Thursday, February 13, 2014

Introducing my new Frankenpack

My day pack from about 2006, it has seen better days, could I revive it?
My day pack stretched out to the point that it was riding way too low, so I knew it was time to do something. I looked all over the Internet for the perfect day pack but could not find it.

Then I looked in my closet and saw my old 2006 GoLite Dawn pack. I realized that it was very nearly the perfect pack for me.   But first it needed to be risen from the dead.

The collar was nearly ripped all the way off and then very hastily sewn back togther a couple of years ago right before a backpacking trip.  Another problem with this pack is that it has very little structure to pass weight to its hipbelt.   It was painful to wear when I was lugging snowshoes and a DSLR around.    An integrated sit pad would give form to the pack and give me something warm to sit on without having to go digging in my pack. 

New extension collar, this job took hours
So I decided to replace the collar on my pack. I have a Eureka 4 season tent fly sitting my my closet, I did not throw it out when I got a new rain fly. I just knew there must be some use for that heavy duty waterproof material someday and today was that day..

I used a piece of that rain fly to make a longer extension collar for my pack and I also converted it to a roll top closure. I love a nice simple no fuss roll top pack closure. I modeled it after my Sea to Summit dry sacks.
New integrated sit pad holder
Then I took some stretchy green mesh that I had in my sewing closet and sewed it to the back of my pack so that it will accept a foam sit pad.

I did not have to buy any thing to do this conversion, as I save all the bits and pieces of my old packs. Even if I toss out a pack I strip the hardware off it first. I also am always on the lookout for bits of mesh in the thrift shops for making pockets with.

I think I will be happy with this pack now, it is just the size I need for a long day hike into the mountains in the winter. There is I think a pretty good chance that some of my sewing will fail, but that's okay because I know how to fix it. It's not as pretty as it could be since I did all the sewing by hand. I own a sewing machine but it could not use it to sew bits onto an already sewn together pack. 

Also I hate fighting with my sewing machine, it always gets unthreaded or will not pick up the bobbin thread or breaks a needle.  Then even when all is going well, horror or all horros the bobbin suddenly needs to be reloaded.  It seems faster to hand sew everything than to deal with my sewing machine.

Front of pack with roll top closure.  It is packed for a long day
in the mountains
For thread I used 30 pound test kevlar fishing line.  It is the diameter of 6 pound test, so it is a nice thickness for sewing and it is much stronger than any normal thread I have found.  Luckily green is the color of the components I added so matches properly for a change.

I'll give my reborn frankenpack a good test tomorrow.

On the trail for the first time