Jan 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm #1298506
I love lumbar packs, or "Fanny Packs."
When I bike tour, I always wear one, since it's useful to be able to grab a snack or the iPhone without getting off the bike. When I hike, I also like to wear one, to have quick access to frequently used items and camera accessories.
I always tear through them, though! I've been through four this year. I'm growing pretty tired of just bumping into rocks or sitting on them and putting holes in the material… even when I baby them I get loose threads or the stuff I carry wears holes.
Does anyone know of a company that makes (or would custom-make) a lumbar pack out of Dyneema? Or another super-durable fabric. I'm looking for the McHale of waistpacks, and I'm willing to pay for it.
-MJan 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm #1947847
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Dont know, but I'd be willing to bet.Jan 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm #1947849
Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
+1 on the Zimmer rec. Have him do it with some D40/DX40. It's mostly dyneema and way cheaper than full dyneema. Mchale would be great too, but probably a lot more spendy.Jan 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm #1947850
I've put in messages with Zimmerbuilt and McHale now. Thanks for the tip on Zimmer. Hopefully someone out there is willing to take on the project!
Honestly, I am willing to pay the extra for durability, since I've spent $100+ so far just replacing worn packs. It would be useful to know what the strongest fabric used by these companies is (although, i asked that in my message to them).Jan 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm #1947854
Stuart .BPL Member
@lotuseaterLocale: Colorado Foothills
You could try tombihn.com – his company makes lots of travel bags with 210d Dyneema as the lining, and more recently 400d Dyneema as the outer fabric. The Side Effect is his fanny pack offering, however it's made out of 1000d Cordura. But I dare say the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag or the 3D Dyneema Organizer Cube – both made out of 210d Dyneema – could be pressed into service as a waist pack.
I own a number of Tom Bihn bags and accessories – including the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and the 3D Dyneema Organizer Cube. I am well impressed. For business travel (which I do most weeks), I use the Western Flyer and Cadet. Most offerings will never fit into the UL category, but he's more interested in durability and convenience for reasonable weight. But the two accessories I mention are pretty lightweight. Oh, and everything's made in Seattle in his factory. A distinct plus in my mind.Jan 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm #1947862
Stuart, thanks for the info. I think I've rejected Tom Bihn because his site doesn't say anything about custom work. What I'm looking to do is pay a premium for exactly what I'm looking for, since this is one item that I use on a weekly basis, multiple times an hour sometimes, and is extremely inconvenient when it fails.
I want to really get exactly what I'm looking for here.
If anyone's interested, this is what I'm shooting for:
Dimensions: 12 inches wide, 4 inches tall, 3 inches deep. Long and narrow means I can wear it back or front and heavy objects won't hit any sensitive areas…
Internal pockets: I need one or two internal pockets to keep a heavy bike tool from banging around. My dream pouch has a waterproof passport/ID pocket, too, but I can sacrifice that.
External Pocket: I'd love one, but I can sacrifice it if necessary. Just a basic flat zip that runs the length of the outside would suffice.
Belt: I'd like for there to be a wide, flat triangle of fabric on either side of the pack, extending 4 inches or so, to keep the pack steady on my hips.
I'd also like for this fabric to have webbing running on top of it so that the removable hipbelt pockets from Zimmer or McHale could be mounted on for extra storage if necessary. I don't need padding, but I would like the back to be reinforced.
Color: Not Grey
Am I picky? Yes. Am I paying for the right to be? Sure. Will I be happy?
Blissfully.Jan 28, 2013 at 6:41 am #1947938
seth mcalisterBPL Member
@sethmcalisterLocale: New Hampshire
Chris makes a halfpack that is very similar to what you're looking for. I had him make a version of his halfpack for me with a few modifications. It was made out of cuben, the harness is completely removable and there was no mesh pocket on the front.
The pack itself, without the shoulder harness, weighs 5.71 ozs. With the harness, it weighs about 9 or so ozs. I haven't been able to take it on a solid trip yet, but am looking forward to a XUL trip with it this summer.
His attention to detail, as we all know, is amazing. He was such a pleasure to work with.Jan 28, 2013 at 6:59 am #1947941
Thanks Seth, I saw the half-pack AND the waist pack from Zimmerbuilt and both were too big for what I'm looking for. But I bet that means they'd be willing to consider whipping up a custom one…
I need it to ride on my waist underneath the hip-belt of a backpack, and I also need it to ride in front of me while biking, which can be uncomfortable with all but the most narrow of hip-packs.
I'm a photographer, so having quick access to filters and SD cards is usually helpful. I also carry frequently used items like a debit card in one while bike touring; I might use that 5x in a day.Jan 28, 2013 at 7:20 am #1947948
As a fellow cyclist, I can't possibly imagine wearing a waistpack…especially up front.
I assume you are riding in a rather upright position, with little/zero saddle-to-bar drop.
Nonetheless…a cycling jersey and a handlebar bag would serve this function immensely better…IMHO.
