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.
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.
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.
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: