DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture heavy

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DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture heavy

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:34 am

If you have read some of my previous post, you may remember that i have asked around for some help finding materials and pieces of gear that are compatible with my packs, so i can expand the current uses of it. But as I have learned, the aren't many "accessories" that are made for my Camelbak Tri-Zip, or many that I feel would be compatible.
For a while I keep looking for a beaver-tail that I could use with any of my packs, so i could stash things in them, so it would be easier to reach in case I need it while on the move (a extra jacket for example). And then I came across a few beaver-tails made by some companies, like Kifaru's Grab it backpack add on.

Image
grabit_alone by Ramiel88, on Flickr

It ain't bad for the price, but with shipping, it comes up to around $40, and been the illustrator I am (I work as a freelance artist) I couldn't get pass the idea that it looks like a backpack diaper. :roll: But it sure seems simple to use, with a clever design idea of adding a string cord at the top to add some flexible tension at top, it's very accessible and also it is compatible with a lot of backpacks out there, including mine.

Image
lite8 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

I also saw many backpacks that had different beaver-tails on them, that I though were pretty functional and seem very well designed. One of which of course are T.A.D. Gears backpack, which are very recognizable because they all have beaver tails. Their designs are damn pretty, in a very "tacticool" kind of way, which make my iner-design-nerd scream and yell "I want one". But they don't sell the beaver-tail on their own, and even if they did, I have the feeling it would be more expensive than what I am willing to put up with.

Mystery Ranch also has done some backpack's that include beaver-tails. Particularly the Big Horn Hunting model. Which seems to find a lot of use for hunters, when carrying their kills. But design wise, again my picky self, it seems to me that it could use some improvements to make it more appealing and better merged with the design of Mystery Ranch's packs. And also, they don't sell the tail on its own.

After some while of looking around I had even comedown to just wanting to use nylon straps to attack things to the outside of my back. it would have been a very simple and cheap way to do it. But it had some problems in actual application. Just having my jacket hanging like that, or anything else for that matter, would make it very prone to damage, caused by getting entangle in a tree branch, or just hitting the ground and getting dirt all over it.
So after getting some courage and some inspiration, I decided to make my own beaver-tail!
I started by looking around for materials, like Cordura, nylon webbing, and military grade buckles.
It wasn't really hard, seen that this are all very popular items for the tactical community, and they are very accessible to regular consumers.
I wanted to color match my backpack, and also have a apealing design that was functional. I decided to go with 500D Cordura, instead of 1000D for weight saving reason (the Camelbak Tri-Zip it self is made out of 500D). I purchased a single yard (60'' x 32") right off of eBay, for $6 a yard, and it's so much fabric, that I had enough for at least 3 more projects. I also purchased the buckles from MilSpec Monkey's website, seen how they are located in my own state of California, and it wouldn't take long to have them shipped to me. plus, Monkey sells individual buckles for very low shipping (5 ITW Nexus buckles, $1 each, can be shipped to me for $2). and I specifically choose ITW Nexus buckles because they are made with military specifications, plus they color match my original design.
With the nylon straps tho, after purchasing them form a similar eBay seller, and then receiving it, I realized I had ordered "light weight" nylon webbing, that was thinner than regular webbing. This worried me at first, but after giving it a couple of resistance test, I was pretty happy with it. Also it end up working to my advantage that it was easier to sew, and it would save weight on what is already a heavy backpack. I got 10 yards for $10, which was way more than what I needed, but Ive used the left overs for some other DIY projects.

So after a few practice runs with some old materials I had laying around, and grabbing the confidence to start cutting the material that I didn't wanted to go to waste, I started sewing.
I really want to point out tho, I hand sew it all. I don't have a sewing machine, much less a industrial strength one that could sew through 4 to 5 layers of Cordura. My fingers were destroyed, yes, and I had to put some force in some areas. But it wasn't so bad once I had it all finish.
Eight or so hours later, I end up with what I feel is a very solid, and useful extension to my backpack.

Here are some shots I took to demonstrate what I mean.

Image
IMG_6793 by Ramiel88, on Flickr
Image
IMG_6794 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

i wanted to use a 4-top-point system, because it distributes weight better across a the upper body of the backpack, also it will allow for better retention of what ever I stash in it. I also used 3 layers of Cordura on the side, to make sure the fabric it self doesn't take much punishment. It basically is 2 layers, (front and back) with the 3 layer been applied on top, on both side only.

Image
IMG_6796 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

As i mentioned before, I work as an illustrator, and I couldn't bare my self to make something for my backpack that didn't seemed to belong in it. That's why I made it look like this. i even applied a Daisy Chain to have an easy way to pull from it, or hook things on to it. An idea I took from Mystery Ranch. As many of you might notice as well, the shape of it was taken from T.A.D. Gear's backpack designs. I chose that shape because I find it hugs the backpack better, and also it wraps around what ever I put in it, a jacket, rope, a large bag or pouch.

