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A cooler back is a happy back - Thanks Piper
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
A cooler back is a happy back - Thanks Piper on 05/04/2011 21:37:06 MDT Print View

So, after perusing a thread Piper started about using a lumbar pack for short trips, I got to thinking. Why not! But not just any lumbar pack, rather one designed for backpacking, and made, at least partially, out of cuben! Of course! Keep most of your back unencumbered, and perhaps it would stay much cooler! Sounds like a great idea!

Now, generally, when I start getting ideas my staff starts rolling their eyes and backing quietly out of my office. Fortunately, my staff wasn't involved in this one!

Instead, I shot an email to my friendly BPL packmaker, Chris Zimmer, and asked him if he'd make me such a thing. Since it was email, I couldn't tell whether or not he rolled his eyes. Regardless, he agreed, and we discussed a few details before he set out to make what we'd discussed.

I got pics of the finished Half Pack tonight, and it's a pretty cool looking rig! I'll be taking it out this weekend for its maiden voyage. I'll report back how it worked out.

Anyway, here's a few pics. Whaddya think? And thanks, Piper, for your musing. Without it I never would have even thought about this! And thanks, Chris, for never saying no to my weird gear requests!







Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
nice pack on 05/04/2011 21:48:26 MDT Print View

Your double cuben bivy and double cuben quilt should fit just fine in there.

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains's innovative on 05/04/2011 23:02:04 MDT Print View

How outdoor gear evolves? I'm struck by the modular nature of the harness and pack. You don't buy pants and shoes as a single piece of clothing, yet you wear them together. Likewise, disconnecting the shoulder and waist belts of a pack into a separate harness compatible with many different sized containers is clever. You're certain to turn a few heads on your next trip.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Lumbar backpack on 05/04/2011 23:08:08 MDT Print View

That's pretty cool. What does it look like on you? It kind of looks in the pictures like a big watermelon and like it would bounce around. It's very nicely made. Your harness system looks a lot more comfortable than the webbing straps I barely fashioned for mine, and you could probably add some shoulder pouches for a little more capacity.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Nice one guys on 05/04/2011 23:12:06 MDT Print View

I truly look forward to your feedback on its carrying/specs/etc. Looks like you two may have come up with one of the craziest (neither good nor bad:) designs in a hot minute. In the realm of Thom's Bandoleer regarding innovation IMO.

And such nice pics too!

I'll be waiting to see where this leads...

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Brilliant on 05/04/2011 23:29:16 MDT Print View

My compliments to all three of you. The ingenuity swirling around in our little MYOG community always amazes me.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
A cooler back is a happy back - Thanks Piper on 05/05/2011 00:04:33 MDT Print View

Nice pack you beat me to it I have been working on lumbar pack design also after the lumbar pack thread plus going on a overnight trip like Colin Fletcher had written about a long time ago in book The Complete Walker has intrigued me. What I like about your design is you can stack more cuben fiber cells on top of each other if you need to haul a bigger load. I am glad the lumbar pack thread inspired other in pushing the large capacity UL lumbar pack design. Maybe next week I will have my different concept than yours. Chris does great sewing and concepts.

Edited by socal-nomad on 05/05/2011 00:29:23 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: A cooler back is a happy back - Thanks Piper on 05/05/2011 02:46:51 MDT Print View


Very cool! (pun intented)

But this is BPL ... what's it weigh? And what's the volume of the bag?

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Lumber Pack on 05/05/2011 09:38:28 MDT Print View

Definitely curious to hear how it fares on the trail. My first thought was "cool!" followed quickly by "I'd hate to do any scrambling or technical terrain in that."

It seems like a great idea for short trips on easy trails, but I do wonder about load stability.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Clever and Cool on 05/05/2011 09:50:56 MDT Print View

Clever and cool.

We might see these showing up at schools and colleges this fall.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Lumber Pack on 05/05/2011 09:52:20 MDT Print View

"It seems like a great idea for short trips on easy trails, but I do wonder about load stability."

Most of my backpacking, actually pretty much all of my backpacking, is on the east coast, and usually just 1-2 nights, so short trips and fairly easy trails.

I did think of the stability issue when thinking of the pack, that's what the two straps coming around the front of the pack and attaching to the harness are for - to hold the pack closer to the body and not allow it to 'flop' around or drag downward. We'll see how well that works out this weekend! It's also got a slightly beefier hipbelt than normal to assist with stability.

