Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/13/2007 01:12:19 MST Print View

Cuben Fiber Pack Bag for a Winter Hike.
Finished Pack Bag weighs 2.54 ounces.

I start each pack with a full size mock-up.

I am using a type of Cuben Fiber with a 4-way cord pattern. This fiber is really strong and still only weighs 0.49 ounces per squard yard.

This is the finished "pouch" for my Snow Shoes.

Lots of small parts go into a pack.

This is the packs front pocket with the "pouch" for the Snow Shoes sewn on to it.

Side panels for the pack.

The finished pack bag is 6" x 13.5" x20". The front pocket is 13.5" x18" x 2". The roll top is 12" tall.

The pack with stuff in it and with the Snow Shoes attached.

Cuben packs small and the Cuben Pack Bag weighs 2.54 ounces.

Edited by bfornshell on 01/13/2007 01:15:12 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/13/2007 02:52:17 MST Print View

Ah...The Master at work! Very instructive. Nice design process ("We don't need no stinkin' CAD/CAM!!!").

Bill, what's your take on Thru-Hike durability? If anyone could pull it off, i bet you can, but are you planning on periodic replacement of your Cuben gear for your Thru-Hike?
[sorry, if i missed (or forgot) your Posts that might have addressed this issue]?

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Cuben pack bag on 01/13/2007 07:43:07 MST Print View

I like it! Does the frame unfold into a geodesic-dome tent framework?

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/13/2007 10:25:01 MST Print View

Bill, what a stunningly obvious way to prototype your design. Building a cardboard mock-up is a great idea.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/13/2007 12:14:41 MST Print View

pj - Robert - Phil:
Thanks for the nice comments.

I have a great computer(s) (3 - Apples) but don't have a Cad / Cam program. I would rather make a full size mock-up and attach all the loops, straps, hardware, etc and tape or glue them where I think I want them. Then I decide how and when to sew them on the pack panels. I try and figure out where and when to sew stuff together so it will be as strong as possible.

This Cuben Fiber is the strongest I have worked with so far. I have 3 other Cuben products that are even stronger. The price for stronger fiber is extra weight. I have never had a problem with the lighter Cuben fiber. One of the packs I used on my GA Hike was made out of the very light stuff and some of same material this pack uses. The only pack I have owned that tore in a spot was from me doing a swan dive downhill after tripping over a hidden tree root. I fell on my side - on the pack - and ripped a tear in it about 7" long. My pack liner was OK and kept everything in my pack from falling out. I did put some duct tape on the tear and went on.

The real test will come on a long hike and may answer pj's question "Thru-Hike durability". I will have a back up for my Cuben items if I need or want to change stuff out. I will go to a smaller pack as soon as I am able to drop some of the cold weather gear.

The frame doesn't morph into a tent - yet. I am still working on the frame but it will turn into a way to hold one of my trekking poles with my Gorillapod wrapped around the top of it holding my camera.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/13/2007 13:05:03 MST Print View

Total awe. speechless wonder ... there needs to be an award for this kind of stuff. bd

E. A.
(yalacasa) - F

Locale: Cheeseland-Midwest
External Frame? on 01/14/2007 10:07:13 MST Print View

Bill, Utterly amazed!... Again and again...

I have previously read the thread and looked at the pictures when you developed the External frame. I forget why you still use it. Was it primarily for ventilation? It was my understanding that external frames are most advantageous when hauling big (heavy) loads. Are there more advantages I am not aware of?

You truly are a master craftsman.


Edited by yalacasa on 01/14/2007 10:08:49 MST.

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Wow on 01/14/2007 11:17:47 MST Print View

Wow. Just plain wow. I can't really say much more than that.


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
External Frame for Cuben Pack BagExternal Frame for the Cuben Pack Bag on 01/14/2007 12:28:49 MST Print View

External Frame for the Cuben Pack Bag

Thanks "e" for your nice comments and questions.
Question from "e":

I have previously read the thread and looked at the pictures when you developed the External frame. I forget why you still use it. Was it primarily for ventilation? It was my understanding that external frames are most advantageous when hauling big (heavy) loads. Are there more advantages I am not aware of?


I have always liked the external frame for the reasons you stated and a few more.

Ventilation for me is first on the list but I think the way the External Frame carries a pack bag is also just better. With the right frame I can just change pack bags for the type of hiking I am going to be doing.

