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Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/04/2014 18:45:36 MST Print View

Chris Zimmer just sent me pictures of an awesome new pack he completed for me. Here are the pictures.

Pack

Pack 2

Pack3

I chose VX42 for the main body of the pack. Its heavy but it is supposed to have both good abrasion resistance and good water resistance. The red is Cordura 500. Total weight according to Chris is 31 oz. My old pack with normal VX21 was 28 oz so for 3 oz I gained a lot more durability.

If you look closely you can see the top of the stay channel above the red pocket. Its basically the design suggested by David in his article "Flexible Ultralight Frames."


This pack is designed to hopefully fill two totally different roles. One is to haul minimal gear and lots of water into the Guadaluple Mountains. Since I moved to West Texas this area has become my stomping grounds. Hiking there means carrying a lot of water.


The second role is for backpacking trips in the Northern Rockies over summer break. I'll be carrying less water and a lot more food. I'm looking at several week long trips in areas where resupply won't be easy.

Hopefully its gets here in time for a test run over spring break. Thanks to all who offered ideas.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/04/2014 19:37:10 MST Print View

Great looking pack. Was the red cordura a special order? I've been thinking of a larger pack if I ever get back into winter backpacking and a red/black combo would nice fit the bill.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/04/2014 19:42:23 MST Print View

Looks very, very nice!

What is the approximate volume?

Cheers

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/04/2014 19:47:48 MST Print View

Really nice looking pack Luke. Kudos to you and Chris.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/04/2014 20:30:26 MST Print View

The red cordura was a special order as was the VX42. I think the volume is something like 2200 cubic inches. Its basically the same dimensions as my first Zimmerbuilt pack which was about perfect. This one should have a much improved hipbelt. The red part is a pad sleave for a sit matt. I think these two together will improve the carry quiet a bit.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
hipbelt plus pad plus stay on 03/04/2014 21:33:19 MST Print View

Should make for a good ride, I agree.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Wrong forum on 03/04/2014 22:10:56 MST Print View

This needs to be moved to gear, nothing to do with MYOG

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Wrong forum on 03/04/2014 22:14:42 MST Print View

No need for an additional thread either as this is the end to this one

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=87666

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Pedantic whining belongs in chaff on 03/04/2014 22:25:29 MST Print View

Take it there, I'm tired of hearing it.

And go out and get some sun this long northern winter if you can find it, it will do you good ;-)

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Wrong forum on 03/04/2014 22:34:42 MST Print View

Yes, let's just post anything anywhere. And let's not give any of the posts titles either.

Chaff.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Wrong forum on 03/04/2014 22:53:47 MST Print View

Think there are bigger things in life to worry about and didn't notice (i.e. not really caring to be honest) … although maybe a "design" forum for both custom and MYOG would work out? A place where everyone can post their own plans and drawings, exchange ideas, etc.. … should be easy to moderate.

Edited by hknewman on 03/04/2014 23:01:14 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
K.C. on 03/04/2014 22:56:47 MST Print View

K.C. I thought about putting it under gear but its sort of a MYOG project in that I had to come up with a design that would work (with help from David's article) and Chris is making it himself. Any MYOG enthusiast with a sturdy sewing machine could copy it. That is why I thought it fit here. Honestly I threw it up kinda fast after a hectic day and may have been sloppy, my bad.

Edited by Cameron on 03/05/2014 20:24:28 MST.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
"Design" or "Custom gear" on 03/04/2014 23:10:03 MST Print View

If you want to be pedantic, there isn't really a good forum category for this. You could argue its MYOG due to the design aspect, but then it ended up being carried out by someone on behalf of the owner/designer.

I'd like to just appreciate the pack itself. The gear itself. The skill itself. Etc. I get a bit bored of hearing complaining about a community forum, sometimes I agree with it, but other times, when its in this case, its just complaining about someone providing good content to the site for others to benefit from/admire/etc.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Wrong forum on 03/05/2014 06:49:10 MST Print View

"Think there are bigger things in life to worry about "

It's the little things that matter.

"should be easy to moderate."

Like that happens here.


With all the complaints about searching this site for information. Any help should be appreciated.

Chaff

Edited by kthompson on 03/05/2014 06:51:04 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/05/2014 08:38:58 MST Print View

Great looking pack. Weird thread.

J J
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Thread looks normal to me on 03/05/2014 09:17:01 MST Print View

Looks like a nice choice of contrasting white stitching.

