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Finished First MYOG Pack
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David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 15:25:52 MDT Print View

Finally finished my first MYOG frameless pack. I started the project last fall, then got too swamped to complete until a few days ago. Wanted to make something pretty stripped down, but with enough attachment points to add compression, etc if necessary.

I used dark gray X-Pac (VX07, I think) for front, back and bottom. 70D black silnylon for sides and extension collar. 3D mesh and X-Pac for shoulder straps and hip belt. Grosgrain ribbon for daisy chains, reinforcing shoulder strap connection, and reinforcing internal seams. The "lunch bag" style rolltop has strips of thin plastic sewn in for stiffness.

Side and front compression could be added with cord laced through daisy chains and through loops sewn between back and sides.

There's a small internal "dinky stuff" pouch that also helps hold a pad in place for virtual frame. Made from a scrap of 30D silnylon.







Weight after trimming is 9.4 ounces. Volume as shown is apx. 2000 ci or 32 liters.

Hope to try it out in a few weeks, and use as part of an SUL kit this summer. Any comments welcome.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 15:50:58 MDT Print View

Very nice looking!

3D mesh on inside of waist belt and shoulder straps?

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 15:56:51 MDT Print View

On inside, yes. Shoulder strap is folded back in third pic, showing inside.

Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
sweet! on 03/17/2012 16:16:17 MDT Print View

Looks awesome. You not only win Most Bartacks, but also Longest Bartack. 9oz is a sweet finished weight!

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 17:17:44 MDT Print View

Do you have experience sewing? It looks like it. Nice and clean pack.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 17:51:40 MDT Print View


Nicely Done! I really like the contrast of the gray and black with the yellow thread.

Excellent weight to volume ratio.

What are the H x W x D dimensions?

I recognize the dark gray X-pac as what I think is VX21. A good clue for recognizing VX07 and VX21 is to look for the rip stop grid that is embedded in VX07 X-pac fabric.
VX21 doesn't have the rip stop grid.

Is that yellow Gutermann thread from Quest Outfitters?

You did a really nice job on those straps and I like the design of your roll top closure.

Can we see a picture of the bottom that shows how you closed up the bottom of the pack? How did you make those curved flat felled seams to join the X-pac and silnylon on the pack front/sides? ;-?

Party On,


Michael Pappas
(Mpap89) - F

Locale: bay area
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 18:19:20 MDT Print View

so are the straps just xpac and 3d mesh or is their foam inside? looks great.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Impressive on 03/17/2012 18:35:47 MDT Print View

That's a handsome pack. It has nice clean lines. The seams and overall shape are immaculate and look well-planned. Nice work.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
wow on 03/17/2012 18:48:18 MDT Print View

What a professional job. I am really impressed.

Matthew Black
(mtblack) - F
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/17/2012 20:50:01 MDT Print View

I can only echo the previous comments. That pack looks professionally made and really well though out. Great job.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Thanks on 03/17/2012 21:55:59 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Brian--Fortunately, my mom taught me how to run a sewing machine when I was a kid. Not packs and tents, but enough basics to build on. Still have plenty to learn, though.

Newton--Thanks so much. Your forum posts have been really helpful as I was designing this and thinking about how to make it. IIRC, it was seeing one of your packs with the lunch bag rolltop that convinced me it was a good way to avoid the "horns" effect I'd seen with other rolltops.

I was maybe a little generous with the volume estimate. The actual fabric dimensions are 27" X 12" X 6", or 1944 ci / 31 liters. Closed up as pictured, I measured it at 19" X 12" X 9" (~2000 ci) but of course the corners are rounded. So roughly 30+ liters, depending on how you count.

Thanks for the ID on the fabric. No ripstop on the X-Pac, so VX21 it is. Thread is actually more yellow-green--Gutermann color #712. Found it at my local JoAnn's Fabrics.

