Dec 18, 2007 at 9:24 pm #1226356
@bugbombLocale: South Texas
Companion forum thread to:Dec 19, 2007 at 7:48 am #1413034
What a fascinating article.
How rugged is the fabric, Dimension Polyant TX2 fabric, that is used in your pack? Is it going to be as rugged as the fabric used in Six Moon Design's Starlight pack (a pack I have now).
I'd like to see a clone of the Starlight that has four alterations: (1) it could fit the Bearikade Expedition Cannister horizontally in it and (2) it would use a belt similar to either the Granite Gear Vapor Trail or the Osprey Aether 60 belt and (3) use a stronger but lighter fabric if one exists — I'm curious about the Dimension Polyant TX2 fabric and (4) uses stiffer (stronger) stays.
RoleighDec 19, 2007 at 8:29 am #1413036
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
This is obviously a nice design, well thought out by Will to be a POMP (Pack Of Many Pockets) that fit his needs. I know the amount of thought that goes into a pack such as this since I have a customized McHale being made at this time.
I wanted a lightweight, lightly framed, pack with a very clean design, so I went with a Q Bayonet, guide harness, 36" circumference LBP (Little Big Pack) version of the sub-pop. Total weight should be in the range of a Catalyst. The ability to have exactly what you want on a pack which is made to your exact measurements is great. I chose to go with a full Dyneema version.
BTW… Roleigh, I had flap added to the base of my double summit flap to hold a Bearikade Expedition Cannister under it.Dec 19, 2007 at 8:32 am #1413037
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
I believe that is the same fabric used for much of my Mountainsmith Phantom. The fabric is tough as nails, I really like it. A custom pack made out of that fabric is very tempting.Dec 19, 2007 at 8:40 am #1413041
John, when you get your customized pack, can you share some photos of it, loaded, with the Expedition cannister on it? Also, what is the weight of the pack, and the cubic inches volume of the main pack (and of the side pouches too)?
Do you have a link showing something similar at McHale Packs now?
Thanks!Dec 19, 2007 at 8:45 am #1413043
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I'm glad to see that Will chose to wear rain gear to test the waterproofness of this pack :P.
The Polyant looks really similar to fabric my MS Phantom is made out of. It has been tough as nail for me.
AdamDec 19, 2007 at 9:16 am #1413047
@quoddyLocale: New York/Vermont Border
Roleigh (and others)…
Link to very similar pack (this one has a pocket added):
Link to summit flap canister/water bladder holder:
http://www.mchalepacks.com/images/summit%20flap%20bladder%20holder%20VERTICAL.jpgDec 19, 2007 at 9:22 am #1413048
John, do you have the link to the cover page that has text that talks about the pack whose pictures you provide a link to? Thanks! Want to share your costs with us too?Dec 19, 2007 at 9:25 am #1413049
@cmcrookerLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
I enjoyed reading about your custom pack design process. Too bad my torso length isn't a bit shorter or I'd ask what happened to the first pack :)Dec 19, 2007 at 10:56 am #1413074
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
This is a great article. I may give R2 a try. I always wanted a larger version of my GoLite Breeze with two long exterior side pockets for 2 liter Water Bladders and a loop and lock system for my hiking poles.
I love the fabric used for this pack, also. I love seeing new material used. You really can't get this good of information from any other site. Thank you BPL!Dec 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm #1413100
@demoLocale: Arkansan in Seattle
all the packs in the now defunct "Mountainlight" series from Mountainsmith were made from a combination of VX-21 and VX-42. I too can attest to their bulletproof-ness.Dec 19, 2007 at 4:26 pm #1413129
@williwabbitLocale: Southwest Colorado
The VX2 is the lightest Dimension Polyant X-Pac fabric available. Its tough, but not bombproof, so it definitely requires some TLC. It's not nearly as tough as Dyneema Gridstop, for example. The former Mountainsmith Mountainlight packs brought our attention to the Dimension Polyant fabric, and it held up to the test of time. GoLite used some of it in their previous line of packs too. Ron found it fairly easy to work with for pack making.
