I’m thinking of calling this new creation the SimpleLight. For anyone who doesn’t want to read my rantings on fabric, and is just hoping to see the design and pattern, I’ll supply the link early: kringlelight_simple_pack_guide.
Jamie Shortt published a contest winning gear list on BPL a while ago that I have used a lot to give me a starting point for my lists. It has worked well for me because he hikes in essentially the same area as me, seems to have a similar style, and just by planning a solid, generic list, hits the 5lb barrier to be SUL.
One thing I noticed about this list was that his generic pack weighed in at an estimated 9.5oz. WHAT?!? We aren’t using a 1.5oz pack made of cuben to pass the 5lb barrier? Nope. Jamie focused on using good technique and multiuse gear to lighten his load rather than an expensive fabric on his supposed pack or other pieces of gear. Because of this, when he did start making his gear with even lighter fabrics, he was able to pack trips like this.
Knowing that the 5lb barrier can be broken using a pack that weighs this much means two things. First, the pack can be made of a fairly durable fabric, which is always nice. Second, the pack can be a very cheap MYOG project because of the fabric choices present in the 3-4oz per sq yd range.
Working off of this, I made the SimpleLight, which focuses on staying simple and easy to use/make. This simplicity also keeps the pack light when you need it to be, and let’s you increase the carrying capacity (and of course weight) when you are going out for longer.
The pack body is made out of 200D Oxford Nylon. It isn’t the fanciest fabric, but my dad has used his last pack made with the same fabric for a year with only one failure (it was actually the threads that broke when his strap caught on a tree as he fell). This includes him using his backpack as a seat, which is pretty brutal for UL gear. Even better than the durability, this fabric can be purchased at DIY Gear Supply for $4 a yard, which is a significant savings over the normal $10 – $20 fabrics popular today. Don’t get me wrong, I have used some of the expensive stuff as well and loved it, but it is always nice to remember that less expensive doesn’t always equate to worse. The project can be made for a total cost of $30 or $40 including shipping.
- Four long (but not full length because of other features) 3/4″ daisy chains for adding compression, detachable pockets, etc
- Two mesh water bottle pockets (per his request made at a strong angle to making reaching the bottles easier)
- Internal zippered pocket for keys, wallet and cell phone (8″x7″)
- Approximately 24L main pack volume
- Sternum strap and daisy chained shoulder straps made of two layers of 3D mesh
- Detachable hipbelt (weight of hipbelt not included above)