For back ventilation I believe that if I can move my pack bag a couple inches or so away from my back the "Highly Engineered Fabric" in the garment on my back will be able to do what I expected and paid for it to do. When you put a Internal Frame Pack or Pad Supported Pack on your back, you all but kill the fabric's ability to breath and deal with your sweat / heat. I will say that several pack makers have started to design ways to allow some venting to take place between their packs and your back. I am not sure how good their ideas are working. It is a step in the right direction. There was a time that garments were tested and the review would talk about how well they worked under a pack or didn't and most didn't. Now most reviews have removed comments about the item while wearing a pack.

For an External Frame to work in todays 'Light Pack" world it has to be very light. My lightest External Frame so far was about 7 ounces. It was great for a pack weight of about 15 pounds total. The problem at that time was my pack weight was not that low. I also wanted the frame to work for cold weather hiking when the weight and pack volume goes up.

I have tried a lot of different materials and designs. They all work but were not what I am looking for.

The frame in the pictures is a work in progress. This frame has a lot of new ideas but is not made with the lightest materials. It is a design "test" mule. After some testing I will decide what worked and what didn't and then make a new version out of lighter materials.

I can make a pack bag out of different Cuben Fiber that weigh from less than 1 ounce (G6 size) to 2.5 to 3 ounce like the bag in this thread. If you look at all the black loops, webbing, hardware etc. on the pack bag - they alone add up to a little over 1 ounce.

My External Frame goal is for a frame that weighs around 1 pound and that "could" carry as much as 20 to 25 pounds if necessary. The External Frame pictured here is about 1.75 pounds. It has no Titanium in it but the next version will. When I am able to combine a good design with Titanium and Carbon Fiber Composts I will get to my one pound goal.

Joe Federici
(need2boat) - F

Locale: North East
Snowshoe pouch on 01/14/2007 14:44:47 MST Print View


What's your idea behind the snowshoe holder blocking the rear pocket. Is your intent to use the pocket then hang the S.S infront of them. I'm in the process of making a new pack and looking for ideas on placement.

Currently I'm carrying one on each side but I hate the loose a spot for my water.

I tired puttting then on top but didn't like the way it carried. I like your idea of hanging them off the back but wasn't how the weight would feel.


(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
External frame for cuben bag on 01/14/2007 14:52:17 MST Print View

Bill, I have no doubt that at some time in the past you've looked at the LuxuryLite site, but with the hope it can jar another idea, here's part of what it says: "LuxuryLite® Frame Set: Weight of the carbon/aluminum frame alone with no belts or Seat Pad is 10 ounces.
The frame is made with two telescoping pieces that do not lock into place like traditional external frames. The lower frame section is made from ultralight Easton aluminum tubing with epoxy bonded joints. The upper frame piece is epoxy-bonded carbon tubing so it's never hot in summer or cold in winter when you grab it. The larger upper carbon vertical tubes slide over the smaller lower aluminum tubes to keep dust and dirt out. Each vertical tube has an internal cord you can tie shorter, if you wish, to limit the frame extension." Perhaps you could even scavenge pieces of this frame and insert them in yours?

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
e-frame hipbelt? on 01/15/2007 12:26:10 MST Print View


What is your current hipbelt made out of?

Steve Smith
(bardsandwarriors) - F

Locale: Wales
Noisy? on 01/19/2007 11:06:09 MST Print View

Bill, that is one awesome pack! You are an inspiration.

My only concern would be the noise. Does it crackle much as you walk along; and do you think it would be annoying in delicate situations, eg. if you want to creep up on an insect to study it - the noise might scare it off?


Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Cuben Pack Bag - 2.54 ounces on 01/19/2007 12:28:16 MST Print View

Steve 1,

Thanks for the nice comment about the pack.

Are you sure the noise was not from my old bones creaking when I walk?

The Cuben is not that noisy. I don't consider it at all noisy. The more you use it the quieter it gets. If you have "wax" paper in the UK get a piece about 12" square. Wad it up and them smooth it out. Do that a few times and each time you do that it gets quieter. The Cuben is about like that. The feel of Cuben is also a lot like the wax paper after you wad and smooth it a few times. I think you would be the only person that can answer your question.

For me the extra weight of a so called quieter (?) material is not an option.

Richard Nelridge
(naturephoto1) - M

Locale: Eastern Pennsylvania
Cuben Pack Bag on 01/19/2007 14:10:13 MST Print View

Hi Bill,

As usual, you have done a remarkable job. Pack looks super. Hope it carries well and stands up to the abuse. Can't hide the contents too well however due to the translucent fabric.