:P

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Thread looks normal to me on 03/05/2014 09:18:26 MST Print View

I knew that comment would be forthcoming....LOL.

K C
(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Jeez on 03/05/2014 20:14:17 MST Print View

I'm not complaining, I'm helping. The pack is great and will get more recognition as deserved, over in gear where everybody else posts their Zimmer packs. I have owned Chris's packs, I design all my own packs his ways. I get most all my hardware from Chris.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Jeez on 03/05/2014 20:23:11 MST Print View

Very cool. Really digging it. I love my Porter, but I always keep toying around with the idea of having Chris do something up for me.

Is the hipbelt removable? It looks like it is in the photos, but I can't tell completely. If so, that's a great feature choice. I'd worry about that hipbelt for heavier loads (doesn't look stiff enough to me), but for lighter ones, it would be ideal. Either way, if it works, you're set. If not, you always have options to swap it out.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/05/2014 20:32:21 MST Print View

Looks great Luke.

I'm impressed as heck by Chris and his custom work. He takes a lot on by working with people on some pretty custom designs, and seems to deliver solidly. Not an easy thing to do, let alone at the speed and pricepoint he manages.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Clayon and David on 03/05/2014 20:34:31 MST Print View

Clayton
I tried a Porter but it wasn't as comfortable as my Exped Lighting. I think it was partly the hipbelt and partly the center mounted frame. This pack was sort of and attempt to combine my favorite features of both into a smaller pack.

The hipbelt is removable but I won't be taking it off much. Mostly its removable because I liked David's design and it was something Chris was willing to make. The hipbelt has a pocket that fits onto the bottom of the frame. So you have a direct hipbelt to frame connection.

I'm hoping the hipbelt will be stiff enough. I asked Chris to use stiffer fabrics and put those extra seams through it to try and make it stiff. Also I didn't want the foam to move around in there over time. I've heard McHale packs work well with softer belts because they are so wide. We'll have too see.

David
Thanks very much for sharing your design ideas. If I make it to the packraft round up hopefully we can compare pack designs.

Edited by Cameron on 03/05/2014 20:43:28 MST.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re Clayon and David on 03/05/2014 20:52:35 MST Print View

Using Dave's system, you'll definitely get excellent weight transfer. I think my only concern would be the one you mentioned, the stiffness of the belt. While I haven't done any MYOG with hipbelts (yet--ideas are in the works, and my schedule is about to free up in a big way in a month or so), I did try on and play with more than a dozen LW and UL packs about a year-and-a-half ago. Foam stiffness was a major factor (for me) in load transfer and keeping the hipbelt locked in without sliding down. So I think you're right on in your analysis there.

Like I said, though, if you find the hipbelt not substantial enough, you have lots of excellent options. I have no doubt that Chris at ULA could put together a hipbelt with the necessary pocket for the stay. Or, Zimmer might be able to try a new design.

Anyway, all I'm really trying to say is that you've got an excellent pack on your hands with a lot of long-term possibilities.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 03/05/2014 20:53:13 MST.

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
hipbelt stiffness on 03/05/2014 21:15:15 MST Print View

In my experience stiffness is less important than surface contact with your hips. The more wrap the better. With most wing hipbelts there's often several inches on both sides (usually at the top) that aren't even touching your body. A softer belt with maximum contact as you walk is the way to go. Take a look at the paradox hipbelt as well as Mchale critical mass, which are both made to carry massive loads. They aren't even attached at the top of the belt to allow max connection to the body/weight transfer rather than relying on extra stiffening/padding.

Sweet looking pack, Luke. Excited to hear how it performs.

Edited by brendans on 03/05/2014 21:16:45 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Hipbelts on 03/05/2014 21:21:24 MST Print View

You two are right about the hipbelt. In my opinion that is the limiting factor in many UL packs. I think the HMG packs are nice but I think the Exped Lighting hipbelt is better, it is both stiffer and more ergonomically designed. I don't know which one makes it better but I know I feel better carrying the Lighting then the Porter.

My last pack by Chris had a rather thin and very soft hipbelt. No gripe against Chris, he made what I asked. I should have known better.

Edit - As Brendan mentions there was also a lot of hipbelt that didn't hug my hips, I shouldn't have told Chris to make a straight hipbelt. Again, my bad, not his.

