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Dyneema waist pack? Custom job?
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Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Dyneema waist pack? Custom job? on 01/27/2013 21:31:35 MST Print View

I love lumbar packs, or "Fanny Packs."

When I bike tour, I always wear one, since it's useful to be able to grab a snack or the iPhone without getting off the bike. When I hike, I also like to wear one, to have quick access to frequently used items and camera accessories.

I always tear through them, though! I've been through four this year. I'm growing pretty tired of just bumping into rocks or sitting on them and putting holes in the material... even when I baby them I get loose threads or the stuff I carry wears holes.

My Question:

Does anyone know of a company that makes (or would custom-make) a lumbar pack out of Dyneema? Or another super-durable fabric. I'm looking for the McHale of waistpacks, and I'm willing to pay for it.



Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Dyneema waist pack? Custom job? on 01/27/2013 21:34:20 MST Print View


Dont know, but I'd be willing to bet.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Dyneema waist pack? Custom job? on 01/27/2013 21:41:02 MST Print View

+1 on the Zimmer rec. Have him do it with some D40/DX40. It's mostly dyneema and way cheaper than full dyneema. Mchale would be great too, but probably a lot more spendy.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Zimmer! on 01/27/2013 21:41:09 MST Print View

I've put in messages with Zimmerbuilt and McHale now. Thanks for the tip on Zimmer. Hopefully someone out there is willing to take on the project!

Honestly, I am willing to pay the extra for durability, since I've spent $100+ so far just replacing worn packs. It would be useful to know what the strongest fabric used by these companies is (although, i asked that in my message to them).

Edited by mdilthey on 01/27/2013 21:42:38 MST.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
Tom Bihn on 01/27/2013 22:06:41 MST Print View

You could try - his company makes lots of travel bags with 210d Dyneema as the lining, and more recently 400d Dyneema as the outer fabric. The Side Effect is his fanny pack offering, however it's made out of 1000d Cordura. But I dare say the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag or the 3D Dyneema Organizer Cube - both made out of 210d Dyneema - could be pressed into service as a waist pack.

I own a number of Tom Bihn bags and accessories - including the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and the 3D Dyneema Organizer Cube. I am well impressed. For business travel (which I do most weeks), I use the Western Flyer and Cadet. Most offerings will never fit into the UL category, but he's more interested in durability and convenience for reasonable weight. But the two accessories I mention are pretty lightweight. Oh, and everything's made in Seattle in his factory. A distinct plus in my mind.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

What I'm looking for: on 01/27/2013 22:22:06 MST Print View

Stuart, thanks for the info. I think I've rejected Tom Bihn because his site doesn't say anything about custom work. What I'm looking to do is pay a premium for exactly what I'm looking for, since this is one item that I use on a weekly basis, multiple times an hour sometimes, and is extremely inconvenient when it fails.

I want to really get exactly what I'm looking for here.

If anyone's interested, this is what I'm shooting for:

Dimensions: 12 inches wide, 4 inches tall, 3 inches deep. Long and narrow means I can wear it back or front and heavy objects won't hit any sensitive areas...

Internal pockets: I need one or two internal pockets to keep a heavy bike tool from banging around. My dream pouch has a waterproof passport/ID pocket, too, but I can sacrifice that.

External Pocket: I'd love one, but I can sacrifice it if necessary. Just a basic flat zip that runs the length of the outside would suffice.

Belt: I'd like for there to be a wide, flat triangle of fabric on either side of the pack, extending 4 inches or so, to keep the pack steady on my hips.

I'd also like for this fabric to have webbing running on top of it so that the removable hipbelt pockets from Zimmer or McHale could be mounted on for extra storage if necessary. I don't need padding, but I would like the back to be reinforced.

Color: Not Grey

Am I picky? Yes. Am I paying for the right to be? Sure. Will I be happy?


seth mcalister
(sethmcalister) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Zimmer HalfPack on 01/28/2013 07:41:57 MST Print View

Chris makes a halfpack that is very similar to what you're looking for. I had him make a version of his halfpack for me with a few modifications. It was made out of cuben, the harness is completely removable and there was no mesh pocket on the front.

The pack itself, without the shoulder harness, weighs 5.71 ozs. With the harness, it weighs about 9 or so ozs. I haven't been able to take it on a solid trip yet, but am looking forward to a XUL trip with it this summer.

His attention to detail, as we all know, is amazing. He was such a pleasure to work with.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Half-Pack on 01/28/2013 07:59:36 MST Print View

Thanks Seth, I saw the half-pack AND the waist pack from Zimmerbuilt and both were too big for what I'm looking for. But I bet that means they'd be willing to consider whipping up a custom one...

I need it to ride on my waist underneath the hip-belt of a backpack, and I also need it to ride in front of me while biking, which can be uncomfortable with all but the most narrow of hip-packs.

I'm a photographer, so having quick access to filters and SD cards is usually helpful. I also carry frequently used items like a debit card in one while bike touring; I might use that 5x in a day.

Edited by mdilthey on 01/28/2013 08:07:47 MST.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Cycling... on 01/28/2013 08:20:08 MST Print View

As a fellow cyclist, I can't possibly imagine wearing a waistpack...especially up front.

