When you’re about to ascend the highest peak (14,505 feet, 4,421m) in the contiguous United States, it’s important to have a sturdy backpack with good frame support. However, such backpacks can cost hundreds of dollars. Instead of buying a new backpack, our friend Cindy repurposed one of her old daypacks. The DIY repurposed daypack worked perfectly on her 16-hour hike up Mt. Whitney and only cost her $8 extra dollars. Cindy was kind enough to share a step-by-step guide below.
- Body: ~3-year old REI 18-Liter Flash Pack (or any old pack)
- Hip Belt: ~6-year old LL Bean 27-Liter Day Pack (or any removable hip belt)
- Frame: 1/4 inch Aluminum Window Frame + Frame Connectors (bought at Home Depot)
- Tools: 4 Velcro Strips + Metal Handsaw (bought at Home Depot)
Total Weight: 1.2lbs or 19.2 ounces (10 ounces from the body)
A Step-By-Step Guide With Photos
Step 1: Cut the frame into four pieces, two for width and two for length. Subtract about an inch from the dimensions of your bag. We used the trial and error method.
Step 2: Fit the connectors into the frame to form a square.
Step 3: Cut four strips of velcro and position across bottom of body.
Step 4: Stick hip belt onto velcro and slide straps into the body’s hooks.
Tip: Most backpacks’ hip belts already have velcro on them. We only needed the ‘prickly’ velcro strips for this.
Step 5: It’s a good sign if your frame is smaller than your daypack. Before sticking it in the bag, make modifications here.
Step 6: The Flash Pack has a padded back that you can open. It’s a tight fit so we disassembled the frame to put it inside the pouch, then reassembled it inside the pack.
Note: The padded back is NOT the bladder pouch.
Step 7: We probably could have shaved off another centimeter, but it is important that the frame itself has enough infrastructure to provide support. Otherwise it’s just extra weight.
In the end, Cindy’s makeshift repurposed daypack saved her money and showed us how easy it is to choose a sustainable alternative to buying a brand new and expensive backpack. In her Zero Hour Story interview, Cindy says, “One of the most impactful ways to be sustainable is to simply stop buying ‘stuff’ and repurpose things you already own.” We hope her story inspires you to be creative with what you already have.
Jennifer and Vivian
*Photos and Step-By-Step Guide directions were provided by Cindy and Erick.