Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#194155 - 03/10/16 10:02 PM Material Ideas? what to and home depot
jrigg Offline

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 11
Loc: Indiana

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?

#194162 - 03/11/16 07:43 AM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: jrigg]
Pika Online   content

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1767
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
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.
May I walk in beauty.

#194164 - 03/11/16 09:49 AM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: Pika]
4evrplan Online   content

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 747
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
There's also diygearsupply, dutchwaregear, owlfinc and probably countless others.

EDIT: Sorry "owfinc" (Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics), not "owlfinc".

Edited by 4evrplan (03/11/16 09:51 AM)

#194167 - 03/11/16 12:41 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: jrigg]
wgiles Offline

Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 160
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.

#194168 - 03/11/16 12:55 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: wgiles]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
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

#194169 - 03/11/16 12:56 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: jrigg]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Sorry about double post. Now that I've quit as a moderator, I can't delete even my own posts!

Edited by OregonMouse (03/11/16 12:58 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#194180 - 03/11/16 05:18 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: OregonMouse]
bluefish Offline

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 679
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.

#194192 - 03/12/16 12:56 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: Pika]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2797
Loc: California
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.

#194215 - 03/14/16 10:18 AM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: wandering_daisy]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
yeah, shipping costs have kept me from buying many times. But, eventually the itch gets the best of me... smile

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 (03/14/16 10:27 AM)
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

#194284 - 03/16/16 01:21 PM Re: Material Ideas? what to and home depot [Re: wgiles]
BrRabbit Offline

Registered: 03/15/16
Posts: 58
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
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...


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Goose Down Question
by Bill Kennedy
04:56 AM
Back pack frame length
by Petro1234
09/22/18 08:42 PM
Pullover vs Zip Rain Jacket
by 4evrplan
09/13/18 05:12 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Whsiperlites: Catch the flame or let it go out?
03:03 AM
Donnell Fire in the Sierra
by balzaccom
09/10/18 08:51 PM
Leaving a Mark
by balzaccom
07/10/18 09:32 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Pack Attachment Angle
by 4evrplan
09/21/18 09:04 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 53 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Phil Harvey, RyannBoehm, disguisedrob, grantwiley, Korak
12644 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum