Dec 21, 2012 at 9:54 am #1297249
I don't want to call this a MYOG project necessarily – it was almost pure demolition.
I cut this pack down quite a bit. Eventually I'm going to buy an MLD Exodus; but for now, this is my main pack. I'm on a tight budget, so this made the most sense for me as I continue to grow in my lightweight-backpacking knowledge and experience.
The pack now weighs 15.25 oz. The pack functions well for my purposes, although it needs a better compression system – that's what I'm currently working on. Love it or hate it, here you go:Dec 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm #1937244
Looks like you've managed to cut about a pound from the original Jam. I really want to do this to my pack as well. I don't see the lack of a compression system as a big deal, unless you are going on a very short hike with it and wont be carrying much gear. I am a little skeptical about the lack of a hip belt. On longer trips the amount of food you carry might be a bit much to carry on your shoulders alone. I guess if your base weight is under 10 pounds and you carry 2 pounds of food a day for 7 days, that puts you at around 24 pounds plus water. In that case you probably aren't that bad off. Also, perhaps some before pictures would help us understand exactly what you did. Overall, very impressive!Dec 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm #1937269
What size Jam did you start out with on your project?
Was there an "original" ComPACKtor (GoLite's term) compression system on the bottom of the pack?
It appears that you have removed all of the pockets, the hip belt, ice axe loops and the compression webbing. Did you use the compression webbing to form the loops on the side panels?
What are your plans for the top closure? It seems as if you are going to use the small loop of shock cord to hold the rolled down top closure to the compression loop on the front of the pack.
Nic questioned the lack of a hip belt. My current pack has no hip belt and carries well up to 23 pounds total weight.
My question(s) regarding the lack of a belt concern your packing system.
Do you stuff your pack using the burrito method or is your pad folded and riding up against your back in the front of the pack?
In my pack I have two pieces of elastic sewn across the interior of the pack front. These "bands" hold my folded ProLite Plus short pad in place. The majority of my load goes in after inside of a trash compactor pack liner.
FWIW consider using round 3/32" drawstring type cord and mini toggles as your side compression.
It's possible that without the "give" of the shock cord you could get more efficient compression.
I'm glad you kept the sternum strap. It helps keep the straps located properly on your shoulders when wearing something like a houdini or wraith type windshirt.
Cutting off almost a pound from the original pack and still having a pack that functions well for you is quite a neat feat.
NewtonDec 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm #1937290
Thanks for all the feedback! I'll address your questions in order.
The pack originally was a 50L Jam in size medium and it had the compression system you described.
The webbing loops on the sides are modifications to the original compression system – so they're made from the same webbing that came stock on the pack.
So far I've been rolling the top closure similarly to how you've rolled the one on your pack. (Your pack looks wonderful by the way.) I secure it by tying a bit of cord through the loops on front and back of the roll-top area or the pack – essentially identical to the original mechanism, except with cord and knots instead of straps. I have to admit I didn't think through the decision to cut the straps from this area of the pack, but I don't really mind tying the pack closed instead of buckling it.
I made the modifications to the Jam in stages. I would trim a bit and make sure I was comfortable with the change. After a while I would trim some more. Eventually I ended up with an almost completely bare-bones Jam. It would have been wiser for me to plan all of the modifications first instead of working through a process perhaps best described as "creeping elegance" – taking steps without any vision for the end product.
I've recently switched from a thin foam sleeping pad to an Exped Synmat UL 7. Before, I would roll my pad up, insert it into the pack, and let it unroll to serve as a structured shell for the pack. Then I would put a trash compactor bag inside and fill it with the rest of my gear. I haven't gone on a trip with the new pad yet (although I'm very excited to.)
I haven't settled on "the best" way to pack considering the new pad yet. I'm currently considering two options. For one, I cut a portion of the old foam pad which fits in the back area of the pack (adds 1.75 oz.) I think this might give enough structure to somewhat mimic the way I packed before. The other option is to do what I did before, except with the new pad. I'm not sure which is better, or if a combination of the two makes a difference. Maybe you have some advice here.
