DIY internal backpack framing

Going thru my stuff, my current bag is not big enough. I do not have the finances to purchase a proper bag, so I will begoing the DIY way. I am just struggling to find practical illustrations of the internal framing structure and I am not too sure of the thickness required of the aluminium. Can anyone advise?


  • Comments (10)

    • 3

      LBV, My initial comment; the initial advice is: 

      Use of an internal frame can defeat the benefits of carrying equipment and supplies. Frames are not ideal for topographic areas involving routes with inclines. The type of topography determines what is a “proper bag”.

      • 9

        Lots of unknowns here.  If your current bag is not big enough, adding an internal frame won’t help – you need a bigger bag which might or might not have some sort of internal structure.

        How the bag fits YOU is all important and will make all the difference in the world as to its utility.  A properly fitting bag of adequate size is worth saving up for – it is crucial equipment.

        Perhaps the bag you have will have to serve.  Make some choices – what to carry, what to leave out?  This is a good exercise anyway

      • 4

        Yes, my current back is not big enough. I have it packed to go, but not with as much as I would like. This site has been useful in identifying the gaps in my kit. 

        NZ has a bit of a diy/no.8 wire mentality. Partially because things are expensive her. It is often cheaper to buy and import from overseas. The other benefit is that I can make sure the stitching is done properly.

    • 5

      Two types of aluminium tubing, Thin wall and thick wall you want thick wall, usually Thin W is  .5mm or less and thick W is 1mm or thicker. I know of folks who used carbon fibre and or glasfibre rods to make frames with.


      I prefer frameless or the flat glass fibre board type support myself.

      • 4

        Thanks for the link, very informative. I have back and shoulder issues so want to make sure I carry most of the weight on my hips rather than shoulders.

      • 4

        LBV – Here is a link on a padded hip belt that might help if you are going to carry weight on your hips. Somewhere in my memory, I have seen sheepskin lined belts, possible at physiotherapy.

        Padded Hip Belt

      • 4

        Thanks for the link, I will be making my own belt to attach. It will probably be built into the bag. I do have some upholstery training, and a friendcwho is a cobbler, so he can do any heavy duty sewing. I will probably make a lightweight bag first to work the pattern out before making the final one.

    • 6

      good on ya for attempting such a task! hope it goes well.

      if i was in your shoes, i would go to a sporting goods store and look at various bags and try them on. if you find one that you like and fits your body well, see if you can look at the structure, or at least try and feel it through the fabric and map it out yourself.

      • 5

        I will gave a go at that, although I always feel bad about that sort of thing.

      • 6

        at times i feel bad about doing something like this as well. my most common one is going to best buy to actually put my hands on the product, but about 90 percent of the time end up buying it on amazon because it is cheaper. 

        i help myself feel better by saying that if i absolutely love the pack at the store, i will buy it. or if i end up not being able to figure out how to make the pack myself, i will save up and go to the store and buy the best one that i liked there.

        just know you aren’t the only one