Ever wish you had a piece of gear perfectly customized for you? Can you not find that perfect something anywhere? More and more i've found myself saying much of the same. The way I use a piece of gear and the needs for that piece are more than likely different from how a bigger manufacturer may produce it. The answer? You must make it yourself. DIY, MYOG, whatever you want to call it. I wanted in.
I admit I was hesitant and intimidated by having to learn to sew and adjust to a new set of skills. After a few months of looking up other peoples projects and tips, I felt more prepared. I picked up a Brother xl2600i from a local sewing store and the odds and ends i'd need to get down to business. My first project may not be the best starter project but I have about as many stuff sacks and tent stake bags as I can handle. An upcoming bike tour had my mind going about what I needed. The plan is to travel as light as possible (like always), and I was really intrigued by the frame bags I was seeing on a lot of touring forums. It was the perfect setup for a rainy day project. After scanning many, many posts about how others had made there bags, it was time.
The materials are as follows:
210d Dyneema X Gridstop - 1 linear yard
Shield Silnylon - 1 linear yard all from: Thru-Hiker
3/4" Velcro Hook and Loop Fastener - 3 continous feet
Utility Netting - 1 linear yard
3/4" elastic banding - 3 feet all from: Joanns Fabrics
20" Water Resistant Zipper
Coleman Camp Pad - 24"x 72" from: Academy
Remember to mark out where all cable guides and stickers are so they are not covered up.
My template for the inside of the left panel. A days worth of water and a stash pocket for bars and tools.
All materials cut to size with a 1/2" seam allowance
The foam acts like a stiffener for the entire frame of the bag
The left panel with cargo pocket
All panels sewn together individually. Now you're ready to start making something that looks like a bag and add your velcro straps.
The toughest part is thinking inside out and backwards.
Yet to see if it is too wide
Finishing touch on the zipper pull. Easy to open with gloves on.
So after making a few mistakes and getting stuck on a few spots, it came out great. The confidence I have to make my own gear now is much higher than when I started. This was no doubt a gateway drug to bigger and tougher projects (sleeping bags, tents) and I will think a little differently now when I dream up a custom so and so. If you're thinking about making your own gear, all I can say is give it hell. You might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.