Trail Editor in DIY kit scandal!

Grainy it may be, but this video evidence from the workshop of Trail Magazine editor Matt Swaine proves conclusively that he did indeed make his own kit for this month�s Gear Guide issue.

Check out the full story of Matt�s DIY kit and check out the blueprint of how to make your own here!

Scroll down to see the video and how to make your own rucksack...



Nine steps to making your own ruck sack

�I started this project with absolutely no sewing experience,� says Trail editor Matt Swaine,
�having never used a sewing machine. In fact, I have never shown very much practical aptitude
for anything. This rucksack was the first of the outdoor projects I undertook. �


Step one: ordering
I first spoke to Pam at Pennine Outdoor � tel. (015242) 63377; � who talked me through what I would need for this project. She sent me a roll of Cordura, tough nylon fabric for the snow lid, a selection of buckles, webbing and drawstrings, and padding for the back, straps and belt.


Step two: the design
I decided to base the design of my rucksack very vaguely on my Osprey Talon 33, which I�ve been using for quite a while. I measured out the dimensions and tinkered with them slightly to fit my requirements. I also cut out a newspaper model and Sellotaped it together to make sure that these dimensions would provide the kind of sack that was required.


Step three: cutting out
The design of my rucksack started out with the very simple aim of creating a fabric bucket (rough dimensions 56x30x18cm) with straps on. The �bucket� section was built from five panels of Cordura.
To cut them out I bought a pair of long-edge tailor�s scissors and tailor�s chalk. To pin them together I also needed dress-maker�s pins. All of these are available in your local haberdasher�s. I originally sewed the panels together very enthusiastically, before realising that I needed to get the back system in place. This is much easier to do before you�ve constructed the main body of the sack. So I had to unpick a lot of hard work and then start thinking about attaching straps to the main body of the pack.
Lesson: Get the back system build first!


Step four: shoulder straps.
Pam from Pennine Outdoor had sent me small square of Karrimat. I used this to create padding for the shoulder straps, for the belt and for a square on the back system. To make the shoulder straps I cut out a 38x7cm strip of Karrimat and then cut out a 51x18cm strip of Cordura. I turned the Cordura inside out to sew it together to create a sleeve for the padding. When this was done I turned it right way out and fed the material back into the sleeve. It was easy to sew these onto the main
body of the rucksack at the top � I had left a 9x9cm square of Cordura that could be solidly anchored to the body. To get the strap attached at the bottom of the bag, I once again had to unpick my stitches and create a triangle of Cordura that could be sewn into the seam to create a solid anchor point for the straps.


Step five: the belt
The belt was much easier than the main straps. Once again I had to create a sleeve for the padding by sewing a strip of Cordura together (dimensions: 74x17cm) and then turning this inside out and feeding the padding back in. I split the padding into four pieces, two of these to sit on the actual back of the sack and one on each hip. With two separate pieces of padding on the back I was able to anchor the belt onto the rucksack in three different places. I also fed the main webbing for the belt through the
Cordura sleeve for extra strength.


Step six: back padding
I used a small square of the Karrimat to give extra padding to the top of my back. I also used this to cover up the rather untidy attachment of the straps to the sack. After cutting out the square of Karimat I used a slightly larger square of Cordura to hold it in place.


Step seven: the main body
With the panels already cut out, it was a quick and easy job to bring the main body of the sack together. I was working with the sack turned inside out. It is important to pin the panels in place first and take the sewing process very slowly. There should be a button on your sewing machine to allow you to reverse your stitches. Do this at the end of each run of stitches to ensure a strong attachment. When the five panels were in place I created a snowlid with a section of nylon. I doubled over the nylon at the top to create a sleeve for the drawstring.


Step eight: the lid
Before the lid went onto my pack I was really please with my creation. Creating the lid was much harder than I expected, though. Mine was too large, and didn�t have the right shape or dimensions, and I didn�t have sufficient webbing at this stage to create a good strap for the lid. By this stage though I was rushing to meet my two week deadline for all the gear I was going to take on the Trail feature. If you�ve already made the rest of the pack you are in a good position now to make a lid that is tailored to your pack. Take your time and construct something that fits your pack well.


Step nine: on the hill
This pack worked brilliantly on the hill. It is light, comfortable and exceptionally practical. But most of all I get a real kick out of knowing that I made it!


Read about how this pack performed and see the other kit that I made: a waterproof, soft shell, mountain cap and tarp. And check out about a Trail reader�s homemade meths stove in the April 2009 issue of Trail � out NOW.