It doesn’t take me long to start thinking about ways of improving my gear, especially shelters and rucksacks. Naturally, on receipt of my new Mariposa rucksack, my mind turned to how I could modify it. Here’s what I’ve done so far.
1) Map holder and bottle holder. I like utilising the shoulder straps on my packs to hold maps, bottles or sometimes an umbrella. The new Mariposa has two very useful small D rings above and below the grosgrain that secures the sternum strap. On one side, I’ve added two loops of shock cord with cord locks to secure a map case (right in picture). On the bottom D, I’ve also attached a ski pass zippy which links to the map case so I can’t lose a map (it happened once in the Cairngorms). On the other side I’ve attached an OMM bottle holder (the oddly named I-Gamy). Normally, I just use two loops of shock cord, but this is an altogether more elegant solution. Instead of the supplied bottle, I’m using a lighter old Lucozade bottle. On my old pack, I bodged an umbrella holder. I’m having a think as to how I might do this for the current model.
2) Side compression shock cord. The Mariposa comes with a length of shock cord and three cord locks. On the old version, I used two lengths on each side on the uppermost grosgrain loops. On the new version, the small uppermost is set higher than on the old one. So I’ve moved the compression cord down one set of loops, so it doesn’t get in the way of the opening. Rather than for compression, I tend to use these to secure things like cloths for drying or trekking poles.
3) Loop for trekking poles. At the base of the sack I’ve made a loop of shock cord to secure the handles of my trekking poles. At the top of the pack, I just loop the compression shock cord below the baskets. Perhaps I should have taken a picture with the trekking poles as well, but I’m sure you get the drift.
4) Zip pulls. I’ve put zip pulls on the hip belt pockets and the lid pocket zips. I’ve used a short length of knotted dyneema cord. The zips have quite small pullers, so this just makes it easier.
5) Pocket padding for camera. I’ve save the best until last. On one pocket I’ve used some silver insulating material that can be used for pot cozies, to create a padded pocket for a camera. I’ve secured the padding with some duct tape.
I’ve only padded the outside and bottom walls of the pocket as the hip belt wall is protected by the padding from the hip belt itself. The pocket is big enough for my Lumix TZ5, although in the picture I’ve shown my Olympus Mju 770SW, which is a bit smaller. The padding should be sufficient to protect a camera from knocks and will enable me to dispense with my belt pack if I wish.