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MYOG Backpack: A synthesis of designs
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Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
MYOG Backpack: A synthesis of designs on 11/13/2009 15:53:31 MST Print View

So this is my attempt to fill the hole in my backpack quiver b/w super ultralight (I made a 3.3 oz 1800 cu in pack 2 years ago) and my packrafting and longer/heavier travel pack (my ULA circuit). I made it using almost all pieces of leftover fabric from other projects and I tried to use the fabrics that made the most sense in regards to their optimal usage. I used a strechy and durable urethane coated 4 oz nylon for the shove it (orange fabric), I used a dyneema fabric for the bottom back panel,hip belt and shoulder straps (black fabric with white ripstop), though the hipbelt is with the slippery and normally outward facing side sewn inside, and the sticky normally inward facing side out. This will hopefully limit the amount of upward hipbelt migration the user experiences. I used a 4 oz oxford for the sides and back of the pack (all black), and I used a 1.35 oz silnylon for the extension sleeve. All seams are triple stitched that bear load and all other seams are double stiched. I left a wing of fabric on some of the seams, which I would use to enclose the raw edges on the double stitch. The pack will be getting its first field test this week, 24 hour trip style, as I am doing a quick jaunt out to do the first third of the wasatch 100 course (snow and all). Any and all feedback would be appreciated. There are a few things that I can see I would already change at the moment. First, I will make hipbelt pockets which extend the hipbelt padding around my hips another 3 inches on each side during loads in excess of 15 lbs. I also would sew the webbing at the top of the shove it to the outside of the pocket to limit the amount that the shove it pocket's edge flips over when I pull all of the compression straps tight. Final packweight is 12.4 ounces with a rough estimate of volume around 3000 cubic inches including shove it and extension sleeve.
The design synthesis comes from a number of sources including shoulder straps from my ULA circuit, and shove it design from my own head, though a similar design was used by Ron Bell with one of the iterations of his prophet pack (I think). The bungee compression was taken from Z packs, and thus far, the synthesis of all of these ideas seems to be working out really well. My first field test will tell me more.<Side view.  Pack has gaiters, raincoat and 2 water bottles in the shove it.img src="/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1258152944_17921.jpg" alt="Side view. Pack has gaiters, raincoat and 2 water bottles in the shove it." width="550" height="733"><From the backimg src="/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1258153334_17922.jpg" alt="From the back" width="550" height="733">On the scale.Close up of shove it and side compression.

Edited by auckjam on 11/13/2009 16:11:21 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: MYOG Backpack: A synthesis of designs on 11/13/2009 16:09:03 MST Print View

Sounds quite interesting (granted, I find almost all MYOG projects interesting) ... care to post photos?

edit: HA! you read my mind ... photos appeared while I was posting this

Edited by jcolten on 11/13/2009 16:10:06 MST.

Max Hoagland
(maxhoagland) - F
Nate's pack on 11/14/2009 03:33:07 MST Print View

That looks sweet man!

Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
1st field test on 11/17/2009 21:36:04 MST Print View

So I took the pack out for its first field test this past weekend... I got more than I bargained for. The predicted low temps were 27 and the weather report was calling for 2-4 inches of snow at 8000 ft.
I prepared for a low of 18 and 6 inches of snow as far as the equipment I brought.
I measured a temp of 5 degrees on Saturday night/Sunday morning and estimated there was 9 inches of snow on the ground...
As far as the pack was concerned though, things went as well as I could have hoped for a maiden voyage. I consistently forgot that I was wearing a pack throughout the trip. My base weight was 9.6 lbs. and my total carry weight when leaving the car was just a hair under 15 pounds. When the pack was packed well, 90% of the weight was transferred to the hips and I think having the sticky side of the hip belt fabric facing out made a notable difference in regards to the pack staying lower on my hips, though it certainly didn't solve the issue of hipbelt rise.
The only downfall to the design was the lycra binding on the shove it pocket. As temps decreased, its elasticity decreased with them. When I left camp in the morning when it was 6 degrees out, the lycra was doing next to nothing.
unstretchy, cold lycra
After the lycra returns to a warmer temperature, it seems to regain all of its elasticity.
I am planning on doing a longer trip coming up soon, where I'll put a good deal more weight into the pack and see how she carries.

