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G4 pack questions
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Carey Parks
( - F
Re: Hit another rough patch on 08/30/2006 07:47:14 MDT Print View

Hi Dwight,

More data please - you have finished step what, and are trying to do step what?

Reading the instructions I have, 7.1 says "Sew the front to the sides, right sides together, beginning at the “angle point” where the
width of the pack changes."

Which would say that those seams should line up and any slop should manifest itself at the top or bottom where it could be trimmed.

Then 7.2 is "Sew back panel to sides, right sides together. Double stitch. Bartack over lashing loops
in seam allowance."

So if you are working on the back, the front and sides where the pockets are should be done already.

Do your instructions differ from mine I wonder?

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
instructions on 08/30/2006 08:27:56 MDT Print View

The instructions I have have a little box above the start of the 7.x section, saying "Some experienced G4 builders have said that doing 7.2 then 7.4 then 7.1 then 7.3 is easier" and I think that is due to going back in and reinforcing the waist belt and shoulder strap attachments. I've done 7.2 and 7.4, and was bringing the bottom of the pack on around to start going up the front.

If I had slop on the bottom piece, that would be fine, but its short. Both sides. I just called Kay at QuestOutfitters, but she's never heard of someone running into that before.

I've looked at my seam allowances, can't see where I might be too deep, can't see there I'm bunched up, etc. I may need to go make a deeper side bottom piece and redo.

This is a situation where pinning and hand basting first would point up any problems before sewing. Or, instead of pinning, using a bunch of those little binder clips, if they would hold properly

Edited by zydeholic on 08/30/2006 08:34:01 MDT.

Carey Parks
( - F
Re: instructions on 08/30/2006 08:40:20 MDT Print View

But if you are off by two inches, that sounds like something other than a sewing error. I have drawn all my own patterns, so I will blame me for not measuring correctly when that happens to me.

You do have different instructions from mine - I have no inset hints like that. But, I will make a note of it. Sounds like it makes sense to get the big stuff sorted out first.

I will surely practice laying the pieces together before I sew any of the back body together. Something like two inches should show up during a walk-thru.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
7.x sequence on 08/30/2006 09:09:14 MDT Print View

I think the reason for that change of sequence is that you don't want to be trying to do things like reinforcing that waist belt part and doing bar tacks when you've already closed up the shell.

Best done when you're able to turn the fabric any which way you want and still be able to fit it under the presser foot without resorting to origami or Rubik's cube skills.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Just talked to Quest Outfitters on 08/30/2006 10:26:42 MDT Print View

Ok, here's what I just got from Kay.

They work some slop into the front bottom piece so you don't have to be so exact.

So, I guess the deal is to start at the narrow part of the angle section of the front and the back, and sew part way around, but don't sew the front bottom piece to the back piece yet.

Once you see how much slop you'll have, then you can adjust by tailoring that bottom seam.

There was a direction in there about "trim off any excess ripstop" but it made no sense to me at the time.

She says the new pattern will have lots of diagrams.

Edited by zydeholic on 08/31/2006 04:02:12 MDT.

E. A.
(yalacasa) - F

Locale: Cheeseland-Midwest
Just finished g4 on 09/02/2006 21:13:34 MDT Print View

Cool to read these posts. I too found some issues, and had to backtrack. But I was didn't have to improvise, even for the H&L. If folded over as written. And then topstiched, the fold over blends beautifully with the seam. I don't have a better photo than the one listed. I did have to consult grandma WRT the wider bottom of the G4. She ended up pinning it and sowed it very carefully, she called it "easing in". It's often done on shoulders of shirts.

After shakedown

E. A.
(yalacasa) - F

Locale: Cheeseland-Midwest
Re: Just finished g4 on 09/02/2006 21:16:43 MDT Print View

More specifically. I sewed the cordura back panel (one with straps) to the cordura part of the side first. We ended up sowing the bottom last. Instead of one continuous seam, we sewed three separate ones. Hope things are going better.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
three seams on 09/03/2006 23:17:44 MDT Print View

Nice looking pack Eric.

Not sure what you meant by sewing three seams instead of one continuous one.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
G4.0 pack finished on 09/05/2006 19:45:43 MDT Print View

Finally finished this thing, lessons learned, will start the more robust one when QuestOutfitters finishes their rewrite of the pattern and instructions.

This will not look great because the flash is blasting it out. Also, the cheapo fabric I'm using is not THAT purty.

