Down the Evazote rabbit hole and other load hauler pack questions

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Home Forums Gear Forums Make Your Own Gear Down the Evazote rabbit hole and other load hauler pack questions

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    Geoff Caplan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake District, Cumbria

    Thomas –

    Thanks for the link to the Zpacks copy. That guy sure has awesome construction skills! As you say, it does seem over-complicated but there are some interesting ideas there.

    The big trick is going to be making an adaptable pack that is also simple and failsafe. I can see potential points of failure on that pack.

    Here’s an interesting mini-documentary showing local pack-maker Tom Gale of Atom Packs putting a pack together. I bumped into him in the hills recently (he’s extremely tall and hard to miss!) and got a standing invite to drop by and see how they operate. Now I’m double-vaccinated I think I’ll take up the offer. Very nice guy, and his packs are very well reviewed.

    We call those bolts “connector bolts” but the cyclists call them “sex bolts” or “mating bolts”. Overactive imaginations – too much time sitting on those narrow saddles…

    Thomas H


    I will say that every time I make a pack with removable or modular components you lose quite a lot of simplicity and add additional failure points. You also lose aesthetic and functional elegance. I once made a pack covered in daisy chains that even the shoulder straps attached to. Lots of failure points and ugly. I definitely don’t like McHale’s water bottle pockets for example, but he has lots of well designed modularity on other parts of his packs that are elegant.

    The shoulder harness I have on my prototype is similar to the Seekoutside system with ladder locks up top, metal tri glides attached to the harness along with irritatingly long pieces of webbing(irritating in both resources and weight) and plastic Nexus ITW looplocs on the bottom. Every time I pick up 50lbs in the pack I am worried about the loop locs failing, but this is probably completely unwarranted, just like how ladder locks can take hundreds of lbs I’m sure this military grade looploc can take it too. I would probably replace them with aluminum or steel loops instead just for piece of mind. Another point of concern with the adjustable back system is it can rub against your back, which is why many of these packs have back/upper back pads. I prefer to not have to have any pad if I don’t have to.

    Another point about the harness is it will prevent you from setting it to certain torso heights or shoulder strap heights. For example, if you wanted to do the slight upward upward angle(instead of load lifters) the neck of the yoke would completely prevent this.

    That Atom Packs also makes a well reviewed framed pack called the ‘Mo’, but there aren’t too many details on their site. You should check out their shop and ask specifically about the framed pack design.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Idaho

    Not sure if anyone’s still following this thread, but I’ve been working on similar MYOG load hauler pack designs as what’s been described – hanging, full wrap hip belt directly attached to the frame.

    I’ve been working on a design that uses the SO frame but in a simpler and lighter package. Not a whole lot of refinement to be done – SO’s done most of the leg work already.

    I’ve also been through a few iterations of a pack that’s fairly similar to the SWD Big Wild. It has stays in external sleeves with a similar attachment to a hanging hip belt.

    I’ve been thinking about the optimal spacing for the attachment to the hip belt. On the SO design, the attachment points are 10” apart. The Big Wild looks to be around 9”. Other designs described here are as narrow as 5-6”. In my tinkering, it seems like having a wider spacing gets the load closer to your hip bones where (in theory) is where you want the load to ride. Ideally the pack design and/or your packing style allows for a bit of a hollow or concavity for your lumbar – that makes it feel like the pack wraps around your lower back. But a poorly packed pack that barrels in the lumbar really inhibits comfort. Still trying to figure out the best way to address that.

    Another thing I’ve been thinking about is that many of these hanging hip belt designs transfer the load via two pieces of 1” webbing. So yes, all the load can be transferred to the hip belt, but focused in two small points. That doesn’t seem ideal, and in testing with 40-50# loads, the force does feel a bit too concentrated. Has anyone else noticed this? Seems like one solution is a stiffer hip belt to disperse the load, which doesn’t seem ideal. I’m definitely in the conforming hip belt camp – I’ve been using a simple 3/8 or 1/2” medium density foam hip belt. Another solution is to transfer the load to a larger area of the hip belt. Some ideas here are large patches of Velcro (quite strong in shear, might be able to take half the load or more) or a tunnel the belt slides through similar to some packs, but still retaining the original direct frame connection. Sort of a hybrid of the two McHale designs.

    Probably overthinking this (don’t we all) but curious if anyone’s had similar thoughts?

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