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      V2 Ultralight Portage Pack     



02/27/2022 09:25AM  
As I mentioned in the follow-up to my first portage pack build, I did almost everything pretty well (other than sewing), but there are some areas that warrant improvement, so I'm using the solid water season to build Version Two.

As before I am hoping to build a pack that is:
*Very light - empty pack weight around 20 ounces.
*Short height - anything above the shoulders may interfere with my 4.5 oz solo yoke (Build thread here )
*About 44L for the pack body…plus some pockets. (slightly smaller than V1)
*Padded hip belt
*Comfortable enough at 25 - 30lbs
*Accessible pockets - both for portaging but also while in the canoe
* New: Map Pocket, just a simple sleeve to quickly stow my map during the portage.

V1 dimensions of the main pack body were: 24" high x 14" wide x 9" deep.
V2 size will be 24" x 14" x 8".

Unchanged from before (text copied almost verbatim from my post on V1:)

That last item (the accessible pockets) is tricky. Traditional pack pockets are:
1) on the sides (and if they zip it is on the pocket’s top)
2) on the top/lid
3) on the ‘front’ (the side away from your back)

When I drop my pack in the canoe I put it behind me (dog goes in front). I always have the shoulder straps and hip belt facing up - otherwise the straps, hip belt and back of the pack are soaked, and then at the portage, so am I.
That position makes accessing a traditional pack’s pockets from the seat of the solo very difficult, even impossible.

So my design centers on accessibility from the wrong/other side of the pack. Things like binoculars, raingear, snacks, water, headlamp, headnet, knife, tiny tackle box, compass, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. are all easily reachable while paddling or portaging.

First, more business for RipstopbytheRoll, and I am using their HyperD 300 fabric, which is 3.9oz/sq yd. Still light, but waterproof and certainly heavier-duty than the 1.6 oz/sq yd SilPoly I used for V1.

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02/27/2022 09:44AM  
I have a decent start on it but I think this will take several weekends.

I am planning on making the shoulder straps myself - last time I sourced those pre-made.

Here, I am starting with the map pocket, which was a late addition to V1.
The side strips are HyperD 300; the black mesh is RSBTR's "Pocket Mesh" (low stretch) and the light grey is a very stretchy pocket mesh from AdventureExpert. I've put some elastic under tension in a thin channel at the top. I've also learned about the wonderful world of Stretch Stitches...

02/27/2022 09:57AM  
Attached the Map Sleeve to the back panel.
02/27/2022 10:00AM  
Next, the large/tall zippered side pocket. Spreader bars (for my ridgerunner hammock) and/or tent poles, stakes, etc. find a nice home in this pocket.

V1 has this pocket and it is great. Building it the same, other than slightly smaller. V1 was 18" high, 9" wide and 2.5 inches deep. Frankly so big the bars/poles often rattled about.

V2 pocket will be 18 x 8 x 1.5".


Pocket coming together:
02/27/2022 10:08AM  
So here's what I have so far:

Most panels are cut. Back is ready to go with the map sleeve partially attached. One side pocket (the tall one) is ready to attach.
02/27/2022 12:51PM  
Angled pocket for water bottles.
02/27/2022 03:00PM  
Front, one side united
02/27/2022 04:33PM  
Sides, front, back connected.

Still need to deal with the top, bottom, and then the most complicated parts - shoulder straps & hip belt.

I need some additional fabric for those last two - should be here this week.

02/27/2022 05:07PM  
Bottom attached. Knocking off, probably until next weekend.
03/06/2022 06:59AM  
Put in a handful of hours on this yesterday, entirely focused on the hip belt.

I decided to change the hip belt pocket dimensions slightly (from 7x6.5x3 to 8x6x2.75") but the capacity is virtually the same. Those are pretty big hip pockets for a backpack.

But more importantly, I decided to permanently attach the pockets this time (V1 pockets are removable).

This makes the build more complex, for sure.
03/06/2022 07:06AM  
The hip belt will also be taller, which hopefully means a little more support & comfort while carrying. We'll see.

The lack of sewing expertise is still obvious, but I have learned and the 'finish' level of what I am making is definitely an improvement over V1. I'm a better sewer (not saying much), but another helping factor is that this fabric has less stretch than my V1 fabric, so it is easier to keep seams aligned and neat.
03/06/2022 09:16AM  
Spacer mesh is cut, pocket and outer hip-belt layer with the pockets are all ready for assembly.

03/06/2022 10:49AM  
Hip belt assembly
03/06/2022 10:51AM  
Hip belt wings & pockets are done - other than the foam inserts, which I will have to fabricate from minicell...
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03/06/2022 11:28AM  
Looks like it is coming along. I am always in awe of your design work.
03/06/2022 12:38PM  
Thanks for the compliment! This is coming together really well; in terms of build quality it is definitely the best thing I've ever made. But I am sure Dan Cooke would not hire me to sweep his floor. :-)
03/06/2022 12:40PM  
Foam for Hip Belt
03/06/2022 12:41PM  
Formed and swiss-cheesed
03/06/2022 12:41PM  
Hip belt completely done and ready to attach to pack
03/06/2022 12:42PM  
For fun, some weights...
Hip belt is a hair under 5oz.

