Here we go with another project in the works. The R3 Ruck Project. I am not about to proclaim I am a diehard eco-Evangelist, but will promote when and where possible it is a good use of resources and technology to reduce, re-use or recycle. Thus R3. As for the ruck, I started with an older Camp Trails Ponderosa. Purchased for a $1 at the Church garage sale.
So, this project starts by reducing, by not having to purchase new. Sorry, to the gear stores. The pack frame, still in very good condition is being re-used. This welded aluminum frame was state-of-the-art in the 1970's. The pack bag and harness are outdated and in need of replacement. The back band will, also, be re-used at this time.
The project required fabric, plastic buckles, poly-pro webbing, and lots of thread.
The Cordura fabric, webbing, buckles, zippers and thread all came from PacCana Enterprises Ltd (Calgary, AB). I have been well treated there since 1995. It is very important to establish a good relationship with your suppliers.
The fabric for the storm collar, is a windbreaker type nylon with a PU backing. I have had it for a couple of years, and do not recall where it was purchased from. (See still re-using supplies!!)
First task was to remove the old pack bag. It was secured with an assortment of metal clips, wire and nuts and bolts. Hey, it worked.
With the exception of a couple of dents in the frame tubes, the frame was in excellent condition for being more than 30 years old.
In part two, I will post the drawings I worked from, you may enjoy them. The design I decided on was a variable geometry pack. I have made many of these in the past. What does that mean - variable geometry??? It means you can change the shape and/or size of the pack by adding or removing pockets or pouches.
The first items to be made were the removable side and front pockets. They zip on and off the main ruck. These extra pockets are meant to hold "light & fluffy" stuff. Extra fleece jacket, down jacket or vest. Or similar types of bulky but lightweight gear.
Further, the front pocket can be converted to a sling pack for day tripping away from base camp.
Next the main ruck bag was built.
I, incorporated a row of M.O.L.L.E. compatible webbing on the headache rack above the main bag. This will allow specialized gear pouches to be used with this ruck. Everything from canteen pouches to first aid pouches.
The top lip of the ruck main bag was finished with nylon seam tape to reduce the chance of the Cordura from fraying.
Next, the storm-collar was added to the ruck main bag. This is a PU backed nylon fabric, light, tough and weather resistant - perfect for keeping sand, snow or rain from getting inside the ruck bag. I would still suggest packing all gear inside dry bags or Ziploc freezer bags to ensure a higher degree of weatherproofness.
The storm-collar also, allows the main ruck to be "over" packed, and still keep the gear in your rucksack. An important feature if you ever have to pack up quickly and get on the trail in a hurry.
The next feature constructed was the top pocket or the lid if you may.
The top pocket is removable, by use of side release buckets. The webbing allows the top pocket to adjust from firmly on top of the main ruck bag or rising a few more inches above to accommodate extra gear quickly packed. Or in those first aid incidents in the back country where you have to pack your buddy's gear out, too.
There are plenty of gear loops to attach those extras you just have to take with you. But cannot be hidden inside, like a machete, axe, snow shovel (winter camping) or a glowstick.
For those familiar with the USMC sleep system that would be that very same sleep system inside the black valise. For those not familiar the USMC sleep system includes the black valise with vertical compression straps, a woodland camouflage Gore-tex bivy bag, a black sleeping bag and a lightweight olive green patrol sleeping bag.
What's next......A new waist belt and shoulder straps, as well as, a set of A7A straps to cinch everything together.
I will post an update, hopefully before the end of March 2013.
Yes, I am also working on the Pelican Toboggan covers at the moment but they are not ready, yet. Let's see how the next few days go. Fingers crossed.
Until next time.....keep your gear packed and ready to go!!