Seam sealing a backpack made of ULTRA or ECOPAK
Sep 20, 2022 at 4:40 am #3760347
I am eyeing a frameless ULTRA backpack which does not have taped seams. Is there any emerging consensus what works for ULTRA 200 or ECOPAK fabrics in terms of seam sealing? Don’t have direct experience with either fabric.
Niko Z.Sep 20, 2022 at 1:12 pm #3760368Scott SmithBPL Member
@mrmuddyLocale: Idaho Panhandle
And, while u r at it ( or, maybe, this should be a separate thread ?) what is ECOPAK ?Sep 20, 2022 at 3:28 pm #3760381Sep 20, 2022 at 4:40 pm #3760391Scott SmithBPL Member
@mrmuddyLocale: Idaho Panhandle
Thanks Niko !Sep 20, 2022 at 6:33 pm #3760422Aubrey W. BogardBPL Member
It’s my understanding that it can be seam taped if the geometry is not too complicated. I have an order placed with a cottage vendor for an Ultra pack that I requested be seam taped for an additional charge.Sep 21, 2022 at 12:12 pm #3760487Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
There seems to be general resistance to performing external seam sealing for some reason. Probably for aesthetic reasons. But it is a much less complicated and time consuming way to achieve pretty effective results. Aquaseal is definitely the gold standard and works well on all woven fabrics that I have tried it on. The bummer is that the Aquaseal tube opening is wide and getting a thin, clean bead into the seam is difficult. I use a pointed tip to do a prettier job. On my Flight 2 with the Ultra PE I tried E6000 instead, partially because the tube comes with a nice narrow tip which makes application easier and cleaner. So far it is holding up well, though in general I would trust Aquaseal more as it is just so well proven for the long haul.
It’s a bit hard to see in this pic, but all the external seams have a bead of glue along them, as well as around all the webbing penetrations, etc. Some of these seams would be impossible to tape internally because of the suspension components, though on a simple frameless pack this would be less of an issue.Sep 21, 2022 at 2:02 pm #3760509
That ‘seams’ like a neat job Philip! Indeed, some seams are easier to seal from the outside, sewn-in side pockets come to mind.
Thank you for the tip. Would it be possible to apply Aquaseal with the irrigation syringe for greater control, like some folks do with silicone based sealers? Is it runny enough for that scenario or can it be thinned with something to make it runny? Would it bond to the plastic syringe and clog it?
Niko Z.Sep 21, 2022 at 2:39 pm #3760511Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Aquaseal comes in a few ‘flavors’. SR is ‘shoe repair’ and is thicker than the FD. The FD soaks into the fabric weave a little better and might be applied via a syringe, while the FD has the advantage of not dripping/running. Once you put it in the syringe you will have to use it all as I doubt even if frozen it will last long.
Another way to make the bead pretty is using a glue tube tip:
The Aquaseal tube has a pretty standard thread type (can’t remember what it’s called) so if you can track down a tip like this, you sort of get the best of both worlds. To reuse the tip after the glue in it has cured I slide a bamboo skewer through the tip and after the glue dries you can pull the cured plug out with the skewer.
One important thing to do is ‘stress’ the seams before sealing. You want the glue to cure while the seam and fabric are in a similar state as when the pack is being used normally. I usually stuff a couple of throw pillows in the bottom of the pack and then roll up an inflatable sleeping pad, slide it into the pack, and blow it up in the pack to apply tension to the seams. That makes the seams easier to get to and also lets the glue cure in a way that it will be ‘relaxed’ when the pack is loaded and the seams are stressed. Hang the pack from a ceiling so that you can get to all seams and not have to handle it while the glue dries (Aquaseal cures very slowly).Sep 21, 2022 at 3:39 pm #3760516
Those are excellent tips Philip, much appreciated.👍
I have a pointed tip from the flowing silicone bottle that would hopefully fit.Sep 21, 2022 at 6:05 pm #3760524baja bobBPL Member
I have a frameless pack made of Ultra 400 that is seam taped. Some of the tape at the bottom where the seams curve and meet another seam is no longer sticking to the fabric. Ripstopbytheroll sells Ultra fabric and recommends PET tape.
i have another pack on the way and it is not seam taped. I will probably buy some if the PET tape to try to tape the seams.
Permatex available from auto parts stores is probably another option for sealing the seams on the outside.
Challenge is coming out with their own Ultra seam tape. They said it should be available from Ripstopbytheroll and another retailer around November.Sep 22, 2022 at 7:42 am #3760544Chris LBPL Member
Whether or not you can DIY internally seam tape a pack will depend on the complexity of the construction and how they finished the seams. If companies don’t seam tape their packs, they often finish seams using some sort of binding/grosgrain. This will prevent your ability to tape a seam. You could seam rip and remove the binding I suppose but that would be a mess. Some pack builders like SWD use a flat felled seam which would be tapeable by the end user.
I’m an avid MYOG pack builder and I’ve used the RBTR PET seam tape and the Mylar seam tape sold by Quest Outfitters to seam tape Ultra, Ecopak, and X-PAC. Both work well as long as your fabric has the plastic layer on the inside vs. an inner fabric scrim
Ultimately, the external sealing method Philip described may be your only choice, but it can be tricky to do around external pockets.Sep 23, 2022 at 7:36 pm #3760634
@baja_bob Thanks for the tip about Ultra tape. You mention Permatex as an option, have you tried it on Ultra 200? I have a tube lying around.
@Chris_L Thanks for the insights.Sep 24, 2022 at 12:35 am #3760640baja bobBPL Member
I have not. Seems like the easiest way to seal from the outside. I’m going to try to seal the inside of the new pack when it arrives with the mylar or PET as well as fix the the spots that are peeling on my frameless pack.
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