A first MYOG pack (pictures included)

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    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.

    Well, inspired by Chris Zimmer's great packs, and with a lot of his help (especially with regards to creating nice shoulder straps), I built my first pack.

    Basically, I wanted something similar to the ULA Epic (a dry bag hauler), but I thought I could make something lighter, and with a better suspension, and with a ventilated back panel. Possible? Yes!

    The pack is mainly Dyneema Gridstop (spacer mesh for the hip belt and shoulder straps) and the dry bag is cuben (the size pictured can extend to a volume of about 50 L, but is currently probably about 35). Straps are fully contoured, as is the hip belt – the curves inspired by ARC'TERYX packs which are amazing, amazing packs but fairly bombproof (and heavy). The hip belt pivots via a "lazy Susan" type attachment that is not visible in any of the photos but creates a really nice carry. It has a full suspension consisting of a UL frame sheet and removable aluminum stays – secret construction that I'd be happy to share with anyone who wants to know, but think "parts scavenged from my old ACL reconstruction leg brace". I have yet to add hip belt pockets and attachment loops on the back for trekking poles/axe, but other than that it's pretty much good to go. Weight as is, with the dry bag, is 28 ounces!

    (Excuse the poor photos)



    Load Lifters:
    Load Lifters

    Hip Belt Detail:

    Rear Detail:
    back closeup

    Compression Detail:

    Yuri R
    BPL Member


    Pretty cool, looks like you did a good job.

    Chris M
    BPL Member


    Locale: California

    It looks like you could carry that pack around all day and be plenty happy about it, and the placement of the 3D mesh looks like it is going to make a really nice, ventilated back pad. The amount of thought you put into the details of the pack is evident.

    If you wouldn't mind, I'd really like to see some pictures of the lazy susan type attachment that you use for the hipbelt. I think I can see the edge of it in one picture, but it sounds really intriguing.

    tyler marlow


    Locale: UTAH

    Ive been planning on making one of these for a long time, with much inspiration from Mr. Zimmer as well!

    The pack looks really good, nice stitching and design, looks very professional.

    So what did you do for the frame???? Dont just tease us like that!

    Im glad to see more of these type packs being made. It seems like a super versatile pack to have, holds big volumes for winter/long trips and small loads for the quick weekend with only a different sized drybag

    Great job!

    edited: should have read the whole post first!

    Benjamin Moryson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Germany

    Wow fantastic pack. That is what I'm looking for for such a long time. Could you please post some more photos???

    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.

    So here's the skinny on how to make a pretty sweet, UL frame sheet:

    First, go to Lowe's and buy a piece of corrugated plastic board – it is located in the windows department next to the acrylic and Lexan sheets, even though it's commonly used for signs – Cost: $7 and you can get two+ frame sheets out of it.

    Second, cut the frame sheet to size – I did it with the ribs running vertically so as to keep it stiffer in that direction. That's what she said. A box cutter works nicely.

    Third, sew two strips of 1" webbing directly to the frame sheet to create two "sleeves" (open at the top). Most sewing machines should penetrate the plastic just fine! That's what she said.

    Fourth, procure some aluminum stays – the kind I used from my brace were the "ribbed" variety (pictured second from the left on; the flat variety were not stiff enough. That's what she said.

    Finally, bend the stays to the contours of your back and slide them into the sleeves (not… gonna… say it), the back panel now takes on the nice, curved shape of the stays.

    Works great though a small amount of care must be used to not crush the corrugation of the plastic.

    Thanks for all the compliments! It was a fun, but labor-intensive project and required a bit more planning than my quilts, bivies, tarps, etcetera. I should be able to test the pack on a longer trip this week.

    Chris Peichel


    Locale: Eureka

    Excellent Job! looks very comfy. What weight cuben fiber did you use for the dry sack?

    Daniel Sandström


    Good job! I like it alot.
    Don't know if you saw my pack but I did one, very similar a short while ago. Flashback.

    Think you have the better suspension system, might well be worth it. I'd like to redo my shoulder straps and hipbelt, yours are great. The option beeing making yet another pack. :)

    What volume spectrum do you recon it can handle? I like using a rolled ccf mat as it gives structure, even if I'm not going hiking. I would also redesign the zig-zag compression as the type you and I used can deform (more chord down low) as the load presses down over time.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    John Donewar
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeastern Texas


    Smart looking and cleanly designed pack!

    I am really impressed by the shoulder straps and the hip belt. It seems like the sweaty back could be a thing of the past.

    We need more pictures of details like that lazy susan attachment and how you closed up the hip belt after installing the padding.

    What are your provisions for hydration?

    Can we see the UL framesheet and stays? I'm curious to see how and where they insert into the pack. I'm assuming the stays end up where the load lifters take off from the front of the pack.

    There are no poor pictures only too few of them. ;-)

    I see a very well thought out compression system that will compress the load from the sides and top to bottom. This will make for a very nice carry indeed!

    Party On,


    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.


    Cool pack you made… similar ideas. You're totally right about the "compression creep" that occurs if the load sags to the bottom of the dry bag – I've found that careful packing keeps the dry bag shaped properly, but I've been thinking about ways to fix this (I was considering putting cord locks on the lower half of the draw cords).

