Monday, March 18, 2013

Kel's Incredible Backpack

 I'm starting this incredibly picture heavy post with the only progress shot he took (see the binder clips?  He used them as pins)

The following is Kel's backpack which he designed and constructed himself.   I acted as consultant for a couple of bindings and zippers, but this is all his own work.  He actually designed it in solid works (a CAD tool used by mechanical engineers to design parts for machines), blew it up to life-size and printed out the pictures to use as patterns.

He wanted a backpack that could hold both his laptop and camera (a big DLSR) and allow easy access to both.  He's also really into modularity, so the outside is covered in MOLLE straps and the inside has tons of velcro.  

He has a waist strap in progress with a nifty velcro attachment so that it can be easily detached/reattached 

 close up of the straps the the beaver tail (the hangy pouch thing)  the beaver tail can either be flipped up and clipped in place to hold a jacket or flipped down to hang from the base of the pack.   If you look closely, you can see it has a pocket where one could put hiking poles or other long things (such as a tripod) - the top of which can then be strapped to the main body of the pack.

He found fancy mesh-covered foam for the back (I think it looks like a ninja turtle) and arranged it to allow air channels, so it will be more comfortable for extended wear.

 It hard to tell in this picture, but the straps are curves to go around his neck without rubbing, nip in on the chest to leave his arms free and then curve back down his sides.

This is the camera section - its a side access pocket with dividers to hold the camera, several spare lenses and whatever else happens to be useful.  It's positioned so that he can swing the back around on one shoulder and fiddle with the contents  without letting anything drop.

The laptop section is accessed from the top and hangs from the top, so that it can be removed when going through security.

(All the big interior pockets are removable)

Velcro covered headphones port.  He was quite smug about this one.


Fancy interior pockets

The white-ish oval thing in the top right corner is a click light for night-time rummaging.

Another side shot, in all its glory.   We never got pictures of his first backpack (a bright yellow creation from a few months ago) but this one is orders of magnitude better in every possible way.     In the past few months he's gone from unfinished seams and not really knowing how to handle zippers to this.   If I hadn't seen it in progress I never would have thought it was anything other than a commercial product (in the best possible way)   Huzzah for Kel and the custom backpack of awesome!


  1. I am speechless also, this is such a feat of sewing- meets engineering. How brilliant to design and make something so much to how you want it, and as you said that looks good enough to cost mega bucks from a shop. Really impressive.

    1. thank you! He spent forever getting it just right

  2. That is awesome! I remember my uni flatmates using that design package...whodathunk it? I could have hijacked it to make clothes patterns and the like! He should go into production with this. Well done Kel!

    1. Thanks!

      as I understand it (its been years since I used it) solid works will only print out things on a flat plane - so if you could've done without curves.....

      He's working on launching a company (he's got an etsy shop: but is still working out the details with everything else.

  3. Just unbelievably excellent ! Just. Wow.


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