At Ray-Way Products we make Kits for sewing your own light-weight, outdoor gear.
Contrary to common belief, you do not need to equip yourself with store-bought gear. You can make your own. And when you do, you gain a tremendous sense of freedom from today's consumer mentality - where the products are heavily advertised, expensive, and yet cheaply mass-produced. Making it yourself is about saving money, making it right - without using any cheap materials or manufacturing short-cuts - and owning and using outdoor gear that you can be truly proud of.
Our kits contain only the finest and lightest synthetic materials
We design our kits for ease of sewing and provide detailed, step-by-step instructions with many illustrations
Many people believe they lack the ability to use a sewing machine. This is nonsense. Please read Why Sew?
Literally thousands of people have completed our kits without problems, many with no sewing experience. All that is required is a bit of patience, and the determination to follow our instructions carefully.
My home-made Ray-Way gear is A+ professional in function, looks, design, and strength! Not to mention lasting over 9 years of all year around heavy use!" - James G., CA
Friday, 27th of February, 2015: We are well stocked on materials and kits for everything listed on our Order Form. We have loads of materials, and the insulation is factory-fresh, as always. We usually send out kit orders the same day they are received (if received by 2:00 pm) or the next working day.
Covers the essentials of Lightweight hiking, including packweight and equipment, clothing and footwear, nourishment and physical conditioning, and the myriad topics that contribute to these basics. There are chapters on the safety of lightweight hiking and on pack-weight evolution. There are several gear chapters, including the Backpack, Tarp, and Quilt.
There are chapters on wilderness skills such as Stealth Camping, Campfire and Cook-fire, Knots for the Hiker. Jenny has written a chapter for women hikers, from a woman's perspective. There are chapters on foot care, creek fording, snow travel, snakes and bears, to name just a few.
"Once every two or three decades a book comes along that fundamentally reshapes how we think. Jardine's is such a work. Page after page, Jardine brilliantly flips the sacred cows of backpacking on their heads. Every suggestion comes from experience: Jardine has hiked the PCT three times, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. Get a copy. It could change your trail life." -Backpacker magazine
Trail Life, our new version of Beyond Backpacking Now Available!
"I love Trail Life!!! I couldn't stop reading it. It is like reading candy." -Pamela A.
"Trail Life could be the most important book about backpacking that you will ever read.
"There are a few names that have revolutionized the sport of backpacking, Ed Garvey, Colin Fletcher, Harvey Manning and of course the Master of lightweight backpacking Ray Jardine. Ray's book 'Beyond Backpacking' revolutionized long distance backpacking by showing hikers how to cut the weight out and exploding myths about heavy equipment. Much of the lightweight backpacking equipment and styles today were inspired by Ray and his groundbreaking book. Now Ray and his hiking partner and wife Jenny have revised and updated that classic book with Trail Life. Trail Life is chock full of lightweight hiking ideas that will further revolutionize the sport.
"This is the most comprehensive long distance hiking guide ever written.
"The author and his wife have hiked well over 25,000 miles and all the well known trails as well as a myriad of other trails. Their experiences will prove to be an invaluable guide for those who love to hike and those who seek the solitude of the woods."
Ray-Way One-Person Quilt
Ray-Way Quilt (kit) is used at camp or home for sleeping at night. It works like a sleeping bag, but is open underneath you. You lie on your foam pad and drape the quilt over you like a blanket. But unlike a blanket, the quilt is contoured, so that it molds to the shape of your body.
Our quilt design is much more efficient in terms of its reduced weight and bulk, because it eliminates the useless part of the sleeping bag flattened beneath you. It is just as warm as the most expensive sleeping bag of comparable thickness, yet can be made at reasonable cost - even by those with little sewing experience.
