Leather Knapsack Prototype

Why do this?

In my life-long quest for better designs and finer gear, I am constantly on some sort of hare-brained mission to make something new.  Some readers may remember the earlier backpack I made and eventually traded off to a new owner.   My friend Jacob, even made a fine copy for himself and it now lives happily in Botswana, hopefully seeing many great adventures.

Snapshot of the pack, ready for waxing.

Leather and Brass? (or, what the hell were you thinking?)

One thing that can be said about real leather is that it will, barring some mishap, last a lifetime but eventually fade back into to earth, leaving little trace.  Leather is strong, wears well, is abrasion and heat-resistant, feels good to the touch, and cannot be beat for beauty.  While I considered antler for buckles, I decided to go with a slightly more modern closures and fasteners made from solid brass.  As I use antler in most of my creations, I chose to make a few well-shaped toggles as practical accents.

The downside? These materials are heavier than modern, lightweight materials but, for me, the trade-off is completely worth it.

It begins with the little things. There are many repetitive steps in large projects such as this.

This backpack started off as some daydreaming and sketches on graph paper sometime last November but other projects and commitments made me set it aside again and again.  This was good though; it allowed me to rethink the plans and make modifications as they occurred to me in the quiet hours of the night.

The harness system took some time, thought, and modelling before work could commence.

What were the design parameters?

Design is always the toughest part when creating something new.  I’ve been looking at handcrafted bags and packs for years so I’m sure there are a thousand images bouncing around inside my skull influencing the composition of this piece.  Honestly, choosing a size was the most puzzling part of all for me.  I’m a biggish guy and have a tendency to go big when I make gear so I was determined to keep this one reigned in.

Once the more difficult decisions were made, cutting and sewing could begin.

I already had a “look”  in mind and already decided on the construction technique.  Should it be a six panel body for easier layout or single panel around the body for a more seamless build?  Should it be sewn, laced, or riveted and what pockets does it need?  Will it be “turned” (seams hidden inside) or will the closings be visible?  Finally, where to begin construction?  We can’t close the body until the external sewing is done so pockets and straps were a good place to start.

Not long after getting most of the parts gathered and cut, I found myself wounded, with only one arm for practical use.  This slowed down sewing to a crawl.  What should take fifteen minutes took over two hours so this bag became an exercise in patience.

Still, I managed to make headway and the pack came together over several weeks.

A “turned” pocket freshly attached to the body.

Maybe not my prettiest stitching ever, but as it will be mine, and not for sale, I will still cherish every flaw.

Large pocket accessible with the main flap closed.

As a prototype, there were changes that must be made on the fly but overall I was happy with the design.

The shoulder straps were made to be replaceable without too much hassle and are long enough to accommodate a heavy coat in winter.

A carry handle was a heavy debate in my mind but makes a lot of sense for modern travel.

Each side has a slip pocket, tie down D rings and a compression strap at the top of the pack.

Bottoms up! I was able to place a scar in the hide on the bottom of the bag. The two rectangular patches are for blanket straps.

Details – brass rivets, antler toggles, and beautiful leather called for a heavy pillow ticking to serve as the liner.

Waiting to be packed for an adventure. I hope to get it waxed and outside later this week. Hopefully, I’ll get some photos of the new pack in use.

  Specifications:

  • Materials – 8 ounce veg tanned leather body, 4 – 5 ounce leather pockets, brass and antler
  • Height – 16 inches
  • Width – 12 inches
  • Depth – 6 inches
  • Weight – 5 pounds

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Selfies of your hand-made gear?

The Duluth Pack – The First Patented Backpack…

(from the Paleotool vault)

I just had to reblog this fine article from 74 Footwear Design

“Camille Poirier patented the first back pack on Dec. 12, 1882 in Duluth, Minnesota (Patent No. 268,932). Initially called the Pack-Strap the pack is today referred to as the Duluth Pack.

The basic design of the Duluth Pack already existed in the blanket bag, or knapsack and had been in use for at least 100 years by the British Army prior to the patent, especially during the American Revolution. But Camille Poirier added a few improvements including a sternum strap, tumpline and an umbrella strap to hold an umbrella, or sunshade above the users head while hiking.

With a budding wilderness recreation movement in the USA, the Duluth Pack designed for ease of use went onto arguably become the first world’s first recreational backpack.”

“Incredibly today and over 130 years since its patent, the Duluth Pack is still is available and being made in Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Which new products of 2012 will still be made in 2142? And what will be the determining factors for their longevity?”

See the original article HERE: https://74fdc.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/the-duluth-pack-the-first-patented-backpack/

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A Nice Pack Basket

If you know me at all you know that I am interested in pack baskets.  Because of this, they catch my eye when I’m browsing historic images. 

I could find no information whatsoever about this one.  I suspect maybe Tibet in the early 20th century?  Pack baskets have been underrated in the west.  I’m glad to see more and more of them used in the primitive technology, bushcraft, and survival communities.  I love the one I made but I know there are even better ones out there.

I was interested in the harness system here.  It seems to sling around the entire basket for support.  It took me some time and effort to come up with one I liked for mine but based on some historic examples, I was able to come up with one that worked.

Enjoy a little preindustrial technology today.

Thoughts on the External Frame Pack (reblog)

I hope its not TOO lame reblogging other people’s posts but this is just too ON TARGET. Check out his blogs.

74 FOOTWEAR DESIGN CONSULTING

Learning from the past is important and I sometimes think about this from a design perspective. Can we learn from old traditional designs, or techniques and apply them to modern design? Is all primitive design and technology inferior?

I believe that at the very least learning about old ways can provide us with food for thought, a comparison to our new directions and if necessary can inform any necessary adjustments to our course and design thinking.

External frame backpacks are interesting not only of their more versatile modularity, but also because the structural component of the pack is clearly visible and offers a great opportunity to any designer wanting to explore structural innovation. Designing compelling structural elements from diverse materials such as wood, aluminium, or even carbon fiber is something I think most designers live to do.

Every designer and their creativity draws from all forms of knowledge and inspiration…

View original post 1,938 more words

The Duluth Pack – The First Patented Backpack

I just have to reblog this!

74 FOOTWEAR DESIGN CONSULTING

Camille Poirier patented the first back pack on Dec. 12, 1882 in Duluth, Minnesota (Patent No. 268,932). Initially called the Pack-Strap the pack is today referred to as the Duluth Pack.

The basic design of the Duluth Pack already existed in the blanket bag, or knapsack and had been in use for at least 100 years by the British Army prior to the patent, especially during the American Revolution. But Camille Poirier added a few improvements including a sternum strap, tumpline and an umbrella strap to hold an umbrella, or sunshade above the users head while hiking.

With a budding wilderness recreation movement in the USA, the Duluth Pack designed for ease of use went onto arguably become the first world’s first recreational backpack.

Incredibly today and over 130 years since its patent, the Duluth Pack is still is available and being made in Duluth, Minnesota, USA.

Which new products…

View original post 23 more words