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The article will not discuss harness construction or suspension design, save tangentially in a few places. These are complex topics which deserve (many) independent treatments. That said any pack project should begin with quite a bit of planning and contemplation. A clear and comprehensive consideration of the intended uses will drive all subsequent decisions, from harness and suspension type, to fabric and features. All my best projects began after weeks of off and on contemplation, and usually after several different sketches were put on paper. Paper drawings with dimensions will also help ensure you have enough material, and keep you on track once you get started. Packs gone wrong are rarely due to big mistakes, but rather 2 or 3 small mistakes or oversights which exacerbate each other (follow the seam allowance you planned for!).


  • Prelude and planning
  • Fabric: the prime mover
  • Features: as few as possible
    • Side pockets: the necessary evil
    • Compression straps and lacing
  • Front pockets
  • Daisy chains
  • Pack volume and dimensions
  • In conclusion

# WORDS: 7000
# PHOTOS: 12

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