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  1. #1
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    Default Front Water Carriers

    Making Front Water Carriers

    I just recently bought a new backpack. While it does have an interior pouch for a hydration bladder, it does not have side pockets for water bottles. I like to be able to observes that amount of water that I am drinking and this is not easy with hydration bladders that are on the inside of the pack. I also wanted to transfer some of the weight from my back to my front. Attaching water bottles to the front of the pack seemed like the solution. There appeared to be several designs that were available. However most of them relied on hanging the water bottle from the shoulder strap. There was also no way of controlling the bottles. It appeared that these designs allowed the bottle to flop around. I did not find this desirable. Below is my solution. The total weight is 0.7 oz for each carrier.




    While studying my pack I noticed that I had top stabilizer straps to pull the bag closer to the shoulder straps. They were fairly long and I remembered that on my old pack, and on all of the packs that I studied before purchasing the new one, almost all of the packs had something similar. This seemed like a viable attachment point for the carriers.

    I had purchased some lightweight nylon buckles. The buckles were ¾ inch wide and attached to the straps easily. The male end was attached to the pack straps.





    Now that I had a top attachment point, it was time to create the carrier itself.

    I wanted the carrier to be lightweight, but I also wanted it to have some structure so that I could easily insert a bottle while walking. I choose 1” grosgrain for the strap material and 2.2 coated nylon that I had left over from a tarp project for the carrier itself.

    The long strap was cut 24” long. This length would later be trimmed back some, but this was the starting point. All of the straps were heated with a lighter to prevent fraying. On one end of this long strap I attached the female nylon buckle end. I had to leave enough room between the buckle and the sewing for the foot to pass. I sewed the end with a modified X pattern. This is an "X" pattern with stiching on the top and bottom. There is no stiching closing the sides of the "X". This stich can be made in one pass with the sewing machine so it is quick and easy to do. I believe that it will be durable.






    I also needed to make a bottom connection for the bag. I attached a female buckle to a 5” piece of strap. I attached this buckle using the same method as shown above.

    Now that I had the straps for the bag complete, I needed to make the bag. I started out with a 10.5” x 12” piece of 2.2 ounce coated nylon. I placed a 1” rolled edge at the top of the fabric. (Reducing the size to 8.5” x 12”)




    I placed a 1/2” rolled edge on the bottom. (Fabric is now about 7.5” x 12”)



    Ensure both seams are on the same side. The seams will go on the inside of the finished bag.

    Now it is time to attach the straps to the bag. For my size, pack combination I have the top strap 7.5” from the top (The 1” seam) of the bag.



    In this picture I show the strap more or less centered on the bag. There is no problem doing this as the carrier will still be functional, however the second time I made one I put the strap closer to where the seam closing up the bag would be. This hides the seam and makes a prettier piece of gear.

    I straight stitched around the perimeter of the strap. The strap goes on the same side as the seams. In the finished bag, the strap is on the inside.

    Before the bag gets closed up, the lower attachment strap needs to be attached. This strap goes on the outside of the bag, opposite from the strap. Remember that the “Bottom” of the bag is where we put the 1/2” seam. Attach with a modified X.





    Now it is time to close the bags. I use 1 liter Aqua Fina water bottles. These are my preference. I believe that this system will work with any size. The bag size may need to be adjusted if you use something else.



    Fold the bag over with the seams showing. Remember we are making this inside out. Sew the bag together.

    The picture above shows two seams. I took the picture while I was in the "sizing" process. You only need one seam.



    Check the fit of your water bottle to the bag. The picture shows a fit that is too loose. That’s OK! This is kind of like cutting hair, don’t do too much at once.

    Take the bottle out, sew another seam 1/4” closer and fit the bottle again. Repeat as necessary until you get a reasonable, but not too tight fit. Trim the excess fabric to make things lighter and prettier. This also makes putting the bottle in the carrier easier. When done, turn the bag right side out.

    The first one I made was too tight. It looked OK on the sewing table but it’s not as easy to get the bottles in and out when in use. If in doubt make it loose. You can always come back and put another seam in later.

