Introducting the APAC

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    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    World, APAC. APAC, World.

    APAC 01

    Now that introductions are over, let's get to details. This is my first MYOG pack and overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I wanted to make a pack similar to the GG Gorilla (which I own and love) but with a few different features and a little better fit. I decided to load it up with my gear and lots of water and get some action shots. I used my Micromini Pocket Rocket and 11 O'clock Sun Flash to get these shots ;) Total pack weight at the start was around 18 lbs and it carried nicely. I didn't get the fit perfect but it's definitely usable. A few more action shots to break up the word monotony:

    APAC 03

    APAC 04

    APAC 05

    Now for some construction details. It's volume is slightly less than the Gorilla's volume. I always have trouble getting my sleeping bag in dry sack into my Gorilla so I tappered the width of the APAC. It's about 10 inches at the bottom and 13 inches at the top. Much nicer to get stuff in and out. The depth is constant along the height. I included a back pad pocket (GG sit pad right now), aluminum U stay sleeves, roll top closure, front "A" compression strap, lineloc side compression system, sewn in hipbelt, lycra mesh side pockets, half length front lycra pocket, lower front lashing area (for shelter or sleeping pad), shoulder strap water bottle straps and ventilated shoulder straps. Whew! More monotony breakers:

    APAC 06

    APAC 08

    APAC 07

    APAC 09

    APAC 10

    APAC 11

    The hipbelt pockets are of the MLD variety. I might try to make my own at some point. I wanted a compression system that didn't interfere with pocket access. The side compression cord stops right above the side pockets. The front "A" strap is only attached at the base of the pack and at the very top of the front lycra pocket (so it doesn't flop down when you un-buckle the top strap-the top bungee cords also helps with this and I may not need to sew it to the pocket after all.) I was very impressed with how well the shoulder straps breathed. The back pad pockets were getting wet on the climb up but the should straps stayed fairly dry.

    Weight = 23oz without sit pad and aluminum stays, 29 oz with them

    Back, Side and Front Panels: White VX07

    Bottom Panel, "A" strap, side pocket strip: Grey VX21

    Hipbelt is a sandwich of (outside to inside): Grey VX21 – 3/8" CCF – Green VX07 – 4mm Ventilated Mesh

    Shoulder Strap is a sandwich of (outside to inside): Heavyweight 1992 Mesh – Green VX07 with center cutout – partial length 3/8" CCF with cutouts – Green VX07 with center cutout – 4mm Ventilated Mesh and 1" soft grosgrain around the perimeter

    Back pad pockets – 4mm Ventilated Mesh and Lycra Mesh

    Side and Front Pockets – Lycra Mesh

    I've got a few changes I want to make in revision A2 to increase function, ease of construction and reduce weight. But first it's got to see some field testing.

    Thanks for staying with me through the rambling!

    Eugene Smith
    BPL Member


    Locale: Nuevo Mexico

    Wow, very cool.

    Great job Chris.

    Clint Wayman


    Locale: East Tennessee, US

    Indeed. Great looking pack, Chris. I like the lower bungees directly below the front pocket as opposed to having the attachments dangling from the bottom. Have fun field testing!

    Edit: How well does your suspension work?

    spelt with a t
    BPL Member


    Locale: Rangeley, ME

    My tiny fiddle-faddle projects are embarassing compared to the stuff I see daily in this forum. Very impressive.

    John Donewar
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeastern Texas

    Hey Chris,

    So much to look at and so little time. ;-)

    Your first MYOG pack?!? What are you some sort of advanced sewing prodigy? ;-) lol.

    My first pack looked like this.

    picture of homemade SUL backpack

    It had "horns" but not too many bells, buzzers and whistles. The compression system was weak to non-existent and it had the dreaded "hole" in the top closure.

    Your first attempt at a MYOG pack is quite an impressive work of StitchArt.

    The white VX07 comes across in the pictures as almost silvery in appearance. Would it look that way up close viewed with my ageing eyes? What did you use to bind the edges of the Lycra?

    Yours is quite a technically advanced example of a MYOG pack. Move to the head of the class. ;-)

    Party On,


    BPL Member


    Wow. You and C. Zimmer make some impressive packs.

    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth




    Jared Dilg
    BPL Member


    Locale: Texas

    Sweet pack, Chris!
    It warms my heart to see the white XPAC put to good use :-)

    Did you design the U-stay channels to fit the Gossamer Gear hoop, or your own U-stay? Those shoulder straps are very nice. Until reading your description I thought they were take-offs from an old Osprey pack.

    Your first MYOG pack – really?!

    Ryan Smith
    BPL Member


    Locale: East TN

    A lot of attention to detail and work went into that pack. Nice job. Really like the breathable shoulder straps.


    Christopher Zimmer
    BPL Member


    Locale: Ohio

    Hey great looking pack! Love the design and look of the front compression strap, something new and different, I like that. It looks like a very well thought out pack. Keep up the good work!

    Jeffs Eleven
    BPL Member


    Locale: NePo

    Yes, that IS a fine pack.

    I was like… "ok here we go- another MYOG pack"- But I was really impressed

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    Thank you all for the kind words. I put a ton of work into this pack so it means a lot. To answer a common question, yes it really is my first MYOG pack but not my first project. I've sewn sleeping bags and ponchos for my little girls. This was quite a larger undertaken though. I definitely got ambitious but I learned a lot. This pack has a lot of mistakes but I didn't necessarily document them ;) It's really a testimonial to all the amazing pack makers on here. You all inspired me during the whole design process and I'm sure you see design elements from your own packs.

