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The North Fork Pack
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
The North Fork Pack on 10/12/2010 10:53:19 MDT Print View

So I made a video talking about my latest pack. It's right here:

For those who don't recall the thread on it a few months ago, this is a big frameless pack I made for packrafting, backcountry skiing, winter hiking, and trips that combine all three. It takes all I've learned making packs over the last 18 months ( and consolidates it nicely.

The pack carries so well that I'll probably be using it cinched down for trips that other, smaller pack would work for.

The side/back pockets are what I'm most proud of. It took me a bit of brainstorming (over months) to think of a design that would fold mostly flat if not in use, hold a lot, and be accessible without taking the pack off or crazy arm contortions. I was having particular trouble thinking of how compression would work without interfering.

The video doesn't dwell on it, but there is a lower compression strap that runs all the way around the bottom of the pack. The buckles sit an inch below and inside the top of the side pockets, and slits in the side/back pocket interface allow the strap to run either outside or inside the back pocket. It is also removeable.

The overall design is obviously my own, but was inspired by ULA side pockets, the BPL Absaroka, and the REI UL 60 design. It's proven to be really useful, and I'd encourage others to copy and modify it.

I'll answer all question, but am moving tomorrow so responses won't be prompt.

Matt Mahaney
(Matt_Mahaney) - MLife

Locale: In the District
Re: The North Fork Pack on 10/18/2010 12:22:08 MDT Print View

Ah, Richard D. James. Nice video. Inspiring. I think I'll have to give the pack thing a go. It's the last piece of kit that I haven't made yet. Thanks for the motivation.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Selected Ambient works on 10/18/2010 18:10:24 MDT Print View

The RDJames album is still one of my favs.

The best advice to anyone getting into making packs is, IMO, to not expect to get it right the first time! Have some extra material around, and prepare to rip out some seams and resew stuff after a few trips. No good work is ever finished.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Re: The North Fork Pack (TNFP!) on 10/18/2010 22:12:05 MDT Print View

Out-F'n-standing Dave!

Muy inspirational to say the least. Love the hybrid design, bombproof materials, size vs weight, and the white interior.

I personally love my Arcteryx Needle 45L but it does have some superfluous features - namely the exterior zip pouch and pocket. If only it had a beavertail or something similar...looks like I'll have to get working to keep up with such outstanding MYOG. Again, great video and nice work!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
update on 01/19/2011 20:46:46 MST Print View

This pack has proven invaluable this winter. It swallows gear for -20 no problem. The Dimension Polyant fabric is incredible, extremely waterproof, and ideal for packrafting, snow and rain. It absorbs a truly minute amount of weight in water.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: update on 04/20/2011 09:28:51 MDT Print View

This pack continues to perform well. I added a removable frame and made a few refinements:

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Excellent refinement on 04/20/2011 10:11:50 MDT Print View

It's great to see the continuing progress and adaptions made. I'm very interested in your frame, as I have had something similar in mind. Did you also use contact cement to laminate your stay pockets to the blue foam? I was thinking of sewing my stay pockets to my foam pad, but bonding sounds a lot easier.

Also, I was hoping you could clarify one point. You say that you laminated the pockets to the foam, inserted the aluminum stay, and than again laminated the whole thing together. That's where you lose me...what was laminated at the very end? Another blue foam layer ontop?

Thanks Dave!

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/20/2011 10:12:43 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
making a frame on 04/20/2011 10:57:41 MDT Print View

I used shoe goo, clamped overnight, to laminate the fabric pockets to the foam. Contact cement would have no doubt work too.

The foam is one piece, folded around both ends of the stay, with the ends of the foam meeting in the middle (under the duct tape). Hope that makes sense.

Laminating is the way too go I think, just make sure your glue doesn't eat foam.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Re: making a frame on 04/20/2011 11:11:11 MDT Print View

Hey Dave,

I, too, have enjoyed the evolution of this pack! What was the final weight of the pad, and how feasible/useful/practical might it be to cut out sections of the blue foam after the cement has dried? This might save weight, albeit potentially negligible, and might play a more relevant role on packs where back ventilation is a higher priority (although it might negate the double-use of sit pads in certain applications)? Thoughts? I hope that wasn't too confusing (quick sketches may follow later).


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
cut foam on 04/20/2011 12:15:28 MDT Print View

Clint, I'm currently scale-less. That will change soon and I'll weigh and update.

I don't see any reason why you couldn't carve up the foam to suit your needs, should work fine. I'm looking forward to how effective this will be as feet insulation. I'll actually be able to alter my colder weather pad setup if I use the frame.