Main bag w/ side pockets (still have not attached the top) is tracking to be about 9oz.

So if I can bring the shoulder straps in at 6oz or less, the finished pack should be at or under the target 20oz.
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03/06/2022 02:34PM  
Very impressive! Lightweight, should be very durable, and DIY...the triple crown. Would like to hear how it goes on your next trip and, if successful, where they will be sold!
03/06/2022 04:32PM  
YetiJedi: "Very impressive! Lightweight, should be very durable, and DIY...the triple crown. Would like to hear how it goes on your next trip and, if successful, where they will be sold!"

Thanks - but the only way I could sell these is if I paid someone else to build them! That said, I am looking forward to using it for its intended purpose.
03/06/2022 04:34PM  
Made the attachment for the webbing that connects to the bottom of the shoulder straps, and attached to the bag along with the hip belt. Lightly tacked together for now, in case yet more seams need to be ripped.

Seam ripping - now that is something I have become very good at...
03/06/2022 05:10PM  
Shoulder strap time. Using shape the ones from V1 (purchased those) as a template for the material.

03/06/2022 05:12PM  
Assemble, then turn right-side-out like a sock...

03/06/2022 05:17PM  
Painful error. Not literally, but...I failed to compensate for the thickness of the foam, and the padded area of the shoulder straps will be too narrow.

Snip. Snip.

Going to splice in wider fabrics...
03/12/2022 11:13AM  
Back at it & hoping to finish this weekend.

So I have reconstructed the shoulder straps. Probably would have been easier just to start over.

I did get some Cordura 1000D for the top of the shoulder straps where a yoke could wear/abrade them.

Next up will be the pockets on the vest part of the straps.
03/12/2022 04:55PM  
Pieces for assembly
03/12/2022 04:56PM  
Main pockets for the vest straps are on. Each side has a flat pocket (one side zippered, one side black mesh with a velcro closure) on top of a larger zippered pocket.

I'm going to add another smaller one above these.

Tedious stuff. Lots of time for what seems like small results.
03/12/2022 08:01PM  
Vest-style straps are sort of least the lower parts, including all pockets.

Tomorrow I need to add foam to the shoulder straps, connect the shoulder straps to each other, connect to the pack, and attach the pack lid.

Then check the shoulder straps, hip belt and even lower strap attachments for length and angle before securing more permanently.

This will be a pack for me and anyone my size - all others are out of luck, I am not building in much adjustability!
03/13/2022 10:28AM  
Swiss-cheesed some minicell foam for shoulder pads.

nb: Minicell forms so very well...except one way: slicing into uniform thicknesses is really difficult. Should have just bought a sheet of the desired thickness. Oh well.
03/13/2022 10:31AM  
Shoulder straps with padding...
03/13/2022 12:58PM  
yoke of the strap/harness/vest was again tedious, lots of time to get small parts just right.

But it's now a single assembly, ready to attach to the main pack body.

03/13/2022 01:29PM  
Thought I would finish in about an hour, but I am short one #3 waterproof zipper for the lid. Given lead times from RSBTR, I'm likely on a two week break.
03/19/2022 01:39PM  
Well, zipper came today so I am back at it.

03/19/2022 04:50PM  
Final assembly

03/19/2022 05:59PM  
Added a haul loop and...


03/19/2022 06:01PM  

03/19/2022 06:29PM  
Final weight 20.4 oz...

Spacious vest pockets drove the weight up, but I really like having lots of little storage places at hand.

I am pretty excited to give it a spin when we have water in its fluid form again.
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01/10/2023 10:05AM  
I started making a backpack. I am more interested in convenient equipment storage than weight saving. I have the basic design in mind and I made the shoulder and waist straps. I will work on the exterior compartments next.

01/19/2023 10:19PM  
sns: "Final weight 20.4 oz...

Spacious vest pockets drove the weight up, but I really like having lots of little storage places at hand.

I am pretty excited to give it a spin when we have water in its fluid form again."

Job well done! How did it perform for you this past liquid water season?
01/27/2023 05:54PM  
mcspin50: "
sns: "Final weight 20.4 oz...

Spacious vest pockets drove the weight up, but I really like having lots of little storage places at hand.

I am pretty excited to give it a spin when we have water in its fluid form again."

Job well done! How did it perform for you this past liquid water season?"

Very well, thanks for asking.

The pack visited the Quetico three times last year, and I had no complaints. Bit of fun deciding what item went in which pocket, with numerous changes along the way.

No signs of wear on the material so far.

Pack was an essential part of the single-portage strategy (group adult trip, trip with the kids and a solo trip were all single-portaged).
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