Cascadia Pack

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I’ve been wanting to make another pack after realizing that the Strathcona pack I sewed in the fall turned out incoherent. Originally the Strathcona pack was going to be a small, light, frameless pack for short backpacking trips but I sewed it in the fall with skiing on the mind so I ended up beefing it up substantially and creating a pack that wasn’t ideal for either backpacking nor ski touring.

I haven’t got up the nerve yet to try sewing a framed pack, so here is attempt 2 on what the Strathcona pack was originally going to be. See my original Strathcona post for more details on construction. The result is the Cascadia pack (hence the flag). I opted for lighter fabrics and a more backpacking oriented feature set, which cut the weight in half from 638g to 318g (22.5oz to 11.5oz). It’s certainly a niche pack, but I think it’s better to excel at something than to be mediocre at several things. I’ve got 4 other packs in the closet for other uses.

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The pack bag is the same design as the Strathcona pack, but constructed from TX07. The extension collar is coated 70D nylon, which is what I had on hand. This time around I sewed my own shoulder straps, which are simply TX07 sewed to 3D mesh with grosgrain edging and 1/2″ webbing daisy chains. My machine couldn’t handle anything more.

To make an easy to use pack, I opted for a stretchy rear pocket and hipbelt pockets. I sewed the rear stretch pocket out of heavy weight 4 way stretch lycra, which the same as what ULA uses. It doesn’t last forever but it’s a nice material until then. It’s also a pain to sew, so I held it in place temporarily with double sided tape like I did for the shoulder straps. The hipbelt pockets are 70D coated nylon and #3 zips.

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The rest of the features are grosgrain side compression straps, bungies on one shoulder straps for holding my water bottle, velcro and shockcord loops to hold trekking poles, sternum strap and a removable hipbelt. It’s a pretty standard feature set that I’ve gotten used to from my ULA Ohm. I might have gone too light by using 1/2″ webbing on the shoulder straps and top strap. The webbing is fine but the 1/2 buckles are pretty weak.

Inside the pack is a 0.7oz cuben pad sleeve with a non-removable 1/4″ CCF pad. I never seem to bother removing an internal pad, so I kept things simple and sewed it permanently in. All the internal seams are rolled.

Cuben fiber and 1/4 CCF pad sleeve
Cuben fiber and 1/4 CCF pad sleeve

So far I’m happy with it. It carries as well as can be expected for a frameless pack. The volume is probably a little more than I need, but that might come in handy. I’m pleased that it’s nearly a pound lighter than my other pack options. My current philosophy on pack ownership is that a light framed pack (1.5 – 2 lbs) can work for almost anything, but it’s nice to have 3 packs so you’ve got lighter/smaller and heavier/bigger options as well. My main quiver is:

Cascadia Pack: 35L, 11.5oz, loads up to 15 lbs
ULA Ohm: 45L, 24oz, loads up to 30 lbs
Hanchor Marble: 65L, 38oz, loads to 45 lbs

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7 thoughts on “Cascadia Pack

  1. Nice work and always insightful. I used your comments about pack fabric choices over on BPL to narrow down my choices for a custom made to my specifications pack from KS Ultralight. I am happy with my choice of TX07 for said pack.
    I don’t make my own gear but admire the commitment and follow through to the end result. Bravo!

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  2. Yeah TX07 is good stuff if you’re willing to take care of it. For a primarily on-trail pack in responsible hands I think it’ll last a while. It should fare similarly to the common variety of hybrid cuben.

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  3. Nice work. I dig the patch too.

    How do you like the Hanchor Marble? I’ve been intrigued with Hanchor’s packs for a while now, but I’ve yet to find a substantial review to sway my purchase. Any chance that a review from you is forthcoming?

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    1. Alex. Yeah a review of the Marble is forth coming. I put quite a few miles on mine and suggested some tweaks to Hanchor, which they did and then sent me a 2nd one for further testing. I’m trying to get some more miles on that before I finish the review (which is mostly written). In short, I like the pack. The quality of the craftsmanship is high and it carries well.

      It is quite a large pack (larger than I usually need) and the fabrics are on the lighter end of the spectrum (VX07) so it’s ideal for someone with high volume but not super heavy loads and who isn’t bushwacking. I think it’s going to work well this winter.

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      1. Great, looking forward to it.

        I’m actually considering their Chert pack, which I believe uses the same harness and suspension as the Marble but is made out of burlier fabric. I’m hoping to glean any insight I can before I choose my next pack. Currently, I’m considering Katabatic Gear’s new Artemis 55 and the aforementioned Chert. I’ve been borrowing a friend’s Cilogear 30L Worksack, which is pretty good for scrambling & climbing, but doesn’t quite have the support I’d like while on trail with a multi day load.

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      2. I personally would have trouble getting past the “high fashion” shiny fabric of the Chert, but other than that it looks good. The size is probably better for an all-around pack and there’s no water bottle pockets to conflict with the lower compression strap, like there is on the Marble. If that made it in a nice VX21/X30/VX42 I’d be all over it.

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