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Making a backpack/bedroll

Fed up of turning up at people's camps with a Tesco's carrier bag full of beer? Fed up of trying to hide your flask of coffee in your trousers when adventuring? What you need is an IC pack!

IC Backpack - the easy way

To be honest, the easiest way to make yourself an IC knapsack is to buy an old Army Surplus backpack from ebay and dress it with items relevant to your character. Throw leather over it, wrap belts round it, hang rope, pans, axes from it, you get the idea.

Or... you could make your own. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Here are instructions on how to make a 'bedroll' style pack, i.e. it is basically a bit of leather which is rolled up to store stuff, not a bag at all.

What you will need

  • A large leather or sheepskin coat from a charity shop
  • (Leather) needle and strong thread. You can do it with an ordinary needle, but it's difficult.
  • Scissors
  • A couple of belts (matching if possible)
  • A leather punch

Scour the charity shops around your area for a sheepskin coat and belts. Mine cost £3, leather belts were 50p each. This is a cheap project!

Making the pack

Initial advice: when cutting, try to use the seams which are inherent in the coat. Leather doesn't need to be hemmed, but neat coat seams will make it look a lot more 'finished'.
* Use the back of the coat to cut a rectangle, as large as possible. This will be rolled up.
* Using spare bits of the coat, cut two pieces about 6 inches wide and which are long enough that you can make straps from them that you can put your arms through WITHOUT adjustment! Cut too long rather than too short - you can always trim later. I used the sleeves of the coat, doubled over for soft padding. Sew up the sides to make a nice strap, with the leather side on the outside and the wooly side on the inside.
* Loosely roll up your rectangle into a likely bundle (with the wooly bit on the inside and the suede on the outside). It will probably look best if it sits high on your back, so get someone to help you hold it in place, and mark on where you are going to sew the straps so that it fits properly. Sew the top and bottom of the strap on FIRMLY. This area will take a lot of strain, so knot often, use doubled over thread and sew it well!
* Add pockets to the inside of the roll, as you wish. I added a cylinder for my flask (which is what everthing is rolled round), a large multi-purpose pocket, and pockets for my wooden plate and bowl. Remember that long items will have to be stored horizontally so that the whole thing can still be rolled up.
* Add the belts to keep it rolled. I did this by punching lots of extra holes in the belts, and tying them round so that they were level and in roughly the right place. I then punched two extra holes in the belts and simply sewed them on with thread, once at the top of the strap, once at the bottom. It seems to hold fine, so far.

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