TRVL 20L: Travel Backpack Sewing Guide – Airline Personal Item Sized

Introducing the TRVL20 – The perfect travel backpack for your onebag adventures, EDC (every day carry), backpacking and travel

Sew your own commercial quality backpack with beginner friendly instructions. Share in the “I can’t believe that is homemade” experience.

Let’s redefine modern travel one stitch at a time.

This is the most feature-rich and detailed travel backpack sewing guide currently available. I know travel packs are a highly personal item, so this guide will give you the perfect roadmap for making your own custom pack. You can make the bag as-is or adjust it to your personal requirements!

Features

20L capacity, shaped to maximise carrying capacity. Ideal for day trips and overnighters.

Personal Item sized, for under seat storage. Save money and time when flying! 40 x 30 x 20cm to fit the majority of airlines, and the instructions include guidance on how to adjust the dimensions to fit your preferred airline restrictions.

TRVL 15 – Ryanair (left), TRVL 20 (middle), TRVL 32 (right)
Underseat sized. Car free living.

Several thoughtfully placed pockets, which you can opt out of on your build for a streamlined bag. Ample room for essential tech gadgets, documents, accessories, toiletries, snacks, and more.

  • Dedicated laptop pocket separate from the main compartment, with false bottom and it’s own volume, so you can always get your laptop in and out regardless of your packing.
  • Two front pockets with their own volume, separate to the main compartment
  • Under lid pocket
  • Inside pockets
  • Side stretch pocket, because hydration is important.
  • Base rain cover pocket

Clamshell suitcase-style opening, enabling seamless packing and organisation, and easy access both during transit and at your destination. Also includes guidance for how to build as a bottom hinge bag instead.

Security. Pick pocket protector tabs on the zips to protect your valuables.

Durable design. Every seam has reinforcement stitching, and the pattern is designed to be as accessible as possible for most sewing machines.

Rain protection. Storm flaps around the main compartment zips, and a pocket on the base to store a rain cover.

Comfy carry handles.

Lighter than off the shelf travel packs. This example pack made from 420D nylon, 70D inner liner fabrics and foam in the back panel weighs approx 580g.

Protection. The laptop pocket has a false bottom so your laptop will never touch the floor. Padding in the back panel, side panels and pocket divider give your laptop maximum protection.

Ergonomically designed shoulder straps taken from my multi-day hiking backpack patterns, to ensure comfortable carry even after hours spent navigating busy terminals or exploring new cities. These can take an optional stretchy shoulder strap pocket, similar to that found on ultralight backpacks. Additional guidance is provided describing how to make them removable, if preferred.

Many off the shelf travel packs come with sub-par straps, yours does not have to.

Customise to suit your needs. Add back padding, stashable or removable straps, whatever you need to make the backpack work for yourself.

Removable hip belt. The pattern includes instructions for a removable webbing hip belt, but you can easily make your own padded hip belt.

Printable PDF Pattern and Full Instructions

US Letter, A4 and A0 paper sizes

Every step is illustrated and described for complete clarity. No confusing wall of text like you can find elsewhere.

This is a relatively complicated build, but the instructions are catered as much as possible to people with only modest sewing experience. The guide goes out of it’s way to not only include a free 25 page beginner sewing ebook to get you started, but I’ve also included a scaled practice pattern so you can experiment with the techniques before going all in on the main backpack. The scaled practice pattern is completely unique to MYOG Tutorials, and I will hopefully be including this in upcoming releases.

The text includes options at tricky steps for people with lower powered sewing machines.

Sew your own commercial quality backpack with beginner friendly instructions.

Not for commercial use.

Price may include Digital VAT if applicable in your country

Tried and Tested Design

I’d love to see yours!

Mine goes everywhere with me
Elastic mod by /u/MonCalamaro

Suggested Fabrics and Hardware (Notions)

This is to give a rough estimate for budgeting. The sewing guide provides a complete comprehensive shopping and cutting list

I’ve included a few links to products from Ripstop by the Roll which give me a tiny bit of commission at no cost to yourself. I have a comprehensive list of worldwide quality suppliers at my MYOG suppliers page.

ItemLength/QuantityNotes
Body Fabric1 metre/yard420D to 500D nylon fabrics are a good weight to durability to price point. Laminates such as used with ultralight backpacks give a pleasant stiffness (X-PacTM VX21, ECOPAKTM EPX200). Modern nylon 6.6 210D ripstop nylons, Gridstop etc are good for a ultralight backpack. I’d shy away from 1000D Cordura nylon and ballistic nylon unless you are using an industrial machine, or excluding all of the inner liners.
Liner Fabric1.5 metre/1.5 yardLiner fabrics should be no more then 70D (2oz, 70gsm) to 100D ideally if using a domestic sewing machine. Even with an industrial you won’t need anything heavier than 210D nylon for the liners.
Nylon Webbing
3/4 in (20mm)5 metre/5 yardDon’t get polypropylene unless you want a fun colour that you can’t get with nylon.
1 in or 2 in (25mm or 50mm)1 metre/1 yardWider webbing for the handles.
Grosgrain Ribbon / Slight Stretch Binding Tape
1 in (25mm)6 metre/6 yardBinding of internal seams.
Flat Elastic
1 in (25mm)1 metre/2 yard
Zips
#5 coil. Waterproof or normal5 metre/yard. 6 sliders to matchI used waterproof zips on the front pockets, and normal coil zips with storm rain flaps over them for the main compartment and laptop pocket in the example photo
Hardware (Notions)
Zipper presser foot for your machineMakes maintaining seam allowance on the zips easier, but is not essential. If your machine has a left needle position that will likely also work.
Ladderlock buckles, 3/4 in (20mm)2
Variety of attachment and buckle options for the removable hipbelt. See the sewing guide.


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