I noticed two things when I overloaded my first Zimmerbuilt pack. The belt would sag some but that wasn't the worst. The problem was the pack would sway back and forth. Basically the hipbelt wasn't able to lock it in place and keep it upright. Not enough width of the belt and not enough contact with my hips. The first pack maxed out at about 30 pounds, 35 was pretty uncomfortable and 40 was miserable. If nothing else the newer hipbelt design should eliminate the back and for torque the pack puts on my shoulders.

I'll be interested to see what you come up with Clayton. I don't have time for MYOG projects these days. Perhaps this fall I'll break out the sewing machine again.

Edit - Brendan I haven't had experience with the kind of hipbelts you mention but I've heard of them. I can put two buckles on the belt if I want which should give me more surface area on my hips.

Edited by Cameron on 03/05/2014 21:27:38 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Hipbelts on 03/05/2014 21:24:31 MST Print View

FWIW, the HMG belts are now longer of up to 2".

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Bottom-Attaching Hipbelts on 03/05/2014 22:35:29 MST Print View

Good points Brendan about the Paradox pack. To be fair, I haven't had much experience with bottom-attaching belts, so there may be something I'm missing there. Though, from the little I gathered when I got to try on the Paradox, the shape of the hipbelt was pretty essential in the way that it wrapped. (Keep in mind, I also have and odd hip-bone structure, so the traditional pack fitting doesn't work well for me.)

I like Dave's single stay system, and I have some plans for incorporating a hybrid between his bottom attachment system, the Granite Gear method, and some kind of Al stay (originally I was thinking dual, but Dave has me reconsidering that). We'll see what happens when I finish this Master's program in the next 3 weeks or so. There is a lot of pent-up stuff, so we'll see what comes out when.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
hipbelts on 03/06/2014 05:48:47 MST Print View

Luke I am interested to see how the pack works with big water loads. I am not sure it would be enough volume for me.

I think that hipbelts with dual pulls do a better job of wrapping the belt around the hips and preventing slippage and so there is a middle road of stiffness of foam that really allows that to happen well. But the dual pulls like ULA, Elemental Horizons and the new SMD belts seem to be the way medium (below 50#) load belts appear to be going.

Edited by abhitt on 03/06/2014 06:28:37 MST.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/06/2014 11:22:40 MST Print View

Luke, maybe i missed, but what you did not like in Exped Lightning?

William F
(wkf) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/07/2014 12:49:23 MST Print View

+1 for Zimmerbuilt. I recently got a pack from Chris and the craftsmanship is amazing. As mentioned prices are extremely competitive, and everything is custom down to the smallest details. I'm a very happy customer. Nice pack Luke!

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Re Chris Zimmer Pack for Heavy Loads on 03/07/2014 15:46:24 MST Print View

Roman the only thing wrong with the Exped was it was huge for most of my trips. My first Zimmer pack carried all my stuff comfortably and was only 36 liters. My Exped is 60 liters. I could have gotten a second 45 liter Exped pack but even that one might have been big for me. Assuming fit works out this will be my go to pack for most trips. Its compressible enough for weekends and big enough for week long trips. I will be keeping the Exped for winter trips and desert trips with a really, really extreme water load.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Just Got it FYI to you pack makers on 03/07/2014 16:54:07 MST Print View

I just got the pack and tried it in the house. I like it a lot.

The only concern is with the curved hipbelt it fits lower then my old pack. Apparently curved hipbelts let the pack sit a bit lower then straight ones. I knew something like this would happened but I didn't know by how much.


The torso is right on the line between too-short and long enough. I rigged up a two buckle system instead of the single buckle system in the picture. This allows you to adjust the torso length a tad. With the bottom buckle bearing a bit more of the weight it went from "too short" to "just long enough." You could probably shorten the torso length as well by putting more emphasis on the top buckle.

I'll get to try it out soon. Hopefully the torso is long enough, if not I've asked Chris to save his sketches in case I have to sell this one and make version II. If that happened all I'd change would be the torso length. Hopefully I don't have to go there.

Anyway I learned a couple things in the whole process that might be interesting to other people making packs.

1. Different hipbelts mean the same torso length will fit longer or shorter.

2. Getting everything just right is tricky. Chris is great but you need to do you homework.

3. A key part of load transfer is a good hipbelt. If it doesn't fit well you'll have a lousy pack no matter how good everything else is.

Edited by Cameron on 03/07/2014 18:29:56 MST.