Our Quilt Kit comes in one-person and two-person models, and contains the finest and lightest synthetic materials, and complete, step by step illustrated sewing instructions. The sewing is not difficult. See Why Sew? and Sewing Tips
"When people are worried about the feasibility of going ultralight, the Ray-Way Quilts are exhibit number one in convincing them that ultralight is not about skimping on safety and comfort. Not only are the quilts lighter than conventional equipment, but they are better: every bit as warm, easier to adjust to comfort, less constricting, and more adaptable to multiple uses (e.g., as a blanket around camp). The kits were straightforward to put together with clear instructions taking you through the process step-by-step. I am an ultra-satisfied customer." -Scott G.
"I have been using a quilt with the alpine upgrade for around two years now. It is my only quilt and performs far better than any sleeping bag I have ever used. The kit was easy to assemble and has greatly improved the way I sleep in the wilds. I find I can regulate my temperature in my sleep and I don't have to wake up to zip and unzip like I do with a sleeping bag. I highly recommend a quilt to anyone serious about backpacking." -Josh E.
Our Quilt Kits also make wonderful "blankets" for beds. You can make them full width and length, and with no leg taper or foot pocket. For use at home, or as gifts to loved ones. Due to its light weight, you might be amazed how comfortable a quilt "blanket" is to sleep under. Fabulous!
Quilt Stowbag (kit) is for carrying the quilt in a Ray-Way backpack while hiking. This stowbag is ultralight, waterproof, economical, and easy to sew. All our kits include detailed and illustrated sewing instructions.
Qulit Storage Bags
Quilt Storage Bag (kit) for storing the quilt at home. This simple bag is made with a synthetic and lightweight, and highly breathable fabric - just the thing for storing your quilt between adventures. The storage bag will keep your quilt clean and bug-free, and will help retard mildew and odors. And best of all, the storage bag is large enough that it will not crush the insulation. Makes excellent gifts, or a "starter" project for someone learning to sew.
Sleeping-Pad Kit (kit) This Kit will allow you to modify a foam pad so that it fits folded snugly inside your Ray-Way Backpack. The kit comes with detailed instructions. Not included in the kit, you will need to buy a foam pad from your local sporting goods or department store for modification with this kit.
Ray-Way Tarp (kit) for anyone who would like to sleep warmer and more comfortably in the wilds. It is simple in appearance, yet will outperform even the most sophisticated tents in a wide variety of weather and terrain, when used according to the instructions in the Ray-Way Tarp Book Essential. This tarp is about a fourth the weight of even the lighter tents, and it offers at least twice the living space. And even though this tarp is open all around, it is probably warmer than the tent you use. Why? Because of the tarp's superior ventilation. A tent traps moisture (even one with extra-large vents), and on a cold night that moisture saps body heat.
The Ray-Way Tarp comes in Kit form, and includes detailed and illustrated sewing instructions. Sewing this kit is not difficult. Please see Why Sew?
"I just finished my Ray-Way Tarp Kit. It was my first sewing project, the first time I've used a sewing machine, and the first time I stepped out of my, "Oh, I can't do that..." comfort level. The tarp rocks! I cannot believe how easy it really is. For any readers wondering if it'll be too much work please, please go for it! Take it one stitch at a time. The instructions are simply amazing. And the best part: Holding something in your hands that, 1) you made, 2) that you now know you can customize and change, 3) and that you can repair if or when needed. Take it from someone who'd never threaded a sewing machine before... you can do it!" -Zane D.
"This weekend my wife and I took our newly constructed Ray-Way tarp to the desert for its inaugural voyage. We particularly enjoyed sleeping under the tarp which allowed us to enjoy the night without sweltering inside our old claustrophobic tent. Not to mention leaving four unnecessary pounds at home and the deeper connection to the landscape of stars and sounds of the night." -Ben T.
"After a tremendous rainstorm one night, we were totally dry using our Ray-Way tarp. Some friends who had camped in their 3-season tent were soaked. Thanks for a new frame of reference." -Jim H.
"Using the Ray-Way tarp in the high Wasatch Mountains, we experienced the first winter storm. 1.57 inches of moisture in the form of rain, sleet, hail and eight inches of snow. I pitched the tarp using the two pole Ray-Way method. My tarp was one of three structures out of eight that did not sustain any damage and collapse from the wet snow. In the morning I had 18 inches of snow piled on each side of the tarp, but not a drop of water inside! If I had any questions about the design of the tarp, they were answered last Friday night." -John M. Venture Crew 9112 Advisor, US.Army.Mil
Ray-Way Tarp and Net-Tent
Net-Tent (kit) A lightweight enclosure made of netting that clips very simply under a Ray-Way Tarp for keeping the insects away.
