Walked to the home of friends last night to celebrate how much cheeses love us. The walk there was magical – no sound but that of snow crunching underfoot, the soft ticking of snow on my hood - and church bells ringing in the distance. And at midnight, it was even more magical. Thoroughly toasted, I wandered around Dundurn Castle and the cemetery for an otherworldly hour.
For thirty years I’ve been clapping gleefully whenever something visual screws up. The blurry, or double exposed, photos Black’s didn’t charge you for. The odd shapes formed at the edges on stat cam prints by the bulbs when you really shrunk something down. Postscript printers deciding it didn’t like your file and spitting out pixelated mayhem. PMT prints that didn’t work and left strange patterns and colour fades. Early monitors that would sometimes show a chopped up version of the file you were working on as you zoomed out, and stay there long enough to get a screenshot of. Images after they’ve been stapled to a phone pole for a half year. Run up sheets from offset presses, with oddly juxtaposed type and images. I’ve got a huge file of this kind of stuff. Not used so frequently, but when you can find a use for this sort of randomly generated imagery for something, terrific. Happy accidents I called them. A bunch of years back I was home one morning when a fire truck parked between calls on the quiet cul-de-sac I lived on. Went out to say hi and snap some photos as reference for possibly building a Lego version. (Still haven’t gotten around to it.) Somewhere along transferring them between camera and various storage mediums, the entire folder of images got truncated. PhotoShop can’t do anything other than show a narrow strip along the top. If PS can’t open it...that’s saying something. Single previews don’t work, but for some inexplicable reason, opening them all at once showed me this riotous collage of strips of stuttering colour. Took screenshots of the expanded screen, because other wise these are inaccessible. “Accident is the greater part of art, not design.” – Aleister Crowley
Woodlanders is a crowd funded online film series that seeks to document the work of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and well-being throughout the world. Definitely worth your time. And your support. Woodlanders
new compression panel day pack, the
(And just to give you a sense of the size, I’m 203 cm (6'7") and
113 kg (250 lbs). Yes, I make a 130 lb. Great Dane look small.)
I’ve tried a few approaches to this idea, and they all fell a bit
short. But I’m certain this will be the solution! I think.
The idea is to have a detachable day pack that I would have with
me on a two hour hike or a two week canoe trip. There are things
that are necessary for both –what changes usually is insulation,
shelter, food, etc., on longer trips and time of year. I want to
have a way to carry the necessities; water, means to purify it,
first aid kit, rain protection, some insulation, a day of food,
Besides being able to carry it as a stand alone day pack (with or
without a waist belt, and with a frame sheet, aluminum stays, or
both, or none) or have it attached to a frame (Kifaru or the one
I’ll eventually build), it’ll serve as a compression panel.
Between the Squish’mups and the frame I can carry a no-frills
pack sack (the next thing I’ll make), a duffel bag, a dry bag, a
barrel, a Pelican case, a rifle drag bag, etc., etc.
The difference between some of my other attempts, is to have a pack not very deep,
but wide and tall. Keeping the depth of it down helps prevent the
center of gravity from being put too far out.
The dimensions are 60 cm (23") x 33 cm (13") 10 cm x
Using some very complimicalated mathematics*, I derived at a
figure of this being about a 37 liter pack, or approximately
2250 cubic inches.
*( C = W + D x 2 ÷ π ÷ 2 = R
π x R² x H = V )
Some of you will automatically recognize that
the belt and the way it’s attached, and really the whole
suspension, is pretty much my take on the Kifaru Omni system.
I’ve been using it for a decade, it works very well - so why
re-invent the wheel as far as that went. Some ideas for the belt
were also nicked from the Hill People Gear Prairie Belt.)
Some closeups of the belt. I changed the Delta Straps a little by
adding removable ladder locks. In Kifaru’s the webbing is sewn
into the belt. I wanted to be able to have this as a stand alone
belt if need be, and wanted to be able to remove them altogether.
(The HPG belt does something similar.) I also added four tabs
along the top so that I could attach suspenders. The other things
I did was attach Eva-Zote foam and spacer mesh to the belt (as
well as two strips along the back) both for padding and -
hopefully - a bit of comfort on hot days.
Another view of the belt with the ladder locks removed and the
suspender tabs more visible. The other thing I did was use a
buckle arrangement similar to the HPG Prairie Belt.
The back, showing the inside and outside. The 2" straps at the top go all the way to the bottom, and serves as a carry handle.
The back, showing the inside and outside. Inside I put 4, ½" strips of webbing on both the front and the back, so that I could hold things in place with bunjee cords and cord locks. Inside is also a slot for an HDPE frame sheet and you can just see the 2" slot pockets for aluminum stays. I can use one or the other, or both, or none.