Not sure how accurate my scale is, but it says 11 oz. for the pack, without the pad. As you can tell, that ripstop is purty thin. No padding in the straps or belt yet.
g4 front

Had to add a velcro strap to the back to hold the pad in because either the mesh I used was too anemic, or my 48" Thermarest pad is too thick when folded up. Or I put the mesh too close together, or all of that.

So the strap keeps the two pieces of mesh "talking to each other".

g4 back

Just saw a web page for an "F2" pack, which was someone adapted version of the G4 (with credits to the G4). On hte next one I do, I think I'll go with non-baggy mesh pockets, like the F2.

Edited by zydeholic on 09/13/2006 00:36:10 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
G4.0 pack finished on 09/06/2006 16:44:41 MDT Print View

For those who might be wondering, Dwight is talking about Risk's Ultralight Hiking Page.

Carey Parks
( - F
Re: G4.0 pack finished on 09/16/2006 21:47:25 MDT Print View

Hi all,

Thanks to the help I receive here, I've finished my first pack.Two views of the pack with a couple sleeping bags for shape.

I'm not real happy with the inflatable thermarest as the external frame. It's not very firm but it sure is comfy. Maybe I can play with the amount of air I leave in it. I left a little in as you see it here.

The material is 1.1 oz silnylon and 200d nylon but it is not DWR. I couldn't find DWR locally (the silnylon came from Wal-Mart $1 table as did the mesh.) It weight 9 oz. Yikes! Will it even last a weekend?

I figured if you have to use another bag inside to waterproof your bag and clothes, what's the point of DWR? I plan to use a poncho that will cover the pack too. I also bought spray silicone waterproofing that I can spray on the nylon parts and might help the seams some.

The mesh is a quite stiff plastic mystery material. It's pretty strong to a blunt trauma or pressure, but if you poke it with a point it will tear pretty easily. I'll have to be sure not to put anything important in there, or tie it on if I do.

So, that's it for now. Time to practice loading it.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
G4 Packs on 09/16/2006 22:13:06 MDT Print View

To Eric, Dwight and Carey.

The packs look really great. I am sure these will not be the last packs you make. All that follow will keep getting easier and easier to make.

I have gotten to the point that I really like sewing and things are getting done easier and faster.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Pack test on 09/17/2006 20:33:33 MDT Print View

Thanks Bill for the compliment. I do think Carey's looks much nicer than mine though. Nice job Carey. And quick too.

I took mine on a day hike this weekend, just to test it out. I had maybe 15-20 lbs in it, but nothing with any "structure" (no tents rolled into a tube, or shock-corded poles), just food an a hydration bladder, and a bulky coat in the bottom.

When I took it off for lunch, and tried to put it back on after lunch, I could not get the sleeping pad to stay in the pad holders. I kept popping out when I tried to sling it onto my back. I soon realized that the front of the pack was sagging outward under the weight of the individual items and collapsing the pack vertically. I finally tied a length of shock cord around the middle part of the pack and that held it.

I knew the mesh I used for the pad holders was anemic, but now I know how much. I also think I put the holders about 1/2" too close together. I'll be remedying that soon. I also remember reading about someone else having this same problem with their pack.

With that amount of weight it was comfortable on my shoulders. My shoulders were carrying some of the weight, but not a lot.

I loaded 30 lbs in the pack the other day and it felt like it was cutting off my breath.

My review of the pattern should be going up on BackPackGearTest.Org in maybe a week. It will be somewhat like I posted for Carey a while back, but expanded, and maybe a couple of extra pictures.

Thanks everyone for the help I got here when I got stuck a few times.


Carey Parks
( - F
Re: Pack test on 09/17/2006 21:29:45 MDT Print View

hi Dwight,

I've walked to the grocery with mine a couple times (1 mile away or so) to see what I really made - a useful pack or a conversation piece. Maybe the former. Regardless the wife is impressed because when she says, "Darn, I need some ____ for dinner tonight." I volenteer to walk up and get it for her.

There's a couple of issues I'm finding with mine as well. First, the shoulder straps are not compatible with the buckles. The buckles hold ok just standing still, but when I walk with it, they slowly creep looser and looser. I'm going to try and texture the plastic or something to give it more grip.

