MYOG Backpack Overview
Continuing on advancing my sewing skills to create a perfect balance between hiking day pack and camera gear hauler I officially finished MYOG V4 Dyneema backpack. This pack continues to be just an iterative version of my last 3 MYOG backpacks. If you haven't check out my other builds they are worth reading, especially if you are trying to learn to sew your own MYOG pack yourself. Each iteration highlights a different part of construction as I experiment learned and tweaked each design:
- MYOG Backpack V1 (I did not finished but I learned a lot)
- MYOG Backpack V2 (Finished but needed some tweaks)
- MYOG Backpack V3 (My favorite backpack that I took on a handful of hikes. Side pockets were too small for larger bottles and I wanted it to be a little more robust)
Recommended Sewing Gear
Here is a list of sewing gear that I recommend for making your first MYOG Backpack:
MYOG Backpack Finished Product Pictures
Here is the final finished product before I get into some of the construction aspects of this pack:
If you skipped reading my first few attempts (MYOG V1 - V3) the last two pictures may look a little odd to your typical roll top enclosure backpack. I added a flat waterproof zipper to the front panel which allows for quick easy access to my camera gear and lenses while hiking on the trail. I love roll top style bags because they can grow to hold more or shrink to hold less gear but they are a pain to get in and out of quickly which is why I added the back zip.
Lastly on the picture tour, here are some with it rolled down to a smaller size.
Design Changes with MYOG Backpack V4
With version 4, I kept most of the major design ideas the same, but changed the main material to 5.0 Dyneema instead of 2.9 Dyneema. I wanted something a little more robust especially for sewing my shoulder straps into. I honestly have not had any issues with my V3 MYOG durability due to the 2.9 Dyneema but I wanted to see what 5.0 Dyneema had. Actually the 2.9 Dyneema held up splendidly on this hike while we escaped from some aggressive bees with some off trail navigation through the brush.
I briefly mentioned earlier that the small pockets of V3 had issues with my larger 2 liter Nalegene bottles and they would slip out, so I experimented with larger side pockets.
The last big change was adding foam to the shoulder straps. On V3 I just used spacer mesh. The spacer mesh was comfy but I am seeing it starting to flatten out.
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MYOG Foam Shoulder Straps
If you have never sewn shoulder straps I recommend you check out my MYOG backpack V1 guide as I go into more in depth detail on my first set of shoulder straps there and talk about some mistakes I made. Here I am going to just talk about my experiences working with foam for the first time in the shoulder strap. This ended up being the most frustrating part of this entire build....
I started out building these MYOG shoulder straps the same way I built them for my past three builds. I cut the top fabric which was 6.5 oz Woven Melange with Dyneema (Purchased from Ripstop by the Roll), and the bottom was spacer mesh. The plan was to then trace them on foam and stuff it.
The most frustrating part of all this was inserting the foam into the shoulder strap itself, it was a very slow and painful experience.
The strategy that seemed to work the best for me was to make a little "wave" of foam at the start and than slowly massage it all the way down and than repeat it over and over until the whole foam piece was inserted into the shoulder strap.
Once I got the foam inserted into the shoulder strap it was time to sew it in place and add a daisy chain down the center of the shoulder strap. This was snag number two...
My Singer Pro was not up to the challenge of sewing through:
- 1 inch webbing for daisy chain
- 6.5 oz Woven Melange with Dyneema
- Spacer Mesh
I broke my first ever needle right away....
At this point I decided to sew this part manually by not using the power of my machine and just turning the wheel by hand. This took for ever and I could not do a true lock stitch because my machine was not allowing me to go backwards. Each lock stitch I had to stop and rotate the entire shoulder strap. This was slow and I wasn't sure how secure the daisy chains were actually going to be. After completing one strap I decided to experiment with different options.
I took a scrap piece of foam, some 1 inch webbing and two pieces of 6.5 oz Woven Melange with Dyneema. I was able to sew through this combination with the power of my machine. If I left out the spacer mesh I was fine. I thought back and forth about removing the spacer mesh but then I realized my spacer mesh was beginning to smell on V3 due to sweat. The spacer mesh seems to hold sweat really well so I convinced myself to try the 6.5 oz Woven Melange with Dyneema on both sides and see how it handles sweat from hikes. Depending how it performs I am thinking of using Dyneema on the bottom portion of the shoulder strap for V5, but we shall see.
So I went back and re-created all my shoulder straps for this pack:
When they were all complete they looked great:
And that is how I built MYOG foam shoulder straps with foam inserts.
Zipper Entry and Shoulder Strap Attachment
I wont go into to much detail here since I have outlined this process a couple of times in my previous MYOG backpack builds I linked to earlier but here are some pictures if interested. If you have questions feel free to ask!
Cutting out the panels from the 5.0 Dyneema:
Attaching the shoulder straps:
Prepping the Zipper Entry:
Deeper Side Pockets
Making the side pockets much deeper was the other big change I made on this backpack. Not only were the pockets deeper but I also constructed the pockets a little different with how the draw cord works.
On previous packs I used a very thin Paracord. On this one I went a little thicker and had to slightly change how it came out of the side pocket. On my other MYOG backpacks, I just cut a tiny slit and had the Paracord poke out.
Since I had thicker Paracord I cut a V slit in the side pockets this time:
The hole was nice and large this time but I wanted to also protect the un-finished edges of the whole so I added a zig-zag stitch across it:
This came out nicely but I thought the white stitch came out way to bright for my liking so I added a little black over it too. The rest of the side pocket constructions was similar to my previous MYOG backpack but here are some more pictures:
Overall I really liked how this pack came together and I really like making tweaks to each iteration of this design the more I use it. I do have one more planned at this point but its more coloring choices of the fabric. I will test this one on a couple of hikes to see how it performs first!