Apr 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm #1288851
I just finished my first MYOG project: a cuben backpack to use in my PCT thru-hike attempt this year. The other MYOG forum posts here were quite useful sources of design and technique tips, so I wanted to share a few details of my project.
My goal was to create a lightweight frameless pack that would be durable enough to withstand a PCT hike and spacious enough to fit a 10 degree sleeping bag and bear canister. The resulting product is a 6.4 oz frameless pack that seems to be able to hold and distribute a 30 lb load comfortably. The materials are 1.43 oz cuben from ZPacks and 1/4 inch closed cell foam from an old Gossamer Gear sleeping pad, with some webbing from Quest Outfitters.
The main design inspiration came from the ZPacks Zero pack I used on my AT thru-hike last year, which was basically a dry sack with arm straps and side pockets. The main changes I made were increasing the capacity of the main body and side pockets, adding a beefier hip belt, and adding side straps to optionally attach to the roll top. I also reinforced the attachment of the top of the arm straps to the back of pack, since this seemed to be the weak link in my ZPack and first prototype.
My process was to create three prototype packs out of cheap rip stop nylon from JoAnn fabrics (they regularly have 50% off coupons) and use these prototypes to hone my previously non-existent sewing skills and the details of the design.
Some things I learned from the prototypes:
Getting the exact location of the hip belt was tricky. I knew my torso size and knew the right position of my previous, webbing only hip belt, but using this to determine the correct position of a differently sized and shaped hip belt still took trial and error.
Determining the right amount of elastic shock cord to use in the side pockets was also surprisingly tricky. Too little and the pockets are too tight (and the elastic compresses the pack when empty), too much and everything is loose. For these pockets I found that I needed heavier weight shock cord provided enough tension to hold an upright Platypus in place without compressing the fabric of the empty pack.
By making the wing-style hip belt in three pieces I was able to hide any visible seam, which I think looks much better than the prototypes where I made the hip belt out of four identically shaped pieces of cuben.
I put the seam of the side pockets is on the inside of the pockets, which was a huge pain to sew. Now I know why the ZPacks side pockets have seams on the outside of the pocket.
Rainbow colored thread is fun!
Apr 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm #1868406
K CBPL Member
@kalebcLocale: South West
Nice streamlined look. I like the double Gator pockets, that should keep the weight by your center of gravity well. Impressive weight to volume ratio. The extension collar looks nice and big and the roll top straps can double to lash on wet gear on the sides. Nice work, I know how much time goes into a myog pack!Apr 18, 2012 at 6:45 am #1868497
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Nice looking pack
Thanks for the ideas, some day I may do something like thatApr 18, 2012 at 8:23 am #1868542
@troutLocale: Long Beach
That looks fantastic!
I was wondering, with the side pockets being cuben won't they hold water? Say for like a rain, or a spilled drink, or whatever. Maybe that's just not the end of the world =)Apr 18, 2012 at 9:00 am #1868562
David DrakeBPL Member
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Nice pack–I'm guessing main bag volume is in the 30-35 liter range?Apr 18, 2012 at 10:08 am #1868599
Michael RayBPL Member
Very nice job for your first production model. It does look like you're a wee bit short on the torso though (or your pad has collapsed a bit more likely) as the straps angle down the back of your shoulders.Apr 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm #1869427
@kryoshiftLocale: North Texas
well, it looks well-made :D I'm not a fan of the "worn out plastic" look lol. But that's on the fabric, not on you.
As for being your first project, I can only hope my first project looks that nicely done lol.Apr 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm #1869521
James ReillyBPL Member
That is a project to be proud of. Looks like it will serve you well.Apr 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm #1870405
Looks fantastic! I love the roll down buckles on the side. You said you did some demos first- what fabrics did you use for your "test runs"?
BTW- Love your profile pic! :-)Apr 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm #1871337
Thanks everyone for the comments! I fly out this morning for San Diego, I just hope that it survives being checked airline baggage.Mar 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm #1968381
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
I would have put it in some plastic bags, and maybe wrap a cardboard box around it.
Or there is a case for not, because when an employee sees it they will be carefull with it.
Looks great, how has it been?Mar 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm #1969943
And the verdict is… yes, the pack made it all the way to Canada!
I did end up putting the bag in a large airline-provided plastic bag when checking it, and it survived the flight just fine. It was pretty worn by the end of the PCT — the back and side pockets were reinforced with a fair bit of duct tape — but it held together. You can push cuben a while, but after ~2200 miles it becomes a bit of a pain with all of the loose threads that snag on stuff. I took the lessons from my PCT pack and made a stronger, larger cuben-hybrid pack for the CDT, which weighs in at 9.3 oz.Mar 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm #1969950
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
That's really awesome. Congratulations. But now we need photos of the new pack.
Also–fantastic picture. You should have that framed.Mar 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm #1969955
Christopher *BPL Member
@cfrey-0Locale: US East Coast
Well, how about that.
Jeffrey Stylos is "the other Shutterbug". Or were you the original? I could never keep track. I'm still trying to sort out all the "Gourmets" as I go through all my photos.
We crossed paths very briefly at Kennedy Meadows. I knew the older Shutterbug, so you were a stand-out in my mind.
Good luck along the divide.
(PS: No pics of the new pack?)Mar 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm #1969960
I've always gone by "Portrait" — as far as I know, that makes me the only one (although there were stories about a bartender in Damascus who planned to use that trail name if he ever hiked).
I'd like to post pictures of the new pack, but I'm pretty busy preparing for the CDT trip (I'm writing an Android app for the CDT, along with all the normal prep work). But if I have time I'll try to upload a photo of the new pack before I leave and get it all dirty.Mar 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm #1969966
Christopher *BPL Member
@cfrey-0Locale: US East Coast
Oh cr@p, Portrait.
Too many pseudonyms! I knew it had to do with cameras. LOL. I'm really bad with birthdays too.
We met at a confusing time. There were a bunch of guys with photography names and a bunch of guys with super-light-weight cuben packs, including a French guy and some guy with a name like mouse or something.
Good luck. Lots of good company out there this year. (Actually I think I heard Peru already started.)Apr 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm #1973864
Here's a quick picture of the new pack — I didn't get a chance to do a full pack photo shoot, so I don't have pictures of the other angles, but this gives a glimpse of it.Apr 9, 2013 at 6:33 pm #1974643
Dan DurstonBPL Member
Awesome. Best wishes on your CDT adventure.Apr 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm #1974659
Seth BrewerBPL Member
Looks amazing Portrait !! Enjoy the last point in your Crown !
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