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diy backpack
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chad patzer
(thexuprising) - F
diy backpack on 12/28/2010 06:36:55 MST Print View

Hello all. I'm about to start my first diy backpack. I was wondering if anyone had ever used this design and instructions. Seems pretty fool proof when you print out the map. Only differences ill be making as it stands is adding a front pocket. Ill be using ripstop, and stretchy nylon for some of the pocket. Does anyone have any pointers for me?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: diy backpack on 12/28/2010 07:19:06 MST Print View


Make sure that you fix your pockets so that they can drain. I used open corners on the bottoms of mine to achieve this purpose. If the stretchy nylon material you mention is mesh than you'll have pockets that drain by default of the material.

Whatever "stretchy" material that you use practice with some small pieces first to "learn the material" and what it does under the presser foot as you sew. I've seen the stretchy stuff gain length (stretch) and cause the other material to curl and gather as the stretchy material tries to "relax".

Here is a link to the thread on the construction details of my latest pack project .

Feel free to PM me with any questions.

What materials will you be using for the main body of the pack?

Good luck with your project. ;-)

Party On,


chad patzer
(thexuprising) - F
diy backpack on 12/28/2010 08:50:15 MST Print View

Thank you very much for all your help. The drainage issue was something I had thought of but had completely forgot. I was thinking of make a hole in the bottom of the pocket and using a grommet. Do you think that would work?

For the entire pack I'm just using rip stop nylon I got from jo-anns. I was told on another thread on hammock forums that they think its 1.9oz. I would love to use dyneema or oxford for the reenforced areas (back, bottom, etc) but for my first project(in case I mess up) and lack of funds around the holidays I'm planning on sticking with the rip stop (had a jo anns gift card). I'm slightly worried about the stregnth.

On the reenforced areas, do you think it would be beneficial to do a double layer of rip stop? My base weight is usually around 10-12lbs if that helps.

For the side pockets I was just going to use rip stop with elastic band hemmed to the pocket.

I'm also not sure how this stretchy material will do. Its 100% nylon with a small amount of spandex. It feels very similar to the stretchy stuff on my granite gear wisp. I'm planning on doing the front pocket and two upper side poackets with it.

I'm also not sure if I should opt to make pockets for the pad on the outside (seems more convient) or make the back a double layer and have it so pad is inserted inside the pack.

Sorry for the large amount of questions. I appreciate all your help very much and will deffiently check out that link.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 12/28/2010 09:25:11 MST Print View

If your base weight is 10 to 12 lbs, and you're fairly careful with your pack, and this is a first DIY pack that you're likely to replace in a couple years then you don't need reinforcing on the bottom. If you're dragging it on the ground then maybe reinforced bottom would be good, the same 1.9 ounce ripstop would work. If you used silnylon or Cuben then you'de probably need reinforcement.

No need for grommet, just fold at the lower corners of pocket to make small holes for drainage. Or just poke a hole with hot object like soldering iron which will seal hole. Or just poke hole and don't worry about it.

I'm a minority of about one here, but why put pockets on the outside? Extra hassle. More places for water to enter or to rip. If you put your water bottle inside pack it will stay cool (or unfrozen in cold weather). I believe some mountaineers or Europeans are more into no external pockets.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Addressing a couple of your questions on 12/28/2010 09:31:28 MST Print View

I make my packs out of uncoated 1.9 ounce ripstop. Seems plenty strong if stress points are reinforced. Your pack is small and you aren't carrying much weight so I don't think strength will be a problem. Abrasion will be your enemy. Keep the pack away from rough rocks (e.g. granite) and big thorns. I don't think doubling the fabric will help much with abrasion and you shouldn't need it for strength.

I'd put the pad on the outside. It would take up a lot of space inside and the pack isn't that big to start with.

