A Little Introduction

A few months ago I built Floki, a 35L ultralight backpack. It was the pack of my dreams, and had everything I could have wished for: big comfy straps with water bottle pockets on both sides, a stretchy bottom pocket, an innovative side pocket design, as well as a uniquely striking colour scheme.

Three months have passed and I’ve put Floki through his paces. Despite my wish that I’d never need another backpack again, I was unfortunately wrong. I took Floki well beyond his limits during my time on the Cape Wrath Trail. – He deserves a more considerate owner.

Trusty old Floki on the CWT

A few bumps and scrapes later, including a tumble down a rocky river, I established that there are a few areas where Floki could be improved:

  • The main mesh pocket material is far too lightweight. There are a couple of holes from collisions with rocks.
  • The ice axe loop doesn’t hold my ice axe that well, which tends to slip out.
  • The Seam Grip didn’t waterproof my bag as well as I’d have liked when taking a dunk in the river Carnoch.
  • The side pockets don’t have enough space to fit more than a 1L water bottle. Not ideal for long water carries.
  • There are a couple of weak seams that could cause problems with heavier weights

Overall these are things you could certainly live with, and not deal breakers. However, I’m about to embark on the Pacific Crest Trail and I didn’t want to be compromising on such a core bit of kit. I started to draw up some new patterns in Adobe Illustrator and after a bit of scouring material suppliers I found some Dimension Polyant X21, which fitted my needs perfectly. I’m sorry Floki, but I think we’re going to have to move on…

Where all backpacks begin.

The Side Pockets

One of the biggest areas of redesign were the side pockets. These are now much bigger, with a mesh bottom. There’s an elasticated cord to clinch the opening shut, or secure bottles around the neck. These new pockets fit two 1L bottles on either side. That equates to 4L on the side pockets, a vast improvement. I was also more careful with detailing on this build, and made sure that every sew line counted. I used the Dyneema Gridstop pattern where possible to hide stitch lines.

The Straps

I was overall very happy with the straps on Floki, and they fit me very well. I made only minor adjustments in this area, including giving them more cordage for larger puffy jackets.

All the panels complete, waiting to be seam sealed.

Seam Taped

This pack is seam taped. I used a combination of a 3 layer laminate tape and your usual transparent seam tape. The 3 layer tape was used on the VX21 panels, and transparent tape on the X21 and Dyneema Gridstop panels. Fingers crossed this keeps my belongings dry.

Felling The Seams

This is by far the hardest part of making a backpack (the final seam) and I took a picture of this part of the build. It’s simply horrible and you have to be very precise with these seams too, since they’re visible on the outside of the pack, and are crucial to structural support.

The most stressful part of the entire build; felling the final seam.

Once the seam felling was over, I just had to finish off the roll top of the bag, seal the main stitch lines, turn it inside out, and voila! Here’s the pack fully packed. This is a small iteration over my last pack, but I’m really pleased with the little improvements that put confidence in this pack lasting for many miles.

I’ve named this pack Ironside. A life full of adventure awaits.

Thanks for reading,
Benjamin

  • Post category:Gear

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Kee Wan

    Hi
    Can email me the .ai file, also the bucket hooks and etc where u purchase from.

    Thanks alot.
    Kee Wan

  2. Paul

    Hi Ben,

    I started on the Floki but going to make this instead.
    Would it be possible to get the AI file?

    Thanks
    Paul

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Paul,

      I’ve emailed you an AI file that has basic dimensions of the pack.
      Best of luck with the build!

      Ben

  3. Navarro Saiful

    Hi Benjamin,
    Your pack is very nice, Congrats.
    Any chance you could email me the .ai file of this pack V1 and V2 please?
    I would love to try and make one similar.
    If I make changes to your design is it permitted?
    My email is hajiarro@gmail.com
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Navarro. I’ve sent you the .ai file of the V2 pack. Happy sewing!

  4. Tetsugoro

    Hi Benjamin, I am really inspired by your work! I would like to try sewing one together for myself. Could you please share your AI file with me? Thank you!

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hiya!

      I’ve sent you an email with the .ai file. Enjoy making the pack and best of luck.

  5. Jonas

    Hi Benjamin!
    Nice job with the pack!
    Would love to get the .ai file aswell! 🙂
    -Jonas

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Jonas. Yes, of course! I’ll send it your ways 🙂

  6. Kani

    Hi Benjamin, really impressed by your work! Could you share the ai file with me? Would love to learn drawing patterns! Thanks a lot!

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Kani,

      I’ve sent you over the pattern of the main panels. There are some resources online about drawing backpack patterns, but not too much available out there. Maybe I could do a YouTube video tutorial some time…

      Best of luck with the pattern and happy pack building,
      Benjamin

  7. Richelle

    Hey Benjamin,

    I’ve been planning on making a bag similar to this for awhile, any chance i could get the ai file as well to have a starting base? thanks!

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hiya,

      I’ve sent you a .ai file with the main dimensions. Best of luck with the pack. – I’d love to see how it turns out!

      Benjamin

  8. Sai

    Hi Benjamin,
    I’m inspired by your design. Can I have the .ai file as well please? Would like to try making one myself.
    How is it holding up so far and where did you source your materials?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Sai,

      Of course! I’ll email you the .ai file. Regarding how it’s holding up: Well, due to Covid my hiking plans didn’t come into fruition. It has only done some shorter hikes and carries the groceries every week!
      The materials were all from ExtremTextil in Germany.

  9. Jerick

    Hi Benjamin,

    I’ve made a few packs before and am currently working on a heavily modified G4 pack. I came across your site while looking up other ideas. I’m so impressed with your work. I was wondering if I could have the .ai file as well please? I’d like to incorporate some of your ideas into my next pack, because I’m already thinking about making the next pack while working on my current pack. Thank you so much!

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hi Jerick.
      The .ai file isn’t super detailed since most of the more intricate stuff is easier to figure out on the fabric itself. I’ll send the file your way nonetheless. Best of luck with your pack, I hope it works out! – would love to see the finished result.

      1. Jerick

        This is awesome. Thanks for the file! I’ll share when I finish

  10. Jakob

    Hi Benjamin!
    Thats a great looking pack! Any chance to send me the .ai file as well? I would love to dig deeper into the dimensions! 🙂
    Best regards! Hope you have a great day!

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Of course! I’ve just sent the .ai your way 🙂

  11. Petra

    Hi Benjamin,

    I would be as well interested in making backpack acording to your design. would you mind sharing dimensions as well with me? 🙂 thanks

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Hiya,

      I’ve sent the adobe illustrator pattern your way. Have fun disecting the dimensions and if you’ve got any questions feel free to ask!

  12. Laurie Mattoon

    Hi Benjamin!
    May I also have the ai file? I have some time on my hands about now : )
    Thank you!
    Laurie

    1. Benjamin Davies

      Of course! I’ve sent the .ai file your way 🙂

  13. Leo

    Hi Ben!
    I am interested in starting to make my own packs. I think having some initial designs would really help me out, Do you mind sharing the .ai file with me?
    Best,
    Leo

  14. Daniel

    So far this is a neater design than Mountain Flyer. May I also have the .ai file?

    Best regards

  15. Jasper

    Hello Benjamin,

    I was looking at the different packs that you made and they look great. I’m in the process of designing my own and was wondering about the dimensions of this pack. Could you maybe send me the .ai file?

    Thanks in advance.
    Jasper

  16. Remy

    Hi – stunning job. I’ll add my name to the list for the ai file. Thanks in advance 🙂

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