Comes in several designs and sizes: please see our Order Form.
BatWing (kit) A door that closes off one end of the ray-way tarp, used on those stormy nights when the wind might be slanting rain a ways into the interior.
Our BatWing weighs very little, and is quick and easy to set up. It works with or without a Net-Tent or Spitfire, and is adjustable depending on the geometry of the tarp pitch.
The Ray-Way Tarp Book Essential (book) explains how to camp with a Ray-Way Tarp, safely and enjoyably when backpacking or hiking, sea-kayaking, canoeing, bicycle or motorcycle touring, or scouting.
312 information-packed pages, A few hundred B/W photos, and lavishly illustrated
The book includes the history of the Ray-Way Tarp design, and explains why Ray and Jenny enjoy tarp camping so much. The book describes campsite selection and tarp pitching methods, and includes several photo sequences of knot tying for tarp pitching. There are chapters on bugs and critters and rain and wind - all the questions and perhaps reservations that a person might have in regards to tarp camping.
Rays 2010 A.T. Gear Video (DVD Video) Enjoy an evening with Ray in the Maine woods, as he explains the use of the gear that he carried on his 2010 Thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Filmed the day after he completed his thru-hike. Topics covered include:
* Site selection
* Preening of a stealth-site
* Pitching the tarp
* Hanging the Spitfire under the tarp
* Crawling in to the Spitfire (putting it on like a garment)
* Making a comfortable bed
* Packing the backpack the following morning
* Taking down the Spitfire and stowing
* Taking down the tarp and stowing.
The majority of highly-touted features on most backpacks actually work against a person. For one thing, they add weight - and of course expense. They also tend to waste one's time spent fiddling with them. Contrary to the hype, most of those features are designed for marketing rather than hiking.
We designed our Ray-Way backpack for thru-hiking, and have used it during all of our many multi-thousand mile backpack trips. Our backpack is extremely light-weight, and yet very durable when taken well care of.
Our kit Includes all the needed materials as well as detailed, step-by-step sewing instructions with many illustrations.
The last Ray-Way backpack I made has done over 10,000 miles, so I'm ordering a new one. Still the best pack out there! -Scott Williamson
I was so impressed at how detailed and clear the sewing instructions for the Ray Way Backpack were. Having zero sewing experience, I really thought I would have to sew the backpack twice. But since the instructions were so great, the pack is by far my favorite pack I've ever hiked with. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge. -Troy A.
I have sewn nine backpack kits. Two for myself, and others as gifts. Still planning on the AT with ALL Ray-Way gear. -Craig H.
Sixteen home-made Ray-Way backpacks at one of Ray and Jenny's outdoor classes
"Your designs underwent a very rigorous six day field trial with sixteen sets of Ray-Way gear (backpacks, tarps, and quilts). To my knowledge there was not one failure and this was by mostly novice seamsters. WOW!" David d.
Jenny demonstrates the sewing while Ray narrates. And during the one hour run time, we detail the backpack's complete construction, start to finish.
The video shows how easily the backpack kit goes together, and it also provides an understanding of the assembly methods, for those who prefer to learn in a visual and audio context.
For someone who prefers, instead, to read and study printed instructions, those that come with the kit describe the process fully, step by step. The video is not meant to replace those printed instructions.
Insulated Hat (kit) A kit that you sew together yourself. The hat is warm and yet very lightweight. The size medium weighs only 1.1 ounces. And the hat is very packable, occupying very little space in a backpack or clothing bag.
The Hat consists of one layer of Alpine synthetic insulation, which is about 0.9" thick. This insulation is sandwiched between two layers of lightweight nylon fabric. So the hat is fully reversible.