Best of luck. Making things, for me, has been exciting and fun. I hope it is for you too.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: diy backpack on 12/28/2010 09:42:41 MST Print View


Grommets will work but the hole could be a point of stress and bring up issues of the material ripping or tearing where the hole is "punched". I am also not a fan of using metal in my gear if I can avoid it. Are the grommets that you plan to use metal?

Does your rip stop have the reinforcement grid pattern in it that looks like "graph paper"?

I don't know about the strength of your material but I have never felt the need to layer the material that I have used in the packs I have sewn. I believe at 10 - 12 lbs it will be OK but like a lot of ultralight gear it will take some extra care in the field. You can't just drop it anywhere. If you do a lot of bushwacking you may need a stouter choice of material.

>>For the side pockets I was just going to use rip stop with elastic band hemmed to the pocket<<

Think about rolling over the top of the ripstop 2x's and sewing it like a drawstring channel. Thread your elastic through the channel letting some extra hang out on both sides. Sew one side of your pocket into place locking the elastic into place on that side. Sew the other side of the pocket after having pulled the elastic to form a "gather" in the ripstop channel. Again stitch through the elastic on the second side of the pocket to lock it into place.

On a couple of my older packs I used material from a "retired" polyester hiking shirt for the main pocket and side pockets . It was stretchy one way and stretchier the other. Does your material "give" equally both ways? Are you going to put elastic at the top of your main pocket to add to the materials strength and durability?

What kind of pad do you use? I use my Ridgerest short pad "rolled and released" inside of my pack to form the "frame". The pack becomes the skin surrounding the pad which winds up in an almost cylindrical shape. It becomes more oval to rectangular as I pack in my gear.

>>Sorry for the large amount of questions<<

Questions are not a problem. Just remember that questions beget questions. ;-)

Keep us posted and we love seeing pictures. :-)

Party On,


chad patzer
(thexuprising) - F
diy backpack on 12/28/2010 13:36:23 MST Print View

It's good to hear the 1.9 rip stop should be plenty strong enough as long as its treated well. I'm hoping that's what it actually is. It does feel a bit thicker than the 1.1 rip stop and it does have the grid pattern. My total weight after water and food should never go beyond 20lbs.

At this point I think it would be better for drainage to just do as you did with open corners. Less weight and I'm afraid I wouldnt know where to find plastic grommets anyway. Thanks for the tip on rolling the hem twice on side pockets.

I am planning on putting elastic on the main pocket as well. As for the stretch on the material I guess I didn't pay enough attention initially. If it is stretchier on one side, which side would you use facing toward the pack? I'll get back to you when I get home.

As for a pad, I sleep in a hammock and use a 3/4 underquilt, so I only use a pad for my feet, which also doubles as a sit pad and hopefully pad for this backpack. Currently I just use a 1/2" ccf pad, about 12" x 20". It's just a cheapo blue pad from walmart I've been cutting up for useful things around the house as I don't need a full legnth for the hammock.

Now I'm gonna shut up and get to work making this :)

Thanks everyone!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: diy backpack on 12/28/2010 13:57:40 MST Print View


>>If it is stretchier on one side, which side would you use facing toward the pack?<<

My apologies for not being clearer on the "stretchy material". Picture a sheet of copy paper. The paper is 8 1/2" x 11". What I was describing was that the material was stretchier across the 8 1/2" dimension than it was across the 11" dimension or vice versa. It's not that it is stretchier on the inside or the outside. I hope that I have been clearer in my explanation this time.

>>Currently I just use a 1/2" ccf pad, about 12" x 20".<<

I'd vote for making two pad pockets one on top and one on the bottom of the side of the pack that will be riding directly against your back. I believe that I would size them each at about 1/3 of the packs/your torso size. A good round number would be approximately 6". Use some of the stretchy stuff. Having it on the outside will allow you to pull it out as a sit pad, etc. during short stops or at meals. ;-)

Party On,


John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Pack on 12/29/2010 15:48:24 MST Print View

Good luck on your pack, Im thinking about making one too soon, make sure to post pictures when you are done!