The velco pieces are at the very top of the beavertail, they are just simple loops with a tiny tab of ribbon to grap. They wrap around the shaft of ice axes instead of using a buckle and strap.
I thought about using mesh for the bottoms of the side pockets but they are pretty tight against the pack and I dont expect them to accumulate much moisture when it rains. Also with climbing/ glacier trips as one if its uses I'll be shoving snow pickets and wands down there which would eventually tear up mesh.
Yep its got bells and whisles, but it wasnt my goal to make a super light pack, I wanted something custom I could use for lots of different things and would last a while (and be 1/2 the weight of what I'm using now!!).
I'm already thinking about what to make next with the first set of side panels and bottom that I scrapped because they looked too small.
Jeff - Working with foam is time consuming, The construction of the hipbelt and sholder straps are basically sleeves that the foam is slided into then closed off when attached to the pack. You have to attach everything to one side of the strap, then sew the other side on like it would be inside out, then like a sock, pull it through so that the seams are inside, then slide the foam in. Using material with some strech like I did with the shoulder straps allows for some error in the shape of the foam, which is a good thing.
I'm really happy with the results but next time I'm going to try a differnet method for ease of construction.
ps - christopher I got your PM but couldent reply to it for some reason. I did get the Dyneema through OWF, its too bad they are out of it. The Spectra 500d I got through Rockywoods fabric in Loveland colorado www.rockywoods.com The spectra powergrid is really strong stuff and a bit heavy for all but the highest wear areas IMO, about twice the weight of the dyneema.