Best,WillDec 19, 2007 at 5:29 pm #1413142
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Great article, Will. Many thanks for sharing with us. I, for one, will be talking with R2.Dec 20, 2007 at 7:21 am #1413197
Like John I am currently working with McHale on a customized backpack. The McHale offers the ability to customize fabrics, size, features, suspension systems and a tremendous range of options. Dan McHale is also more than willing to incorporate any special features or options that you want. But, I can't imagine McHale ever producing a sub 1 pound pack like the R2 in the article. Dan is too concerned with making durable long lasting packs that are very comfortable to carry. He does offer a lot a approaches to make the pack relatively lightweight with smaller packs, lighter fabrics and streamlined design. A feature I like about the McHale is that it is modular in many aspects. You can remove or use lighter versions of the suspension system and remove options to reduce weight or add them back on for increased weight or volume. The R2 website is more organized and process driven than the McHale one which looked like a real plus. On the other hand once you send Dan your fit measurements he sends a demo pack that you use to finalize the fit. I have probably sent a half dozen emails with photos of the demo pack with different weights and suspensions as well as multiple conversations with Dan on fit and features. It's a very individualized approach and I can't imagine the fit or design being wrong on the final pack. It really helps to have the demo pack at your house for a few weeks to work out what you really want to have in the pack and to see how the fit works. I spent a lot of time to see how different gear fit and tried weights ranging from 20 pounds to over 50 pounds. The suspension system is pretty remarkable, you don't even notice 20 pounds and loaded up to 52 pounds it was heavy but did not stress my shoulders at all (I don't plan to carry that much but had to try it out). I've never been able to say my shoulder don't hurt on any previous pack, even my old external frame. I currently use a Mariposa and I've been very happy with it up to about 25 pounds, unfortunately there are times when conditions, trip length or just the people you are going with mandate more weight. The McHale is perfect fit for those situations that the 1 lb or lighter packs can't handle and McHale's customized approach lets you get exactly what you want in a pack.Dec 22, 2007 at 6:09 pm #1413505
@redleaderLocale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
The VX2 fabric seems to be the same as the LuxuryLight VX-02. Is this true? I have had the LuxuryLight VX-02 cloth cylinders for 3 years now. The first failures were caused by "slices" from sharp objects. Most likely tree branches or sharp rock edges. The good news is that the slices don't migrate past the polyester yarn grid. These slices were easily repaired with sail tape.
After two seasons of use the cylinders began to show wear in the form of small holes worn through the fabric. I have been very careful with the pack but small "hard" items seem to abrade the fabric and I now have many small holes, mostly on the bottom of the cylinders.
The VX-02 cylinders are still my favorites but they are not waterproof anymore. I now must carry a pack cover if I expect rain. I wish the fabric was a little more abrasion resistant.Dec 24, 2007 at 10:08 pm #1413664
Who knew that such an option existed? I was familiar with the McHale variety, but not R2. Thanks for bringing this to our attention Will and BPL!
And great pack design Will. I couldn't part with my external mesh water bottle pockets at this point, but your huge hip belt pockets and sternum strap pocket got me excited about the possibilities. Then I recall the truly waterproof (and floatable) design of the Arctic pack, and well… I will be spending the next little while daydreaming about my perfect pack.Dec 27, 2007 at 4:48 am #1413809
I am extremely impressed with R2 and have seen them before (I think a link was posted a while back on them). At the point I am at, I would probably go with a custom next. R2 will most likely be them – I'd even take the same one you had designed!
I do have a question…when you state a mis-communication, who do you feel mis-communicated? Do you think R2 would have replaced the pack if you DIDN'T work for BPL? Not trying to stir the pot, just very curious as R2 had to take a hit on the pack. Unless they modified the first one? Or had someone lined up to purchase it?
"Mis-communication" during custom work over the phone/internet could potentialy happen rather easily. Looks as though they have covered all angles with their layout scheme…
Any thoughts?Dec 29, 2007 at 4:44 pm #1414085
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
This caught my eye enough to get one.
I actually had some very specific things I wanted in order to get this pack.
I was shocked that absolutely every last thing I've I wanted in a pack, was no problem for them.
This thing is pimped out exactly the way I wanted it with the exact displacement I want.
Ron is awesome to work with when it came to the design process as well.
Don't be fooled by the computer lay out and be thinking that you have to pick from only those options.
These packs are 100% custom to the designer’s imagination.Aug 14, 2008 at 5:05 pm #1447147
R2 is out of business.Aug 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm #1447148
Sadly, R2 has shut its doorsNov 30, 2009 at 8:53 pm #1549154
the quest for the perfect pack….
an endless searchDec 31, 2009 at 11:23 am #1558360
I do not know if Rodney will make packs for others again, but he just did one for me.
Designed was via 20 or so emails with pictures and lots of text.
I've only seen pictures so far, I will post more here about it after it arrIves and I've tried it out. So far all I can say is that he was great at communication, flexible and understood my goals for the pack well. Price for a 12 oz custom minimalist pack along the lines of 75% of a g4 was less than 1.5 x the sale price of a g4. That's outstanding in my opinion.
I'll say more once I've hiked with it.
–BillJan 5, 2010 at 12:36 am #1559618
@racoon-on-tourLocale: beautiful Rhineland (Germany)
Anyone who does not hesitate ordering from overseas, will soon have a further opportunity to gain a custom made backpack. A UL backpacker from Germany has designed some really lightweight backpacks. Using a computer-programmed packconfigurator one can simply choose from different options (size, volume, material, hipbelt, pockets,…). In addition one can specify other special requests such as a back pocket for a sleeping pad.
Some of the prototypes he has already presented here in the forum (when he was still designing them for his own):
Unfortunately he doesn't have an official website yet and the backpacks are still "pre-production models" as he calls them. This shows at least that customized backpacks are not extinct. Several European UL hikers are currently testing some of these backpacks and are totally thrilled.
I'm sorry for my english but unfortunately it's not my mother language.
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