    Attach the bottle support. After attaching the long strap, you probably noticed a pretty good length hanging off the bottom of the bag. This becomes the bottle support.

    With a bottle installed, lay the support strap so that it is in the middle of the bottle. Mark this position near the bottom of the bag. Also measure how much strap will run up the side of the bag. Cut the strap back so it just covers the 1/2” seam on the bottom of the bag.



    See the seam in the picture above? Remember how I laid the main strap near the center of the bag? OOPs!



    The next bit of sewing is the trickiest of the project. Turn the bag back inside out (easy) and position the strap to align with the marks (easy). Keeping the strap in position, (bit of a pain) place in the sewing machine and move the rest of the material out of the way so that you only sew through the one side of the bag and the support strap (BIG PAIN). Sew in a modified X.



    Turn the bag right side out again. Take a deep breath as you have just finished the hardest part of this project.

    You are now done with the bottle carrier itself. There is one important bit that is left. We went to the trouble of attaching a lower buckle. We now need to have something for it to attach to.

    One of the problems that I was trying to address with this system was to keep the bottles from flopping around. The lower strap also makes it easier to pull a bottle out of the carrier. Let’s start sewing.



    For my pack system I need a strap that is about 12” long. This is folded in half and the loose ends sewn together.



    I noticed that the straps on my pack were folded over in a triangle for the buckles on other straps. I thought that this was a really good system so I did the same thing for this project. The end of the loop is folded over and sewn.



    This is then threaded through the male end of the buckle as normal. Doubled over grosgrain works very well in these buckles. Single layer slips all over and will not hold its position but double layers seem to lock in place well.

    OK, well you’ve gotten to this point. What’s next? Let’s put it on and try it.



    The carrier strap is attached to the buckle on the pack strap.



    The loop of the lower adjustment strap is placed on the hip belt.



    Do the same thing with a second carrier. It’s best to have two so you don’t lean walking down the trial, although it might help when walking along the side of a hill!



    Adjust the top straps (the backpack straps) so that the carriers are just below the sternum strap.



    Adjust the lower straps so things are snug, not tight. Do not excessively pull the hip belt strap. The lower strap doesn’t support anything; it’s just there to keep things from flopping around.

    See how the bottle on the right isn’t all the way in the carrier? It drops in when walking, but this is the bag that’s a bit tight. Also, notice the seam? The carrier on the left was the second one after I had learned a few things.



    So how do the bottom straps work? The first picture above shows the bottles without the lower straps. The bottles will flop all over the place and there is nothing to hold the bottom of the carrier while pulling the bottle out. This really makes removing a bottle a two handed affair. You can imagine the bottles flopping around while bushwacking to. It's really annoying.



    The picture above shows how the straps work to hold things together. As long as the tops of the carriers are pretty near the sternum strap eveything holds in place well.

    Well, there it is. The same principle could be used for insulated pouches for cold weather use. Enjoy!

  2. #2

    Default Oh yeah...

    Thats nice...!
    Because the Journey is not just a begining and an end...

    My Thru Hike

  3. #3
    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
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    Default

    This looks pretty useful. I may give it a try.

  4. #4

  5. #5
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Default

    Or you could check out Aarn packs for bodypacks that distribute weight both front and rear



    usa distributor http://www.aarnusa.com/

    mfg website http://www.aarnpacks.com/

  6. #6
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    Default

    The water carriers look very nice and professionally done. I solved this problem using a simple bungy cord to my shoulder strap to hold my 20 oz. Gatorade bottle. Stole this idea from someplace else.

  7. #7

    Default

    You could try one of these, use it in front.


    http://www.mazamadesigns.com/Product_Catalog_01.htm
    “Only two things are infinite; The universe and human stupidity,
    And I’m starting to wonder about the universe.”
    Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Registered User SMSP's Avatar
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    Default

    Looks like man tits to me.

    Cool idea though.

    SMSP

  9. #9
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    Default

    Here is another commercial option, but I like yours best!
    http://www.ribzwear.com/

  10. #10
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    Default

    Nice work. I may do something like that soon. I currently hang a bottle from my thumb loop, but the straps wear out eventually. When that happens, I'll make a replacement, preferably with replaceable straps.

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