Jun 29, 2020 at 4:57 pm #3655369
New project, brainstorming out loud here. Comments welcome
– I have a neck injury. Good shoulder fit and weight transfer makes hiking more comfortable
– Seems fun
– Nothing out there like I have in mind
– A E S T H E T I C S
-2 Aluminum stays
-Large hip-belt (or wings), dual-strap fastened for luxuriance
-large hip pockets for snacks, camera, phone etc.
-no air gap (i’m not that sweaty)
-wizard stick/ice axe stowage
-Do I need load lifters for effective weight transfer? It seems like if I got the right torso length I could do without them. But maybe they add adjustability and comfort.
-How optional is a sternum strap? I could also do without, but it seems like they could help transfer weight forward.
-Could straight shoulder straps substitute for curved ones? My Camp Trails external frame has straight straps (and no sternum strap either) and it carries well
-Anybody ever seen laterally adjustable shoulder straps?
-I have some 3mmx12mm aluminum stock from a filing cabinet. Unknown alloy. Good for stays?
-Where do I get 1/4″ foam? I don’t see it on RSBTR, Rockywoods, Quest, Dutchware, or DIY Gear Supply.Jun 29, 2020 at 6:10 pm #3655393
What does “do everything” mean? Dayhikes? Work/laptop? Commuting? Travel? Gym bag? Groceries?
And how much weight are you planning on carrying?
Keep in mind, every “feature” you tack on (load lifters, sternum strap, daisy chain, trekking pole loops, stuff pocket, hip belt, removable hip belt, etc.) adds to complexity and therefore cost and construction time. Be warned… you might come out of COVID with a backpack buy also a grey beard! Welcome to BPL lol!
Most people have a certain weight threshold that bothers them. And then there are those people who can carry 40+ lb on their shoulders only and not complain. I call them superhuman. My shoulder’s get tired after a 30 minutes of 10-15 lb on my shoulders only.
I feel (yeah… just a personal feeling/observation) that most daypacks don’t generally have or require load lifters, unless you’re looking at a framed pack like the Osprey Kestrel, or some other big manufacturer. I love load lifters… but idk how crucial they are for day hikes. I guess it depends on your weight you’re carrying and how comfortable/tolerable it is on your neck.
If it’s a flat aluminum bar, sure. If it doesn’t bend (and stay bent, but springs back) under you just gradually forcing the two ends together in compression, should be OK. I think a 1/2-inch x 1/8-inch flat bar (like what you have) is what a few manufacturers use. Should be ok for 20+ lb easy. I’m gonna guess though that that bar is not that long. My personal opinion is that load lifters work better if they’re up a little higher. But, while I’ve never been able to find it at Home Depot, I’ve found 1/8 x 1/2 x 36 aluminum flat bar at Lowes for a few dollars. Works great.
The reason I like a sternum strap is because it’s one more layer of adjustability, allowing you to move the shoulder straps in or out depending on your preference. This is crucial for me… I hate getting chaffed pits! Might be helpful with an MYOG pack… which you wouldn’t be able to “try out” until it’s completed. I tried to mimic the shoulder straps/fit of an existing backpack I have, and while good, it’s not quite the same.
The only concept I’ve mulled over regarding the laterally adjusting shoulder straps is using webbing and sliders (triglide, perhaps?) attached to the pack body, similar to how they have sternum straps you can adjust up and down. Or… I’m sure you can figure something out with enough Velcro :) However, I’d think that’s potentially weaker than just sewing it in. It doesn’t need to adjust laterally if you construct it to fit you well. I think that’s way more important. Doesn’t matter how cool it looks if it doesn’t fit you well… you won’t want to use it.
OWF Inc. has 1/4-inch, but regardless of you find it, it usually cost’s a buttload to ship from what I’ve seen. But I guess that’s all foam. Quest’s 3/8-inch is fairly cheap for me since I’m close :)
There are a bunch of cottage manufacturers that have backpacks that are good reference for getting an idea of what you like, what you don’t, and how to construct it in a simple manner.Jun 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm #3655430
Here ‘do everything’ means all-day peakbagging, and desert hikes where I carry more water, down to minimalist casual hikes with little more binoculars and a book. Maybe a watermelon and an astronomy telescope if I’m out at dusk. Light air travel and carrying kids stuff to the park. Maybe groceries yes ;)
Weight wise, thinking up to 25 lbs I guess.
I appreciate the advice on features, I love elegant simplicity, but I also don’t want to have to redo anything.
Maybe I’ll skip load lifters this round. Adjustability is always a plus in fit, but I’m willing to give it a try without. As long as the torso isn’t too short it should be ok I would think.
