp kit, backpack kit, stow sacks, and studying the tarp book, backpack video, and highly detailed instructions with extremely accurate diagrams = A whole new perspective :) Thank you Ray and Jenny" Will Lady
"My shipment arrived very promptly and the instructions are very clear and well-written." Don H.
"We want to thank you ever so much for your fast and efficient service. We have received all our merchandise and are extremely satisfied with your service." Burt M.
"Thank you very much for these sewing kits--they're awesome!!!" Trent H.
"I so much look forward to sewing and using these kits! Thank you SO much for the inspiration...I used to be a gearhead junkie..poring through the latest catalogs for the newest and best...you guys have given me the inspiration and the confidence to do it myself..cheaper and better! Thank You!!!" James P.
"I've ordered 8 packs for gifts and extras for if friends go hiking with me. Am ordering 4 more now. Thanks so much for the ideas and kits, Ray and Jenny!" Paul W.
"The kits are packaged very well, arrive promptly and go together as instructed. Completed projects: 2-person tarp, Quilt, Knife kit. In Progress: Knife kit, Stowbag. Thanks again" Larry B.
"I received the backpack kit and video, along with the quilt, stow-bag, etc. The video hits just the right spot for demonstration and explanation of the steps involved. I know it's not meant to replace the instructions, but seeing it done is a great help and worth every penny. Thank you again for doing the video, this way many people can take a sewing class with you. I also want to note that your instructions for the tarp kit are clear and easy to follow as well as helpful in teaching sewing techniques, i.e. a balanced stitch and different types of seams. Having done the tarp, the backpack kit seems fairly involved, but still easy to follow. Needless to say, what you provide at any cost is a bargain, so much gratitude to you and Jenny." Steve B.
"I have just completed my backpack after making a quilt and a stowbag for the quilt plus a knife. I still have a tarp to put together. I really enjoyed making my backpack. As soon as I was done I loaded it up with all the gear that I could find and found that even with a quilt and a bunch of stuff that it weighs less than my old pack did empty!" Eric S.
"I work at backpacking equipment shop and despite the fact that it's somewhat of a conflict business-wise, I am not hesitant to recommend Ray-Way products as a source of superior gear." Jeff D.
"My sewing is going along extremely well. This, considering my first experience a few years ago made me angry. Now I look back and laugh at my mind set, and realize my fear of sewing was only what you call *lack of familiarity*. I sure am glad I'm a little more familiar now. Sewing is fun, and your Ray-Way kits are pure magic! Everything falls into place beautifully, one stitch at a time. Thank you Ray, your teachings are truly priceless." Will Lady
"By sewing my own gear from the kits that you have meticulously designed and refined, I not only now have gear that is of the highest caliber but I also now have the skills to make this gear myself." David d.
"Thanks for the great products. I've really come to trust your equipment." Thomas C.
"Hi Its Quilt Addic Fred, This Will be my 3rd quilt with you. Thanks a million. The quilts that I have already made are all that I now use to sleep in!" Fred W.
"The quilt kit just arrived and I've already sewn it together and slept in it once in my back yard. The quilt kept me absolutely toasty the whole night. I woke up and thought I would check the temperature and I was blown away to find out that it had dropped to 37F overnight. The quilt kept me very warm even below the rated temperature and all I was wearing was a t-shirt and cotton pants. I had a blast making it and it weighs 1lb 9oz for the deluxe version. Thank you so much for this great new toy." Tom C.
"I was given a deluxe quilt kit by my wife for Christmas. It was my first time in front of a sewing machine - my wife showed me the basics then left with the kids for the weekend. I finished the foot box as she pulled back in the driveway. It turned out awesome and her pride in my work was a real boost. Thanks for the great kit - As you imply in your writing, learning to make your own gear is empowering, and I have an attachment to the quilt beyond what my expensive down bag ever meant to me. On top of that, my kids love it and want to sleep under it too, so I'm ordering two more quilts and a tarp." Michael M.
"Just finished the first two quilts, boy is that fun. My son had a few friends over while I was sewing and he was bragging about his dad sewing and about how lightweight his gear is. What fun to see the look on the boys faces when they saw a dad sitting at a sewing machine. The quilts are awesome and so much better than just the pictures elude to. The construction is excellent (as with all your kits) and the instructions are easy to follow. I just ordered more thread because with one backpack, a tarp, 2 quilts, (so far) 3 quilt stuff sacks and other ditty bags and many other little repairs and projects, I finally used up the cone I had." Geoff G.
"After doing a 50 mile slog through Kings Canyon in California with my son's scout team, I wanted to try lighter weight backpacking gear. The thought of making it myself with your kits intrigued me. My wife got me started sewing the 2-man tarp on her sewing machine. I heard her laughing and telling my daughter that I was actually sewing. The instructions provided told me everything I needed to know. My son and I tested the tarp out tonight in the backyard with a hose. It's water tight and ready to go! I'm starting the backpack next." Steve S.
"Thanks again Ray and Jenny for the awesome products you have made available. I have read Beyond Backpacking several times and have given it away several times. I have thought about making my own quilt, tarp and pack but wanted more instruction and *hand holding*. Your kits are the answer. You guys are doing wonderful things. keep it up." Geoff G.
"I bought a Ray-Way pack last year and it was a joy to assemble. I never knew I could sew! My son and I are planning an extended packing trip this May for his HS graduation. I ordered another pack for him and we are both thrilled with our packs. Thanks Ray!" Taylor F.
"I decided to try to assemble your deluxe quilt kit on a long weekend. By the second night I was sleeping under it! (Quite comfy, by the way.) The directions were clear, the materials outstanding, and the work involved was not that difficult, despite tri-focals and an el-cheapo sewing machine. I want to thank you for making this wonderful project possible. I am literally a happy camper!!" Greg D.
"Just dropping you a note about how pleased I am with the tarp I made from your kit. We took a group of scouts to Mt. Whitney this summer and it held up well through many days of rain keeping us warm and dry. One evening it blew especially hard, but the tarp stood firm. The other scouts and leaders were impressed as well (but not as comfortable in their domes)." Greg Z.
"I am sewing the kits with great enjoyment and sense of accomplishment. I finished the stowbag, and am now working on the quilt. Planning to do the backpack next, then the tarp & net-tent. I think that your materials, designs and instructions are simply superb. I can hardly wait to get out in the Sierra this summer and use the new gear." Steve S.
"I am 14 years old and have recently finished a tarp kit from you. The tarp works great and I plan to use it during my scout troop's 50 miler on the Appalachian Trail. I am going to make a backpack kit next. Thank you for your great products." Ben B.
"I think your kits are fantastic." Jeanette E.
"I recently made the tarp, net-tent, and quilt. I'm working on 2 insulated hats. I really enjoyed working with the nice materials and the well thought-out designs." Gail H.
We're having a great time on the A.T. using your gear and system and have met a number of others doing the same." Ben and Lauren T. J.F.
"Thanks for all of the great products that you provide. Making my own gear has changed the way that I interact with the outdoors. The two quilts I've made are my favorite sleeping bags now, and I'm sure my tarp and net-tent will be just as good. Take care, and keep encouraging and empowering the rest of us to make our own gear!" Ben S.
"I love these projects." Nick R.