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Question, outside pocket material
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Daniel Sandström
Question, outside pocket material on 09/01/2011 00:25:01 MDT Print View


I'm planning my second MYOG pack, it will have outside pockets. Unfortunately I don't have a huge experience of outside pockets, just my Exos58. The Exos is a true mesh monster in my opinion, good and bad. The bad beeing durability. I am afraid that it will catch onto something while bushwacking, not to mention travel, busses, trains, airplanes (handlers).

Mesh vs lycra vs pack fabric (x-pac/dyneema etc)? Design?
Pros, cons, experience.

I have done some digging in the forums but haven't come across a specific thread on this subject so I thought it might be of some interest to others as well. I know there's knowledge and experience in this forum.

Thank's in advance.
Daniel Sandström

(Off topic, first pack)

Edited by on 09/01/2011 00:26:13 MDT.

Shane Bailey
Re: Question, outside pocket material on 09/01/2011 07:11:29 MDT Print View

After trying many different types of fabric as outside pockets, my favorite is now a durable nylon fabric, but only with a bulge type of construction (opposed to pleats) and split up into smaller pockets rather than one big pocket.


Pros: Drains very well. Some can be stretchy. Can see things in the pocket. Lightweight.

Cons: Certain kinds don't stretch much. Not too durable, unless you use heavier, beefier mesh.

Experience: I love being able to see things in the pockets and having water easily drain from the pockets, but I find durability to be an issue.


Pros: Drains well. Very stretchy. Can kind of see things in the pocket. Pretty durable.

Cons: Heavy. Not quite as durable as Dyneema X types of fabric. Not the easiest to work with.

Experience: Despite the weight, I prefer Lycra over lightweight Mesh for the extra stretchiness and durability.

Dyneema X type of fabric

Pros: Very durable. Easy to work with. Fairly lightweight.

Cons: Doesn't drain well. Doesn't stretch much. Can't see things in the pocket.

Experience: This has been my favorite pocket material, because I like having my pockets very durable. However, I only like them as pockets when they are constructed large enough to compensate for the lack of stretch, and when they are split up into multiple pockets instead of one big pocket, because it's much harder to find things in one big pocket that you can't see through.

Bulge Construction - This is where you cut squares out of the two bottom corners of the pocket and then sew the cut together. Similar to a lot water bottle pockets.

Pros: More volume for non-stretchy fabrics.

Cons: If the pocket is close to the bottom of the pack, it can allow the pocket fabric to come into contact with the ground more often.

Experience: I prefer this with nylon fabrics as pockets for the extra volume. When constructing, be sure to measure out the pocket big enough to compensate for the cut squares.

Pleat Construction - This is where you fold the bottom of the fabric upon itself and stitch it in place.

Pros: Keeps the pocket off the ground more than the bulge. I think it looks nice with mesh.

Cons: Less volume at the bottom of the pocket.

Experience: I would only use this type of pocket construction for very stretchy materials like Lycra. Otherwise, I find myself wanting more volume at the bottom of the pocket.

Well, that is my take on it. I may have left out a few pros and cons with some things that others may think of, but hopefully this will help you some.

Edit: I forgot to add that you can use different fabrics for different parts of the pockets if you desire more stretchiness, durability, drainage, etc. in certain areas. And you can always use grommets or some type of drainage hole for non-draining fabrics.

Edited by Shane112510 on 09/01/2011 07:38:18 MDT.

Shane Bailey
Re: Question, outside pocket material on 09/01/2011 07:41:32 MDT Print View

Also, pocket closure is also something to think about, because there are pros and cons to the different options. I will comment on that later, but I need to go to work right now.

Christopher Zimmer
(czimmer) - F

Locale: Ohio
outside pocket material on 09/01/2011 08:05:05 MDT Print View

Nice write up Shane! I like to use a durable mesh for my mesh pockets with a pleated bottom, I find this works best for mesh. For dyneema and xpac pockets I like to add a bottom to the pocket. I cut the fabric the same as I would to a pleated pocket but also cut out an addional rectangle for the bottom of the pocket and sew it onto the middle of upper pocket. When you sew the edges of the pockets onto the pack it makes a hole on each corner which works great for draining. I make sure to roll the open edges and run a line of stitching so there are no raw edges of fabric. It had worked great for me and is very durable and gives you lots of volume in the pockets.

Daniel Sandström
Re: Re: Question, outside pocket material on 09/01/2011 12:24:07 MDT Print View

Great wisdom. Just what I was looking for. Thank you Shane. Looking forward to the comments on closure as well.

Hope there will be more comments, I like when you find these detail threads when planning a project.


Kristin Fiebelkorn
(kushbaby) - MLife

Locale: South Texas
Screen material for pockets? on 09/01/2011 17:48:39 MDT Print View

I'm so glad you posted this - I was about to myself. I am "hacking" an old, tough, beloved Jansport daypack/summit pack into an UL pack. It is frameless with the perfect shape and volume (2750c.i. - 2450 in main compartment and 300 in top pocket), and it was 30oz. unmodified. After taking a pair of scissors to it (Mike Clelland's book in hand), it is now 22oz. It looks like it'll be great for short trips. Only one problem - except for the top closure pocket, it has no pockets at all (never did, except a useless torn vertical center pocket that opens along the side that I removed). So I was wondering how to add pockets and and what to use.

In the MYOG recycling spirit, I found some large scraps of black synthetic screen material in my storage/tool room that was left over after replacing a window screen. While not super-light, it is seriously durable stuff. I was thinking of sewing some onto the sides in slanting the pockets like in the ULA packs to hold water bottles/bladders, and sew a piece of cord into the seam at the top with a cord lock to control the opening. Not sure if I have enough material for a big back pocket, but I could certainly make some shoulder strap and hip strap pockets... The question is, should they be removable? (This changes design... Hmmm...)

Has anyone tried working with this screen material stuff?