Lateral shoulder strap adjustment was something I saw mentioned on a thread somewhere. I can’t find one and never imagined it before. I like your webbing idea for it though. Maybe I could use it on the prototype to dial in the shoulder width.
I’m glad that I have the right size for the aluminum stays. I’m not sure on the length but I’ll check Lowe’s if it’s short. Thanks!
Thanks for mentioning OWF. If the shipping kills me I guess I can always dig through Amazon 😐
Like your suggestion, I am using a cottage pack for construction inspiration. I won’t mention out of respect for the cottage. I wouldn’t attempt it without a ‘guide’.
one thing I forgot to ask:
<b>Continuous wrap hip-belt? Or lumbar bump with wings? </b>Jun 30, 2020 at 7:40 am #3655441
If I were making the pack… and considering carrying a whole watermelon :) (or up to 25 lb)… I would consider the load lifters instead of the adjustment of the shoulder straps laterally. I personally think it’d be more worth the time spent, for sure. And with that, since you’d want to use it for peak bagging, which arguably requires more flexibility and maneuverability (scrambling, etc.), I would make consider making the aluminum stays removable since you hopefully won’t be carrying 25 lb to the peak lol. Not that hard, just requires planning on how you sew it up.
I would take a bag that you know fits you comfortably and use that for all of your measurements (shoulder strap spacing, torso length, shoulder strap size/type, hip belt dimensions). Looking at a pictures can only get you so far… it’s good to have an in-hand reference IMO.
Check out the SWD Long Haul. That was my “inspiration” :) for my last pack. They’re just clean, simple, and functional looking packs. They might make you a 30L Long Haul (I think the lowest they go is 35L – 25 oz per their site). They offer a lot of great customization options in general. Pretty sure I’ve seen them sew a hip belt onto their 30L Superior pack (frameless), but it wouldn’t have the aluminum stays. Just some options.
It did cost me a significant amount for supplies, plus about 40 hours of sewing on and off (maybe I’m slow) to finish up everything on it. After spending how much time I did on it, I might consider just buying one next time. Here’s my MYOG pack…. scroll down to the middle of the post: https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/covid-projects/
I’m sure the continuous wrap belt would be comfy enough. The issue is attaching it to the bag. Depending on your sewing machine, you may not be able to sew through 3/8″ foam. I found that the Singer 4452 Heavy Duty model can do it, but you gotta go slow, and it’s not a sure thing every time. I was able to bartack, webbing onto the 3/8″ straps I just made recently, but I had to play with the tension a lot. You might be able to get away with using a home machine if you’re using the 1/4″ foam for belt and straps.
You could always make a sleeve on the lumbar area of the pack to slide the hip belt in and out, but depending on how you do it, a sewn-in belt would probably transfer weight better IMO.Jun 30, 2020 at 8:54 am #3655453Greg PehrsonBPL Member
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
I’m not necessarily advocating for laterally-adjustable shoulder straps (I think Christian makes good points) unless you are trying to have a pack that can fit dramatically different-sized people, but if you want to see one way of doing them, here are some pics of an old Dana Design Shadow Peak. There are two parts to the adjustment. First, the tops of the straps are connected by adjustable webbing (1st picture). Second, the straps attach to a sleeve on the back panel (like a hydration sleeve) with wide and long pieces of strong Velcro. The entire inside of the sleeve is a fuzzy material like the loop-side of Velcro and the backs of the shoulder straps are the hook part of the Velcro (2nd picture). So you can move and attach the straps anywhere along the back panel. Hopefully this makes sense.
-GregJun 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm #3655486
I am trying to make one bag that does everything reasonably well, that’s my goal here.
As they say “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. And I will rip off as much as I can of the cottage industry’s best designs.
Your pack looks awesome! Very clean and I love the green. For mine I am thinking lime green, turquoise straps, and maybe lavender. I know I will most certainly spend more than 40 hours on my pack! I’m pretty slow. But I enjoy the tinkering as much as the hiking, and I hope to get more enjoyment from my bag than anything I could have bought. That ‘dialed’ feeling.
My Al bars are too short, so I’m going to order some 6063-T5, seems to be the same stuff as Lowes.
I doubt my machine will be able to sew through foam, maybe if I run it by hand but likely not. I’m going to have to work around it a little.
That looks awesome! Thank you so much! I had thought that I would have to mount the shoulder straps to a bar and where they could slide along it laterally. But now I see I can mount the shoulders directly to the stays and just change the angle of the stays. It looks like that’s kind of what’s going on in your photo, where the straps have a stiffener inside. I don’t like velcro, but it wouldn’t be hard to space them apart with a rod or something. Thanks!Jun 30, 2020 at 1:41 pm #3655496
Yeah, I spent countless hours over a few months of planning and designing until I finally pulled the trigger and picked something, ordered materials, and sewed it up. Definitely takes time, but the end goal is (hopefully) something to be proud of :)
I’m sure we all get the desire for something to feel dialed in and “made just for you”. That’s a huge pull towards MYOG. My other bag (a Gregory) has an adjustable hip belt size and adjustable torso length. Kinda made me spoiled.
