Most pack covers are made of silnylon fabric with an elasticised drawstring sewn into their edge. I find that these slip off the top and bottom of the pack, often when you’re trying to quickly grab something from the top compartment of the bag; you pull the top of the cover off a bit without loosening the drawstring and the whole thing seems to work its way off the pack. I’ve noticed that most bags’ hip belts are often sewn flush with the bottom of the pack, giving the cover’s elastic cord little to wrap around. Attaching the bottom of the pack cover to the base of the bag seemed like a reasonable solution, so that’s where I began.
I’ve numerous fabrics, including coated poly and treated silnylon, but chose to sew a prototype out of a camouflage pattern. The cover would be used on one of my favourite packs, an 80 litre Mountain Equipment Co-op AlpineLite barrel bag. The cover’s sewn from a large rectangle of fabric (45 x 85 cm) and its top half is identical to the conventional design—rounded edges with elastic cord. The bottom edge has a 5 centimeter fold along the bottom edge of the cover. A short length of elastic cord is passed through said fold, connecting between one hip pad to the other as tightly as possible. The top half of the cover is then pulled up and over the lid of the pack, the elastic cord holding it tightly. When the cover’s removed from the top of the bag, it’s easy to pull back on.
Additions to the second prototype will include a sewn fold (~2 centimeter), plastic hardware to quickly attach the elastic cord or webbing between the hip pads, a clasp or buckle to tighten the latter, and a short length of webbing holding the sides of the cover taught against the sides of the pack across the back pad, beneath the wearer’s shoulder blades. Updates will be posted here.