I love the idea of using 3/32" cord instead of bungee cord. I'm definitely going to make that adjustment. I tried a compression system similar to the one on your pack, but I used bungee cord and I needed loops on the sides closer to the bottom of the pack. I'm now planning on adding such loops and using rigid cording instead of bungee cords.
Here's a picture to clarify what I'm describing. It's very similar to your pack.
(The black lines are arrows from text to their described elements. I point that out because they aren't very good arrows and might appear confusing…)
I appreciate the input and especially the constructive questions. Thanks!
*edited to add the pictureDec 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm #1937296
My pad has lightweight, textured 70D diamond ripstop polyester on the top. Underneath, the ProLite Plus has a durable 70D nylon with a textured "grip dot" surface. It is also a self inflating foam filled pad.
Your pad may not be as "durable" used in the same manner that I use for loading my pack.
This info is copied and pasted from Exped's site regarding the Exped-SynMat UL7.
" The new ultralight fabrics are extremely lightweight and compact. The abrasion resistance remains high, puncture resistance is lower than with our standard fabric."
You might really have to be careful with "corners", "edges" and "sharps" when packing with your new pad.
The pack is one that I built for my wife. The closure is known as the lunch bag. Thank you very much for the kind words.
NewtonDec 22, 2012 at 9:08 am #1937407
Newton – or anyone else,
How should I go about attaching the loops described above? I have access to a sewing machine – granted it isn't an industrial one (I don't know if that matters).
I feel as if I ought to rip the seam, insert the webbing, and then stitch it back together. I just want to make sure I'm not making a big mistake by doing that.
I'm open to suggestions. Thanks again for the help.
-RemDec 22, 2012 at 10:11 am #1937420
I learned a lot from the article in the link below.
In it you will find this picture a little over one third of the way through the article.
"I feel as if I ought to rip the seam, insert the webbing, and then stitch it back together. I just want to make sure I'm not making a big mistake by doing that."
That is how I would do it. I have done it in the past when making a pack from scratch and when I have had to go back and add one or two loops because of poor planning.
Be careful to "pick" out the stitches in the seams 1 by 1 and don't get over enthusiastic and try to run the seam with the seam ripper. I've had the occasion of my seam ripper cutting into and ruining fabric instead of just ripping the thread in the seams.
Are your seam allowances "bound" with grosgrain ribbon or the like? If they are this will make it a little more difficult but not impossible. You'll just have to rip out the stitching for the binding first and then the seam itself.
Only "rip" or take out enough stitches to slip the loops into place. Sew the main seam first using the original "thread line" as a guide and the stitch the binding back into place. Be sure to start at a point at least an inch or two before the loop and end the same distance after the loop.
Sewing in reverse first and then sewing forward and through the seam locks the stitch in place before the loop. Sewing through the loop and past it about an inch or two and then reversing direction for 1/2 the distance locks the stitch on the other side of the loop. You're basically sewing over the top of each of the ends of your seam on the one seam line so that all you'll see is one line of stitching.
Take your time and if you are careful everything should fall back into place.
NewtonDec 22, 2012 at 11:52 am #1937435
How about sewing on linelocs?Dec 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm #1937458
It took me a while to figure out how to use a sewing machine – remember I'm new to this. Here's the result, although the cord shown in the picture is only there for the picture. I have some nicer, lighter cord in the mail which I intend to use instead. When it arrives, then I'll thread up the sides of the pack too.
I ended up adding two extra loops because I accidentally sewed close the area on one side where I would have added a loop for a six-loop setup. It was much too hard to try and rip the freshly sewn seam, probably because the gaps between threads was smaller (I'm sure there's a technical term that would fit perfectly here…)
I don't know if that makes sense, but I ended up with an eight loop setup. The black ones are the ones I just added.
Dale, I'm not very familiar with linelocs. How would I use them? This seems like an interesting idea. Thanks.Dec 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm #1937477
The linelocs could be hand sewn directly to the pack or sewn to grosgrain loops (the latter would be redundant). They work well for holding loops of line or shock cord. You might find them on tent or tarp tie outs as well as packs.
