Monday, 21 March 2011

Backpacks Part 2

Continuing onwards we have 2 of my more specialty backpacks.
Deuter Race EXP Air
The EXP Air is my pack I use while pedaling away on my freeride bike.  During the summer months I commute to work via my bike and I needed a light pack that would carry a small water bladder as well as lunch and a pair of clean clothes.  With my past camelbak riding packs I always got a sweaty back especially during the summer hill climbs in our local river valley.  This pack is the first pack I have used that has an aluminum frame which holds the entire bag off of your back to allow air to circulate as you can see below.

Mesh back panel between the main bag section and shoulder strap
This works amazingly well at mitigating the sweaty back problem but it does add a little extra weight to the pack registering at 920g.  Due to the supportive mesh back and padded hip straps the pack carries amazingly well and even holds tight while running.  While not nearly as rugged as the falcon II it sees alot of use in the summers as a light day pack or as a decent sized pack for a multi day stretch into the wild.  While not water proof the pack has a cover that is stowed at the base for wet weather.  I've been caught in the rain a few times and I can assure you the cover is easy to deploy and works very well (although it is bright "shoot me yellow"...which I'll say is a good thing in this case if you plan on riding with traffic once and a while).

My last pack is more of a proof of concept model.  Its a homemade pack constructed entirely of tyvek building wrap.

Tyvek Pack
Using plans found on Backpacking Light I decided to try my hand a a truly ultralight pack.  I used the general dimensions from the plans and resigned the pockets to follow the lines of the beautiful Laufburshe Huckepack (an excellent review of the Huckepack can be found over here).  I salvaged the shoulder straps from an older pack and did all of the sewing by hand.  Seams that would be under high strain I taped together with double sided carpet tape before sewing.  All thread ends were soaked in cyanoacrylate and the seams inside were doubled over and taped flush with fiber reinforced packing tape.  Once the pack was complete I turned the unit inside out and added a roll top closure system to help with water proofing.  After all is said and done the weight came out to 264g, which is quite respectable for a pack of this size.  Tyvek is a neat material as its essentially water proof but will let vapor pass thru.  The fibers in the material also have no bias so tears are less likely in comparison to silnylon.
Seeing as I just recently finished this pack I haven't had a real chance to test it.  It was designed to carry ~10Kg of gear and I can attest to the fact that it will hold 10Kg...however I have yet to see how bouncing down the trail will treat the seams.  Getting a frameless bag to sit right on your back is a bit harder then a framed back so I designed the bag to use a foam sleeping pad as a "frame" of sorts.

Pad Attachment loops
You can see down both the left and right of the pack I have sewn in elastic loops.  The plan is to run shock cord thru the loops in a double X pattern to secure a Z-Lite pad behind the shoulder straps to support the bag.  I have yet to try this but I will post an update once I do some further testing on this bag but for one of my first hand sewn projects I am quite happy with how it has turned out.  Tyvek is a wonderful material to work with.  Its readily available at most home improvement stores, its inexpensive and its quite durable.  I've built quite a few things from tyvek which I will elaborate more on in the near future.

The fleet

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