Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

MYOG Stuff Sack

A new year, and new goals. Long have I been reading about people who "Make Your Own Gear" or "MYOG" for short, and have thought that it must be expensive, complicated, time consuming, and not for me. Well, I was wrong. Buying the material and other accessories wasn't expensive at all. Sewing is so easy, I actually was surprised. Its not really time consuming once you have the routine down. Finally, I found I really enjoy it - its very rewarding to see the results of your own labour, especially if you usually work in front of the computer, like me.

The finished stuff sacks.

In order to sew myself a VBL (Vapour Barrier Liner) suit for winter tours I ordered a few meters of cheap silnylon from
Extremtextil. Delivery was quick, and for a meter price of 3,40 € for the silnylon it didn't rip any huge holes into my budget. I got a few cordlocks from the local Partioaitta store at 0,70 € a pop and a meter of cord was 0,24 €. So all in all the cost of one of the stuff sacks I made is maybe around 1,20 €.

Anyhow, you'll have to wait for the VBL project, as for my first time in front of the sewing machine I decided to make some stuff sacks (If you follow me on
Twitter, you'll have seen them already). You never can have enough stuff sacks, and it is a fairly easy project as well, taking less than an hour time. I didn't need to reinvent the wheel, as on Backpackinglight.com there was the excellent Make Your Own Gear: Five Yards to SuperUltraLight article series, and I decided this would be a good primer to get me ready. In Article number 2 the author goes through a step by step guide on how to sew a stuff sack, which I followed quite closely. The end result you can see above, but lets go step by step.

Silnylon, supplies, instructions and we're ready.

Making a plan of what you want to make is very helpful, before you start to cut your material wildly. Phil recommended me SketchUp as a CAD programme for Mac, its free and easy to use, so what else do I need? After I put down my pattern for the stuff sacks and the other projects in the programme, I drew it on the material, and then the sharp scissors got out.

Concentrated cutting.

Concentrated sewing.

Concentrated folding.

Sewing the first stuff sack took me around 45 minutes, while the second one was already done after about 20 minutes. Its a really easy thing, and can be done by the novice as I just illustrated - it was the first time I sat in front of the sewing machine! Here some more close-up shots of the finished results:

Square bottom.

Inside seams.

Cordlock closure & reinforcement on the front.

The stuff sacks check in at 9 g a piece, which is much lighter than any other stuff sacks I own. I reckon if I would use Spinnaker or Cuben I can go bigger and stay in the low double digits, but that will have to wait. So what's next? Well, the second item in the BPL article is a Tarp....