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MYOG Prettylight pack: Success
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Dave Richardson
(Dzrichwm) - F
MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/26/2010 22:07:08 MDT Print View

Hey guys; long time lurker, first time poster. (Skip to the copious pics for the Reader’s Digest version.)

I’ve followed the typical gearstyle genesis, moving from a big Osprey pack, double wall tent, full length self inflating pad, canister stove, etc. to hammocking, popcan stoves, and a CCF torso pad. Like most, I’ve missed some comforts, but the lighter hikes (usually) more than make up for the less luxurious nights.

Anyway, due to that overall lightening, I decided it was finally time to ditch my Aether (a marvelous but unconscionably heavy pack) for something lighter—no sense in carrying 12 pounds of gear in 5 and a half pounds of pack. Having never sewn anything in my life, the MYOG route was far from my first instinct. Knowing I was broke, but wanting a lighter pack, I checked out some Granite Gear packs, then Golite packs (the Jam looked good, but I wanted an exterior pocket or shockcord to keep my ghetto hammock tarp out of the main packbag). Eventually my search led me to Granite Gear’s website and I drooled over the Gorilla and Mariposa Plus—wishing there was a way to combine them (Gorilla’s durability, Mariposa Plus’ capaciousness and pocket configuration), throwing a little Jam in (wanted the Jam’s capacity and excellent Compactor system) and make that chimera pack cost less than $170 (a totally reasonable price, but I needed something more along the lines of…nearly free). I saw GG’s “make your own” section and checked out their opensource instructions for the G4. That was the first moment it occurred to me I could *make* the light pack with all the features I wanted for way less money. Looking for everything the internet could tell me about building backpacks, I quickly ended up here at Backpackinglight and read every MYOG backpack post I could find. I would never’ve tried bluffing my way through this thing if it weren’t for the fantastic projects you’ve all completed and published here, so thanks.

So, here’s my new pride and joy:Finished!

Big(ger than necessary) extension collar.Empty

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/26/2010 22:16:34 MDT Print View

The color makes it pretty hard on the eyes.


John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
MYOG Pack on 09/26/2010 22:18:06 MDT Print View

Nice pack Dave. Outstanding job. Can you post a picture of the back side Please? Like the color.

Dave Richardson
(Dzrichwm) - F
More... on 09/26/2010 22:22:10 MDT Print View

My pack goals/design parameters:

-Weigh less than 1.5 pounds.
-Hold at least 50 liters in main packbag, be compressible to a more routine 40 liters.
-Be bombproof (I take care of my gear, but I need it to shrug off accidents if it comes to it).
-Have ample exterior lashing points for drying, etc.
-Be comfortable
-Effectively transfer load to hips.


XPAC nylon from Rockywoods (awesome stuff--strong, crazy abrasion resistant, and only about 4oz a yard).
Wicking mesh for backpanel, shoulder strap and hipbelt linings.
Stretch athletic mesh for pockets.

Seeing the fabric in it's plain, not-a-backpack-at-all-ness, gave me pause.

For the most part, the pack satisfies those goals. Also, more pics:

Still need 1 inch to 3/4 inch removable sternum strap adjusters and a 3/4 inch whistle buckle.

Side pocket configuration

Threaded the compression system under the pockets such that they're usable despite pack compression.

Ran out of seam tape for those vertical seams...oops.

Hipbelt/shoulder strap bottom strap thing, bartacked to sides of pack.Webbing loops for compression system slide into buttonholes sewn into the pocket mesh,

Dave Richardson
(Dzrichwm) - F
Re: MYOG Pack on 09/26/2010 22:27:31 MDT Print View

Thanks, John. Yeah, the color is growing on me--when I first opened the box from Rockywoods I was a little taken aback (don't know what I expected when I ordered "blaze orange"...) and wished I'd gone for the dark gray, but a dose of high visibility never hurt anyone.

Chris Peichel

Locale: Eureka
Myog Pack on 09/26/2010 22:42:24 MDT Print View

Great job! I like the color, good choice around here right now with deer season.
Does your pack have a pad sleeve opening just below where the top of the shoulder straps attach?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Impressive on 09/26/2010 22:51:34 MDT Print View

Dave that looks awesome. I've made my share of packs and my first try wasn't nearly that impressive. I like the contoured shoulder straps and neat construction. Lets check back in a couple months and see if you're addicted to MYOG:)

Edited by Cameron on 09/26/2010 23:41:46 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Wow on 09/27/2010 04:07:10 MDT Print View

Wow...unbelievable for a first project. That's a really nice pack.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Wicking back fabric on 09/27/2010 05:04:05 MDT Print View

Great looking pack. I hope mine turns out nearly as well.

My last fabric dilemma before construction starts is a wicking or breathing back panel. Exactly what fabric did you use, where did you buy it and how does it perform? I noticed the Rockywoods has some 330 denier Coolmax cordura that I thought may be good but you mentioned a mesh. From the Rockywoods site it is rather hard to work out exactly what their meshes look like.

