The images above, hopefully, will show you two guys wearing the same backpack (not at the same time, however). One guy is 6 foot 5 inches tall and the other guy is 5 foot 8 inches tall. I made the pack for the tall guy but wanted it to be adjustable enough to fit shorter people too.
Here is a list of features: It weighs less than 1 pound All the fabric is breathable (uncoated) (non-waterproof) and can be washed. The back bag's position on the frame is adjustable. The frame's position on the waist belt is adjustable. The pack can be disassembled and assembled by hand. The front bag can be used separately as a day pack. The pack can be worn without the front bag. The front bag suspension straps can be used as arm rests while hiking. Vertical members of the frame are carbon fiber It has a fully padded 4' wide waist belt with a 2" quick release buckle All of the weight is carried on the hip belt It has about 5000 cubic inches of bag space plus a top bar to which tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, etc can be strapped.
I have used the breathable nylon for about 10 years now and it works well for me. Everything I want to keep dry goes into a trash compactor bag. The nylon pack bag retains very little water, dries quickly and does fine when I run it through the washer. I like starting each trip with a nice clean bag.
I may be leaving in a couple of hours for several days so I have no time to take a picture right now. The front bag is simply a stuff sack with a drawstring closure at the top. It is easily openable while hiking and it is where I carry all those things I need while hiking (water, snacks, maps, hats, etc.) It is suspended from the top bar of the pack frame by two nylon straps with adjustable quick release buckles. I can move it up and down easily. Two other straps with adjustable quick release buckles are attached near the bottom of the front bag and they attach to the bottom of the pack frame. This allows me to cinch things down tightly if I desire. Most of the time I don't bother to attach the lower straps.
Yes, the frame is similar to past frames. It is an inverted U shape with carbon fiber tubes for sides and an aluminum cross bar across the top. Things are connected with nylon plumbing fittings. I've refined the details of this pack but the basic structure hasn't changed much for years.
Per your request, here's a photo of a typical front bag.
It is a little hard to see because it is black. I'll try to illuminate it with words.
This bag is about 15" X 15" when laid flat like you see it. That's a yardstick laying on the floor above it. The top two 1/2 inch wide webbings have 5/8" quick release buckles about midway up on them. The buckles attach to the top bar of the pack frame.
The 5/8 inch quick release buckles on the lower part of the bag receive webbings from the lower corners of the pack frame. I put 3x5 cards under them so they are more visible. The 3x5 cards are not part of the front bag.
The top webs are much longer than they need to be for a couple of reasons. I use them to rest my arms while hiking and they connect to the bottom buckles to turn the front bag into a day pack.
If you look closely you will see a cordlock that is attached to the drawstring closure of the bag.
In this photo you are looking at the side of the bag that goes against my chest.
Thanks for the picture and explanation. Very well thought out. I am still trying to decide what I want. I know I want a front bag. I know I want it to become a day pack. I know I want it easy to get into, and carry my essentials and some water. That is about as far as I have gotten.
Another question about the frame. Do the two side bars press against your back?
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
I'm assuming, in my reply here, that you are concerned about possible discomfort from the carbon fiber tubing rubbing against your back.
The two vertical pieces of carbon fiber tubing are 12" apart and inside tight fitting sleeves (1" wide nylon twill webbing) on the surface of the pack. They don't stick out much. My shoulder blades are less than 12" apart and my back curves both vertically and horzontally. So the pack bag is usually what touches my back. The pack and my back only come together for a few inches around the shouder blade area.
I've made one of these packs for my 5' 2" wife and my 6' 5" friend so far. They have flatter backs. My wife has used her pack for several years now and says she has quite a bit of pack bag to back contact but does not feel the carbon fiber tubing. I don't have much feedback from my tall friend yet. I only recently completed his backpack. He was concerned about the carbon fiber stays bothering him before I made tha pack but says, so far, no problem.
The position of the pack bag on the frame and the position of the frame on the waist belt and the curvature of the carbon fiber tubing and all the cinch straps are adjustable. So one should be able to remedy any discomfort if it occurs. I change the postion and fit of things as I hike to adjust to temperature and terrain changes.