-Mark in St. LouisJan 28, 2013 at 7:28 am #1947951
I ride a touring bike with drops fitted to racing geometry (a little longer than racing geometry, but same hips-to-hands ratio). I used a waist pack while cycling for 30 days straight over 1500 miles. I would wear it in the back 95% of the time, but I would spin it to the front to get things out of it. We navigated all of Massachusetts by figuring out "Which way is east?" using a compass and the sun. I got the compass out a few times an hour. We navigated the rest of the trip by iPhone, and I'd check to see we were on the right road while riding.
I also got out chapstick while riding, I applied sunscreen while riding, and I brushed my teeth – you guessed it – while riding. I liked my system, and I would use it again, even if it doesn't work for everyone.Jan 28, 2013 at 7:41 am #1947959
Obviously if it works for you, it works for you…but…consider the methods that randonneurs and cycle-tourists have used for decades.
Consider contacting Emily @ Dill Pickle (right out of Medford no less!) about a custom bar bag. She is a super experienced long distance cyclist who hand makes really nice, really functional stuff.
Of course, Chris would make you a killer waistpack I'm sure…I love my Zimmerbuilt pack!
-MarkJan 28, 2013 at 8:15 am #1947971
@stainlesssteelJan 28, 2013 at 8:20 am #1947976
I have really long legs and an average torso. My 6'2" build has the legs of someone who is 6'3" or 6'4". Thus, I ride a 59cm bike, which puts my handlebars very far forward. Ideally, I should have a bike with different geometry, but I've gone 5,000 miles on Bikeasaurus Rex and I'm used to him. So a handlebar bag wouldn't offer me the same access as a hip bag simply because I wouldn't be able to safely reach into it without looking.
I also love knowing where my passport and debit card are on and off the bike. It helps me keep track, as I am prone to losing things (Last tour, I lost a helmet, three straps for my hammock, a pair of sunglasses, and I had to backtrack 157 miles for a forgotten iPhone).
I try to keep bags off my handlebars anyways so I can take my hands off without losing control. I've got a tiny little front bag that I use for spare tubes, but when I tour again I will likely ditch that as well. On long stretches, it is divine doing a mile with your arms hanging and your back straight, just to loosen up the shoulders. Bike touring is a very subjective experience. Some people like the weight on their front wheel for balance, others use six separate bags to carry a house worth of gear. Some people carry nothing but a toothbrush and a credit card.
I have considered a bike-packing setup from Relevate Designs- I'd go there before I went for custom gear, unless the price was right. But the way I have it set up now, I have a Jandd frame bag strapped underneath my top tube and a pair of Ortliebs on my back rack, and I have toured without the Ortliebs, using a single dry-sack. I carry very little and don't need more bags.
I don't mean to deny raddoneurs or the "decades" of cyclists, I just know that this works for me (and it's not that radical).
Haven't heard back from McHale or Zimmer, but I'm looking forward to it.Jan 28, 2013 at 8:40 am #1947980
Rivendell Mountain Works?
the 500 Cordura is just as strong as 210D Dyneema Gridstop.Jan 28, 2013 at 8:47 am #1947983
Thanks Dale, Rivendell is the closest to what I'm looking for so far, but I still think a custom piece would be best.
Do you have any inclination as to whether Dan McHale or the folks at Zimmerbuilt would take on a job like this?Jan 28, 2013 at 8:53 am #1947986
NMJan 28, 2013 at 11:38 am #1948055
I just talked to Chris Zimmer, and he's taking a look at my sketch and design proposal to see what he can do. Haven't heard from Dan McHale yet. I hope he's not afraid to e-mail me, as I am rarely reachable by phone.Jan 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm #1948101
dan mchaleBPL Member
Max, sorry, I don't have time. Hopefully you'll end up w a nice Zimmerbuilt rig.Jan 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm #1948116
Dan, I understand, I'm sure you have your hands full with the amount of backpack owners I see from this forum alone. Thanks for responding here to my question, and hopefully I get the chance to work with you sometime in the future.
Chris Zimmer has been great and says my project looks doable, and we're working out the details. Custom pack makers are a delight to work with! I'm glad this industry exists, just because this kind of customer and artisan relationship is all but lost in a lot of other businesses. I am extremely excited for this new pack, which should be happening soon.
Thanks to everyone who helped me pick materials and whatnot.Jan 28, 2013 at 7:16 pm #1948223
Pack ordered. $75 plus shipping- a steal since I ripped through two $30 packs and a $50 pack since April of last year.
Chris Zimmer walked me through the process step by step, and was easy to work with and extremely easy to communicate with. I'm thrilled. Thanks to BPL for helping me make a connection!Jan 29, 2013 at 3:01 pm #1948543
Guess its a tad late but I use a terra nova laser 6 hipbag. 5.95 ounces on my scale and holds a soft 1 liter platy perfectly. Pretty durable too. Let us know how yours works out!Jan 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm #1948670
Never seen the Terra Nova 6L, it looks pretty big for my use but definitely interesting.
The final hip pack I had made came out to just under 3 liters. We finished speccing it out yesterday. I should have it late next week, I think, and I will happily do a full review with pics.
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