Bottom. Bit hard to tell, but it’s an irregular hexagon. One
piece of gear that I absolutely wanted to use was my MSR Titan Kettle – which was a bit bigger
than the depth I had envisioned for this. I shaped the pack so
that only the bottom part I would put it in was sized to
accommodate it. The rest tapers away to be as slim as
Sides showing the water bottle holders (corsets so that any size
bottle can be accommodated), compression straps, and the daisy
chain riding up the sides and over the top.
Top, again showing the daisy chain and the compression straps, as
well as carrying handle (the straps go all the way along the back
to the bottom).
Trekking pole holders on the front. A strip of ½" webbing,
sewn to be 2 channels, with bunjee cord and a cord
The straps that will attach the compression pack to the
frame. (You can also see how I shaped the front to accommodate the larger kettle at the bottom and then flare away to a narrower wifth.
Closer look at the water bottle holders. I wanted to be able to accommodate different sized bottles if need be. I did the bottom so there is a hinge, to better fit either Kleen Kanteens or the Classic 1 liter Nalgenes. And on the bottom by the seam you can see the two holes I put for the cord to emerge from.
The Kifaru E&E and the Squish’mups side by side. I got the E&E a decade ago for the purpose I outlined earlier. Just found it too small for my needs. I also found the fact that I can only attach it via the sides meant it always sags down.
The ½" strips
of webbing and how things are held in place with bunjee cords and cord locks. If it was a top opening pack I could just shove things down inside. Given
that it opens all the way up, I wanted to makes sure everything
stayed put when I opened it.
To give a description of what’s all here:
Starting top left, first aid kit (I’m going to make one specifically to
fit along the width along the top, and have it be a tear-away),
below that a pouch with some miscellaneous stuff - repair kit, toiletry kit, headlamp, gaiters.
To the right of that, at the top, an inflatable seat pad, below that a ground
sheet (foot print from a 1 person MEC tent) below that a bag with
approximately a days worth of food.
To the right of that a bag with a sweater, gloves, socks, toque
and buff, all in merino wool.
To the right of that at the top, a Swiss mesh scarf. About a
meter square, it’s one if those items I could in theory live
without, but it’s so versatile it always comes along and I always
find a use for it. As a scarf, I drape it over or wrap it around
my head when I sleep, I’ve rigged it up as a sun shade, it can
serve as camouflage, collect leaves for a debris shelter, I’ve
strung it up as a place to put gear so it’s off the ground - the
uses are endless. Below that is a cozy that fits a home made
dehydrated meal and inside of it is my trusty MSR Titan kettle and LMF cup with a homemade
stove and wind screen and fuel bottles and lighter. Below that is
an Integral Tactical silnylon poncho. Thin and
light, it serves as both wearable rain protection and
Anyway, my confident prognostication that this will be THE
solution ... fell a bit short. It’s very close, but not quite. It’s really comfortable, but then again, it’s an Omni suspension, so it would be. My
biggest gripe is the water bottle carriers. The bunjee cord
adjustment system mainly. The next go round will be attached in
the seam at the bottom, and via SRB at the top, and instead of a
cord lattice, it will be webbing straps adjustable via Velcro. The daisy chain up the sides and top will be dispensed with,
since its main purpose was for the bottle cord lattice to weave
through. And my initial thought was maybe use as an attachment point for something. Would rather dispense with the weight. Also the way the compression straps attach to the pack
itself when not on the main frame, will change. I had attachment
points all the way up the sides, top and bottom. Instead there
will only be tabs specifically for those straps to connect to. Again, unnecessary weight for, maybe I might attach something to it some time. The way the compression webbing attaches will be different as
well. Part of my original design was to have a mesh panel that I
could use to stick a wet rain jacket or tarp under. Then it hit
me. Duh. Why not just use those compression straps for that
purpose. The next iteration will do away with the metal tri-glide
/ loop-loc attachment, have it be one piece and route through
webbing tabs. I can loosen it, stick what I need under it and
cinch it tight. Basically, the Kifaru Cargo Net. Slightly different, but essentially, as soon as it’s no longer sewn to the pack, that’s what it became.
Another idea that seemed good at first, but had to actually use
for a while to realize the shortcomings of, are the trekking pole
holders on the front. The next iteration will have them be
attached to the main frame instead.
It will also be just a pocket, rather than a full on pack. Rather
than a built in suspension, I’ll simply attach it to the main
frame. I think I may keep shoulder strap and waist belt
attachment points (and maybe include pockets for aluminum stays).
If I want to take it off the frame and carry it alone, I can if I
do that. I intend to put a pocket along the back to slip a piece
of foam in, both as a seat pad and to give the pack some
rigidity. (And that would also clear up room inside currently taken up by the inflatable seat pad I have in there.)
I also have the idea to do an iteration of it which is just a top
opening pack, rather than a full clamshell opening. While
everything is neatly attached, I wonder if it’s really such a
good use of the space available.
Some more photos.
A Pelican 1600 strapped on to a Kifaru Duplex frame. (The belt, shoulder straps, frame sheets and aluminum stays removed from the Squish’mups.)