    Regarding volume… Up to around 70L seems OK but the suspension might get overloaded if it's not just 70L of pillows. At the lower end, when things are fully compressed the bag still needs to be about 25L for it to not have too much slack in there.


    I've been selectively ignoring questions about the "lazy Susan" hipbelt attachment point – not because I'm trying to be obstinate but because I'm not quite sure how much I should guard that "secret" right now. I would like to share as much info as I can however so perhaps others will be inspired to build packs as I've been by all of BPL's great contributions and open sharing. Let me try to answer your other questions:

    I can't take a photo of the frame sheet because it's sewn in – I originally thought of creating a velcro closure so I could remove it, but ultimately I knew that personally I never would and sewing it in made it more secure and simpler. However, you're correct that the load lifters are attached right at the top of the stays, and the stays actually are removable: I left the top edge of the pack open above each stay and since the load lifters are connected to the back of the "sandwich" layer of pack material, they are then pulled forward over the holes above the stays, effectively pinning the stays in place – works great and is a simple solution. I'll try to take photos of that and the stays themselves later. Any other pics you'd like to see?

    I "bound" all the edges of the frame sheet with a layer of duct tape to prevent the sharp plastic edges from wearing into the dyneema – I suppose if you're really fancy you could sew grosgrain webbing all the way around the edges of the frame sheet, but since no one is ever going to see it, and really it's just an extra precaution anyway, it seemed like a good, lightweight method.

    One other tip I'd like to share: Originally I couldn't fit the spacer mesh-foam-gridstop-webbing combo under the presser foot of my sewing machine, so I sewed all the bar tacks on the straps prior to assembling the straps. This made things look really neat, but ultimately I found that the sleeve that is formed around the foam core would rotate a little under load and this wasn't good. I since took the straps to a friend with a better sewing machine and sewed additional bar tacks all the way through every layer, thus pinning the foam in place – problem solved! But even with the friend's $$$$ Viking machine, fitting such thick material under the presser foot was difficult. To solve the problem, I would lower the feed dogs, slide all the materials into place, raise the feed dogs, and then I had to press the fabric down using my hands to "fool" the machines computerized sensors into thinking the fabric was thinner than it was (otherwise a "presser foot is too high" alert would prevent sewing). Once the first stitch was sewn, the machine was OK and I could sew the bar tacks as normal. BTW, I'm using 3/8" CCF as suggested by Chris Zimmer.

    Christopher Wilke


    Locale: Colorado

    You can't tease us like that! Now I'm going to have to hire a PI to get some pictures of this LS attachment ;-)

    Very nice pack. My APAC started out along the same design as yours but I switched gears mid design. You've got me rethinking it. I like the ventilated back panel idea. Love the curves!

    How much does you're frame sheet weight? How easy is it to crush? Similar to a corrugated cardboard?


    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.

    I didn't write down the exact weight of the frame sheet but it was relatively light – I want to say it was 4 ounces. Each stay weighs 1.8 ounces, so the whole frame sheet/stay combination contributes 7.6 ounces of the pack's total weight. The frame sheet is much more durable than corrugated cardboard, but it could be crushed with a rock or if you knelt on it. It's hard to bend it while protected by the pack and with the stays in place. Here's a photo of the load lifter loosened and the fabric peeled back a little exposing the frame sheet and stay a bit:

    Thomas Budge


    Locale: Idaho

    I'm in the process of designing my first MYOG pack, and am interested in implementing a variation of the shoulder straps on this pack. I'm wondering how they were sewn onto the pack/framesheet. Can anyone explain this?

    (Yes, I'm a novice with the sewing machine.)


    R S


    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.

    On this particular pack, I attached the bulk of the shoulder straps using 2" velcro which in bonded using a urethane adhesive and sewn for reinforcements. The straps are then anchored 3/4 of the way up the back panel using ladder lock buckles and webbing. In future generations of this style pack I will actually run the webbing (from the shoulder straps) through slots and clear through the framesheet to the other side, anchoring them on the other side.

    The design allows the shoulder straps' position to be fully adjustable.

    Thomas Budge


    Locale: Idaho

    Thanks, BG. I've been trying to figure out a good way of making an adjustable torso so a pack can grow with my kids. Your idea of anchoring through the frame sheet is a good one. A couple questions in that regard: 1) what will you use to cut the slit in the framesheet, and 2) how do you reinforce the edge of the fabric on the sleeve to keep it from fraying?

    Thanks again for sharing your insights.

    billy goat
    BPL Member


    Locale: West.

    Well, if I was really motivated I'd use my machine to sew button holes the width of the webbing, then I'd cut through the framesheet with a box cutter.

    All the sleeve fabric edges are on the inside, concealed from view and wear, so I'm not worried about fraying.

    Doug Coe
    BPL Member


    Locale: Bay Area, CA, USA


    I’m working out ideas for my first myog pack and found this thread…and was wondering if you’d be willing to divulge the secret of your “lazy Susan” hipbelt connection?


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