40 Litre Framed Ultralight Backpack Sewing Guide

The perfect capacity backpack for your ultralight adventures and thru hikes.

Sew your own commercial quality backpack with beginner friendly instructions.

“I can’t believe that is homemade”

A 40L backpack, following the design of modern ultralight packs: a large roll-top main compartment with multiple external, easy access, generously sized pockets. This example pack weights ~880g including the frame, which allows it to carry loads in excess of 15kg with ease.

This is the same tried and tested design that I use to occasionally make custom made packs for Prickly Gorse Gear.


40L+ capacity. The main compartment is approximately 35L, with 5L of side pocket volume, and variable additional storage depending on pocket options.

Ultralight backpack design. Varies with your fabric choices, but the example XPAC VX21 pack weights ~880g including the frame.

Multiple pockets which are optional if you prefer 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

Removable 4 inch wide padded hip belt. Can be removed if you want to save some weight, and replaced with a different length if your weight changes after a long hike.

Customise to your specifications. The instructions include multiple options to give you the opportunity to build your perfect pack, including options for different hardware if you can’t get hold of fancy buckles in your country.

The guide has sections on choosing from the multiple different types of frames available for backpacks, and also describes the different styles of hip belts you could make for your pack.

The pattern scales to your frame size, and is not restricted to a maximum height.

This is the most detailed and comprehensive ultralight backpack sewing guide currently available, and will be updated with any new information.

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!

Fits on a rack for bikepacking. Off the bike for hike-a-bike
Impressive Arc style variation by Rory
Impressive Arc style variation by Rory

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