Not gonna lie… the turquoise VX21 looks beautiful. I was stuck between that and the yellow I used. I like the hot lime (neon yellow, really) color that I used, which is VX25, but it’ll likely get dirty quick. I was hoping it would be a little more bright green (my favorite color), but it’s definitely more like yellow from a safety vest! But hey, you learn.Jul 1, 2020 at 4:41 am #3655626Greg PehrsonBPL Member
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
Yair, glad it was helpful. For a little more clarity, here’s a link to a bunch of images from a Dana Design catalog from the 90s. You’ll see a grid of thumbnail-sized photos–click on the one in the 5th row down that says “CrossFlex Series” to see an illustration of exactly how the suspension works. Instead of the straps connecting directly to the stays, they velcro to a sleeve that tightly contains a rigid framesheet with a single center stay. Not an ultralight setup by any means but interesting engineering. I like the way you interpreted what you saw though and think that way would be fun to try out. Best of luck with your pack.
-GregJul 29, 2020 at 6:18 pm #3667272
Christian I think the ‘just for me’ is a lot of the appeal here. Plenty of packs would work great, but its not the same as that dialed-in feeling.
Thanks Greg. I feel like it will be unnecessary to make the shoulder straps adjustable. On my Osprey there is probably 2.5” between the two – no wonder it’s uncomfortable! A little more than that and I’ll be fine especially if they can pivot freely on straps.
That catalogue is sweet! Good looking designs. I like vintage packs because I feel like they are closer to what I could replicate at home. In this day of 3D computer design and laser cut fabrics, I can’t replicate the look of many modern packs, but I can for sure copy an older look.
As a digression – it feels like packs these days all look like bright blobby jelly beans melted onto their owners backs. Like the 90s for car design, before everyone realized that a car could be boxy and still aerodynamic. Aesthetically I am most drawn to climbing packs. They are clean looking but in a spare simplicity that beats all the sleek webbing and mesh and straps and flaps.
Anyway, I’ve got a lot of details figured out but the closure is vexing me. I wanted to do a roll-top, but I’m struggling to find the organization I want. I think I want two fast-access pockets up top, one for small stuff (keys, sunscreen, bug spray, flashlight), and one for big stuff (sandwiches candy, snacks, rain shell). I was thinking I’ll have to add a lid/flap/brain. But maybe I could just add two zipper pockets, one on the back and one in the front, below the roll top. A main consideration here is that the bag will probably be not full, and I want it to look when it’s empty. With lids the body looks deflated and I get this saggy drooping overstuffed brain on top.
Thanks everybody for bearing with me. If my fabric ever arrives I can post less and make more.Jul 29, 2020 at 8:01 pm #3667564
I added one ditty pocket on the side above a water bottle pocket. Doesn’t go above the shoulder straps, so it doesn’t hinder the rolltop. Other than that, I have a single ditty bag inside the pack. But hipbelt and shoulder strap pockets are practical of course. Just depends on how simple or complicated you want to make it.
If done well, I think a pocket on each side would be super functional and also still clean looking.
If you were set on making a top flap/brain with pocket, I’d go cyberion cordloc/cinch cord all the way instead of rolltop.Jul 30, 2020 at 12:28 am #3667583
Yeah I’m excessively concerned about access so I’m scared to add pockets at the top of a somewhat skinny bag, impeding access to rummage at the bottom. But it will probably be just fine. Could always add a side zip to the bottom.
Thanks for the tip about Cyberian, I never heard of them but anything less fiddly is a win.
If I did a lid/cinch, does the hole have to close completely under the lid, or is it ok for it to be open a little? Depending on how I calculate the closure I would need up to a 5.1” throat to close completely, and that seems kind of excessive. The longer the throat the more material is in your way from accessing your stuff.Jul 30, 2020 at 5:43 am #3667590
You’d likely need a similar amount of “excess” fabric for the rolltop or the cinch. I think rolltop is easier to make, but everyone has their preferences. I’ll say my old pack has a brain and cyberian cinch strap, and it works great. And if I stuffed the pack full enough, no… the hole would not close completely. But that’s what the brain is for. I used the brain extensively. But the front stuff pocket is so small. Typical pack brains extend down on the sides an inch or two so as to avoid water intrusion.