A last question - what is the weight?

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/27/2010 06:24:05 MDT Print View

Very very nice.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/27/2010 09:14:49 MDT Print View

Can I be first in line to get one commissioned for me?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
MYOG pack on 09/27/2010 09:44:44 MDT Print View

Nice work!

John McAlpine
(HairlessApe) - M

Locale: PNW
Real Nice! on 09/27/2010 09:50:26 MDT Print View

I've never sewed a thing in my life. I know I could never make a pack like that, even after many tries. Great job! I follow this site hoping to see something that'll make me try and your pack might be it.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/27/2010 11:21:08 MDT Print View

Hey Dave,

Outstanding job on that pack of yours.

>>but I needed something more along the lines of…nearly free).<< ;-)

That's how I got my start in MYOG packs. :-)

The color is great. It's a 4 season pack, deer season, turkey season, rabbit season and squirrel season. ;-)

Seriously you put together one fine example of a MYOG pack. I see a well thought out and carefully executed pack. The craftsmanship is excellent.

Party On,


Dave Richardson
(Dzrichwm) - F
Thanks, dudes. on 09/27/2010 15:02:13 MDT Print View

Chris--yep, the pad sleeve has some shockcord sewn into the top but opens just underneath the straps:


to occupy a tri fold torso cut "blue pad" (I reinforced the fold seams with foil duct tape)


Mark, you're absolutely right about Rockywoods sometimes unhelpful product descriptions. The backpanel and pad meshes are their "dry-tech knit mesh" backed with an uncoated (very breathable) 160 denier ripstop Cordura.

Here are some pictures to better show how those layers went together:



I sewed the mesh to the uncoated Cordura, turning them effectively into a breathable, mesh-against-skin, but still weight-bearing appropriate layer--which I then sewed (the permimeters) to the XPAC. After which, I turned that inside out (right side out, actually) and inserted the ventilated foam cutouts.

hip pad


And as for weight, I still need to find and add the removable sternum strap adjusters I want, but that's a matter of grams, so the basically complete pack (with compression system and shockcord, but without 7 oz torso pad) is ~23 oz.


Close up:

Scale 2.

That's just a cheapo kitchen scale, but it rings up a hair over 24 oz with two Cokes on it, so I think it's about right.

And, I must confess, I had lots of help/lessons from an extremely accomplished seamstress (my mom), so every time I thought I broke the sewing machine trying to bartack through two layers of ripstop nylon, webbing and a strap of seatbelt, she'd come to my rescue.

Also, I just re-read my first post and realized I said "Granite Gear" when I meant Gossamer Gear.

Thanks to everyone for the compliments! I'm taking the pack out the week after next for a field test, I'll report back with shortcomings as I find them.

Already I know it's probably bigger than I need (though I'm really proud of my compression system that can be used without interfering with the pocket contents, so it'll probably be always partially cranked in), and if I could (had to?) do it all again, I'd cut the front panel in a very slight trapezoid (13" wide at point where it connects with the bottom, tapering to 11.5 or 11 inches wide at the collar), to keep the weight even lower/closer.

Finally, I'm thinking about adding a removable curved stay. Anyone have any ideas? If I got a pair of aluminum arrow shafts, could I bend them into a slight S (enough to keep the bottom of the pack against my lumbar, and bring the top closer to the top of my shoulderblades) without weakening it too much?

Here's a shot of how it carries:


And Joe, I'd love to, but I Silk Street-ed enough other packs that I think I'd owe way too much in intellectual property royalties/patent infringement to sell these things.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/27/2010 17:50:57 MDT Print View

Dave, Congrats on such a well designed and executed project. I'm extremely impressed by all the details you built into the pack. I'm also liking the orange. I do tend to stick to stealthy colors but during deer/turkey season + Souteast + National Forest = I appreciate a bright pack.


Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: MYOG Prettylight pack: Success on 09/27/2010 20:46:23 MDT Print View

Another kudos. Great pack. I too have a great seamstress for a mother (Halloween was always done in style) and I've been meaning to enlist her help to start making my own gear.

You're success may have just given me the push I need to start working on my own designs. Once again congrats and I hope I'm not the only one you inspired to begin making their own gear!

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Many thanks on 09/28/2010 04:39:22 MDT Print View

Fantastic. Thanks so much for all that detail on the back panel and shoulder straps. You have put a great deal of thought into the smaller parts of the design.

Dug Shelby
(Pittsburgh) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Very nice! on 09/28/2010 06:10:37 MDT Print View

Well done Dave, well done! I'm also into the bright color of the pack, although being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan I'd have gone away from Bengals colors and made it more black & gold. :)

I like the design a lot, especially the liberal pockets and cords. Even the thoughtfulness to make the straps breathable. I'm doing the PCT next year, and this type of bag is right up my dream alley. Can't wait to hear how she tests out!


Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Good job!! on 09/28/2010 09:14:48 MDT Print View

There are many practical reasons to MYOG but the feeling of independence, empowering our spirit, is the driving force for me. Your pack looks great!