by Rodney Liwanag


Refer to photo 7 for the parts layout. The padding for the shoulder strap is actually a laminate of 10 mm thick EWA (open-cell) foam (and yes, it's the white pad you see in the photos) and 2 mm thick closed-cell foam (yellow), which is stiffer and denser. Remember to cut the components for the shoulder strap in mirror image of one another (L and R portions). Cut the pads according to figure 7 and laminate the corresponding pieces together with quick drying contact cement or any other appropriate adhesive. Let it dry completely (refer to photo 8; it is the laminated, yellow R shoulder pad at the rear portion of the machine).

Photo 7Figure 7Photo 8
Click to enlarge Photo 7Click to enlarge Figure 7Click to enlarge Photo 8

Cut the shoulder pad sleeve from two types of material (figure 8). The inner side (the fabric next to your body upon shouldering the pack) is cut from 210d coated nylon while the other side (where the violet strap is attached is cut from 400d honeycomb fabric. Tip: cut the outer side according to the pattern while for the inner side, cut a big enough fabric panel where the outline of the former is drawn.

Figure 8
Click to enlarge Figure 8

Sew violet strap onto outer side (4ood honeycomb) of shoulder strap sleeve according to photo 9 (at the straight end area only). Assemble and sew sternum strap adjusters (also shown in the same photo).

Photo 9
Click to enlarge Photo 9

Sew the sleeves with the corresponding panels together inside out. Sew 3/8" from then add an additional (reinforcement) stitch line about 1/8" from the edge parallel to the previous stitching. Afterwards cut off excess (inside) fabric along the outline of the outside fabric of sleeve (photo 8).


Turn sleeve inside out. Viola! Now you're ready to insert the pad laminate with the stiff side (closed-cell foam) of the pad adjacent with the honeycomb side of the fabric sleeve. But first, stitch the rounded end of the sleeve (photo 10) to form the flap where the LL buckle will be attached.

Photo 10
Click to enlarge Photo 10

Insert pad into sleeve. It may help if you wet the pad first lightly with water to make insertion easier. Make sure pad is inserted as far as it can go inside. Then sew the sleeve end (open end) shut.


Stitch the violet strap at the middle section of the pad (photo 10; it is the lower, semi-finished shoulder strap). And yes, you have to stitch through the pad. A high clearance (presser foot) sewing machine is ideal for this. Go slow and be careful so that the needle is not over bent while stitching or you'll knock the "timing" off .Tip: you may use your hand in turning the flywheel (manual override) instead of using the (foot pedal) motor to power the stitching.


To finish the shoulder strap, insert the sternum strap adjuster and then the LL buckle. Stitch the then doubled back violet strap at the "flap" end. Reinforce your stitches by making several passes at one line.


Sew the top ends of the shoulder straps as shown in figure 9. Reinforce stitching by sewing in a crossed box pattern (photo 11, although the stitching is more visible at photo 12 which shows the wrong side of the back panel). Ditto for the grab loop. Then sew the 1 1/2" x 12" nylon webbing over what you have sewn (photo 12 and 13 for visual guidance).

Figure 9 Photo 11
Click to enlarge Figure 9Click to enlarge Photo 11

Photo 12 Photo 13
Click to enlarge Photo 12Click to enlarge Photo 13