I use a ULA Catalyst for my backpacking. I ordered it custom in 2016 with a couple of additions, one of which was a top pocket. I like the top pocket for general organization and ease of access. However, its 6oz weight really isn’t needed on short trips where the Catalyst’s generous capacity swallows most everything.
So, loving the top pocket but not wanting to incur its weight penalty, I started to search for something similar made of lightweight material for the inside of the pack. A “pod” or “cube” to hold all the disparate items of small gear that traveled in the top pocket.
Nothing I could find had the “right” dimensions for my needs. They were either too small, too large, or just the “wrong” shape.
I found a maker, Jim Toel of Pack Bag Designs, who specializes in all sorts of fabrics including DCF. I reached out to him to see if he’d make something to my specifications. He seemed intrigued, and answered he’d absolutely do it when time permitted. All he asked for was a drawing with specs and a fabric type. I specified 1.3 oz gray DCF. Jim did the rest.
The top interior dimensions of the Catalyst are roughly 13″ W x 9.5″ D, so I specified a clamshell opening pod (or cube) at 11 x 7 x 3″… slightly smaller than the Catalyst to allow for the “pinch” incurred when cinching down the load.
What Jim delivered for $35 was exactly what I wanted… 1.94 oz’s of packable perfection!
Reach out to Jim if you want something (or want this exact item).
bradmacmt, this couldn't be a more timely post. This very evening I was doing some pre-packing for my trip to Isle Royale next week. However my new pack (SeekOutside Divide) doesn't have a lid (or whatever the proper term is) where I normally put stuff that I want for fast/easy access. I think I'm really going to miss it but I'll give it a trial run on IR without it to see what I think.
It might be that your new friend, Jim, might get another order for my 13 day hike in Sept/Oct.
How long did it take for you to the get item after giving him the specs?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest. -- E. White