I'm wondering if anyone else has used a pack with or made a pack including a shove it pocket designed like this. I've found that the things I thought would be drawbacks haven't bore fruit (aka water bottles migrating to the back of the pack, things not being secure in the shove it). I am still wondering if anyone has found a shock cord configuration on the side of the pack holding the shove it up which works well. The way I have it is manageble, but I'd like something which allows for some adjustment of the compression. Any thoughts?
<One more photo of the finished productimg src="/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1258518678_18063.jpg" alt="One more photo of the finished product" width="550" height="413">

Edited by auckjam on 11/18/2009 23:47:12 MST.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"MYOG Backpack: A synthesis of designs" on 11/17/2009 21:41:06 MST Print View

Your pack looks great, I can't even imagine doing that. As a sidebar, can you tell your sleep system and shelter for this trip?

Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
Sleep system on 11/18/2009 23:44:57 MST Print View

WEll, including using my pack as a pillow/H2O bottle insulator while I slept, I brought a marmot helium down sleeping bag, a patagonia puff pullover, my home made booties and wore fleece tights, wool socks, a bpl wool hoody and my patagonia R1 hoody. My shelter was an 8 oz rectangular silnylon tarp. Sleeping pad was a Prolite 4 short and a gossamer gear 1/8" thinlight pad, w/ a sheet of polycro as a ground sheet. This system worked surprisingly well down to the 5 degrees I mentioned above. My new pack was easily able to carry this load, and I found that I had plenty of room left over to pack an additional 700-1000 cubic inches worth of gear for the really cold and snowy trips I look forward to going on this winter! (think shovel, 4 season tent, Big puffy coat, etc.) I'll have to fix the shove it lycra binding issue first though!

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
nice pack! on 11/19/2009 08:00:58 MST Print View

Nate, nice looking pack. The orange shove it and the black gridstop make a sharp looking combo. Your shove it woes might be solved by integrating a draw cord into the seam of the top of your shove it. I'm imagining a wishbone type design, where you have the barrel lock situated in the center below the web buckle and the draw cord is attached at the outside ends of the seam, so when the slack occurs a couple of tugs on the cord and slide the barrel lock down. Another idea that comes to mind is integrating an elastic into the seam like the side pockets on the ULA packs. I really like the ones on my Ohm. They allow a nice bulge on the bottom of the pocket, but seal the opening nice and tight when I have my Aquafina 1L bottle in there w/ a bag of food. The irregular shape of the shove it might prove difficult w/ either of my hair brained schemes. Good luck.

I notice you have a pair of Brooks Cascadia's. Any thoughts on their trail performance. I like the roomy toe box on the regular street models of Brooks, but haven't tried on the Cascadia's yet.

Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
Shove it pocket and cascadias on 11/19/2009 22:33:06 MST Print View

Thanks all for the kind comments.
Lucas, I like your idea about some shock cord threaded through a "barrel" sewn onto the edge of the shove it. The lycra works great during above freezing temperatures, so I'm wondering if the new setup I've tried (See picture below) will help. I looked more closely at the Z packs website and pilfered the setup he uses.

NOt to get too far off the posted topic, but I've had 6 or 7 pairs of cascadias now and they are far and away my favorite trail shoe. I've used them for everything from 50 mile trail runs, to several hundred mile backpacking trips. They breathe well, have a low to medium volume toe box (fits my feet perfectly) I can run distance in them right out of the box, but they are also supportive and padded enough that long distances in them don't abuse my feet. Plus, Brooks uses a sole material called bio mogo which is biodegradable in a healthy compost pile. The price went up $15 last year, but as an all arounder, they are far and away my favorite shoe.<The new compression setupimg src="/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1258695169_18107.jpg" alt="The new compression setup" width="550" height="413">

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
RE: pack/shoes on 11/20/2009 10:03:08 MST Print View

Nate, another thought comes to mind. Looking at the New Prophet on MLD and contemplating a MYOG imitation lately, I'm thinking you could perhaps use 1 or 2 pieces of narrow grosgrain running horizontal across the side panel and attaching to the shove it and the vertical seam connecting sides and back panel. This would allow some compression of the contents of the shove it and the entire pack as well. With the straps on the side you would be free to shove an ice axe handle in there or some tent/trekking poles. If weight of the grosgrain is a negative, you could use shock cord like the Ohm's have on the side in a similar configuration. Both of these would minimize cutting on your shove it's existing seam.

