DIY, making your own gear and going ultralight

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by packgoatguy, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. packgoatguy

    packgoatguy Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    Even though my packgoats are usually packing all my gear, for some reason I caught the 'Ultralight' bug this year. When I found that much of what was availible commercially was either too expensive or still too heavy, I ended up making or tweeking a number of the items in my pack. Has anyone else had much success making or modifying your own gear? Most notably, I have my 1 pound 1 man tent my wife helped me make ($30), my 2 pound 3 man tent ($100), my 3 pound internal frame backpack ($100) (expandable to nearly 80ltrs) and my 2.5 pound Zero degree sleeping bag ($30). I weighed my total gear weight this season (minus gun or bow, and minus the boots on my feet and the pants and shirt I was wearing) was only 28 pounds for a 4 day 3 night trip. That included binos, range finder, food, water, clothes, sleeping, shelter, emergency/first aid, boningknives, gamebags, etc. and even a fishing kit (I enjoy fishing high mountain lakes for a break from afternoon hunting)

    Id be curious to see what other modifications you guys have been successful with.
  2. veriest1

    veriest1 Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2009
    Congrats! I'm tempted to just say, "this thread is worthless without pics!" But I'll say more than that (hint hint). I've been wanting to get into DIY gear but I just haven't had the space until recently.

    To tide me over I've simply bought used gear or held out for sales. Now, 3 years later, I'm solidly UL on backpacking trips (not hunting) and just picked up the gear for going SUL.

    As far as actual DIY gear I've trimmed my pack and other gear to cut some ounces off and fabricated some stoves and the like. I've had great success with the Super Cat alky stoves, using theraflu bottles for carrying alcohol, and other "recycling" efforts.

    If a person holds out for good deals on slightly used and/or sales on their big 3 then the rest is really cheap. I still spent more than you going this way but got off cheap compared to buying outright. I really wish I could have made some stuff myself though.

    Have you used anything from I'd love to make my own 40 degree quilt (for summer and layering over my 30 degree bag) and a synthetic vest.

    What insulation did you use for your bag?

    Do you mind sharing the details of your pack? Is this frame something I could add to a typical frameless pack?

    For the sake of discussion my "Big 3" are:
    - Old Style Golite Ultra 20 $170 (clearance item at IIRC)
    - Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar $80 (MLD's Facebook prototype sale)
    - Golite Jam $85 (Returned without tags but like new off of

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    To the extent practicable I DIY all my stuff except for metal work on the rifle.

    • Super duty shooting mat/carry case/drag bag with canopy (one model for snow/winter - one for shooting range).
    • Anti- June grass hiking shoe tops.
    • Super sturdy bi-pod with sling posts for with associate carry system for heavy LRH rifle. Pretty sweet , . . If I must say so myself.
    • Hydrogen generation system for the vehicle.
    • Fanny pack for LRH equipment
    • Back pack - was a bit of a dud. Got a deal and purchased then modified one.
    • Winter camo chaps
    • Large tarp shelter. (poor design but works in a pinch if yur close to the truck.
    • High bc repointed bullets.
    • LRH rifle stock modifications
    • Rifle scabbard
    • Rifle carryng case
    • Learning to knit - to make my own socks. :rolleyes:
    • Converted bench lathe to cnc for bullet point manufacturing - using LEGO Mindstorms motors and brick. Amazing!!
    • When I decide about goats I'll pobably make pack saddles and other stuff
    • Last but no least - 7 offspring (had some help with this one though:)) The results were so good that I otta contract out:rolleyes:
  4. packgoatguy

    packgoatguy Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    I will get some pics up here in a bit, but in the meantime; The sleeping bag I actually modified. I took a standard black military 0 degree mummy bag (part of the 3 part system; green 30 patrol bag, black o bag, and gortex bivy cover) and turned it into a modified quilt. The bag started at about 4.5 pounds, so I (well really my wife did all the work) cut out about 1/3 of the bottom of the bag, thus eliminating all the weight of the zippers and buttons, and then sewed in a piece of sil nylong in its place to still hold the sides in while I slept. We also removed the hood (as I use a wool beanie anyways) and drawstring, and the double insulation in the feet area for an altogether weight savings of about 2 pounds. I combine it with my Thermarest Neo Air All season (the one item on my gear list I didnt skimp on price) and sleep compfy cozy down into the teens at night. Ive seen these army surplus mummy bags online for $30-$50 and the silnylon we had left over from making my tent.

    The backpack was a cheapo fieldline hunting pack (internal frame with aluminum stays) that started out around 4.5 pounds, and only about 40 liters. We took off all the unnecessary straps and buckles, removed the top pouch and a useless zipper expansion system that only added a half a liter or so of space, removed the zippers from the two side pockets, etc. Then we added a large side mesh pocket, a silnylon expansion sleeve at the top of the main duffle, a simple waterproof (ripstop nylon camo pattern) top cover, and a ripstop nylon pouch at the bottom that could be expanded to hold an additional 20 liters or so. Then I added a long strap across the back for my bow and a repositioned the shoulder straps for more comfort, and double seamed all the spots we felt were questionable from the manufacture. Didnt cost much in materials, but it took my wife a few days (was my birthday present) Ive hauled 40-50 pounds comfortably with it, and it has plenty of room to haul all my 4 day pack gear plus a boned out deer.

    HUAINAMACHERO Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Interesting, but the pictures will help a lot. The only things I have made to lighten some weight of my backpack are alcohol stoves. I actually did a thread about them several months ago, in this section also. Dont know how to redirect to that thread. Anyway, good ideas that helps others. Thanks.
  6. packgoatguy

    packgoatguy Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    Sorry for the wait on pics. Here are a few of my tents, sleeping bag, and back pack.

    The first tent, the all light green pic, is my 1 pound 1 man, made out of sil nylon with a sewn in tyvek bottom.

    The second tent, the dark on light green is the 2 pound 3 man tent, which started as an 8x10 sil nylon tarp, which we added the front (as seen in the first couple pics) and then later added a back so it could be pitched in a normal tent shape for more headroom. It has an interior bugnet tent sewn to a tyvek bottom included in the weight. Neither tent requires poles, and I have never had problems finding the sticks necessary to prop up the ends.

    The sleeping bag is a military 0 degree mummy bag that we cut out part of the bottom and sewed in a piece of sil nylon in its place. I combine the sleeping bag with my Thermarest Neo Air All Season (nearly a 5 R, and 2.5 inches, and only a pound, and packs to about the size of a 1 liter pop bottle)

    The backpack is shown in daypack mode and fully extended. It doesnt look like much, but it was cheap, serves a variety of purposes, is comfortable enough to haul heavy loads, can expand out to haul a lot of volume, and only weighs a little over 3 pounds.

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