Intended for use with a quilt or sleeping bag, as well as outdoor activities such as camping and hiking in cool to cold weather. The hat is highly breathable, allowing normal insensible perspiration to evaporate - so it offers maximum warmth.
"I think the Insulated Hat Kit is your most under-stated item. It seems so mundane on the web page whereas the backpack, tarp, and quilt kits etc. all shout for themselves. But the times I've used the Insulated hat in a challenging cold/wet/windy situation and it's turned the whole thing around in a matter of minutes. Both night and day, it offers amazing utility for a 1 oz weight. I never go camping without one." -Mike G.
Just finished my Insulated Hat. I love it! I have used a windstopper fleece hat that velcroed under the chin for years. It weighed 2.3 oz and was pretty thin. The Ray-Way Insulated Hat weighs only 1oz.(!!!), is several times thicker (much warmer), and is totally windproof!! The insulated hat is so superior, there is absolutely no reason to ever take the fleece hat again! Fantastic!!!! This was my third Ray-Way Kit. It is so great to see the quality in the finished gear go up as I get better on the machine. Thanks again! -Matt L.
Ray-Way Knife Kit
Ray-Way Knife (kit) Our knife kit is intended as a beginner's project, and can be assembled with minimal tools and no prior woodworking experience. The four-inch blade is stainless steel, has a very sharp and exceptionally durable edge. Its made of world-class steel, and will last a lifetime - and will run circles around any cheap knife.
The wooden handle comes in pre-drilled pieces that you epoxy together and shape to suit. The finished Knife is considerably lighter in weight than almost all expensive knives with good quality steel in them. This means you can take your Ray-Way knife hiking, backpacking, or whatever, with minimal extra weight.
This is a beautiful knife, and because you made it yourself, this will give your knife much more meaning than a store bought one.
"I loved the kit and the instructions and the way everything went together just as the instructions said. The wood handle is much more beautiful than the pictures can show--it has fiddle and the colors change from a glowing golden yellow to a light brown as it is tipped in the light. I hated to use the sealer on it because now I can not enjoy its smell which was wonderful." -Dick M.
Ray-Way Knife and Sheath Kits
Sheath Kit (kit)
The sheath is the open pouch type, protecting the blade while securing the knife by friction alone. It is meant to be carried in the backpack rather than worn on a belt. This is for reasons of simplicity and safety.
Our Sheath Kit contains a full set of illustrated instructions, and a set of patterns for cutting out the leather sheath, the welt, and an optional Lightning Bolt pattern for tooling the leather.
After cutting out the leather, you punch holes for the stitching, following our template, then hand-stitch the sheath closed. Very simple!
"The leather sheath kits are superb! The instructions and materials are flawless. Thank you for the continued inspiration and integrity you bestow to this wonderful life. This art is highly rewarding. With gratitude," -Will Lady
A selection of knives and a Sharpening Board ready for use.
The Ray-Way Knife blade will do a LOT of cutting before it needs sharpening. It started out very sharp, and the steel is uncommonly high in quality. In fact, some of our customer's Ray-Way Knives will probably never need sharpening, if well cared for. At the same time, with a lot of use, any knife will become dull, and the use of our sharpening kits will easily bring the sharpness back.
Knife Stropping Kit (kit)
After you have finished using the sharpening boards using the three grits of wet-&-dry, and have achieved the sharpest blade that you can, then it's time to strop the blade to make it razor sharp. The video shows how this is done.
Knife Sharpening Video (DVD Video)
In this video Ray shows how to use our Sharpening and Stropping Boards on the Ray-Way Knife to achieve the sharpest blade possible.
We produced this video in real time, without repeating takes, so you could see the actual process of sharpening a Ray-Way Knife to a "wicked" degree of sharpness. To make it real, there was no re-shooting and filling in of gaps. And we were very careful to show the specific details so you can emulate Ray's techniques.
A 23-foot ocean rowboat. No sails, no motor, just two pairs of oars. Solar panels to power the watermaker. A 90-day supply of food. A husband and wife team with a desire for adventure and an intense determination to succeed.
