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#136803 - 07/27/10 10:48 AM Homemade kid pack
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
This is a backpack I am making my almost 8 year old son. I plan to take him on a backpacking trip in September to test it out. I also plan to take him and his little brother next summer. Because I plan to take a second child, he needs to carry a little more stuff than his school bag has room for. And, I don't have the money to buy him a properly fitted pack. Also keep in mind that he is going to carry a lot of light bulky items, like his sleeping bag, sleeping mat, some clothes, his hammock, and a little water. I will be carrying the heavy, non-bulky things for him, like cooking stuff, food, etc. Hopefully the loaded pack isn't over 6-7 lbs, and definitely not over 10. With that as a pre-cursor, here is what I have done so far.

I took an old pack I had that I didn't really like and cut off the shoulder straps, waist belt, back padding, any webbing, and any hardware. Then I took a sheet of HDPE that is 1/16th of an inch thick (a little over 60 mils) and used it as a frame. Also, all the sewing was done by hand with size 69 bonded nylon thread. The only sewing I did was attaching the webbing on the shoulder straps and sewing together the two halves of the waist belt. It seemed faster and stronger to do by hand, plus my machine probably can't sew through the padding on the shoulder straps.
Here is the waist belt attached. With all my attachments, I simply drilled a hole and used 550 cord with knots.

Here is the back side showing how I attached it.

Here are the shoulder straps.

This shows the tap I sewed on by hand.

This shows the load lifters I sewed on by hand.

This shows how I attached the shoulder straps to the frame with 550 cord.

This shows the back side of the frame where the shoulder straps are attached.

This shows how I attached the bottom end of the shoulder straps to the frame.

Here are the load lifters attached.

Here is the frame and suspension complete.

This shows how it fits my son.


The way it is now, it barely is small enough to fit my son. He will be able to grow into it in a few years, and I will probably buy him a normal pack when he hits 12 or so, at which point his baby brother will be big enough for it.
Of course, I am not finished yet. This is just the frame. I still need to put a little more padding on the back panel. Then I need to attach straps to the frame. I will also sew a bag. The idea is to put everything in a separate bag, then wrap the sleeping mat around the bag, and then strap it to the frame. I will continue to post pictures as I progress.
Also, I don't claim to be an expert pack maker. If there is any glaring error, I would like to hear it.
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#136805 - 07/27/10 11:18 AM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1347
Loc: Seattle, WA
Pretty cool......a pack made out of, primarily, love.

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#138483 - 09/08/10 10:25 AM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I finally finished it up. I am taking him this weekend, so it was a priority to finish.

Here is the side view with the completed pack.


Here is the pack looking at it from the back. It has three horizontal straps, and one vertical.


And here it is separated out. I wanted this option so that if I wanted, I could roll his sleeping mat around the bag for easy storage.


Here is the water bottle pocket that attaches to two of the horizontal straps. It has a 32 oz gatoraid bottle inside.
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#138524 - 09/08/10 07:24 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
Cesar Offline
member

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
Nice job. So did you get to weigh it? Also what pack is that hipbelt from? It seems to fit your son well. The Fox 30 kids pack has a hipbelt thats to wide for my daugther and its made for kids.


nm: looks like you cut part of the middle off and stitched it back together.


Edited by Cesar (09/08/10 07:34 PM)
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#138535 - 09/08/10 11:29 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: Cesar]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1731
Loc: Napa, CA
I just noticed that your son is practically giggling when the pack is empty and unfinished. Once he gets the full weight on his shoulders, his expression is a little less gleeful!

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#138547 - 09/09/10 10:15 AM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: Cesar]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I don't recall the name for the pack. I bought it right before deploying to Iraq in 2003. It is not a full suspension pack, just a big day pack with a thick hip belt. You could use it as a shoulder bag as well. Personally, I thought it was designed poorly. The shoulder straps were too far apart. I used it for school when I got home, and eventually tore it from carrying all my engineering books and laptop around. The way the hip belt was originally, it was two wings sewn onto the body of the pack. I just cut off the wings and sewed them together. All the plastic hardware came from that pack as well. So, I am glad I didn't just chuck the pack when it was no use to me anymore. I haven't weighed it yet. I guess that is the next step.
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#138673 - 09/12/10 04:08 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Interesting looking pack.

Its big but that's great, kids have alot of stuff that is high volume but not neccessarily heavy. Pack might be heavy, but nobody makes a UL or even light kids pack so you've done great.

I like the idea of that plastic frame. If it is heavy you could easily exchange that piece with a blue foam pad, maybe reinforced on the front and back with thinner plastic, the way they make some toboggans these days. That might be an idea too using one of those toboggans and cutting it to size but gluing up a bluefoam pad would be cheaper. Wrestling matt tape alone might add enough extra stiffness. Anyway you got me thinking.

You got me thinking my daughter needs a pack.




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#139928 - 10/05/10 04:18 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: JAK]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 510
Loc: Virginia
This is a great idea!!

Two questions:

Where did you get the plastic backsheet?

Does anyone have a suggestion as to where to get a padded hipbelt?

Steadman

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#139935 - 10/05/10 05:50 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: Steadman]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
The plastic backsheet was scrap from work. You can get it from McMaster carr as well.

Like I said in the post, the hip belt was from an old pack I had. But, I did recently buy one to put on an old external that I have. It is the padded hip belt for a MOLLE pack. I got it on ebay for $20 plus shipping, it also came with shoulder straps and a frame. Anyways, lots of outdoor stores sell replacement hip belts also. And, it is not that hard to make your own. I did that maybe a year ago for another project.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#139937 - 10/05/10 07:18 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Please let us know the final weight of the empty pack and how your son survives the shakedown trip!
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#139944 - 10/05/10 09:50 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
Roocketman Offline
member

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 203
One year, quite some time ago, at the REI annual clearance online, I bought nearly two dozen hip belts and sets of backpack straps for something like $1.96 each, plus shipping. They sat in my place for two years. I finally got rid of them as the house was getting too full of junk.

Six weeks later, I wanted a bunch of them for a project to refit some new backpacks. :-(

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#140055 - 10/07/10 01:59 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Well, I still need to weigh it. The trip went well. It is in the trip reports titled "Notch Lake, Uintas Report". I would link to it, but have no idea how. Maybe a moderator can help. Anyways, some comments on the design. It definitely needed a vertical strap. The bag had a tendency to want to fall out of the three horizontal straps. The vertical strap prevented this, although not 100%. I think it shifted an inch down by the time we finished 2 miles. Also, I need to support the load lifters better. If you look, the top horizontal strap is lower than the load lifters, and they are bending the frame down. I think that if I raise the top horizontal strap to the very top, it would support the load lifters better. I don't think they are working in the present configuration. Their lack of function could explain his soreness at the end of the hike. In other words, the hip belt wasn't working and I have some adjusting to do.
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I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#140159 - 10/08/10 09:25 PM Re: Homemade kid pack [Re: finallyME]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 510
Loc: Virginia
Depending on what it weighs, and if you can get it to work, I'd be interested in working on a Mark II or Mark III version. My kids are slightly built (my 7 year old is almost 4 feet tall and 40lbs) and I am going to need a light pack for her to carry her personal gear, and let me carry another kid's gear...

I was thinking of hitting a surplus store, or an Army clothing and sales store at a larger base, to pick up their hip belt/straps for the Alice pack series.


Edited by Steadman (10/08/10 09:26 PM)

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