Great pack though it is, the Lightwave Ultrahike 60 lacks a mesh stash pocket on the front. A while ago I bought an Exped Flash Pack Pocket. I haven’t used it because I wasn’t that happy with the attachment system. Unadjustable elastic with open hooks is a bit Heath Robinson for my liking. Initially I used some glove hooks instead of the open hooks. However, I’ve come up with a better solution using side release linelocs.
Here’s the pocket in position. As you can see, it fits the Ultrahike nicely.
At the top, in the centre, I’ve used a small carabiner which is hooked on to a grosgrain loop (one that I sewed earlier for a shock cord attachment that goes over the top of the snowlock). This stops the pocket slipping down and makes it easier to put gear into.
At the top, on the sides, I’ve used a combination of a glove hook, which attaches to a loop on the pack, and a side release lineloc for quick release and adjustment.
At the base there’s no convenient loop, so I sewed a grosgrain loop on the hip belt stabiliser with a side release lineloc. This system has two advantages over the original elastic and hook system.
Firstly, the linelocs are adjustable, so the pocket is more secure and can be fine tuned for different loads. Secondly the side release linelocs can also be more quickly and easily released and re-engaged.
One of the nice things about the Flash Pack Pocket is that it can be reversed. On one side it is mesh, better for drying. On the other side, it is solid, better for rainy weather. With this system it is very quick to flip around much easier to re-engage securely.
I’m very happy with the way this has worked out. Anyone with a modicum of sewing skill could copy this if they wanted to.
My Gossamer Gear Mariposa rucksack is starting to get a bit battered. On the Challenge I ripped the rear mesh pocket on the first day, ducking under some fallen trees. I effected a temporary repair with some Tenacious Tape. However, I wanted something more permanent.
I asked Paul of Tread Lite Gear to make me a patch from an offcut of dyneema grid stop fabric to sew over the top of the tear.
The first thing to do was to sew up the tear. Not the neatest of jobs, but it should hold.
Next I folded the patch over both sides of the tear and secured temporarily with some small clips. I stretched the top of the pocket with a ruler. Then I tacked the four corners with a few stitches. Lastly, I sewed the four sides. This was a pretty fiddly job. Stretch mesh is not the easiest base to sew on. With a bit of patience, I did a reasonable job.
I think the result is pretty good and has rescued my favourite pack. While I like mesh pockets, they are definitely a weak spot on many packs and not easy to repair. I think pack manufacturers should give a bit more thought to having more robust mesh.
Fed up with straps dangling all over the place? Here’s a simple solution copied from my Exped Thunder pack. Most of the straps on the Thunder have Velcro keepers.
Any excess strap is rolled up and secured by a Velcro keeper sewn on the end of each strap.
The sleeping pad straps on the base of my Osprey Talon 44 are particularly annoying and dangle down. The solution was to mimic the Exped Thunder keepers.It’s really simple to do. I hand sewed them. It’s worth using a thimble as it’s tough to push the needle through the Velcro. It only needs a few stitches to keep in place as there’s no strain on it. Simple, but effective.
I copied this idea from my Osprey rucksack raincover for my smaller Exped raincover. It only took a few minutes to do with some grosgrain, a glove hook, a side release line lok and some shock cord. It works really well to make the raincover fit better and makes it secure against flying off in a strong wind. Simples.
Yet another tweak on the ULA Ohm. Two removable shock cord top straps. Very easy to do, I used two side release cord locks and two glove hooks with some shock cord. The trouble with a single webbing strap is that anything attached is a bit unstable. The shock cord stabilises a tent or stuff sack. They are removable if they are not needed. I’m looking forward to using my modified Ohm. Unfortunately, there won’t be an opportunity until the end of June.
I visited my mum today. She is an ace seamstress and I persuaded her to replace the webbing on the shoulder straps of my Gossamer Gear Mariposa. Sometimes the webbing has slipped under tension, so I replaced it with a coarser weave webbing, which shouldn’t slip. Very pleased with mum’s sewing. Took about five minutes.
I’ve been making again!
Many moons ago, I made some shoulder strap pads for my Golite Quest pack mid trip because the straps were bruising my collar-bone. While I didn’t have any real problems on Dartmoor with soreness from the Exped Thunder, the straps are a bit thin for my liking. They also wick water badly when it’s raining. If you’re wearing Paramo, this wicks through under pressure. An impervious shoulder pad should get rid of this issue. Thus, the shoulder pad has a dual use.
It was very easy to make. I used a cutoff of a closed cell mat, some Velcro and some Duck tape. Originally I was going to just stick the Velcro on, but I thought sewing it would be more secure. I used wide stitches to avoid pulling through the foam. If I were to do it again, I think I’d sew it onto a strip of grosgrain.
On the flip side, I used a length of Duck tape to secure the Velcro strips.
Despite not being shaped, they fit neatly underneath the shoulder straps. Using Velcro means they can be attached without unthreading the harness, unlike the ZPacks version. It also means it’s very easy to reposition the pad. I’m pleased with the outcome.