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Childs BackPack project
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Lewis Plowman
(Lewisme) - F
Childs BackPack project on 01/19/2012 04:26:01 MST Print View

Hi all, I’ve been following this website and forum and really impressed with the community on here.
I’m posting my first question now that I hope you can help me with.

Basically I’m designing and making a Backpack for children with type 1 Diabetes as a University project. Currently I’m putting together a 'material wall’ of samples. The materials need to be durable, colourful and be child friendly; also it will need to be well insulated within the section containing the diabetic equipment.

If anyone has any good material recommendations and UK suppliers I can contact this would be greatly appreciated. Or any other advice on stitching, zips, straps etc. then it would be of a great help.


Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Re: Childs BackPack project on 01/19/2012 06:53:54 MST Print View

Sounds like an interesting project. Is this theory based, or will it be executed? Also, are we talking about one backpack or hundreds? That could make a difference in how cost effective working with some suppliers would be.

As for materials, most outdoors materials are not made into very exciting colors, but I have seen some of the XPac fabric that Dimension Polyant makes make in brighter reds, greens and orange. You can see some info on a seller at Rockywoods.

They make for some very nice looking packs. I'm not sure what other colors they make. Depending on the size of orders, some companies will allow you to choose a color, but you have to order quite a bit of fabric.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Kids pack on 01/19/2012 09:05:33 MST Print View

I agree, this sounds like a very interesting project. Concerning an insulated compartment-- and I preface this by saying that I am not sure of everything a type 1 diabetic would need to carry-- but I could imagine a zippered pouch insulated with reflectix and lined with a soft fabric (fleece, microfiber, etc). This would best protect the items and maintain sufficient insulation. This could be integrated into the pack lid or offered as a separately attachable pouch. I am picturing something LOOSELY similar to the way a Freezer-bag cozy is insulated and lined. The lining, of course, would not particulary need to be 'outdoor fabric' and therefore would offer a wider range of pattern/design options.

I'll be interested to hear the varied ideas that this project could prompt.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Kids pack on 01/19/2012 11:48:13 MST Print View

I agree with Chris. Also if you're looking to make a ton of backpacks then it shouldn't be too hard to special order bright colors from the textile manufacturers.

If more small scale then many of the waterproof fabrics like heavier silnylon, PU coated ripstop, XPac, and packcloths are often available in bright colors.

Lewis Plowman
(Lewisme) - F
:) on 01/20/2012 09:10:48 MST Print View

Thanks for all your good feedback.

For my project I've approached and am now working with the charity organization. So this project does have potential to be launched and batch produced, but primarily it is my Uni project for which i need to make a high fidelity fully working prototype.

I guess the outdoor durability of this doesn't have to be as high a level as a hiking backpack but the more weather resistant the better. Gathering a good range of material samples that could potentially work is my current aim.

Also any advise on basic bag construction would be greatly appreciated, I've been taking sewing lessons and will be hiring an industrial sewing machine for 3 months in early March.

I'll see If I can upload some concept images if this helps with any advise you have (need to get the A-okay from the company).

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
sewing advice on 01/20/2012 15:33:08 MST Print View

Backpacks aren't that hard to make. The major thing that is difficult to get right is the order of sewing things together. There are a lot of steps, so the order of doing them is important.

The more simple you make the pack, the easier the order will be to figure out.

For my most recent pack, I decided to simply do a normal stitch and then bind the raw edges of the fabric with grosgrain. I find this easier than using other stitches, but other stitches (like a flat felled) would probably be stronger.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re sewing advice on 01/20/2012 18:16:56 MST Print View

You don't want to try sewing with the really light fabrics like 1.1 oz nylon. They are slippery and harder to work with. I'd suggest starting with something like X pack. Should be stiffer and easier to work with but not so heavy duty your sewing machine can't handle it.

Susan Patten
(Kiwinz) - F
Re: Childs BackPack project on 02/19/2012 20:30:05 MST Print View

Hi there

My 11 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011. We have searched high and low for a backpack that is suitable for him to use everyday, when he is out with his friends, skateboarding, riding etc. It needs to be small but have enough pouches or elastic inside to hold things like his needles, pen, blood tester etc. I would definitely be interested in buying one if you managed to come up with an idea.


sandy boyd
(sandylwes) - F

Locale: eastern washington
pack on 02/19/2012 20:40:46 MST Print View

If nothing else turns up...look here for a custom option, anything you can dream up!!!

good luck

Jennifer McFarlane
(JennyMcFarlane) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
child pack on 02/19/2012 20:47:48 MST Print View

You might want to take a look at the Osprey Manta series, if you have not already
I have a Manta 20, I often use it to pack along things similar to those you mentioned. Lots of pockets to organize things and a sup rising amount of space in a narrow profile pack. It will even hold a lightweight jacket or sweater. It even has a clip for a bike helmet.
My favorite day pack- In the summer I use it as a purse.
Sorry for the thread hijack

Edited by JennyMcFarlane on 02/19/2012 20:49:52 MST.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Childs BackPack project on 02/20/2012 03:24:21 MST Print View

Hi Lewis,

I'm not sure of your target age group. I'd THINK that you'd be looking maybe age 10 and up as being independent in managing their bloods and sugars. By this age most of them are kind of getting past the bright kiddie colours and looking for something a bit 'cooler'.

Apart from that, it sounds great. Don't forget a phone/ipod pocket it.