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.