I assume you are riding in a rather upright position, with little/zero saddle-to-bar drop.

Nonetheless...a cycling jersey and a handlebar bag would serve this function immensely better...IMHO.

-Mark in St. Louis

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Cycling... on 01/28/2013 08:28:29 MST Print View


I ride a touring bike with drops fitted to racing geometry (a little longer than racing geometry, but same hips-to-hands ratio). I used a waist pack while cycling for 30 days straight over 1500 miles. I would wear it in the back 95% of the time, but I would spin it to the front to get things out of it. We navigated all of Massachusetts by figuring out "Which way is east?" using a compass and the sun. I got the compass out a few times an hour. We navigated the rest of the trip by iPhone, and I'd check to see we were on the right road while riding.

I also got out chapstick while riding, I applied sunscreen while riding, and I brushed my teeth - you guessed it - while riding. I liked my system, and I would use it again, even if it doesn't work for everyone.

Mark Andrews
(buldogge) - F

Locale: Midwest
Bags... on 01/28/2013 08:41:40 MST Print View

Obviously if it works for you, it works for you...but...consider the methods that randonneurs and cycle-tourists have used for decades.

Consider contacting Emily @ Dill Pickle (right out of Medford no less!) about a custom bar bag. She is a super experienced long distance cyclist who hand makes really nice, really functional stuff.

Of course, Chris would make you a killer waistpack I'm sure...I love my Zimmerbuilt pack!


Edited by buldogge on 01/28/2013 08:42:17 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
zpacks on 01/28/2013 09:15:11 MST Print View

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Re: Bags... on 01/28/2013 09:20:49 MST Print View

I have really long legs and an average torso. My 6'2" build has the legs of someone who is 6'3" or 6'4". Thus, I ride a 59cm bike, which puts my handlebars very far forward. Ideally, I should have a bike with different geometry, but I've gone 5,000 miles on Bikeasaurus Rex and I'm used to him. So a handlebar bag wouldn't offer me the same access as a hip bag simply because I wouldn't be able to safely reach into it without looking.

I also love knowing where my passport and debit card are on and off the bike. It helps me keep track, as I am prone to losing things (Last tour, I lost a helmet, three straps for my hammock, a pair of sunglasses, and I had to backtrack 157 miles for a forgotten iPhone).

I try to keep bags off my handlebars anyways so I can take my hands off without losing control. I've got a tiny little front bag that I use for spare tubes, but when I tour again I will likely ditch that as well. On long stretches, it is divine doing a mile with your arms hanging and your back straight, just to loosen up the shoulders. Bike touring is a very subjective experience. Some people like the weight on their front wheel for balance, others use six separate bags to carry a house worth of gear. Some people carry nothing but a toothbrush and a credit card.

I have considered a bike-packing setup from Relevate Designs- I'd go there before I went for custom gear, unless the price was right. But the way I have it set up now, I have a Jandd frame bag strapped underneath my top tube and a pair of Ortliebs on my back rack, and I have toured without the Ortliebs, using a single dry-sack. I carry very little and don't need more bags.

I don't mean to deny raddoneurs or the "decades" of cyclists, I just know that this works for me (and it's not that radical).

Haven't heard back from McHale or Zimmer, but I'm looking forward to it.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Bags... on 01/28/2013 09:40:47 MST Print View

Rivendell Mountain Works?

the 500 Cordura is just as strong as 210D Dyneema Gridstop.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:42:41 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

@ Dale on 01/28/2013 09:47:48 MST Print View

Thanks Dale, Rivendell is the closest to what I'm looking for so far, but I still think a custom piece would be best.

Do you have any inclination as to whether Dan McHale or the folks at Zimmerbuilt would take on a job like this?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: @ Dale on 01/28/2013 09:53:36 MST Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/08/2013 23:42:11 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Zimmer Update on 01/28/2013 12:38:29 MST Print View

I just talked to Chris Zimmer, and he's taking a look at my sketch and design proposal to see what he can do. Haven't heard from Dan McHale yet. I hope he's not afraid to e-mail me, as I am rarely reachable by phone.

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
no on 01/28/2013 14:30:10 MST Print View

Max, sorry, I don't have time. Hopefully you'll end up w a nice Zimmerbuilt rig.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Thanks Dan on 01/28/2013 15:06:06 MST Print View

Dan, I understand, I'm sure you have your hands full with the amount of backpack owners I see from this forum alone. Thanks for responding here to my question, and hopefully I get the chance to work with you sometime in the future.

Chris Zimmer has been great and says my project looks doable, and we're working out the details. Custom pack makers are a delight to work with! I'm glad this industry exists, just because this kind of customer and artisan relationship is all but lost in a lot of other businesses. I am extremely excited for this new pack, which should be happening soon.

Thanks to everyone who helped me pick materials and whatnot.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Pack ordered from Zimmerbuilt on 01/28/2013 20:16:51 MST Print View

Pack ordered. $75 plus shipping- a steal since I ripped through two $30 packs and a $50 pack since April of last year.

Chris Zimmer walked me through the process step by step, and was easy to work with and extremely easy to communicate with. I'm thrilled. Thanks to BPL for helping me make a connection!