Part of bikepacking’s attraction is its DIY ethos. This is not off-the-shelf REI type adventure! I’m working on stitching my own gear and taking some crazy ideas from the internet. Here are some of the resources getting me there:
Porcelain Rocket is a custom bikepacking gear company run out of a basement on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Scott Felter is making bikepacking gear in fresh, goofy colors and taking it to cargo extremes. This video shows step-by-step how to measure the inner dimensions of your bike frame. You can also see a great photoset of Scott making a framebag in his workshop, here.
After yelling at my sewing machine for hours, I discovered user error and impatience were the root of my problems. If you’re jamming or breaking needles, I recommend the following debug steps:
- Check that the machine is threaded properly. Even if it’s initially threaded corrected, sometimes the thread can jump out of the thread guides mid-stitch.
- Check that your sewing machine is well-oiled and lint free, especially in the bobbin area.
- Check the thread tension on scrap material first. For adjusting tension, check out this Threads Magazine article. Ray Jardine also has a page of DIY outdoor gear sewing advice.
- The ladies at Stonemountain and Daughters suggested that I use a Microtex sewing needle, which is made specifically for sewing synthetic and coated materials like Cordura. Switching to a larger size needle to accommodate the large diameter polyester thread and thick Cordura material completely solved my needle breakage problems!