Check out the GG Kumo. It has a hybrid sort of non-traditional closure with a top flap, but excess fabric flipped down… so unless water defies gravity and falls upwards, it should keep rain out too :)
External pockets will always be more accessible than digging in the pack though. My top side pocket is made with mesh, so it’s not meant to be waterproof, but I thought it’d be good for things like my water filter, extra snacks, TP kit, etc… stuff I want accessible but don’t necessarily need in my hip belt pockets. I’ve seen even MYOG packs with a bazillion pockets, and for some people that works, but for me that’s not practical.
And waterproofness depends on your materials and your design. Will you use a pack cover, pack liner, or use a waterproof material like taped Dyneema? They do have some X-PAC that’s tapeable too (X 21 RC), but I’ve yet to try it.
I think all of this just goes back to your previous statement about wanting something tailored to you. What do you think you’ll enjoy using the most? What seems the most functional? What do you think you’ll use, and what do you think will be excessive? What type of gear will you need to store? How much food? Will you use water bottles or a hydration reservoir?
Hope these comments are helping and not making it more confusing!Jul 30, 2020 at 8:59 am #3667601Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I think the Ultimate Directions fast pack kind of already fits your requirements. I bought one used here. I was surprised how large it was. I was able to put in my backpacking gear plus 3 days of food.
If you are a MYOG person you could probably add a hip belt to a fast pack or other features you think are missing. I think the UD fastpack has thought of all the features you could ever want, with the exception maybe of padding on the shoulder straps. Or you could probably take a really minimalistic pack like the Hell, and just add on the features you want. I added a removable external mesh pocket to my UD fastpack (it attaches the way Zpacks extra top pockets attach to their packs with a little toggle) in case I woke up with a wet tarp, and I figured out a way to use the belt I was wearing as a hip belt for my fastpack for a little while.Aug 3, 2020 at 6:33 pm #3668693
Yeah I measured my wife’s Osprey and the throat collar is 1.3” short (27%) of what’s needed to theoretically close when full. In practice it’s unnoticeable, so I think a little short will still work.
Cyberian looks super-cool. Do you need the top webbing slot to use it properly? Or can you just pull it against the tension of the draw cord? It looks like if you added the webbing it would pull the bag open too.
The Kumo has a nice top, I think it’s the same ‘over-the-top’ as the gorilla, and also looks like the Laufbursche Huckepack. I like it, (would like it more with a single buckle). But now right now I’m set on a cinch/lid, at least since it’s a daypack and access is a big deal. External zippers are just faster (as is cinch/single-buckle lid) that’s just the way it is. Everything has a compromise.
Waterproofness matters less now that I moved to SoCal. I originally wanted to make it in X-Pac, but once I saw all the pretty colors I could get in regular packcloth I gave up on that idea. RSBTR custom colors seemed out of stock at the time. Color is more important than features anyway, right? And the way I understand it works, this is just my first myog pack, and will be followed by many more until I get things right. So right now I’m starting with Periwinkle 500d Cordura for the body. The pack after can be in yellow VX21, and then eventually I will make something ‘perfect’ out of DX40…
I appreciate the referral to the fastpack. I like UD, I have a vest and they have great creative but practical designs. But I need a long torso panel (~22”) to get some weight transfer to my hips, and it looks too short (as are most small-volume packs).
But besides, I am so far down the rabbit hole of MYOG that it’s too late to turn back. Dave Chenault’s (and others’) design articles ruined me. Now I’ve got a suspension system in mind that I really like and I’m going to make the rest kinda ‘clean-classic-vintage-retro-alpine’ looking.Aug 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm #3668950
Do you mean slot on the toggle itself and the small 1/2” piece of webbing? If so, that’s just for one-handed opening, which is convenient. Just pull the webbing and it opens. Pretty snazzy.
My frame of reference is the the Gregory Paragon (my main traditional pack), which has the cyberian. I like it a lot, it’s just easy.
Check out Quest’s Cyberian 2.0. Not sure what the 1.0 looks like lol, but I think that’s what you’re looking for: https://www.questoutfitters.com/plastic.htmAug 7, 2020 at 12:42 pm #3669750
There’s a webbing slot on the wide end of it, but then there’s also another one at the narrow end, above the slot for the cord. I was wondering if this should be anchored to the bag or if it’s not needed. Looks like it would work either way but better if attached.
There’s video fo the Paragon and that helps understand it. I think I also saw it on the Rogue Panda Zoro Hipbelts.
I’ll place an order!Aug 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm #3669765
Sorry… yes, webbing/grosgrain through narrow end of cyberian gets attached to bag, and webbing/grosgrain through wider end is for pulling to open.Aug 7, 2020 at 1:19 pm #3669768
Right on, thanks!
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