So the main goal of this first one was to nail the fit of a harness and be able to use different sized main pack bodies for different seasons or needs. This is the the third of this type of pack that I've made and have used this style pretty much exclusively for the past year and a half or so. This one's got a couple hundred miles or so on it, and I like it pretty well but I'm kinda desiring something a bit more simple for most trips. I think it was Eugene S in a recent thread who mentioned front pockets being a catch-all, and on a couple recent trips I've found myself putting pretty much just my quilt in the main body and stuffing everything else on the outside, which is kinda ridiculous. VX-07 for the whole thing except the bottoms which are DX40. The pics:
The hipbelt has split foam for my bony hips, and I used a piece of thin flexible plastic (one of those thin cutting boards) on the outside of the foam near where it is sewn to the back panel. The back panel is sewn through the plastic to eliminate any sagging. I wanted a thin dense foam for this but used what was in the garage.
3d mesh comes over top of shoulder straps at neck to eliminate any chaffing. Not sure it's really necessary. Honestly I don't think I really like 3d mesh for shoulder straps. I usually find it a bit abrasive. I might try some straps with soft binding around the edges next time or maybe some other wicking stretchy material.
Harness has flat aluminum stays along the very edge. This was the first pack that I tried flat rather than tubular stays. Pros for flat: easier to make it comfortable against the back, you don't have a top piece so the back is a bit more "dynamic" for lack of a better word; cons: it's not quite as stiff (1/8" thick), although it does "bounce back" better than tubular stays, which seem to stay bent if they're flexed. Some 7075 would be ideal, but I can't find any 1/8" thickness. The harness is only about 5" wide at the bottom so wraps around very well.
The next pack I made for work, which is biology-related field work. Getting to things in a top-loading pack throughout the deay gets cumbersome and I wanted to be able to strap big awkwardly shaped tools, etc on the outside, hence the beavertail. Durability is a big priority since I'm 100% off-trail and often walking through some pretty hairy vegetation. The DX40 is awesome. After being used a bit it actually feels less stiff than other VX fabrics and the small increase in weight gets you a giant leap in durability. I've been using this one for a few weeks now and it's worked perfectly. There's velcro in that there lumbar pad for a hipbelt, which I plan on making some bottle holders for so it can be used on its own as a lumbar pack for when I have less to carry. Flat aluminum stays again here. I plan on seamsealing or taping it but honestly it's difficult to be motivated to worry about rain with a ytd precip total of 1.38" and sites I was working at last week currently on fire.
Now I just gotta work some patina on that bright white.