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Newbi on board, looking for a few helpful tips.
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Josh Panelle
(JPanelle11) - F
Newbi on board, looking for a few helpful tips. on 11/30/2011 23:38:46 MST Print View

Hello to everyone my name is Josh. I am looking to get into the light backpacking game! I am a former Marine so I am used to heavy packs and am currently using an old school Alice pack (med bag) for my rig. With that being said I am looking into starting to make my own gear not only because of the prices but for the simple fact of making my own works of art and actually working!

I am currently using a "USGI MILITARY BEDNET POP UP TENT" as shelter, a military issue cold weather sleeping bag, and a inflatable sleeping mat that I picked up on a training exercise . None of the items are a must keep for me so I guess the real question is who is going to point me in the right direction? I am looking for a sewing machine to start some smaller tasks to get used to the machine before taking on large projects.

The projects I would like to take on would be making my own pack, shelter, and maybe a hammock. It is late and my mind is a bit of a miss so I will leave you with this small bit of information about myself. I will have a full gear list up so you can see what I am working with and maybe some of you can help me with advice! Thanks in advance,


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Newbi on board, looking for a few helpful tips. on 12/01/2011 08:10:32 MST Print View

Look at recent threads on MYOG forum

Many descriptions of packs, shelters, hammocks, and links to more complete descriptions

And sewing machine discussions

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Hammock on 12/01/2011 18:54:18 MST Print View

I made my buddy a hammock a while back using this has a guide

I ended up not using a lot of the thoughts he put forth, but the instructions were pretty good.

I am starting to a new backpack and will be making a guide for it once I finish. It will be about 25L+. It may take me a while to get it up though, because I have to finish up my final exams at the same time, so I am pretty exhausted.

Josh Panelle
(JPanelle11) - F
Thanks on 12/01/2011 22:21:34 MST Print View

Thanks guys! Yeah I for sure want to start with guides so I can get the feel before I jump into anything crazy. Anyone know of a list of items to buy for constructing projects? I am sure I will need a yard stick and some other items I just don't want to keep making trips back and forth for items I neglected to get. Thanks again,


Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
beginning gear making on 12/02/2011 17:18:37 MST Print View

You might want to consider kits for your first couple of projects, before you start designing and making stuff from scratch. So as to learn the basics with less aggravation. Suggest starting with smaller items. And later on you can create new construction technigues and eliminate a lot of steps that are SOP for making clothing, but are not really needed for making gear.

Quest Outfitters has a number of kits, as do most of the materials suppliers we use.
You should be able to find lists of them on this site.

Andrew McAlister
(mcalista) - F
Practise first on 12/03/2011 04:24:32 MST Print View

One thing that is worth remembering is that a lot of ultralight fabrics are quite expensive. It can be a good idea to experiment with patterns, designs and techniques with some cheaper fabrics, before playing around with something like cuben fiber.

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Supplies on 12/03/2011 09:40:41 MST Print View

I don't think kits are necessary, but they can help you get all the supplies you need without leaving things out. I still sometimes forget to order some small piece of hardware, like a buckle, and kick myself when I have to pay shipping for just that (or worse, convince myself to buy other fabric too to make it "better").

The best part of kits and guides is that they give you nice step by step instructions so you don't forget one small step, like adding a loop for shockcord as you sew up the side of a backpack.

The only problem with kits is that I feel they force you to purchase more expensive fabric than you may have to. Thruhiker has great kits, but they have expensive fabric, for example. I prefer to purchase supplies from DIYGearSupply instead when I am prototyping or trying something totally new, and purchase their seconds fabric. Also, Dimension Polyant almost always has seconds for sale at $3 or $4 dollars a yard. Even buying 10 yards (their minimum to avoid a $20 cutting fee) is barely more than a yard of Dyneema X, and these can be good fabrics for packs.

As for supplies, the things I often use are:

Markers of some kind. I often use sharpies, but that is very permanent, and I am open to other options.

A couple of yard sticks.

A right angle ruler. I love this thing. It helps me create straight lines so much easier than anything else I have used before. Mine is just a steel one that is 1'x 10", I think.

And if you haven't sewn before, one of those beginner kits with fabric scissors, pins, a 60" tape measure and seam ripper are nice. If you are anything like me, get a seam ripper. I use it a lot. Especially when I am trying new projects.