25L Ultralight Day/Commuter Backpack Sewing Guide

Introducing the Ultralight 25 Litre Backpack Sewing Guide – The perfect small capacity backpack for your day trips, EDC (every day carry), backpacking and travel

Sew your own commercial quality backpack with beginner friendly instructions.

“I can’t believe that is homemade”

A smaller volume backpack ideal for day trips and commuting, or ultralight multi-day adventures. Similar to it’s higher capacity brothers, it follows a similar design style to modern ultralight backpacks.


25L+ capacity. The internal volume is approximately 23 litre, each side pocket can fit a litre+ bottle, and the rear pocket can be up to 5 litre extra depending on fabric used.

Ultralight backpack design. Depending on your fabric choices and options included, sub 400g is achievable.

Multiple pockets that can be opted out for a streamlined bag.

  • Main voluminous compartment
  • Huge front stash pocket. Pattern includes instructions for a stretchy fabric and larger pleated non-stretch pocket.
  • Stretchy shoulder strap pockets
  • Bottom stretchy stash pocket
  • Internal hanging pocket and sleeve with floating bottom
  • Foam sit pad sleeve on the back panel for easy access during rest breaks.

Loop for a light when using the bag for cycling trips.

Removable hip belt. The pattern includes instructions for a removable webbing hip belt, with guidance on how to make a padded alternative.

Printable PDF Pattern and Full Instructions

US Letter, A4 and A0 paper sizes

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

The guide goes out of it’s way to help beginners get started with MYOG by additionally including a free 25 page beginner sewing tips ebook.

Sew your own commercial quality backpack with beginner friendly instructions.

Not for commercial use.

(Prices may include Digital VAT if applicable in your country)

Tried and Tested Design

I’d love to see your adventures with your build!

B Bowers – 1
B Bowers – 2
B Bowers – 3 !


Suggested Fabrics and Hardware (Notions)

This is a rough list just for estimating project cost. The sewing guide provides a complete comprehensive shopping and cutting list

Body Fabric1 metre/yardFabrics around 210D are a good weight to durability to price point. Laminates give a pleasant stiffness (X-PacTM VX21, ECOPAKTM EPX200). Otherwise Robic nylon, generic 210D to 420D nylon, Ultragrid, Gridstop. Or many other pack fabrics: 1000D nylon for a ‘tactical’ type fabric, beautiful waxed cotton canvas etc. Lighter options work if you are gentle with your packs. XPAC VX07, 70D ripstop silnylon etc.

I tend to bias durability and use something a bit stronger for bag bottoms, back panels and shoulder straps, usually 420D nylon. However modern 210D nylons such as Robic 210D nylon 6.6 and the UHMWPE ‘dyneema’ fibre equivalents such as Robic Extreema and Gridstop are very durable for an entire pack.

Side pockets work best with a soft fabric such as 210D Gridstop or more durable 420D nylon due to the cinch-able draw cord. Laminates such as X-PacTM will work, but are a lot stiffer, especially when new.
Liner Fabric<1 metre / yardIf you include a hanging pocket and inner sleeve, a standard 70D ripstop is ideal,
nothing fancy is required.
Spacer Mesh<1 metre / yardSpacer mesh is used on the underside (touches you) bit of the majority of commercial backpack straps and hipbelts, and is recommended here also. 3 mm (1/8 inch) is a good thickness that shouldn’t overwhelm most sewing machines.
Foam<1 metre/yardEVA foam, 50kg/m3 to 75 kg/m3 density. Can cut up old sleeping roll mats, foam floor tiles etc, but these may flatten over time faster than a quality EVA foam such as Evazoate. Thickness between around 4 to 10mm (3/8 inch), thicker if planning to carry heavier loads. Most home sewing machines can’t sew through more than 4 to 5mm thick foam, but this guide includes a way to still use thick foam with home

The strap patterns are designed to fit up to 10mm thick foam
Nylon Webbing
3/4 in (20mm)4 metre/5 yard
1 in (25mm)2 metre/2 yardWider webbing for the hip belt
Grosgrain Ribbon
1 in (25mm)3 metre/3 yardBinding of internal seams, elastic cord tabs. A few metres extra if binding all internal seams
Flat Elastic
1 in (25mm)1 metre/2 yard
#5 coil<1 metre/yardOptional internal pocket
Elastic Cord
3mm (1/8 in)4 metre/yard
Hardware (Notions)
Side release buckles2
Ladderlock buckles, 3/4 in (20mm)2
Cordlocs2+More if you can’t get linelocs
Variety of attachment and buckle options for the removable hipbelt. See the sewing guide.

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