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Material for external frames
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Kevin Saitta
(kjsphotography) - F
Material for external frames on 05/31/2006 02:57:36 MDT Print View

I have been reading the threads but haven’t really found the answer I am looking for. I am looking to make a external pack frame to hold at least 50 pounds. Where do you buy your material to make the frames? Any suggestion on a cost effective tubing to use that is lightweight and can take the weight without bending or breaking?

I just found this site and it is amazing. Some of these homemade packs are just amazing. It gives me encouragement in making my own!

Thanks again,


Dane Fliedner
(dfliedner) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: Material for external frames on 05/31/2006 11:30:42 MDT Print View

50 pounds! Ouch! Have you seen Bill F's threads about his external frame pack? He seems to be the guy experimenting with it the most. Although, I am sure his weight is much lighter, and not sure if his designs would be appropriate for that kind of load.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Material for external frames on 05/31/2006 13:52:18 MDT Print View

It's kind of re-inventing the wheel-- there are lots of external pack frames to handle that sort of load. Find a Jansport frame and doctor it. I have one I got at a yard sale for $10 and it is 4 pounds with the pack bag. With some work on the straps and waist belt and using silnylon stuff sacks rather than the stock pack bag, my guess is you could drop another pound off it. I'd happily use it the way it is if I had to haul a bear can, etc. If you use your UL gear in one of these "old" external frame packs, it doesn't feel like much at all. Just resist the urge to fill it :)

I've said before that I'd love to see the Jansport design done in titanium and silnylon and UL straps.

Are you hauling camera gear or something? That's a nasty load!

Kevin Saitta
(kjsphotography) - F
Re: Re: Material for external frames on 06/02/2006 01:40:51 MDT Print View


I haul between 30-60 pounds of camera gear all over different types of terrain. The hikes can be 3-10 miles depending on location. I am using a lowepro bag now, internal frame and it just doesn’t work. Doesn’t fit right and cannot handle the weight. I know what I want and that is why I decide to make it myself. I just finished machining all the parts now just waiting for the tubes to arrive to assemble then build the harness system. A design that I think will put the weight on the hips and keep the stress from the neck under heavy load.

My goal is to get the frame in 3 or less pounds that can take the weight with ease and have the comfort of an internal frame pack. I am searching for material for the back plate to be able to hook and strap the bags on with. Any suggestions? I need a lightweight plastic that is super strong that can be milled as well and wont crack under stress.

I was thinking of using Polyethylene Sheets - HDPE in 1/8".

I am also looking for a bag reinforcement to put along the walls of the bag so the camera wont rip through it. Any ideas on that material? I was thinking of PVC foam sheets that you can bend then adding ¼” closed cell foam in front of it to add protection to the camera, lenses, etc… inside the bag.

Thank again,