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Your little known ideas for a custom pack?
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USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 06:51:11 MDT Print View

I've been emailing a pack maker this week, shooting him things I wanted and volume for a winter pack. Loops to tie shovel on with at top, "Y" strap for pads at top also, strap for 'shoes over top of front pocket. Going with one front pocket and two side pockets of which the sides are 50/50 mesh, solid fabric. Going with Xpac material. Any thing you added or would have added if you had thought of it at the time to a custom pack? Considering over 20 years ago I paid a little over $200 for my Epperson pack, $325 isn't bad now. Leaving Thursday after work, so I'll only be able to see responses if any thru Thursday. Thank you.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Will keep thinking. on 09/25/2013 07:48:56 MDT Print View

Cool thread idea. Brainstorm ideas for a custom pack.


I find a small 3D rectangular pocket on one side or both sides to be just awesome for organization. It would weigh the same as a stuff sack, only my delicate stuff stays safer from odd objects like headlamps, sewing kits, pen, etc.

Small loops on the shoulder straps for drying out bandannas and gloves.

I'll be back.

Edited by mdilthey on 09/25/2013 07:50:05 MDT.

Richard Fischel
for a winter pack a (removable) beaver tail on 09/25/2013 08:31:03 MDT Print View

i'm not 100% sure i'd get it, but i'd certainly think about it. i'd use it for my snowshoes, shovel and anything i didn't want to put in the main pack body.

stream of consciousness, here’s some other things i'd think about for a winter pack:

- crampon patch or pocket.

- depending on the pack volume/packing style/planned trip duration, a partially separated lower compartment with a zipper for my sleeping bag.

- any possibility you'll be pulling a pulk?

- edge guards for skis and/or reinforced pocket bottoms.

i imagine you've already thought about a daisy chain(s) and attachment points for things like an ice axe. i also like a removable brain with at least two zippered pockets and with loops on top for a bungee and spindrift collar to increase pack volume (bivy in). what's the reason for mesh on the side pockets? do the side pockets have grommets in the bottom or other provisions to allow drainage? go over to the mchale site and check out what his packs offer and what his extras are. also look at cold cold world, cilogear and arcteryx for what some spare and otherwise well thought-out alpine pack include.

enjoy the process.

Edited by RICKO on 09/25/2013 08:33:38 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 09:14:12 MDT Print View

I like having some daisy chain loops in the shoulder straps so I can hang a camera bag/chest pouch. Its getting harder to find packs that have this feature, especially from the mainstream pack makers.

I wouldn't buy a pack without hipbelt pockets, I've become used to the convenient access to lip balm, eyedrops, compass, etc without having to carry them in my pants pockets.

I like two compression straps on the bottom of the pack, a Y-strap across the top, and one compression strap on each side. Gives you lots of options for compressing the load and securing things to the outside of the pack. I hate when compression straps go over the outside pockets though. What's the point of having a quick access pocket if you have to undo a strap to get into it?


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 09:23:17 MDT Print View

Sorry, I am getting at least one belt pocket. My 'shoes have a patch on the strap they are used to carry. I passeed on the daisy chain so I could get the front pocket, the top, detachable pack would add I believe $75 to the price. Ouch! Side pockets of mesh are to save weight. Will that work? My SMD Starlight has them. Thank you so far.
PS, no pulk yet.

Edited by hikerduane on 09/25/2013 09:23:55 MDT.

Christopher *

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 10:46:35 MDT Print View

I like a small pocket somewhere for quick access to cash/ID/permits without having to tear apart my pack.

I always like at least one angled side pocket for access to H20 while on the move, but this is because I don't use bladders and I don't store anything else in my side pockets other than water.


David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Inside pockets on 09/25/2013 11:00:51 MDT Print View

Everyone focuses on outside pockets so you have access to things on the trail, a place to put a wet tent or parka, etc, and that's all cool.

But how about pockets on the INSIDE? Those can be of very light material and needn't be waterproof. Then things that might get lost in the bottom of the pack can be found quickly (light, warm hat, gloves). Plus a very small inner pocket for return-to-civilization items (car key, a few $20s, credit card, driver's + fishing license, any permits).

If you'd tested the concept beforehand, I'd even consider a whole-pack divider, vertically. Again, it could be very light material, stitched loose enough to fold to the sides if you want one big bag. But when deployed, you could have a camping side (tarp, bag, pad), a food side (stacked with last day on the bottom, next meal on top), and a column of clothes. I hate rooting through a pack for an item and dividers would be a way to avoid that (stuff sacks or multi-, zippered compartment packs weigh more than a taffeta divider or two).

Edited to add: if you had two, large, vertical inner pockets running the height of the pack, initially, you could have food/camp/clothes divided among them and the gap between them. As you depleted food and fuel, you don't need as much volume and stacking in only the 2 pockets would avoid everything slumping to the bottom of a single bag compartment. I realize there are other ways to reduce pack volume from the outside (compression straps, lace-up sides, etc), but inner pockets could provide that function potentially at lower weight and certainly with less snaggable features on the outside.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 09/25/2013 11:06:14 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
mo pockets etc on 09/25/2013 11:17:22 MDT Print View

I opted for non-slanted side pockets, at my age I was barely able to reach back for a water bottle, found that out on my Arc Blast. When I was able to, I was then unable to reinsert it. I'm going for a pretty basic pack, simple, cheap. I like to keep my car keys, wallet on me. In the pack, they can get heisted by a bear/marmot dropped somewhere or forgotten when fishing or on a stroll. I have a few quart freezer bags I use as stuff sacks for my fire/kitchen kit, toiletries, fishing stuff, tp. That's organized enough.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 18:22:17 MDT Print View

I'm not a fan of waist belt pockets or add-on pockets. I customized two of my packs by adding a zippered pocket "inside" the front mesh pocket. They have worked out really well and it would be a great custom option for any pocketless pack.

Zippered Pocket

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Your little known ideas for a custom pack? on 09/25/2013 19:01:31 MDT Print View

Thanks to Debbie who PMed me.
I'm going for a top loader, tired of fighting the zippers on my old Epperson pack, which have expired after 20 years or so, no zips on the main bottom, roll top closure, that seems to be working for me and has the ability to expand or roll tighter. I like the small waist belt pouches, keeps my small camera handy, as well as lip stuff. I have them on my SMD Starlight and ZPacks Arc Blast. There goes vintage stove acquisition money.

I'd figured out on my own, that to reduce pack weight, you not only have to get lighter gear, you need to bring fewer items as well. I'm waiting to get back from my up coming trip out of Bishop, snow permitting, to do the final push to get this pack.

I don't really care to pack my top bag on my motorcycle, everything has to be packed different than my backpack, so when camp is reached, you have to remember where you put things and unlike a backpack, you can't set the motorcycle anywhere that is handy. Once again, fewer items, less to try to find.
Well, here's hoping the snow is light in the Evolution Valley by Friday AM.