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help with first myog backpack
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F. M.
(fmattos) - F
help with first myog backpack on 07/09/2012 12:04:04 MDT Print View

Hello, I've been seeing alot of myog backpacks on this website, and I've decided to give a shot and start making one of my own. I sketched a nice design but still have some uncertainties as to what works best and how to make it lightweight but durable. I have no experience working with all this materials but I've read alot of info online, here is what I got down so far and some questions that I have, any feedback will be appreciated!

1. Backpack body will be X-pack vX07, pockets and some parts will be either 1.1 or 1.9 silnylon and lycra mesh. I'm still looking for a better stretchy mesh for a pocket to let my clothes air out. I'm using 3D mesh on the back, hipbelt and shoulder straps.
2. The frame will be 1/4" microcell foam with a removable aluminum stays for when I go on longer trips and need to haul more food. Any advice on which aluminum to use for the frame and where to get it?
3. I'm making the hipbelt with 1" nylon webbing and the V-Buckle from DIY Gear supply, will that work or will it be too weak? I use size 30-32 pants if that means anything. I will also have some padding on a portion of the hipbelt, I may add either a water bottle or a hipbelt pocket there too. I'm using alot of the measurements for Golite Jam 2011 for the hipbelt and other parts of the pack btw.
4. I'm unsure on what I will use as far as compression for the side of the pack, I'm leaning towards 1/2" nylon webbing but having a hard time finding straight buckles for it, saw some on ebay but dunno how durable and lightweight they are, is the nylon webbing from DIY the best/lightest webbing for backpacks?
5. I came accross this manufacturer which has some pretty cool sternum strap adjuster and buckles of all sizes and styles, anyone knows where I can buy their products in the US? They are based in Korea. If not then who else makes some of those sternum strap adjusting clips?
6. The collar will be a rolltop to make the main pocket waterproof, what's the lightest most effective design to make those?

What kind of thread and needle should I use for these specific fabrics? I've read the project links on thru-hiker and will be using alot of their seam and backpack construction ideas, I bought some cheap walmart fabric to test my skills on that first before cutting on those expensive fabrics =P. If you guys have any advice for me not to make a newbie mistake I will aprreciate too! Nothing is set on stone so far, probably will start ordering stuff in a week or two.

Scott Littlefield
(sclittlefield) - F

Locale: Northern Woods of Maine
Pack materials on 07/09/2012 14:41:30 MDT Print View

I might go with VX21 for the back/bottom panel and VX07/TX07 for the front and sides. Then Silnylon or 70d coated fabric for the extension collar. Silnylon for the front would work fine, it's just that for me, I want a lot of durability in my pack because it's holding all my ultralight gear and keeping it safe. I'd rather have a few extra ounces on the pack than have holes poked through into my down quilt and other gear. I also tend not to hike on trails, rather I like to go cross country, over the river and through the woods, etc - so my pack is going to be hit with more brush and branches than a trail only pack. I use the mini hole stretch mesh at DIY Gear Supply for the pockets, it stretches a little in one direction.

The 1" Nylon and Dual Adjust V-Buckle will be plenty strong for the hipbelt, and you'll want some padding on the hipbelt "wings" that come off the side of the pack, like you mentioned.

For side compression, cord is definitely the lightest, but it's such a small difference from webbing that I don't bother with it. I would recommend 1/2" webbing with 1/2" tensionlocks for side compression. No need for buckles there.

I use Gutermann's Mara 70 (tex 40) for almost every project, but when it comes to backpacks I switch over to Gutermann's Tera Tex50. It's very strong, but still thin enough for home sewing machines.

F. M.
(fmattos) - F
pack materials on 07/10/2012 06:31:05 MDT Print View

Thanks Scott, very helpful info there! Anyone got some input on the pack frame and sternum strap stuff?

Here is a link for the system I'm talking about:

Edited by fmattos on 07/10/2012 06:33:14 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: pack materials on 07/10/2012 08:39:54 MDT Print View

I've seen that type of sternum strap hardware on some packs like the ones in the link you supplied to Woojin. I agree that they look cool but IMHO I find them a little "gimmicky".

I have used and prefer the ones from ITW Nexus that are available at Zimmerbuilt.

ITW Nexus sternum strap hdwe

They sell for $3.50 per set. The end pieces install on 3/4" webbing sewn onto the front of your shoulder straps. They are adjustable up and down the webbing and are removable. The side release buckle portion has the tension lock for loosening and tightening the sternum strap. A whistle is incorporated into this same piece.

Here is a picture of this setup used on my son's daypack.

Sternum Strap Detail

Good luck with your pack project!

Party On,


F. M.
(fmattos) - F
sternum system on 07/10/2012 17:00:43 MDT Print View

That system looks ok. I have a Kelty backpack with the system that looks like the woojin one, and another cheap backpack with a system similar to the one you showed me. The Kelty sternum system is so much more smooth to move, also the hardware is much lighter, plus I will save weight and hassle because I wont need to sew the webbing to the strap.

Harald Hope

Locale: East Bay
make a real prototype on 07/22/2012 17:20:48 MDT Print View

Do yourself a huge favor and make a genuine prototype with real materials, assume you will mess up, because you almost certainly will. The prototype can be ugly and poorly sewn, or nice looking and fully functional, the important thing is that the straps and dimensions of body and pockets are what the final will have, so you can actually test it and make sure it does what you want.

