Petro, I'm not really sure I understand the question, but the only padding is in the hipbelt itself, none on the pack. The belt will be sewn directly to the pack.

For the frame, I've switched to bamboo skewers. It was $0.88 for a whole package, so I couldn't resist trying it out. I'm gluing together three for each vertical support (cut to two feet) and three for the top horizontal piece (cut to a foot). I'll report how it works after it's all put together.

For weight, I'd carry an absolute max of 40lbs. I've carried low to mid 30s in the past, but I'm looking to reduce this. I'm switching from an oversized tent to a "polycryo" tarp when it's not too buggy, and of course, the pack itself will be much lighter.