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Backpack - back foam and frame sheets
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Eric Parsons
(EricP) - F

Locale: Alaska
Backpack - back foam and frame sheets on 01/16/2007 18:24:38 MST Print View

Ok, so my next project is a new backpack. Never done it before. Its going to be used for backcountry skiing and mountaineering, so it dosent fall into the ultra light category since it will need to hold quite a bit of weight.

For those who have made packs with "structure" what kind of padding have you used for the back. I was thinking of using a strong mesh, then foam, then the pack material. I know I know... real men just use clothing, efficient packing and their ground pad for back comfort.. well I'll likely be wearing all my clothes when using this pack or may not be doing an overnighter so I'm not going that route.

Next I'm looking for frame sheet ideas, derlon rods? lite plastic sheets? I'm open to ides, and then where do you buy them?

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: Backpack - back foam and frame sheets on 01/18/2007 16:06:26 MST Print View

Eric, You might try a kitchen/resturant supply place for those solid , flexible plastic sheeting type cutting boards. This would allow you to cut to size and perforate it where you wanted for straps, ventilation,etc.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Backpack - back foam and frame sheets on 01/18/2007 20:28:28 MST Print View

I presume you want a frame because you plan to use a hip belt. See Dr. Jordan's article Quantitative Analysis of Backpack Suspension Performance at this site.

The lightest structure I know of, in the form of stays to make the hip belt work better, if you use a hipbelt, would be carbon fiber tubes. Arrow shafts from a discount sporting goods store are the cheapest, easiest source. Next would be Easton aluminum arrow shafts, same source. The purpose of the stays is to maintain the distance between the shoulder straps and hip belt hangers. If you don't overdo the casings for the stays, you can probably add them to your pack for less than 2 ounces of extra weight.

Eric Parsons
(EricP) - F

Locale: Alaska
Thanks on 01/20/2007 00:57:55 MST Print View

Gene, Vic,
Both Great ideas, I'd have never thought of using arrow shafts. I'll let you know what I come up with in the end.

Joe Federici
(need2boat) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Backpack - back foam and frame sheets on 01/21/2007 08:57:49 MST Print View


Not sure if you have ever seen what a Golite frame sheet looks like. It's made from the same plactic board they use in those white postal boxes you see in the post office.

I did the same kind of thing. At a good art shop you can by a sheet of pastic board that's not quite a stiff as the stuff golite uses but not bad. I then cut that down and used thin hollow brass tubes that fit into slots in the board. After that I bent it as needed and used black electrical tape dull the edges.

I've been using this in my home made pack for some time and like it. I've used in both inside the pack and also in the sleeping pad holder that acks as a foam for your pack.

my pack is a take off of GG G6 and you can download directions from there site.

I've also recently started working with 3-D mesh that you can buy from This may be something you want to look at. I've been using it for my sholder pads. Most of the current manufactures do the same so I'm sure you've seen it.

This is the frame sheet
Frame sheet

here I've got it on the outsdie but I would normally put a piece of foam I use to sit on infront so this is not resting on my back
empty pack with sheeet in back.

At this point I've taken to putting the sheet on the inside of the pack. I've considered putting a pocket inside the pack for it like golite but I don't see the point it does not move around unless the pack it emplty.

I carry about 18 pounds in the summer with food for a weekend in the winter that's about 2 punds more.