All pack, v3

Big trips provide newer, more vivid data points that lead to gear redesign. Which is why this last weekend I tore apart my pack (picking bar tacks apart with a seam ripper is something I’m getting far too good at) and rebuilt it. On the menu were:

-1.5″ more length in the shoulder straps (not the torso length, I needed more wrap for max comfort)
-an all-fabric hipbelt fully integrated into the pack body (v2 sagged and absorbed too much water
-a simple single top strap (old double strap was needlessly complex)
-new ski slots (diagonal carry gets caught on trees)
-maybe side some pockets for waterbottles

After some hemming and hawing and two scrapped protos, I gave up on the side pockets. Given the necessity of a narrow bottom, I don’t have enough space to make the pockets as big as I’d want them, so it wasn’t worth doing at all. This is mostly driven by the change in water carry that’s happened up here. In Arizona, where backpacking water sources are far apart and few, a hydro dromedary is the most efficient choice across the board. In Montana, where water sources are usually ubiquitous, having a bottle or two that can be easily refilled on the fly is preferable.  On the Thorofare trip I bungeed a .5 liter platy to a shoulder strap, which worked well and will likely be the summer system.

I also narrowed the bottom very slightly in both width and depth, and made the top a bit taller and wider.  The mounting point of the bottom compression straps got moved upwards slightly, and I sewed the side seams outside, rather than in.  This last was a concession to ease of sewing but more acutely an experiment that will give the frameless pack a bit more natural structure.  Around the house tests will 25 lbs of climbing gear feel great.

The bottom and beavertail are the original fabric.  The back and front-side panels are new fabric.  You can see the sun fade if you look closely.  Overall this pack has been a huge success, and using it on as many trips as I have in the last year has been enormously satisfying.  My lack of an industrial bartacker does limit the design choices I can make (because I can’t secure especially thick fabric and webbing sandwiches), but that’s not a big deal.  Lastly, you can see the bead of aquaseal I ran along the bottom seams.  Both a durability measure and a gesture at preventing me from tinkering for tinkerings sake.  Time to use this thing.  Spring skiing and weekend warrior packrafting seasons are here!

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3 thoughts on “All pack, v3

  1. PS; weighs 28 oz.

  2. are you still coming to alaska this June? we can bartack the shit out of it if so.

  3. I wish I had the time and especially $$ to do the wilderness classic this year. Alas, I'll have to settle for dialing in my packrafting around here this summer. 2011 for sure!

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