Project reviews

TH Packing Cube Project Review

Backpacking compression sacks and stuff sacks tend to be cylindrical in shape. The backpacks they are meant to be used with may be rectangular or trapezoidal. This subtle difference often results in small empty spaces between your compression sacks and the insides of your backpacks. When I was taught how to pack my traditional weight backpacking gear, the prevailing wisdom was that these small spaces could be used for socks, underwear and other small objects. What if there was a better way? Stitchback Gear has developed the TH Packing Cube pattern for use with their TH Packs. This is a TH Packing Cube project review and is part 10 of my DYI backpacking gear series.

Introduction

Stitchback Gear describes the TH Packing Cube as a beginner’s project. The 8.5” tall by 10” wide by 7.5” deep (~10.4L) packing cube is designed to fit inside the bottom of both the Stitchback Gear TH40 and TH50 packs and should be large enough to accommodate most quilts and light weight sleeping bags. It’s part of Stitchback Gear’s TH accessory patterns and is available for purchase directly from the Stitchback Gear website and on Etsy. I’m not an affiliate of Stitchback Gear.

The link to the Stitchback Gear TH Packing Cube pattern is:

Stitchback Gear TH Accessory Pack

I’m going to summarize the basic steps, tell you what I did differently (if anything) and share my general thoughts about sewing the project.

Step 0 Gather Materials

The recommended fabrics for this project include 1.0 oz to 1.9 oz silnylon or silpoly, and 70D to 100D fabrics such as nylon. I used a scrap of silnylon from my 2020 YAMA shelter and SUL Tarp projects. You will also need a zipper, grossgrain ribbon and a buckle. I didn’t have grossgrain or buckles in the recommended sizes so I used 1” webbing and a 1” buckle instead.

Silnylon, zipper & webbing
Step 1 Install Bottom Handle

I followed the instructions and didn’t have any issues with this step.

Bottom webbing of TH packing Cube
Attach bottom handle
Step 2 Install Zipper

I use zipper-by-the-meter for most of my gear-making needs. I assembled my zipper then sewed it to my silnylon. Silnylon is such a slippery fabric that maintaining tension on it at all times is required to prevent it from bunching up under the presser foot.

Zipper in silyon packing cube
Attach zipper
Step 3 Assemble Bag

The seams are sewn in a way that hides the raw edges. My first attempt didn’t go well. I’m accustomed to the terms “right sides together” and “wrong sides together” and misread “wrong sides are out” as “wrong sides together”. Read carefully and refer to the diagrams to avoid making this mistake. It’s difficult to rip seams in silnylon due to it’s slippery nature and I ended up with a small tear along my seam allowance. Fortunately it was hidden by the time the seam was finished.

Raw edges hidden in seams
Raw edges hidden in seams
Step 4 Finish Zipper

The zipper is top-stitched and the webbing and buckle halves are added at the ends of the zipper. The webbing prevents the zipper pull from zipping off the end of the zipper tape. I used my narrow zipper foot for the top-stitching. It was tricky to sew the webbing without getting wrinkles in my silnylon. This shouldn’t be a problem for those of your using a less slippery fabric.

Here are some photos of my finished TH Packing Cube:

Side view of empty packing cube
Empty TH Packing Cube
Bottom view of packing cube
Bottom of filled TH Packing Cube
Top view of packing cube
Top of filled TH Packing Cube
Conclusion

Most beginners should be able to follow the instructions and successfully sew this project. Those who have experience with zippers will be have an advantage. My TH Packing Cube weighs ~47 g and has a capacity of ~10.4 L. It’s true to size. The weight of your packing cube will vary according to the weight of the materials you choose. Mine easily fits into my TH50 Backpack when stuffed. I suspect it will also fit inside other packs in the 35L to 60L range, depending upon the dimensions of the specific pack. I wasn’t able to test it’s capacity with my sleeping quilt or sleeping bags, I suspect my 3-season sleeping quilt may be too large for the TH Packing Cube as I usually use it with a 16L compression sack. The large zippered mouth and bottom handle make it easy to use this packing cube.

The TH Packing Cube is a great accessory for the TH40 and TH50 packs. It’s also a great project for those interesting in starting their make-your-own-gear adventure as there are few pieces to work with. Additionally, the limited amount of hardware and specialty materials (like grossgrain and/or webbing) are easier to source.

Have you sewed a packing cube or compression sack? Did you like this packing cube project review? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!

Tanya

Sewn By Tanya Project Review - Stitchback Gear TH Packing Cube

 

 

 

 

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