I don't remember the exact measurements of the pack, so I'll measure the dimensions and include that in my first impressions post after my short trip this weekend. I think it was 14" inches across, and it's an 8" high pack body, with an additional 8" extension collar that rolls down for closure.

Remember Chris loaded it up for the pics, I'll be very interested in seeing what it looks like with my normal load.

And, this is a 1.0 release! Using it this weekend should provide Chris with some valuable feedback.

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Clever and Cool on 05/05/2011 09:54:31 MDT Print View

Very cool. Need some action shots Doug.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
A perfect Fastpack on 05/05/2011 10:21:21 MDT Print View

As my gear has evolved (and shrank) it is heading into the direction that Doug is going. Currently I use a Burn which is even a bit too large for a one or two nighter. For me I would further evolve the pack and place storage around the front of belt for on the go access. I recently added something similiar to my burn. By doing this you can pull off heavy items such as water. If you carry 2L of water or other liquids then thats 4 less lb causing the fanny pack to bounce. Would shoulder straps even be needed?

Doug, I hope you and others keep this development direction going. I hope to shameless copy some of these elements after I get back from

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: A perfect Fastpack on 05/05/2011 10:55:12 MDT Print View

"For me I would further evolve the pack and place storage around the front of belt for on the go access."

I always carry my water on the front of my shoulder straps, so it won't be in the side pockets of the pack. Chris is playing with some cuben hipbelt pockets, he's including one on the pack for me to try out. I'll have an MLD pocket on the other side of the hipbelt, so two hipbelt pockets. I also had him include a sternum strap so, if I desired, I could add a pouch there for a map if I chose to, something like Steve Evans made recently. Chris is also including a cuben shoulder strap pouch.

Perhaps I'll get Tim Marshall to make a special sporran to hook onto the front hipbelt for the kilt wearers out there...... ;-)

"Would shoulder straps even be needed?"

For me, yes, as that's where I like to carry my water. But the nice thing about this design, as Pat pointed out, is that the shoulder strap harness is completely removable, wherein the two 'cinching' straps would attach to where the harness attaches instead, still allowing you to cinch down the load and help with stability.

Edited by idester on 05/05/2011 10:57:51 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"A cooler back is a happy back - Thanks Piper" on 05/05/2011 22:29:09 MDT Print View

Is there anything Chris Zimmer can't materialize?

I don't really know what I'm looking at, but it's cool whatever it is. ;-)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Criss Angel? on 05/05/2011 23:30:28 MDT Print View

How did Chris (Criss Angel?) get the shoulder straps to levitate like that for the pictures?

Criss Angel

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Wow! on 05/06/2011 06:56:00 MDT Print View

Well, this is just as slick as it gets! I want one.


Christopher Zimmer
(czimmer) - F

Locale: Ohio
No Criss Angel here! on 05/06/2011 07:42:55 MDT Print View

I'm no Criss Angel, but I have been working on my Jedi mind powers....
It took hours of sitting there staring at the straps and a little fishing line to get them to float. It defiantly helps show how the packs harness system functions, which might not be as clear if the straps were just laying beside the pack or something.

For the photos I stuffed my down quilt into the pack which really made the pack look full and round. The dimensions of the pack are 14" wide by 7" deep by 8" tall with an 8" top collar. The straps running up the front of the pack really help pull the load in toward your back which should reduce bounce. I am looking forward in hearing Doug's impressions of how the pack preforms this weekend!

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Specs? on 05/06/2011 07:48:21 MDT Print View


What would you say the total carrying capacity is (weight? cc's?)? What is the overall weight of the pack itself?


Edited by nerdboy52 on 05/06/2011 07:50:00 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
very nice indeed on 05/06/2011 08:20:38 MDT Print View

for a couple of days should be ideal :)

I also think that if carries decently would be really nice for rougher terrain- your arms would be very unencumbered

I too am interested in volume/weight of this lumbar pack

I've got a very similarly laid out pack- in stark contrast it's 1000D cordura, has two beefy aluminum stays and is covered in molle- volume is ~ 25 liters, weight is close to 3# :)

little different mission in mind of course, but I can tell you that it carries very well w/ up to 35# (and even has carried a few boned out mule deer and antelope- not as comfy)