I've been working on a MYOG project for a while now.
Its taking a long time partly because its just a side project hobbie/ partly because its research intensive. I try to find the best all natural material and really try to understand how the materials work and how they have been used in the past. But I also want to apply contemporary UL principles to the designs.
Frankly its not difficult at all to go UL in most circumstances. The sticking points are the wet weather gear.
-high thread count (200 plus tc) cotton for shelters (a.k.a.balloon silk in old text A.K.A Egyptian OR Supima cotton)
use: tight weave blocks water droplets from penetrating, draw back is that it will absorb water in a short time - like water resistant shirts but it will remain water proof. This means carrying a wet, soaked shelter or waiting for it to dry. I have a 1000 tc Egyptian cotton sheet I treated with Nixwax cotton proof and plan on testing it in the rain. water runs off this fabric under the sink remaining dry for a few minutes.
-Hemp canvas, Im thinking Ill go with 14 oz. canvas as I want a real durable pack. Duluth packs for comparison use 18 oz cotton canvas. I will also treat with Nixwax cotton proof. I also have 7 oz.? ripstop cotton fabric that could probably be used to make a SUL pack if you wanted.
-Hemp webbing, This is a no brainer and can be had from the same suppliers in popular pack widths.
-Wax covered hemp twine, for draw string on pack.
-Silk, is already known to make a good shell for a down bag so insulation is an easy one exept for the time and money invested.
-Wool, and such for all your cloths, another easy one.
-buckles, I don't know whether metal or plastic is "better" than the other. I will probably go with plastic for weight reasons.
-Ventile cotton, is the pre-Goretex natural W/P fabric. I havn't gotten my hands on any yet but reviews seem mixed with some loving it and others hating it. It seems that it is in fact water proof except for the seams witch will have to be sealed some how. It has the same draw back as EC shelters as it gets wet and thus heavier even if it keeps you dry. It may be a good natural alternative to water resistant poly shirts for these reasons but not the best choice it you really need to stay dry- we will have to see.
-padding for straps, This one was important too since I want a pack to be comfortable and don't want to use thin webbing that bites into me when I hike. Some suggestions are better wider straps, straps made of cord that is weaved so that it is pliable with some stretch, or natural foam rubber (natural sense tm) like that used in nonallergic foam mattresses.
I was going to put a kit together,test it, and weight it before posting about it but since other people seem interested in this stuff besides me Im happy to share.
I have already decided that unless there is a specific application where only synthetics will do I'm going with natural materials all the way.