Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Finished my AT thru-hike Backpack (MYOG)
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
Finished my AT thru-hike Backpack (MYOG) on 05/20/2012 23:13:38 MDT Print View

After a paper prototype to get the sizing right and then 2 cloth prototypes to get everything else right, I finally finished the real deal. I'm pretty excited to test it out tomorrow or Tuesday.

26.3oz without the frame sheet. And the frame sheet, once I trim it, should be 8 oz or so... so a hair over 2 pounds for a big pack that should be able to take on 35-40 pounds easily. 35 is the max I expect and that's with 10 days of food and 3 liters of water. Usually it should be sub 30 pounds, which I think will ride nicely.

Here's me with it on.
Ready to roll

Here's the hip belt. I've never liked the buckles in the middle, so I sewed a thumb-loop on the buckle side with a ladderlock on the pull-strap side. That way it keeps the buckle to one side. Works pretty good and keeps the buckle out of my way. Plus, only one strap to deal with hanging down.
Hipbelt and buckle

Here's 3 shots of the pack by itself.

This is the one non-mesh pocket. It's about 8" deep. Good for the little stuff.

Here's the side showing the line-locs and compression cords.
LineLocs and Cords

And here's the bottom. I tried something different with the way the webbing from the shoulder straps connect with the bottom of the pack. I basically made the webbing from the roll-top enclosure go all the way around the bottom of the back and back up to connect with the shoulder straps. That way, it compresses the bottom of the back as you tighten the shoulder straps. Only problem is that without the frame sheet in it (coming as soon as a trim it), the back tends to buckle against my back if I really crank on the shoulder strap adjustments. The frame sheet should alleviate it, though. Stay tuned...

And for the last pic, the expansion collar extended and open. May be overkill, but I like knowing I can cram stuff in there for short periods of time that might not fit otherwise. And it allows for several rolls to ensure that it's all watertight.
Expansion collar

As I measure it should be in the 2700c.i./45 liter range, but it looks bigger than my girlfriend's Flash 50, so I'm not sure how big it really is. I can't figure how the big companies actually get their figures, since they all seem a bit optimistic.

So... any thoughts? Ideas? Criticisms? I'm excited that I made this, but a little nervous about it too. Ya know, first big MYOG project and all.

Edited by RangyMouse on 05/20/2012 23:16:15 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Finished my AT thru-hike Backpack (MYOG) on 05/21/2012 00:34:52 MDT Print View

Very nice job on your very large AT thru hike pack. I like the idea of the vertical compression strap being part of the the shoulder strap very unique and smart idea.
I remember hauling really heavy packs when I was younger I would some times put my hand behind me to lift and hold the bottom of the pack up to take the weight off my shoulders . With your vertical compression system it accomplishes the same thing it takes the whole load off your shoulders instead of just at the sides.

If the frame sheet alone does not keep the pack from buckling you can also take the frame sheet to shoe shop and have them sew a 2" wide full length webbing pocket for a flat bar aluminum stay on the frame sheet. It will keep it from buckling or a light weight version frame sheet made out of 1/4" thick coroplast aka: corrugated plastic and run aluminum rods in the flutes of the frame sheet.

Edited by socal-nomad on 05/21/2012 00:40:01 MDT.

Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
Shoe shop, eh? on 05/21/2012 01:26:22 MDT Print View

Hmmm... good idea.

I think the HDPE sheet will be substantial,though, especially since I bought one 3/32 thick instead of 1/16. But I do have some 1/4 inch(or maybe they're 3/8... can't remember) aluminum stays I could use if all doesn't work as planned. I wish my sewing machine could sew through that thick stuff...
Some day, maybe...

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
zip pocket on 05/21/2012 12:16:41 MDT Print View

the way you did your zippered pocket was very elegant, that was a good idea. Nice job on the pack. Looks like you're not concerned with bushwacking ripping up pockets, guess that depends on where one hikes. I put one small one inside on the pad sleeve, but actually what you did I think is a better idea, easier to access, and allows for a larger space for various small flat things that really don't fit in a standard light pack with no top pocket.

Now if I could just finish off my first one, heh heh.

Edited by hhope on 05/21/2012 12:17:53 MDT.

Scott Littlefield
(sclittlefield) - F

Locale: Northern Woods of Maine
commercial pack sizing on 05/21/2012 12:44:54 MDT Print View

The commercial packs get the large numbers in such a small pack because they include all external pocket space as well. The extension collar though is usually shown as a separate, alternate size.

That's a really great looking pack! I like the Orange trim. What is the netting you used for pockets? I've been trying to find the best pocket mesh I can - I've got one now I like, but I'm always on the search.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco) - M

Locale: Montana
Nice pack on 05/21/2012 17:06:28 MDT Print View

Looks good. When are you planning on thru-hiking? I'm planning to head to out in February. Maybe I'll see you there. Enjoy!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: AT pack on 05/21/2012 17:18:47 MDT Print View

Looks great. What fabric is the orange stuff?

