I’m sure there are folks out there who build something and nail it the first time, but I am not among them. I design from past experience and towards future use, but there’s always something which doesn’t work out as I anticipated, or something new I learn and can use to make things work better. I try to embrace the mutability and human flaws of every product, even one which took a lot of time and money to get to the first functional state.

So too with my latest pack. This weekends trip was typical of what it will be used for most; one night, badish weather so plenty of clothes, heavy luxury food, and some sort of odd contraption to strap on (in this case skis to give a 4 mile ride up to the snow line). Not a proper heavy load, but not a light one, and rather awkward.

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The carry was more than satisfactory, evidence of the excellent Seek Outside frame and belt, as well as the fact that I’ve finally gotten smart enough to get the torso length exactly right. The main issue was with weatherproofing; the top collar was just too short, and the offset cut didn’t really do anything. The second issue was lack of any kind of inside pocket to keep a few little things more easily at hand.

I solved these problems in tandem by cutting off the existing top a few inches below the seam line, and adding back on taller one.  Four inches taller than before, for a height along the back panel of 35 inches unrolled. I solved the second problem by integrating a small zippered pocket into the collar seam, along the front.

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The top of the pocket is sewn in the seam, while the sides are anchored with one small bartack towards the bottom of either seam (you can see the left one above).  These match with the topmost bartack on the daisy chains, resulting in no ugly exterior stitching floating in bare fabric.  The pocket has a dividing seam going halfway up, to help separate contents.

We’ll see how these two tweaks for out over the winter and spring.  Based on the first non-day outing, the pack did very well.  The wider, narrower (no deeper than seven inches, even crammed full) bag keeps weight in close, and even with a pair of relatively heavy AT skis lashed on diagonally across the back, the total weight was innocuous.  Diagonal ski carry, with straps through the top and bottom pockets of the daisy chains and the pocket cinched over the skis, was very stable.  Stable, motionless skis carry better, and reduce the wear on fabrics, thus making wear patches not necessary for those who only occasionally carry skis.

I will keep everyone updated.

P.S.  I/we recently passed 400 followers, and the past two weeks had the highest readership of any such period in the 8 years and 4 days this blog has been around.  So thanks for reading and participating.