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Buckle slipping repair, a la Roger Caffin
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Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Buckle slipping repair, a la Roger Caffin on 02/14/2010 07:01:39 MST Print View

Several weeks ago, Roger pointed me toward this website with his fix for the annoying problem that all of my packs seem to have-- the shoulder straps loosen as I walk, so I have to give each on a quick tug to tighten it every few minutes. Annoying, to say the least.

Yesterday I finally got around to putting some extra webbing onto the straps for my Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone. I figured I'd try this one before my MLD Exodus and GG Vapor Trail, which I plan to use a lot this summer on the PCT. After several false starts, hours of cursing, and stabbing myself more times than I'd like to admit (I'm not much good with a needle and thread), here are my results.strap repair 1strap repair 2strap repair 3

As I said, I don't do gear modification projects often, so if anyone has experience with this, I'd love some input.

It seems so far that the repair is working a little too well. It's pretty difficult to tighten or loosen the straps as I would normally while wearing the pack, so I'm guessing they won't loosen by themselves anymore. It also seems like the stitches are the cause of this: I can't get them flat enough to not catch on the buckle.

So, any thoughts anyone? Thanks!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
why? on 02/14/2010 09:38:56 MST Print View

Why did the situation exist in this Granite Gear product? Did they use an inferior buckle or thread the webbing through it incorrectly? Did you overload the pack to cause this? Or is it only a tiny bit of slippage that is normal? I could understand it if the product was old and worn out.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: why? on 02/14/2010 11:02:47 MST Print View

Roger gives his explanation on the website above... basically the webbing being too smooth to catch on the middle bar of the buckle. It's the only explanation I've heard so far. Maybe there's another.

It started happening after only a couple hundred miles on my Nimbus Ozone, and the same with my MLD Exodus, so it doesn't seem to be specifically Granite Gear's issue. I hear about it most often with Granite Gear packs, which might just be because I sometimes ask other GG owners if they have the same problem.

It happens at all load levels as far as I can tell, and it's not like the strap just slides though the buckle. Maybe a couple inches every mile or so, but that's still enough to be annoying if you're going a long way.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
ty for the post on 02/14/2010 11:14:00 MST Print View

I was wondering what to do for my exos 58, i have the same problem when i have a 12 to 15kg backpack ( thats the maximum i carried in it ).

I had no long trip since last summer and didnt had to fix this.
But i am leaving in 2 months for Patagonia and with 7kg of food for 10 days i would have the same problem again.

I measured the part of the strap i use from having just a Tshirt to a few layers for winter and just ended sewing 2 thin 15cm straps over the existing ones.

Its too late for this week end, now i need to fill the backpack and see if its still slippinG.

bj bretzke
(lilorphanbilly) - F

Locale: Montana, MT (Stealth Mode)
stitches on 02/14/2010 12:46:58 MST Print View

Ryan: Rather than using a flat seam stitch try a whip stitch around the outside edges. You should be able to get a much tighter stitch that way. The only way I can see a flat stitch working is with a machine or needle and at least 10 stitches per inch. IMHO

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: stitches on 02/14/2010 14:45:06 MST Print View

BJ, thanks for the advice, but you're speaking a bit of Swahili. What's a whip stitch? And will I be able to do it without stabbing myself in the eye with the needle? ;)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Buckle slipping repair, a la Roger Caffin on 02/14/2010 18:17:56 MST Print View

OK, so now the strap does not slip. That means we have two data points: no extra webbing => not enough lock on the buckle; full-weight extra webbing => too much lock on the buckle.

But this does suggest it might be worth while finding some intermediate-weight webbing and trying that?

Yes, I do use a lighter webbing in such cases - about half the weight of the conventional 1" webbing used on packs. I had to scour a variety of fabric shops to find several weights to experiment with. It's available ...

No, it is not the sewing catching on the buckle. Not a chance!

The stitches themselves - are a bit long imho. But then, I prefer to use a machine.


Peter Fogel
(pgfogel) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
Buckle slippage on 02/14/2010 18:39:07 MST Print View

I have found that on some UL equipment, the light weight webbing used may be BOTH, too smooth and or too thin. The constant slippage can become VERY annoying. I usually resolve this by simply removing and replacing this webbing all together. I find this method to be both faster and much more pleasing to the eye. If done with care one is hard pressed to even notice a repair has been made at all.

Remove the offending webbing, about one inch or so, from the end where it attaches to the shoulder strap. Carefully sear the remaining end with a match. Use the piece of webbing that you have just removed to measure the new thicker and or more coarsely woven piece of webbing that you will be substituting and then add an additional two inches to it's measured length.

Cut the new webbing to this length.

Place the new piece of webbing under or over, [your choice here], the one inch piece still remaining on the shoulder strap. Sew. Again it's your choice of attachment method here as well. I usually just use a straight stitch and sew a square just a bit inside the edge all the way around. I'll go around two or three times and then sew an X inside the square from corner to corner several times back and forth. You could also bar tack if you wish.

Carefully sear the other end of the new webbing and and fold once or even twice and bar tack. This is to prevent the strap from inadvertently slipping back through the end of the buckle.

That's it! All done


David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Buckle slipping repair, a la Roger Caffin on 02/14/2010 18:50:26 MST Print View

You can try different buckles too.

Or add a keeper buckle or piece of velcro.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Re: Buckle slipping repair, a la Roger Caffin on 02/15/2010 04:29:00 MST Print View

Yikes. I wish I'd started playing with this a little earlier. I leave in less than a week for a week-long backpacking trip, and a few days after that one for the much bigger one. I guess I'll bring my sewing kit, which isn't much-- just one needle and some thread. But if I find enough spare time I can probably try a few of these fixes.

Speaking of which, what do you guys think are the ideal threads and needles for this job? I don't have a sewing machine, so this is just by hand. The needle I'm using takes some hard pushing to get it through two layers of webbing, so this has already been a very time consuming process.

Roger: The reason I say I think the stitches are getting in the way is because when I can get the newly beefed-up webbing to pull through, it seems to pull through in short bursts roughly corresponding to the length of the stitches. My first try was much shorter stitches, and I couldn't get the strap to move at all. With the longer stitches it's a bit easier, but still not practical. Do you have any leads on websites where I could find the lighter-weight webbing? Or should I try to find some fabric shops in person? That might be tricky enough as it is out here.

Peter: I had thought of just replacing the webbing entirely, but I'm a little afraid of the "no going back" fixes. I'm not confident enough in my sewing skills to do repairs like that, although maybe I should just try it sometime anyway.

David: Velcro sounds like it could be a pretty simple option. I may have to keep that one in mind...

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
its not pretty but its working on 02/15/2010 06:30:02 MST Print View


Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Re: its not pretty but its working on 02/15/2010 06:51:29 MST Print View

Were you drunk :P

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
not enough on 02/15/2010 07:41:30 MST Print View

The close stitchs are going one way, the other way i was holding the sewing machine reverse button in one hand and the backpack in the other :p

Edited by Fre49 on 02/15/2010 07:42:17 MST.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: its not pretty but its working on 02/15/2010 17:00:57 MST Print View

Fred, that doesn't look bad to me. Especially if it works. Where did you find such thin webbing for the added bit?

I think I'm going to try Peter's technique of replacing the strap entirely, unless someone can tell me it's not a good idea. I sometimes work with some folks who sew sails & rigging, so I can call in a favor on wednesday and get them to do a few quick stitches for me.