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The Black and White pack
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
The Black and White pack on 06/08/2012 08:28:07 MDT Print View


I recently completed a new pack. Here is a picture.


100% DX-40, which was a dream to work with and promises to perhaps be the ultimate pack material (for me).

More pictures can be found here:


Edited by DaveC on 06/08/2012 09:14:10 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: The Black and White pack on 06/08/2012 08:35:54 MDT Print View

Nice Pack.

Edited by greg23 on 06/08/2012 21:21:44 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
The Black and White pack on 06/08/2012 08:43:38 MDT Print View

Very cool pack design and fine craftsmanship on your black and white pack. I really like how you pushed the design envelope of our packs to be more contoured like a store bought pack. Instead of the old square packs design we were doing a few years back.
Great design again,

Avery S
ohmahgah on 06/08/2012 16:13:23 MDT Print View

This is the pack I want to make... I have been going through a lot of ideas and working on my first practice pack (out of cheap duck cloth remnants), but this is incredibly close to what I want. I was even thinking about using the MHW hipbelt! Now I have instructions! Thank you!

Now to learn to sew properly...

Steve C

Locale: sierra nevada
B&W pack on 06/08/2012 19:57:45 MDT Print View

Looks beautiful, thanks for including the photos of its development and your reasons for why you did what ya did.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: B&W pack on 06/08/2012 20:17:15 MDT Print View

Nice HMG Porter.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: B&W pack on 06/10/2012 19:34:35 MDT Print View

Thanks Avery. Packs are fairly easy to make, just take your time and plan ahead and things should go fairly smoothly. One disadvantage of Dimension-P laminates is that needle holes do not self heal at all. When I've had to use the seam ripper on past packs the resulting damage often needs to be seam coated afterwards, so as a fabric it's less forgiving than most.

The Porter/Expedition was one of numerous packs going back over a decade which inspired this design. Fabric is obviously quite a bit tougher, and I'm not a fan of roll tops, but the main thing holding me back from buying at HMG is the rectangular bottom. Easier to pack, but hangs up on stuff while climbing and 'schwacking and has always been a feature I deplore.

Ryan W
(mwilks) - F
Re: re: B&W pack on 06/10/2012 20:29:02 MDT Print View

Nicely done

It has been really fun tracking the evolution of pack designs on your blog for some time now.

I'm slowing gettin the hang of the sewing thing and hope to emulate what I see as a very useful design. How did you go about nailing the curve at the bottom? My attempts at curves have been pretty ugly.

And I'm still working through the logistics of sewing straps onto packs with a machine that won't do zigzag/bartacks. I'm having a hard time deciphering the layers for the harness attachment. Are you sewing the straps onto piece of fabric, then sewing that on the inside of the backpanel, then joining a piece for the top/collar?

Thanks for sharing

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: pack construction on 06/11/2012 08:09:13 MDT Print View

Ryan, for the bottom curve I mark 3" up the front edge, then freehand trace a line on with a fabric marker. I usually alter that several times before I'm happy, then cut with scissors. I used a rotary cutter in this case because I didn't want to dull our nice scissors on the spectra.

For the harness, I bartack the various components onto pieces of fabric, then sew these onto the back panel with yet more bartacks. The four panels of the pack go together next, with the back panel being last. Then I sew the silnylon collar for the drawstring on last.

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Nice work! on 07/03/2012 09:26:33 MDT Print View

Nice looking pack, so where can one acquire this DX-40 Fabric ?

Ok, disregard my question, DX-40 is also called X-PAC, which is carried by RockyWoods, I believe?

Edited by mfog1 on 07/03/2012 09:32:30 MDT.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Re: Nice work! on 07/03/2012 09:39:13 MDT Print View

DX-40 is made by Dimension Polyant, but it is not XPAC that is carried by rockywoods. It is a dyneema polyester blend instead of a nylon face fabric like XPAC. There no commercial place to get the fabric anymore in small orders, which is a shame, because it is great stuff.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: DX-40 Availability on 07/03/2012 16:19:08 MDT Print View

Alpine Threadworks Ltd. uses it in their backpacks.

Scroll down halfway on the page.

If you contact them directly Neil Warren, the owner, may consent to sell some of his DX-40 stock in smaller quantities than necessary to purchase directly from DP.

Neil's bio info is at the link above.

He is based in Canada so shipping may be a little pricey. ;-(

Party On,


Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: DX-40 Availability on 07/03/2012 16:35:58 MDT Print View

You might be able to convince Javan Dempsey to sell you some. We went together and bought 10 yards a while back and most of it is sitting at his place.

The HMG bottom is more D shaped than rectangular (at least on mine).

Edited by simplespirit on 07/03/2012 16:37:32 MDT.

Taylor Vonville
(N2theWild) - F
Nice pack on 07/03/2012 19:47:16 MDT Print View

Your pack is worthy of my first ever post on BPL.

Hey everyone, my name is Taylor, and David, that's a beautiful pack!

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: B&W pack on 07/03/2012 20:14:05 MDT Print View

Thanks Taylor.

I can't say I've given it too much of a beating yet, but the DX-40 is thus far quite impressive. My one issue with VX-21 was it's so-so resistance to point abrasion (sharp rocks and ski edges from the outside, carelessly packed paddle shafts from the inside). DX-40 seems to take care of that concern with ease.

I've made two refinements to the original pack. The first is that I relocate the internal compression strap attachment point on the back (not against ones back) of the pack down abut 6 inches. The second is that I ripped open the side panel-front panel junctions and drastically altered the contour of the side panels.

The result of my original taper is that (on me) the back panel sits close to vertically, and thus the upper section leans backwards when the pack is full. No good. In the revision I cut the side panels so that the bottom section is parallel with the upper most seam, but the side panel tapers 2 inches wider over about six inches, with the shoulder strap attachment point being right in the middle of that six inch span. So when viewed from the side the part against my back goes straight up, jogs inwards towards my ear following the curve of my shoulder, then goes straight up again.

The improvement in load carry this makes is quite drastic.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: re: B&W pack on 07/03/2012 21:51:35 MDT Print View

Sounds good. Did you also taper the outer (furthest from your back) part of the side panel? In other words, is the side panel width consistent/parallel at the top or does it get wider at the top due to the taper?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: DX-40 Availability on 07/03/2012 22:51:31 MDT Print View

I contacted Neil Warren via email and his response was positive regarding the sale of small quantities of DX-40 fabric. His reply follows.

Yes, I would be happy to sell small quantities of DX40 Spectra. The DX40 is $56/meter (which is 150cm wide)
Bad news; I currently only have a few meters in stock and cannot part with any. dimensionPolyant is currently out of DX40 and have told me they "might" make some more in the fall. ordering 500yards of it means they will do a special run for you......
Anyway, contact me in the fall to see if it is back in stock.

You can find his contact information as I did on the order page of his website.

So it seems Chris may be pointing us towards the only available source right here on our own forum.

Party On,


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: re: B&W pack on 07/04/2012 09:20:42 MDT Print View

The outer edge is straight from the top of the curved bottom all the way to the silnylon collar.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
Sexy on 07/05/2012 01:12:36 MDT Print View

Very sexy pack!

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: DX-40 Availability on 07/05/2012 07:35:56 MDT Print View

"The HMG bottom is more D shaped than rectangular (at least on on mine)"

Mine too.