Here's a picture of the pack bottom:
As you can see, the back panel wraps around to form the bottom. Seam is right sides together, then bound with folded 7/8" grosgrain on the inside of the pack.

The curved seams aren't really flat felled. If I remember (I did this a few months ago), I used a gathering stitch around the edge of the silnylon panels to turn them under, pressed flat with a low temp iron, then attached to the X-Pac with a double row of top stitching. This leaves a little raw edge on the inside of the pack, but since I cut all the pieces with a hot knife, I don't think it will be too big a deal.

Michael--Straps are just X-Pac and 3D mesh, no foam. I've got a smaller/heavier commercial pack with straps like this (Vaude Rock Comfort 25), and have carried it comfortably with ~15-20#.

Once again, thanks to all for the comments and encouragement.

Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
Very Nice! on 03/17/2012 23:47:19 MDT Print View

Fantastic job, David!

Very clean. And I totally dig the visual pop the thread color gives the pack.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
+1 on 03/18/2012 00:21:45 MDT Print View

Awesome Pack!

Clint Hewitt
(WalkSoftly33) - F

Locale: New England
Nice on 03/18/2012 03:30:50 MDT Print View

Sweet looking pack

I like the way you wrapped the back panel down for the bottom.

How do you carry your water?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Thanks on 03/18/2012 07:40:27 MDT Print View

Hi David,

"... the lunch bag rolltop...

IMHO you seem to have perfected the idea and used no velcro in your design. What I see is a neat and clean example of a simple and easy to use top closure.

Thanks for posting the picture of the pack bottom. It shows real quality workmanship and a well though out design.

"The curved seams..."

Thanks for the explanation on how you stitched the sides. It had this old man wondering, "How'd he do that!?!?!?". LOL

The design of the sides and the eye catching contrast of the thread gains you membership in the SAA (Stitch Artisans Association). ;-)

"...since I cut all the pieces with a hot knife..."

Silnylon doesn't unravel a whole lot even when cut just using scissors IME. Since you used a hot knife method I don't think you'll have any problems with that edge.

"...Straps are just X-Pac and 3D mesh, no foam".

I've recently made the move to this kind of shoulder straps. With heavier loads I try to support the weight on my hips with the use of a hip belt. I try to use the shoulder straps only to keep the pack close to my back. I'd like to be able to achieve a 70 / 30 split or better with the majority of the weight on my hips. In any event moving to this strap design encourages me to lower the overall weight of my "kit" and reduces the weight of the pack itself.

Clint asked,

"How do you carry your water"?

Do you have any plans to add shockcord and toggles to the webbing on the front of your shoulder straps to carry a couple of bottles?

I hope you enjoy your pack as much as we are enjoying the pictures of it. Load it up and get out and hike. ;-)

Party On,


Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/18/2012 09:21:12 MDT Print View

Really nice looking pack I really like the contour design of the shoulder straps. I also like the according plastic stiffeners in the roll top makes it easier to roll and hold ope for packing.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Thanks on 03/18/2012 12:48:46 MDT Print View

Thanks again for all the compliments on the pack--esp. encouraging coming from those whose designs and sewing skills I've always admired on these forums.

About the water: I set up the daisy chains on the shoulder straps so I could carry bottles there (as well as add a sternum strap). I figured I could also add a mesh side pocket (maybe with mitten hooks clipped to the front daisy chains and grosgrain loops sewn between back and side panels).

I'm not sure I'll need these, though. My water carrying style has been evolving--I used to swear by a Platy w/ hydration hose, but ditched that in favor of a Gatorade bottle a couple years ago. With a 20-25 liter pack, I carried the bottle in a side pocket (no room in the main bag) but found I really only drank when refilling, and when taking a five minute break every 1-2 hours, rather than drinking on the go. That's worked pretty well, even in hot, dry conditions. So now I'm thinking I'll just carry the bottle (or Platy soft bottle) in the main pack bag, since the new pack has more room. A minimal kit makes it pretty easy to pack and re-pack, and I like how clean it keeps the pack silhouette.

