After a few attempts at making a fastpack, each has gotten iteration closer to the sweet spot between comfort, durability and lightness. With another lockdown here in the UK and some spare material knocking about, the next generation of fastpacks was born.
Main features of this pack:
- XPAC VX21 + Dyneema Gridstop
- 15L capacity
- Modular vest style straps
- Rear webbing attachments
- Fast zipper entry
- Salomon style sternum strapping
- Chest water bottle pockets
The last fastpack left a few areas to still improve. Here is what I had noted:
- Change main fabric to VX07 or LiteSpeed
- Tone it down a little with the colours :/
- Use a black front mesh to hide zig zag stitches
- Try sliding sternum straps (Salomon Style)
- Try a lighter 3D Mesh
- Change shape to distribute load even further to the top of the pack
Other than the main body fabric, all of these improvements were met in this latest iteration. Since I had some X-PAC VX21 left over from previous projects, it seemed wasteful not to use it!
I also wanted to try out making the straps removable, as being able to swap them out for different activities seemed like a win win. Whilst running calls for light, breathable straps with accessible water pockets, a daypack requires more comfortable padded straps for slightly heavier loads.
After making and using several packs with a large front pocket, I found that I never used it much. When I did it would be for only a couple of small items or perhaps rubbish and fruit peels. I figured that it could be a lot smaller and that back surface could be utilised for a webbing attachment design.
The pattern for this design is quite economical, with it being one large rectangle with a cutout at the bottom for the pocket. This goes hand in hand with a more simple construction and fewer areas where water can infiltrate.
When running, I often find that I stuff small items like gloves in the top of the bag but don’t want to faff about with unclipping and rolling down the dry-bag top. A waterproof zipper is featured to alleviate this problem, which offers a quick access to the main compartment.
The vest style strap design is the area that I believed needed the most improvement from previous iterations. After finding some neat hardware on AdventurExpert, I drew up some designs that featured an easily releasable sternum clip system, that is very reminiscent of the Salomon vests.
The straps can fit a 500ml bottle on each side, and feature a lower pocket for bars and gels. One side has a zippered pocket to put in keys and valuables; for that peace of mind.
I’m ecstatic with how these turned out. Although very fiddly to layer up a zippered pocket inside a stretch pocket, on top of another stretchy pocket, I believe it was worth it.
Final Images & Testing
All in all, this pack turned out great. There’s not too much to fault so far, so the next step is to test this thoroughly with plenty of miles, and in multiple scenarios. I can see this being a good pack for ultras, fastpacking excursions and long days out in the hills.
Thanks for reading,