But I have led you astray. Linelocs are designed to pinch the line to hold it in place. What I had in mind is a gizmo like a lineloc that you will find on backpacks and fanny packs to manage bungie arrays. I looked around on the web and couldn't find a resource. You can pop the bungie cord out of the hook to rearrange it.
The ones I have were salvaged from thrift store promo/convention packs– a great source for DIY hardware. You can get $10+ hardware from a $3 thrift store pack.Dec 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm #1937478
Modify Your Own Gear is the evil twin brother of Make Your Own Gear.
;-)” height=”56″ src=”https://dpcr19kltm61a.cloudfront.net/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1356220291_73057.gif” width=”91″ />
"Dale, I'm not very familiar with linelocs. How would I use them?"
In the picture below is an example of what I think Dale may be suggesting.
;-)” height=”413″ src=”https://dpcr19kltm61a.cloudfront.net/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1356220481_73060.jpg” width=”550″ />
They work just like the ladder locks on the shoulder strap webbing adjustment of your pack.
NewtonDec 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm #1937484
Another variation on the theme and really a better setup IMHO– I like it.
My thought was that the OP could hand sew them directly rather than using the grosgrain loops. If you are going to use loops to attach the hardware for bungie cord, you are just adding more expense and weight.Dec 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm #1937485
I will never say that I know just what you are thinking. L O L
"You can get $10+ hardware from a $3 thrift store pack."
Way to think outside of the box Dale! ;-)
Have one on me.
;-)” height=”400″ src=”https://dpcr19kltm61a.cloudfront.net/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1356222790_73065.jpg” width=”300″ />
Here is a link to a source for the hardware that Dale suggested.
The item pictured in Dale's post is known as a pack hook.
They are $.25 each at Zimmerbuilt.
But since your loops are already sewn and you already have shock cord in them…
…you have the option of using a clip hook. They are $.20 each at the same place.
Now it's up to you to figure out how to lace and use your shock cord or to use the drawstring cord and toggles that we spoke of earlier.
Below is a picture of clip hooks used in pack compression on one of Chris Zimmer's packs.
I told you that Modify Your Own Gear was the evil twin. Once you think you're done up pops another suggestion. L O L
NewtonDec 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm #1937489
The sad thing is that many of us had the older style Jams stripped down but still having the hip belt and back pocket…….. And the weight was about the same of your completely stripped down mods. Wish they wouldn't have messed up a good product.Dec 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm #1937513
I'm afraid this might be the start of a MYOG fixation…
Thanks for the ideas and links about hardware. This will be a good time. hahaDec 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm #1937520
"I'm afraid this might be the start of a MYOG fixation…"
It already has…
Welcome to the Dark Side! ;-)
Stuff sacks, quilts, tarps, bivys, packs and stoves- – – -Oh My!
There is no cure only therapy. The therapy involves using sewing machines and recyclables. It's a vicious circle but quite an enjoyable and sometimes frustrating endeavor.
There will be some successes and some failures but you will always be tempted to do it yourself from this day forward.
NewtonDec 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #1937524
@maynard76Locale: New England
This is about the same weight as my 08 jam with no mods. I wonder what it would weigh striped down, but the pockets and hip belt are too useful.Dec 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm #1937527
I've had Dale's Pale Ale. I didn't think much of it
"You can get $10+ hardware from a $3 thrift store pack."
Way to think outside of the box Dale! ;-)
Not too far outside– it is pack hardware. Goodwill has $1.29 color tag sales on Mondays :) It has been a pet peeve of mine that they give away packs and bags at conventions and they end up in the landfill. I thought up a business model to gather and recycle the parts from them. It is such a waste! I really get up about it when I see the cheap packs that the Sierra Club turns out. They should give away John Muir books!
Anyway, a trashed pack with a broken zipper or a big rip is still a hardware mine for MYOG and repairs.Dec 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm #1937528
It's regrettable that the Jam grew so much in weight. I didn't know about the 08 Jam. For me, the Jam (bought in '11) was my first frameless pack. Modifying it is my attempt to stretch it's life – in the sense that in its unmodified state it was too heavy for my current kit.Dec 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm #1937531
I think I might go mining this week…
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