A few years ago, I was hiking in Japan with a guy in his 70s--a pretty serious mountain climber (he'd lost a toe on a successful solo summit of Denali). He was really intrigued with my Platy and hose, and I was impressed with how simple and effective carrying a bottle inside the pack and taking a break every now and then was. Which, of course, is pretty much how I'd done it before getting a bladder and hose.

I've got the new pack loaded and am jonesing to get out, but it's looking like early April before I can fit something in

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Finished First MYOG Pack on 03/18/2012 18:54:01 MDT Print View

Slick pack David. I really like the color choice and lunch bag closure. Newton definitely came up with a winner there. I'm working on a slight twist to that closure on a new pack.

I concur with Newton. You've earned your way into the SAA. Congrats!

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
My First MYOG Pack After Six Weeks Use on 05/02/2012 22:39:43 MDT Print View

Had my pack out on the trail for the first time this weekend--a three-day, 45 mile hike with my daughter in the Hells Canyon Wilderness along the Idaho Snake River Trail. Prior to that, I was using it as my daily commuter bag, apx. 45 minute walk/day with a couple steep hill climbs (on pavement) and rocky ground around railroad right-of-way. Also used it as a personal carry-on for flight. First impressions:

>Lunch bag closure works great. I carried my water bottle inside the pack hiking, so was opening/closing the top at least twice per hour. Hiking 8-10 hours/day the closure worked perfectly every time, with no fiddle-factor. Ditto for everyday use.
>I've been using a torso-length CCF pad, cut to fold flat as virtual frame. Effective (starting weight at trailhead was about 13#, including food and a liter of water)--also leave the CCF in place for daily commute (with laptop and books, I'm usually carrying at least as much as on the trail). However, sleeping on CCF for two nights convinced me I'll be going back to my Prolite or NeoAir. I'll probably cut a CCF sit pad to take its place, as I've found the Prolite alone is too floppy.
>Haven't found the need for any compression (although I provided side loops and front daisy chains for it). On the next version, I may drop the daisy chains, or use just a single daisy chain running down the center below the Y-strap.
>Didn't use the hipbelt hiking, and didn't miss it. Next version will prob. just have a removable 3/4" strap. If I do use the wider belt again, I'll go with wrap-style, rather than wing-style. I'm thinking I'll anchor the belt ends about 6-7" apart--that's the portion of the center of the pack that was touching my back while hiking (judging from sweat stains).
>Dinky-stuff pouch that doubles as sleeve for top of CCF pad worked great as pad sleeve, but not deep enough to hold much. Need to add ~2" of depth.
>Overall, lack of "features" wasn't a lack at all.
>Attachment angle of shoulder straps and distance between at attachment was about right. Strap width made for comfortable carry (at least to 10-15#), even when the only padding is 3D mesh.
>Shoulder straps bunch slightly at the outside edge where the sternum strap attaches. Could either accentuate the inward curve of the strap, or set the grosgrain daisy chain closer to the inside edge or both. Also, it feels like I'm relying a little too much on the sternum strap for a comfortable fit.
>Hiking weather this last weekend was fair, but I've walked back and forth to work through some moderate to heavy rain. Seam between extension collar and main bag leaks, at least partly because it should lap the other direction to shingle water away.
>Stitching is holding up, but that's due to bar tacks and double top-stitching. Should have used heavier thread for main (concealed) seams, and used the thinner Sew-All (tex30) only where I wanted the color contrast.
>Gussets to connect shoulder strap webbing to pack bag prob. isn't necessary, but would look better.

Bottom line: I'm happy with the pack, esp. as a first effort. It'll probably be my go-to this year, for trips up to 5-6 days. But I think at least one more pass will produce noticeable improvements.

Edited by DavidDrake on 05/02/2012 22:43:19 MDT.