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Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Canvas UL(sortof) pack on 06/04/2006 20:02:15 MDT Print View

I just got back from a trail maintenance overnight - work in, camp, work out, which I do 3-4 times a month.

This my 4th trip with an experimental pack made with 12 oz. marine duck. It's a basic roll-top, frameless, beltless UL design that I have made for years with lighter materials, but it weighs 32 ounces instead of the 8 to 11 or so of my UL packs. I getting hooked, nonetheless. I have long preferred canvas for bike panniers, but had never thought to make a backpack. Here are my observations:

1) Canvas has lots of body. It stands up instead of collapsing into a puddle when empty. This is both an advantage (while packing up) and a disadvantage (when stowing it).

2) Canvas doesn't get yucky, slimy, or limp when wet. It gets stiffer and stays dry inside.

3) The pack stays drier inside than silnylon in a hard rain. I haven't tried it yet with this pack but I pack my down bag loose - without a stuff sack- in my cotton bicycle panniers even in the PNW.

4) Durability is outstanding. This pack gets abused a lot in trail work. Stuff falls on it, sharp tools brush it, it gets dragged through briars, brambles and brush. It has had only 8 trail days, but they are the kind of days you would never put a UL pack through.

Next step is to try this with lighter canvas. I have some 8 oz. on order and will report on performance if the stuff looks good enough in person to make a pack. Between lighter fabric and more attention to weight in construction and design maybe I can get the total down into a more reasonable 20-24 ounces.
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Edited by vickrhines on 06/04/2006 20:04:24 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Canvas UL(sortof) pack on 06/04/2006 23:41:28 MDT Print View

I had a Sacs Millet pack years ago that I mess. It was a simple drawstring rucksack with a flap and made of canvas. (I lost it when I flipped a canoe on a powerboat wake).

Come to think, it was really like a GoLite Breeze-- a fat bag with shoulder straps: throw your stuff in and get out of town.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Canvas UL(sortof) pack on 06/05/2006 08:12:19 MDT Print View

Dale,
Yeah, kind , of like that Millet. Nothing fancy, just really, really functional. I went with the rolldown top because it lets me vary the load by a couple of horizontal stuff sacks without having a thick pack that pulls me back; except for the front pockets, I keep my packs about 7 inches deep (actually 6 at the bottom and 7.5 at the nominal top).

Funny you should mention the Millet pack. That is a good example of the kind of functional pack that pretty much takes care of itself. Mine may have been a different model; it was pretty deep and didn't carry that well. But it would have lasted forever if I hadn't been a stupid kid.

I've come to like silnylon because it doesn't get sticky and smell like dog vomit, although it is not very durable. When using good cotton marine duck, I've never had either problem - limited durability or the yuck factor. Boy, I wish someone would make a good hemp/cotton canvas at 6-8 ounces. (or lighter?) Or maybe cotton wrapped spectra. Imagine that - a self-sealing, highly water repellant pack. Maybe microfiber polyester instead of cotton. Could work. The coefficients of elongation are probably compatible.