    I haven't fully tested the suspension. I was carrying about 18 lbs at the start of the hike but 8 of that was water so it dwindled as the hike went on. At 18 lbs it carried fine but like I said I didn't get the fit perfect. The shoulder straps are a little too far apart so I'll probably add a sternum strap. I also would like the hip belt to wrap around from back to front better. The packs definitely usable but I'd like to improve it.

    The white is pretty white. It does have some sheen to it so you get some silvery qualities from the right angle. For the lycra I used 3/4" black Elastic from Quest folded over the edge of the lycra. I used 1" white Elastic from quest for the back pad pocket. It seemed to work out pretty well. The roll top closure is straight from your 4.90oz Silnylon pack!

    I appreciate the kind words but I'm no where in the league of Mr. Zimmer.

    You made this pack possible! I love the white and grey XPAC I got from you. The grey is much nicer looking that the stuff Rockywoods has IMO. The only shame is now I only have 1 yd of the white left. Any chance you didn't sell it all? The stay channels were designed for the GG stay. It's in there but not shown in any of the pictures. The shoulder straps were inspired by my wife's Exos and were a decent amount of work to make. So far I think it was worth it.

    All I have to say is you da man! I love your thinking on pack design. Your Cuben/XPAC pack was a big inspiration for the "A" Strap down the front. I can't comprehend how you sew these amazing packs so quickly. It took me a lot of hours over multiple weeks to sew up this pack. I'm sure I'll get faster but still!

    Again, you all are too nice! Thank you.

    Daniel Sandström


    Hi APAC.
    You're nice.

    Great job. It's so fun to see all these myog projects come to life – nowadays my favorite part of the BPL forums. The making of gear is so fun and rewarding. Should post some pics of my first pack too.. After work plans.

    Terry Trimble


    Locale: North San Diego county

    Very nice job on your APAC very cool innovations on it. I really like how you punched holes in the foam and cut out xpac in the center to make the shoulder straps stronger but breathable. Also putting the large water bladders on the back and the water bottles on the shoulder straps is cool idea. Keep on building the more packs you sew the faster you get and you also learn find easier ways to sew a pack.

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    I definitely agree Daniel. The innovation on here is amazing. Post those pics of your pack up!

    Thanks Terry. I hate being unbalanced with lots of water on one side. So far I'm liking the water bottles on shoulder straps thing. It's very easy to get them in and out. I'm going to play around with some ideas on how to lighten up the shoulder straps but they seem very robust in their current state. That Heavyweight mesh is pretty burly stuff so I might be able to get rid of at least 1 layer of XPAC. I have no plans of stopping so hopefully I can improve :)

    Daniel Sandström


    Right, here it is.

    Enjoy. Hope we can exchange some details and experiences.

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    Cool Daniel. I'll check it out when I get a minute.

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    I've been hiking a lot (ya!) and working a lot (not complaining) so little time for BPL. The APAC and me have seen some things man. I've had it out on 3 trips so far with no issues. Took it down to the Weminuche for 3 days, a 14er trip near the Maroon Bells and an overnighter in James Peak wilderness (no pics from there). Take a gander.

    At Thirty Mile TH (Weminuche)
    APAC 12

    APAC 13

    APAC, Exos and Double Rainbow chilling at Squaw Lake (Weminuche)
    APAC 14

    Schlepping extra water (Weminuche)
    APAC 15

    On the way up to Castle Peak near Aspen (day pack mode)
    APAC 18

    APAC made it to the top of Castle (took the easy ride up that dog!)
    APAC 17

    So far the things I will be changing in the next revision are:
    – Different contour to the shoulder straps to fit better
    – 1 piece hipbelt that attaches in the center of the pack instead of at the sides
    – Redesign of the A strap
    – Possible change of material to different XPAC variants

    Right now the pack is a really nice day/1-2 day pack and a pretty good pack for 3-4 days with my gear and food. Might be able to get 5 days of food if I try but the hipbelt starts to struggle with loads over about 22 lbs.

    Shane Bailey



    Good job with your first MYOG pack. It's nice to see the finished product, and I'm very impressed by the complexity of it as a first pack. My first pack was cannibalized, because it was nowhere near as nice as your first. I have no doubt that your next will be near perfect, at least in the eyes of others (to ourselves, they're never perfect).

    On your next pack, I concur with attaching the hipbelt to the middle of the pack instead of the sides. I always feel better knowing that they are connected to a larger area than just a few seams on a much more narrow area. It also contours around your entire waist better when connected to the center of the pack.

    Great job.

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    Thanks Shane! You posted your Black Bomber Pack thread at just the right time. Thanks for answering my questions then. It gave me some good stuff to think about for this pack as well as the next version. I'll probably use the lycra mesh for the pad pocket instead of the ventilated mesh for the next one.

    My main motivation for a center attached hipbelt is to get a better contour around my waist. With this pack, there are areas of no contact near where the hipbelt attaches to the pack. I haven't quite figured out the best way to attach to the center so suggestions are welcome.

    Have you done your JMT trip yet? Did the Black Beauty accompany you?


    Shane Bailey


    Got back from my JMT trip about 4 weeks ago. The Black Beauty performed magnificently.

    I drew up a picture for you about how I attached my hipbelt on the Black Bomber. It's definitely not the only way to do it, but it worked great for me. I constructed the two halves separately and then attached them using X-box reinforcement.

    Black Bomber Hipbelt Attachment

    Daniel Sandström


    Great input. I also designed my pack with a center hipbelt attachment and it does help, making the hipbelt really cinch your hips. Planning my next pack, I've been thinking about attaching them to the sides (lazy!) but I should really do it the right way, as your illustration.


    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    Thanks for the drawing Shane. This is definitely a good way to do it. What I'd ideally like is to have the hipbelt be one piece and attach at the center. Still have some thinking to do… If I don't come up with anything, I'll probably try your construction. Thanks again!

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