Ray & Jenny's Atlantic Crossing
3,000 miles in 53 days
Video Run time: 48 min.
"I have to say that Atlantic Caper is one of the best documentaries that we've seen!" -R. S.
"Atlantic Caper is a fantastic show! Thank you so much for investing the time and effort to produce this gem of a movie. The production values are surprisingly good, the editing and narration are first rate, and the on-ocean footage is breathtaking." -Brett T.
"Caper Across the Atlantic is awesome! Last Friday night, we sat in awe of the adventure, the sunsets and sunrises, the Ocean. Congratulations, and the professionalism is impressive." -Ben A.
"I've watched your video three times now and I think it's suuupppeeerrr!!! I must admit, I cried when you left La Gomera and I cheered and cried when you arrived at Barbados. Sure was glad you included the Skydiving also! Great!!" - Dad Jardine
Join Ray and Jenny as they paddle their home-built kayak 1,400 miles to the top of Alaska and beyond. You'll discover more about the Arctic coastline than any tourist ever dreamed of. But get ready to test your mettle: you'll find whales and caribou, tundra and grizzlies, permafrost and puffins, and a beauty and vastness that tugs at your heart.
"I just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to read about your adventures in your Siku Kayak book. What will and determination it must have taken to continue on at times, and also to make the decision to not continue further. The pictures were well worth a million words, as realizing that the ice may not let you back to shore: AMAZING...I also watched the Atlantic Caper DVD and loved it as well. The skydiving at the end was quite a finish to the whole adventure, nice landing... Thank you so much for sharing with us." -Steven S.
"I was quite impressed with Siku Kayak. I love the way you kept printing costs down, yet managed to include tons of inspiring photos though your website. Outstanding adventure!" -Ben T.
To everyone who has placed orders for our kits, our sincere appreciation. We hope you are envisioning good thoughts for the successful completion of your projects, and for the enjoyable time you will have using your home-made gear in the wilds. Make sure you tell your friends about our kits so they can discover for themselves the joys of making and using their own home-made ray-way gear.
Hey guys. I've long thought about writing and finally merely decided to say "thanks". Simply - thanks. Thanks for always being there, for your forward thinking, for your inspiration, for proving it can be done, for being bulletproof to the non-believers, for never quitting, for doing it right, for doing it first, for doing it best. With great appreciation, respect, and sincerity - simply - thanks. - J.G.G., VA
"Jenny and Ray, Just to let you know that 'Trail Life' was our number-one book for the year. Congratulations and thank you." - [One of the world's foremost retailers of outdoor gear]
"This morning there came a knock on the door. It was our mailman with a package. I immediately ripped it open to reveal Trail Life. OMG it blew me away. The pictures, the style, the information... You totally understated the book... Wow!!!" -Curtis W.
"Trail Life is of EXCELLENT quality. There are numerous full color photographs. It appears to a novice hiker that it covers MANY, MANY aspects of thru-hiking. It discusses areas that someone without the years and miles of experience that Ray has would never even imagine come into play for their future adventures in the wild. The quality of the book and the photographs almost make it a fancy "coffee table" book, yet it contains very useful information." -Del S.
"It's been said that the mark of real genius is the ability to reduce something to its purest and simplest form. For example, Einstein with e = mc2 or Michelangelo, who, when asked to demonstrate his skill as an artist drew an absolutely perfect circle freehand in one stroke. Well, there's no question in my mind that Ray has done the same thing with backpacking. -Mike W.
I suspect what keeps most--if not all of us--coming back to the "Ray-Way" is a simple thing called TRUST! We know that what Ray & Jenny offer actually works, and does so most efficiently. Without reference to age, they are truly "elder statesmen" -- they've been there, done that and the rest of us benefit from those years of amassed wisdom. In a world of hyper consumerism, it isn't always easy to know who to trust." -Chris A.
"I ordered your Alpine 2-Person Quilt Kit for less than I can find the material (I'm not sure how you do that but thank you). My wife and I now have a quilt that is roughly the same size as my previous sleeping bag unzipped, and much warmer." -Brian W.