Did you use any specific plans for templates on the hipbelt wings? What thickness/type of foam for the hipbelt/shoulder straps? I think the G4 plans are good for the hipbelt and general design, but I'm thinking about a more basic tube design for the body of my pack. I think dyneema side pockets and a mesh back pocket are my plan too. Any tips on plans?

Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
Side panel attachment on 11/23/2009 20:23:40 MST Print View

So I think I've finally gotten my shove it to the place I'm happy with. Lucas, I like your idea about a grosgrain strap connecting to the vertical side seam and the shove it, but I think that I found a solution that will be a little lighter and simpler and will meet the same ends. When I'm only going out for a few days in the summer, I'll continue to use my light summer pack. This pack is for the bigger trips and late fall to early spring trips where more volume is necessary. I decided that I'd reconnect the tabs to the shove it and run the shock cord through all 3 tabs on the shove it. This allows the cinching of the shock cord to also pull the shove it up and towards the outsides, hopefully solving the "freezing" lycra issue and also providing more security to keep things from falling out of the pack.

In regards to a hipbelt pattern, I just made one up by measuring. The wings on this pack are 7" long and 5.5" tall at their highest point tapering down to 2" towards the webbing. I am making a similar pack for my girlfriend right now and I'm making the padded wings 9" long each instead, b/c mine are a little shorter than I'd prefer. I'll also not taper them as much to provide a broad padded surface for their entire length.

I'm personally not a big fan of the G4 design b/c it's too wide down low (things get stuck) and way too big for the volume of gear that I bring. I also find that it has no way to compress gear, so you need a very specific volume of gear to make it work. I think your choice to use a tube design instead is a decision I'd make if I were you as well!Here's the new shock cord/compression setup. I think the pack is completely finished!

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: pack mods on 11/24/2009 06:49:06 MST Print View

Looks good w/ the tabs on the shove it. Much more simplified than running a new seam along the length of the pocket. Pack design Motto: KISS. I agree on the G4, no need to work the funny seams on that bulge. The pack I'm making is actually for my wife. She can't find anything to replace her REI pack that weighs nearly 4 lbs. I took the measurements off of her REI pack and I have the hipbelt wings at 4.5 tapering to 3, with a length of 7". Tentatively, I'm going with 7" X 12" X 24" on the body, with a semicircular bottom and 9 or 10" extension collar. I'm planning to put in load lifters too, so I will have to make the back panel in 2 pieces to accommodate the seam for the shoulder straps and the seam for the load lifter attachments. I'm going to wing it on the load lifters and probably will totally over-engineer it. Where did you get black dyneema?

Nathan Auck
(auckjam) - MLife

Locale: Wasatch
Black Dyneema on 11/24/2009 10:10:43 MST Print View

My dyneema source is black diamond's very back closet. They had some materials that they were no longer going to use and I have some friends who work there, so they were nice enough to offer me that fabric... I teach a lightweight backpacking class in the spring at my high school as an enrichment and its popularity keeps growing every year, so some companies have been nice enough to donate some fabric for us to work with. Both the black dyneema on the pack and the orange shove it fabric came from that closet.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Black Dyneema on 11/24/2009 13:31:16 MST Print View

Rit liquid dye will work wonders on changing colors. My ULA is black now, and looks like it always has been.

Chris Collins
(hobbitling) - F
dying dyneema on 11/24/2009 16:47:17 MST Print View

from what I've read, its nearly impossible to dye dyneema or spectra (same thing). the color just won't stick. McHale makes full dyneema packs and even their dyed packs are just slightly tinted.

but c'mon, it looks cool with the white grid pattern. why dye it.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: dying dyneema on 11/24/2009 17:04:37 MST Print View

he dyed the dyneema ripstop fabric, which was green with white lines, now it is black with white lines. You are right the dyneema wont hold the dye. We call this fabric dyneema, but it is really nylon with dyneema fibers acting as the ripstop.


Chris Collins
(hobbitling) - F
re: dying dyneema on 11/24/2009 17:24:21 MST Print View

No really, I meant dyneema fabric.

McHale offers either nylon (green or black) with dyneema ripstop grid, or full 100% dyneema fabric. And yeah, it costs a bundle. The full dyneema is normally totally snow white, but for a fee they will dye it a slightly greyish color.