Image
IMG_6797 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

I used ITW QASM buckles instead of the regular Repair buckles, for the same reason I used 4 top straps, as they distribute the weight better across the MOLLE webbing. The regular Repair buckles pull on one strap only, and I didn't want to put too much pull on it.

Image
IMG_6802 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

At the bottom I used ITW's Surface Mounts. They are low profile, intended to be used through the fabric, instead of having another strap flapping around they stay put. But i didn't want to make the holes in my pack, specially at the bottom of my pack (where most of the wear and tear happen), so I just put them through the bottom MOLLE webbing. The buckles, very conveniently, can fit a 1 inch webbing row through the middle of it without having to cut through.

Image
IMG_6800 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

My Condor Soft Shell jacket (which was the original item i wanted to fit), fits perfectly.

Image
IMG_6801 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

This is how confident I am with the stitching. I did put the Daisy Chain in it so i could have some frontal handle. And knowing I can pull from it without having it rip apart is quite reassuring.

Image
IMG_6804 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Also I can fit my smaller ILBE Assault Pack in it if I ever have the need to carry it. Not sure if i ever will, but seen how flexible it can be, I am sure I could use it to stash any item that I get my hands on while traveling on hiking.

So, I just wanted to show you guys what I have done, and I wanted to hear opinions. Been my first project, I am pretty satisfied with it. And for the over all price of the materials, and the ability of making it to my own specifications i don't mind destroying my fingers. :lol:
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Frank » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:05 am

looks awesome. 8)
i tried sewing gear for myself, i said fuck it when i tore a pouch i was working hours on.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by maldon007 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:36 am

Damn nice work... you would be down right dangerous with a sewing machine I guess :lol:


...Hmmmm... I ship you mine, you make me stuff, you keep machine???
Image

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:49 am

maldon007 wrote:Damn nice work... you would be down right dangerous with a sewing machine I guess :lol:


...Hmmmm... I ship you mine, you make me stuff, you keep machine???
Hahahah, HEY I would take a sewing machine that can pierce through Cordura any day. I even have plans to make my own "Tactical" messenger bag in the future. I already have the plans and all. But at this rate, hand sewing it would take me a couple of months, and that is just not convenient for me right now. :b


But here is another project I finished last night.

Image
IMG_6822 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

It's a MOLLE panel I wanted for my ILBE Assault pack. And after looking around, again, I didn't find any one who made what I needed, so I decided to make my own. All hand made as well. It didn't take me as long as the beavertail but it still took me a good while.

Here are some more shots of my pouches with it. I am planning on replacing some of the pouches as well.

Image
IMG_6825 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Image
IMG_6829 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Conveniently, the panel works great with my Tri-Zip as well! :lol:

Image
IMG_6831 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Not so sure how much i will get out of it, but now I have the option and that makes me glad.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by maldon007 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:03 am

Oh yeah, crap... just a regular machine :(


Again, awesome work! What do you have inside the panel, for "rigidity"? (if anything)
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:14 am

I used the frame sheath from another backpack I sold a friend (I didn't included the frame sheath). I removed the aluminum bar that i was in the middle and I molded the cut of the Cordura from it. It just happened to have the ideal shape to fit in my packs :)

Image
IMG_6820 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

I also made the bottom the entry pocket, so I can remove it when ever I need to just roll the panel.

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IMG_6823 by Ramiel88, on Flickr
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by maldon007 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:19 am

Nice work, AND nice pics... keep it up!
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:22 am

Thanks :D
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by aa1pr » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:43 am

I want one of those Beavertails in either OD or Woodland :)

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Dubbya » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:52 am

Very nice work!

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Exploriment » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:15 pm

From one hand sewer to another - that is some nice work!

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by northernxposure » Sun Nov 14, 2010 1:31 pm

Great job!

The MR beavertail has a pleat in the middle of it to allow expansion (it also has ribbing in it to provide some structure). Kifaru's Grabit accomplishes this "pleat with ribbing" by including a shock cord with cordlock in the middle of the top.

Dana Designs used to have aftermarket beavertails availible for it's old external packs, but once the name was sold off they stopped making them for the new internal packs. They're still out there on ebay every now and then, but they look essentially like a large version of your design.

Yours looks to be built like a tank! Should have no troubles at all with that one.

Once again, great job!

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:30 pm

aa1pr wrote:I want one of those Beavertails in either OD or Woodland :)
Oh man, now you put me in the spot light! :lol:
I would love to sell some to others, and make them to the specifications that they want. But I wouldn't know how to sell them. Plus, I ain't confident enough :b
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:32 pm

northernxposure wrote:Great job!

The MR beavertail has a pleat in the middle of it to allow expansion (it also has ribbing in it to provide some structure). Kifaru's Grabit accomplishes this "pleat with ribbing" by including a shock cord with cordlock in the middle of the top.