I also wish I had lowered the strap attachment to maybe three inches (as opposed to two) from the top. If I place the belt on my hips where it feels right, the straps take off sorta high off my shoulders and I have to really cinch them down to get my shoulders to stablize the weight. When I was testing the pack size with the straps pinned in place, I thought the horizontal spacing was real good, but I wondered about the waist belt which I had not installed yet. If (when?) I build another one, I will reduce the space between belt and shoulder straps by an inch. I'm nearly 6', so I thought I'd be fine with the stock dimensions, but I guess not. You might suggest that the new instructions measure the distance from two handy bones and adjust the spacing to suit. Also, if you attach them too low, you can add some bar tacks and a cover and they now attach higher. If too high, well, it's not so easy to alter after the fact.

I did use the modified order of the instuctions in section 7. Made a lot of sense to do it that way.

I also became a big fan of basting when I started attaching the irregular shaped parts.

Oh, one more thing I wish the instructions would have said explicitly is when sewing the mesh, measure and mark where both ends should end up and be careful not to stretch the mesh. My pockets were not even, but luckily I could match a tall side with the tall part of the front and it appears things came out exactly right. But they are really off by 1/2 inch or so.

And I had to trip the top edges of three of the four sides to make a straight edge to attache to collar to. Maybe 3/4 inch at the worst place.

As a test, I filled my pack with two 30 degree down bags, a flannel blanket, a camp pillow, my hammock and tarp, and nearly all the items that make up my base as I came up to 15.5 pounds. I didn't have some of the clothes I'd carry, but I did have two sleeping bags and the blanket. So I should be somewhere around 15 pounds base when I go for real.

I didn't like things in stuff sacks inside the pack. The sacks made the objects assume sometimes incomatible shapes. So the hammock and tarp I just stuffed into the pack.

It will be a learning process to put food and water in the pack as those things won't be so nice and flexible. I don't like hard things next to the fabric with it being as thin as it is.

But it's a great start to going light, and makes one not want to put too much into it. I am looking for a nice rain when I can put my poncho on and take a walk to see how that works with the pack. (Poncho is made from the same silnylon.) At the moment we have daily rain, but it has lightning with it, so I prefer not to go strolling around in it.

Thanks again for the help.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Pack test on 09/18/2006 02:32:54 MDT Print View

I didn't like things in stuff sacks inside the pack. The sacks made the objects assume sometimes incomatible shapes. So the hammock and tarp I just stuffed into the pack.

There's a dilema there. Stuff sacks do have the downside Carey mentions, especially with lighter weight packs which don't have a bunch of extra padding. But they are helpful for keeping things somewhat organized.

I like the compromise of using a few oversized stuff sacks that are not packed full anywhere near full. They get compressed when placed inside the pack so they don't waste much volume while at the same time they assume the dimensions and shape of the part of the pack they occupy.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Sweating back on 09/18/2006 03:26:46 MDT Print View

I noticed my back sweating a lot while carrying my pack (as I did when carrying a commercial pack).

I designed something in my sleep the other night, in a dream, that might help this, but I'd have to test it to see if its comfortable.

It would be a mesh vest with pieces of closed cell foam sewn into the back of it at to-be-determined spots on the back. This could help to hold the pad away from the back somewhat and give some breathing space.

An ultralight alternative I just thought of would be little pockets sewn into the back to stuff unused clothing, though you'd have to do something to keep from transferring sweat to the clothing (unless it was to-be-laundered clothing).

The vests utility could be increased by adding pockets on the front of it to hold items often needed on the trail.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Pack test on 09/18/2006 05:04:32 MDT Print View

> There's a couple of issues I'm finding with mine as well. First, the shoulder straps are not compatible with the buckles. The buckles hold ok just standing still, but when I walk with it, they slowly creep looser and looser. I'm going to try and texture the plastic or something to give it more grip.

Known problem. Very simple tested solutions which can be retro-fitted at

Roger Caffin

Carey Parks
( - F
Re: Pack test on 09/18/2006 07:22:09 MDT Print View

I love this forum :>


tkkn c
(tkknc) - MLife

Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest
Pack on 09/18/2006 21:02:59 MDT Print View

Your pack looks nice. What kind of walking foot machine did you use to make your pack?


Carey Parks
( - F
Re: Pack on 09/18/2006 21:16:38 MDT Print View

If this question is directed at me, I used a simple although heavy duty machine the Sailrite Yachtsman. It sews straight or zig-zag period. There are several foot options, but none are walking. One has a roller for working with plastic for windows etc.

For the pack I just used the normal flat foot. It was a little tricky to get the material to feed correctly, so I did a lot of basting, especially if there were any curves or angles in the seam. Worked pretty well. I got good at basting so I bet it ended up being quicker to baste and sew than to try to be careful and sew directly.