I'll be interested to here your thoughts on how integrating the shoulder straps into the vertical compression works. A very interesting idea.

I think manufacturers often do a simple volume of a cylinder calculation for size. Of course once the diameter collapses when the pack becomes more of a rectangle the useable volume ends up being much less.

Scott Simcox
(Simco) - F - M

Locale: Nashville
Re: Finished my AT thru-hike Backpack (MYOG) on 05/21/2012 22:37:01 MDT Print View

That looks awesome. If I ran into you on the trail I'd make you sit and tell me all about it.

Is your 10-day preparation for the 100 mile?

Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
Re: re: AT pack on 05/22/2012 07:43:45 MDT Print View

Harald: Thanks! I wanted a small pocket on the outside that would be easy to get to without opening the bag,

Scott: The mesh I used was the medium hand poly mesh from OWF.

James: Me and my partner will be hitting Katahdin June 19th to start our southbound hike.

David: The Orange fabric is 1000d Cordura. Got it on sale from RockyWoods, same place I got the Xpac VX21.

Scott: Yes, it is for the 100 mile wilderness, even though there is now a stop there that can be used. Me and my partner wanted to still carry enough to get us through the whole thing. Not sure, now, why we decided that, heh.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Awesome pack on 05/22/2012 07:54:43 MDT Print View

Dude, great looking pack! I can't wait to see your quilt now... :)

Edited by Stick on 05/22/2012 07:55:26 MDT.

Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
More pics and shout out to DIY Gear Supply on 05/22/2012 07:56:25 MDT Print View

Here's a couple more pics that show the pack on me, with not so large a load. I realize how big it looks in the first pics, with the collar extended a bit.




Still pretty good size, but man, does it ever feel good on my back.

BTW, I want to publicly thank Scott from DIY Gear Supply. I had something mess up with Paypal and my shipping address was changed to four addresses ago, so my order was lost. I emailed him and explained what had happened. He worked with me to get me another order fast, and was extremely easy to work with. If not for him, this pack would have not been as satisfying to build. So, Thanks, Scott! (not by any chance a Scott that's already commented are you?)

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: More pics and shout out to DIY Gear Supply on 05/22/2012 08:17:36 MDT Print View

That looks really nice, good job!

I normally wouldn't critisize a finished project, but, maybe for the next one or for someone else?

Shouldn't the shoulder straps be closer together where they connect to the pack?

And if they angled out, away from each other,

then where they layed against your shoulders they would be more flat

I just noticed the first picture where it looked like the strap was flat against your shoulder next to your neck but up a little on the side next to your arm

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: More pics and shout out to DIY Gear Supply on 05/22/2012 08:31:11 MDT Print View

Look at

Steve C

Locale: sierra nevada
strap angle on 05/22/2012 09:41:34 MDT Print View

From the first set of pictures posted, looks to me like the straps are angled away from each other. As to how far they are from each other, seems like that would vary from person to person. I am tall and skinny with a pencil neck, I have a friend who is shorter and thicker (ex football player) and his neck is as big around as my thigh. Straps placed to fit me would certainly be uncomfortable for him.

Edited by smit on 05/22/2012 13:01:27 MDT.

Sean Rhoades

Locale: WV
Re: More pics and shout out to DIY Gear Supply on 05/22/2012 12:05:16 MDT Print View

Yea that's him. Great guy to deal with, and you can't beat the prices man. Anyway, the pack looks awesome man. Looking forward to seeing your quilt as well. I too picked up some 8D, M50 and Apex for a summer quilt. I'm excited to get started on it.

Scott Simcox
(Simco) - F - M

Locale: Nashville
Re: Finished my AT thru-hike Backpack (MYOG) on 05/22/2012 14:59:15 MDT Print View

I'll be heading North in a couple weeks to finish off my trip.
Probably run into you mid-July.

Dion Dixon

Locale: Blue Ridge Mtns.
So... Frame sheet made a HUGE difference on 05/31/2012 22:48:17 MDT Print View

So, I finally trimmed the framesheet and slipped it into the pack and me and the GF slipped off into the woods to check it out.

Man! What a difference it made. The pack no longer buckles against my back, but it really does compress everything when I tighten the shoulder straps. Very stable with 34 lbs, and very comfortable. I felt like everything was pulled tight to my hips. And instead of feeling like tightening the shoulder straps was a balance game against the hip belt... It just felt more secure the more I tightened it.

The thing I do not like, is that going with the 3/32 framesheet, the pack ended up, (with attendant hip-belt pockets, and shoulder-strap pocket) being a hair over 2 1/2 pounds. With a 1/16 frame sheet I can knock off almost 4oz., I think. And, I think a 1/16 framesheet would be plenty. This thing seems impervious to weight, as it is.

Still, Even with the thicker framesheet, it's better than my old 60L pack that weighed almost 6 pounds!

Now, I am no longer nervous about the hike. I'm only excited to see how well this pack carries and wears.