So I was out at home depot today and found some really light plastic backed painters drop cloth. It was white, smooth on the outside and it had a plastic backing. It was around 8 bucks for a pretty good sized sheet of it. I am just not sure how it would sew up....and it was pretty thin, but seemed like it could be good stuff sack material to say the least.
I also found some material in the craft section at Walmart called pro tuff fabric I think. It had a polypropylene style front with a plastic backing as well. It seemed a big on the heavy side to me though.
So, all in all, what readily available materials does everyone use for their packs and what not? Anything that can be easily found at hardware stores or Walmart or anything alike?
It's easy to get tested pack fabrics online. This would be my preference over using untested "brand X" stuff that was developed for other purposes. Go to Quest Outfitters, Seattle Fabric, Rainshed or Through-Hiker for materials and plans that have been "trail-tested". They all have websites. You can get a kit to make a G-4 pack from Quest and a kit for a Ray-Way pack from Ray Jardine (also on line) and have all you need to make a good light pack for less than $100.
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
I have gotten to where I seldom go to the retail stores for fabrics anymore. They don't have what I want and the bargains aren't. Depending on what you are looking for, eBay may be a good source. Some of the prices are way too high, but there may be deals on remnants that are quite good. If you see something for sale by "Sunshine O'Malley", your payment will be marked as sent to Ray Jardine. I'm assuming that this is how he gets rid of his unwanted fabric. eBay can be a good source for things like webbing and buckles. I've used Quest Outfitters, Thru Hiker, DIY Gear Supply and lately, RipstopByTheRoll. All of these have had good service and reasonable prices. Some fabrics and materials are only sourced by one or two suppliers, so some looking around is required. I'm thinking about making a new bivy with 0.9Oz Membrane Silpoly PU4000 on the bottom and Membrane 0.66Oz Nylon Taffeta for the top. I think that it's a good idea to get some feedback on the material choices for the intended use.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Use cheap stuff only to make practice models. I firmly believe in using the highest quality fabrics for the finished product. You put enough hours, sweat, tears, and even (if you stick your finger with the needle, which I occasionally do) blood into making the finished product that it seems stupid to make it of cheap fabrics that won't last!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I've tested lots of materials from the hardware box stores, and other than Tyvek/Typar, visqueen/window insulation, Reflectix, aluminum flashing and some poly lumber covers, all have not been worth any effort. As a builder, they get tested right on the job. Those cheap drop cloths are just that. When I need more than just the canvas ones I own, they'll make do, but I'd never use them to make anything, as they rip and shred.
I just tried to buy some fabric on-line and unfortunately was shocked at the shipping costs, which of course, did not show up until the check-out, after putting in all that stupid information. I did not finish the order. $18 shipping for $25 of material was unacceptable. Very frustrating.
yeah, shipping costs have kept me from buying many times. But, eventually the itch gets the best of me...
To the OP, I have bought wally world fabric or Joan's fabric for projects. I lucked out with some good stuff from Wally world that I have used successfully. I even got some sylnylon. However, I have found that the sylnylon was not as waterproof as I needed for a tarp. So, for my last tarp, I bought the good stuff. Like OM said, when you put as much time and effort into a project, you want it to last. That will only happen with proven materials. However, if you are DIYing anything, you will go through iterations. Now I use the cheap stuff to do mockups. So, go ahead and buy the cheap stuff and make something. And, know that you will change the design, and eventually you will want to buy the good stuff to make the "Best Pack Ever!". Make sure and take pictures so we can see your success!
As for what materials do I use in a pack... I actually use many different types. Why limit yourself to one type? A pack has different areas of stress. Some areas need to be more abrasion resistant than others. Some areas take more pulling. I like to use a heavier cordura, and a lighter ripstop, along with nylon webbing. I have different packs for different types of backpacking. Sometimes I use 1000D cordura for best abrasion and stretching resistance. Sometimes I use the lighter 500D cordura. Sometimes I am looking for a specific color and can only find it in 1000D. I only use the heavy stuff for the sides, bottom and sometimes the hip belt. Everything else gets the light mesh or ripstop nylon to lighten the pack.
For a light pack, you can successfully use just ripstop nylon. 1.9 oz would be more heavy duty than 1.1 oz. If price is a concern, use the 1.9 exclusively. It will be cheaper.
Edited by finallyME (03/14/1610:27 AM)
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.
I have a tarp made from 0.9Oz Membrane Silpoly PU4000. It feels nice and is extremely lightweight, yet strong. I hadn't have a chance to use it in the rain yet, cannot comment on that personally, but what I read on other forums, it's used for tarps by many with good results. So, it should be good for a bivvy too...