People who make kites have many techniques and materials that are useful in making lightweight backpacking gear (e.g. adjusting sewing machine tension, knot tying, placement of adhesive backed reinforcement pieces, carbon fiber tubing, stong but lightweigt cord, really clever fittings, etc.).
This website:http://www.kitebuilder.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=106938#106938 is one that I check everyday. They have a forum similar to this one.
When I'm working on backpacking equipment I'm very often applying something I have learned from the forum at the kitebuilder website. You might want to check it out if you are thinking of making something.