How to Make Your Own Backpack Frame

Written by fred samsa
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How to Make Your Own Backpack Frame
You can easily build your own backpack frame (backpacker image by Galyna Andrushko from

A good hiking backpack frame is strong, extremely lightweight, collapsible, and versatile. Fortunately, you can easily make your own backpack frame that meets all of these requirements, without spending a lot of money. Depending on your hiking or camping needs, you can easily supplement your homemade backpack frame with additional straps, buckles, or hangers for carrying additional pieces of equipment. With the right preparation, you can construct a homemade backpack frame that weighs less than a pound.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 pieces of ½-inch aluminium tubing, 12 inches long
  • 2 pieces of ½-inch aluminium tubing, 24 inches long
  • 4 nylon plumbing tees, 3/8-inch-diameter
  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • Nylon mesh belt, 2 inches wide
  • Fabric glue
  • Twine (optional)
  • Camping straps (optional)

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  1. 1

    Connect the 12-inch top frame piece to the two 24-inch side pieces with nylon tees. If the aluminium tubing pieces are difficult to slide onto the nylon tees, use a rubber mallet to tap the nylon tees into place.

  2. 2

    Slide two additional nylon tees into the ends of the remaining 12-inch aluminium tube. Connect this frame piece to the 24-inch side frame pieces by fitting the nylon tees into the side frame pieces.

  3. 3

    Lay the completed frame on the floor. Center a 2-inch-wide nylon belt over the bottom frame piece, so that the belt is aligned with the exposed ends of the nylon tees.

  4. 4

    Glue the nylon belt to the nylon tees with fabric glue. Allow the glue to dry for two hours before moving the backpack frame.

  5. 5

    Tie two pieces of ½-inch nylon web to the top of the frame to serve as shoulder straps. Clip or tie the base of the webbing to the waist belt.

  6. 6

    Tie packs and bags to the top and sides of the frame with lengths of twine or adjustable camping straps. For best weight distribution, sling a pack to hang in front to balance the weight created by the packs behind you.

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