Dana Designs used to have aftermarket beavertails availible for it's old external packs, but once the name was sold off they stopped making them for the new internal packs. They're still out there on ebay every now and then, but they look essentially like a large version of your design.

Yours looks to be built like a tank! Should have no troubles at all with that one.

Once again, great job!

NXP

Thanks for explaining Mystery Ranch's design behind their beavertail. I knew there was something more to it, but I hadnt been able to find any description to it. And I did also came across some old Dana beavertail for older models. I even found a guy who was selling his for $240 :shock: !!!

And thanks, I hope my tail last :lol:
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Post by Lugnut » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:44 pm

Ramiel, that looks fantastic. I've been looking at options for adding to my Trizip as well but hadn't considered handsewing anything.

I picked up a sewing awl this weekend and used it to repair a seam in my boots. Now I'm thinking maybe I can use it for more. Thanks for the example and inspiration :)

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:10 pm

Lugnut wrote:Ramiel, that looks fantastic. I've been looking at options for adding to my Trizip as well but hadn't considered handsewing anything.

I picked up a sewing awl this weekend and used it to repair a seam in my boots. Now I'm thinking maybe I can use it for more. Thanks for the example and inspiration :)
You're welcome man!
I love my Tri Zip. But Camelbak doesn't do much as add-ons for their packs, and this been a Mystery Ranch co-design, i think it has the potential to be an even more awesome pack.

Hope that what ever you come up with, maybe you can post some pics to share some ideas.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by omega_man » Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:53 pm

That's damn impressive!

If I had tried that there would be parts of my hand in there.

Now that I think about it, my girlfriend has a sewing machine...Hey honey, are you busy right now...?
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by jmcclesk » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:15 pm

I just picked up a trizip today. Are you sure you dont want to make a few of the beavertails to sell???

PS-your review is one of the reasons that pushed me to the trizip and you were right thanks!!

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:28 am

jmcclesk wrote:I just picked up a trizip today. Are you sure you dont want to make a few of the beavertails to sell???

PS-your review is one of the reasons that pushed me to the trizip and you were right thanks!!

That is damn awesome man! Post some pictures up to see how you stuff your pack!
I've been experimenting around with what is the best way to load it up, and so far, it seems almost any configuration works great with it (at least with my gear).

And selling those beavertails? Well, to be honest, I would radder make a couple, then give them away to those who have Camelbak Tri Zips as well, and see what people think of them first hand. If they like it, then I would think about selling them to others. But first I want first hand opinions besides mine and my wife's :lol:
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:39 am

Just a follow up on the MOLLE panel.

I got a gift card for REI last week, so I went on to purchase some of Eagle Creek's packing cubes. I had seen some other owners of the Trizip pack using them, so I though of giving them a try. They are great for packing internal items 'cus they are damn light weight. But I wanted to add something else to them. Inspired by Kifaru's Lock-And-Load pouches, I added a very similar nylon and buckle combination.

Works great. It's cheap. And it is still damn light.

I don't want to use my regular MOLLE pouches with the panel, as they are heavier, and with all the add ons, weight is a corncern. (granted, the heaviest thing is the 3L water bladder I always carry)

Image
IMG_6848 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Image
IMG_6846 by Ramiel88, on Flickr

Not the most "tacticool" look you might get with Kifaru's pouches. But the pouches are cheap, and they are very light. So I've decided to leave them like this, as my standard backpack configuration (it works for me), to move from pack to pack. I'll see once Ive giving them a good run if I need to change things, or whether I should just get rid of thee whole thing. But after a few test runs, (running around my house while carrying my pack :P ) I feel the weight better distributed across the length of the pack, instead of all sagging down at the bottom, and the addition of the panel is almost unnoticeable.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Keith B » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:47 am

I am very impressed, I might take your idea for the beavertail and use it on my next pack idea.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by CorpsmanUp » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:05 am

Very cool brother!

Just picked up a Trizip (black).

I'm very anal and demanding with regards to packs etc.

I really, really like the Trizip.

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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:37 pm

sigboy40 wrote:I am very impressed, I might take your idea for the beavertail and use it on my next pack idea.

I would love to see what other people can do with my idea. After all, I took the ideas of others and modified it to my likings.
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Re: DIY Backpack Beavertail (For Camelbak Tri-Zip)*picture h

Post by Ramiel77 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:40 pm

CorpsmanUp wrote:Very cool brother!

Just picked up a Trizip (black).

I'm very anal and demanding with regards to packs etc.

I really, really like the Trizip.

Gotta spread the love. I think the Trizip is one of the least appreciated packs around the web. And I try to tell everyone to post pictures of their Trizip, 'cus when I was looking around to see reviews of it, I couldn't find that many pictures of it, or at least not as much as some of maxpedition packs.
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