My first attempt, for example, I followed the dimensions given I think on the thru-hiker ultralight pack, and that pack is absurdly and ridiculously huge, which was lesson one: make sure the volume fits your gear. I ended up ripping that pack apart and chalking it up to experience.

Straps are much harder than you think, when prototyping the pack, make sure you make it fully functional,and make sure the pack is tested on a 3 hour hike, minimum, to make sure the stuff works. You cannot judge certain things just by wearing it around the house. If the pack is noticeably illfitting on a test hike, you have to scratch the design, and figure out what went wrong.

Good and cheap prototype materials are: 200 or 210d oxford for pack body, 500d for pack back, bottom. Cheap 3/8" foam from outdoor store, sleeping pads, is good for doing prototypes of shoulder/hip straps.

I did my first failed pack, then I did a rough prototype, then I did my real pack,. realized the straps were wrong, did 6 strap prototypes on the prototype pack, until it seemed like it would work ok, then ripped the top of the real pack, and redid the shoulder straps. That pack is not perfect, but it worked fine on a 5 day trip that could have been 7 easily.

For front pocket, if you are thinking of using one, go deeper, I did mine 2" and that's not deep enough to carry big wet things, go 3-4" and you'll be happy. If using side pockets for water, make sure the pockets actually fit your water bottles, mine are a bit, just a touch, too tight to hold enough water, even with tall narrow bottles, these are things you just don't think of until it's far too late. Remember, the fabric weight difference between making the pockets big enough and roomy and a bit tight is negligible, and not even worth a second's thought, far better to have room. Last trip I had to carry extra water on the top y strap because the side pockets are just a bit too small, so close, yet so far, heh...

I also at the last minute added tubes for carbon fiber tubes along the two back seams, that was the best decision I made, my final version uses those, and a delrin rod to support the straps, and it carries up to 25 pounds pretty nicely, even if you don't use the tube channels, it's way easier to add them in early than after it's assembled.

I did a rolltop too, and while briefly flirting with the idea of using silnylon, thank heavens I came to my senses and used well coated 70d nylon, which is perfect for the job. What brought me to my senses was the idea of the sun beating down on my pack top and slowly dissolving my 30d silnylon, plus the way silnylon breaks down over time.

Here you can see the way the straps worked, those are still not totally right, will take a few more revisions on next packs to get them better.

pack back

pack in use, carrying starting weight of about 24 pounds, carried fine, 18.5 oz for pack.
pack front creek

making packs is hard, I read people here say that expect to make 4 or so before you have it right, I'd say that's right, this one is close to right, but has some glitches, though it's fully functional, it's fine for a week trip, which is better than I set out to do.

My conclusion is this: to make a pack, make a true, real, prototype, but using cheap materials. Make it so that everything works, a pack good enough to lend to someone for example, but not with all the small complicated stuff that takes a lot of time to do, but functionally the same. Then make the real pack. Do this for every major pack you try, until you really have it down.

I was personally glad to have read the advice that it takes about 4 packs to get it down, that helped me accept junking my first pack, which I'd done with weird fabrics that I am VERY glad I ended up not using, they sucked in my opinion, too light and too flimsy. But I was glad to learn that too, so it's not a loss to make something that doesn't work as long as you learn from it.

This pack is actually version 2.5, since I cut off the top of the back panel and replaced the entire assembly there, glad I did that too, turned out good.

needles, univeral 14 worked fine, that pack is vx21 and vx07, with 200d pocket panels and strap backs. I used 12s for the 200d pocket assembly, the 70d top rolltop, and I think 14s for everything else.

1" hip belt/double sided adustable, that is a nice one. Check out both z-packs and zimmerbuilt for plastic stuff, the zimmerbuilt ladderlocks are way nicer than most other people's, he sources the stuff well.

I can't remember who has the 1/2" ladder locks, I used those too, either zpacks or maybe owfinc, one of those has them I think.

There's a big difference in webbing quality, make sure to get the medium grained stuff, the rough grained stuff I don't like, I find it starts slipping over time.

I used gutterman thread too, the tera stuff for any weight bearing seam, and the mara regular for non critical seams and areas. Remember, the gutterman you see at fabric stores is useless for backpacks, you need the heavier stuff, owfinc sells the mara, has the best current selection of good quality mara and tera, and sells it on the useful big rolls, which you want, since you will use a lot of thread on a pack.

Important things, if you have a real sewing machine, make sure it's lubed up well, the difference is stunning between a well oiled sewing machine and a dry one. If you have a plastic or nylon geared one, my condolences. I used a 25 dollar machine I got used that needed some parts replaced, nothing expensive, now it sews great, perfect, an old kenmore from the 70s. Doesn't sew silynlon well though, but sews backpack materials very well, it amazes me how many layers it goes through easily, I thought it would choke on 8 or 10 layers, but it worked fine at those points. Remember, layers add up: the shoulder strap lower connector, folded over, is 4 layers, plus the webbing at the edges, the place where it connect to the pack is those 5 layers plus 2 or more.

Don't be afraid to throw away dull needles, with a 10x jewelry magnifier you can actually see the tip of a sewing needle, and after a while you can see that it's dull, and you can also feel it as you sew.

Edited by hhope on 07/22/2012 18:04:50 MDT.

James Wall
(jimmyjam) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: pack materials on 07/24/2012 06:48:19 MDT Print View

You can get the aluminum frame from Gossamer Gear for $25. It's what I use in my MYOG pack for "heavy" loads. It works great to contour the pack to your back.