My big project right now is sewing daypacks for myself and, eventually, others. This was my first version using cheaper fabrics and notions. My eventual final pack will have all the bells and whistles.
I used this pattern for the main pack, which is identical to the Zipworks 30L pack. The straps are from LearnMYOG Fastpack. As I work through possible versions, I will update this pattern. This was just a good starting point for size, fit, and learning how to construct the pack. For instructions on the pattern, check out Zipworks’ YouTube channel.
The hardest part of sewing your own gear is sourcing everything. I’ve hopefully provided sufficient documentation of what item got used where for my pack. The PDF included provides URLs to all the specific items I purchased. Most everything can be bought at Ripstop by the Roll or Strapworks. Ultimately, my bag cost roughly $64.98 in materials just to make. I wasn’t always able to just buy what I needed and had to buy extra, so it cost me $98.82 to source everything, but I do have notions left over, and since I’m planning to make some changes, I won’t have to source so much for my second pack.
A couple of things to note, the Spandura nylon spandex is not a suitable fabric for the front pockets, and neither is the 1.9 oz PU-coated ripstop nylon for the side pockets. I will eventually use a mesh from Ripstop by the Roll, like Venom™ UL Stretch Mesh. The 1-inch webbing for the front sternum straps is also not what I’ll use in the end, but I was trying to limit the variety of notions I purchased. I knew a 1-inch webbing would suffice for testing fit, and I also had extra tension locks.
Things I Don’t Like
- I’m ditching the waistband. The pack needs a more robust frame to make the waist belt work, and I’m trying to avoid making a heavy, overbuilt bag.
- The straps are too close together and digging into the side of my neck. For my second version, I need to place the straps further apart.
- Instead of having the center back come to a point, the center back needs to be flat.
Things I Like
- The vest-style straps are awesome and have a great fit. I was dubious about finishing the edge with ribbon, but it worked. I pressed the ribbon in half with my iron and hand-basted the ribbon to the edge before going to the sewing machine. Hand basting allowed me to ease the ribbon around the corners smoothly.
- The front pockets are extremely roomy. They easily fit 600 mL of water each or a very large phone. Our iPhone 14 Pro Max just disappears into the pockets.
- The side pockets are also sufficiently roomy. A standard 1L Nalgene bottle fits without a problem.
- I’ve intentionally not included any side compression straps to save on notions.
- I plan to include a rigid ABS plastic in the pack but don’t want to add anything until I absolutely need to.
- I wonder if I need to add a cinch cord to the front pockets?
- I have not yet decided how to finish the roll top: snaps, magnets, or webbing.
Because the pack is frameless, weight and balance are really important. Two 1-L Nalgene bottles in the side pocket are too heavy, pulling the pack down too much. Distributing water to the front pockets makes the pack more comfortable. I plan to use the pack with 600mL flasks in the front pockets. For longer hikes, I’ll add 500-600mL to each side pocket.
There’s a lot to keep track of with a project like this, so I’m doing my best to be methodical in my process and testing. I don’t want to forget a detail or overlook fit, design, or functionality.
Where to store your phone for easy access? Slim running belt or fanny pack. I have more control over belt placement when the phone holder is separate from the pack.
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