Adding PLCE side pockets to hiking rucksack

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Clickhappy

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Jan 3, 2016
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Coventry
I'm new to bushcraft and after 2 outings, one overnighter and a Woodland Ways course I've realised my 35 litre hiking backpack (https://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/gear-reviews/rucksacks/articles/Gear-Reviews/Search-Results/Rucksacks/Eurohike-Aqua-Revolution-35) isn't big enough to comfortably fit all my stuff so I've ordered some PLCE pouches. I'm going to try to add some zips to the sides of the pack so I can attach the side pouches. I think the zips I need are these (https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.co.uk/ulk/itm/401144858418) I've messaged the seller to make sure they are what I need.

Does anyone have any advice on how this can be done. Thanks in advance.

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Erbswurst

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Mar 5, 2018
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In my opinion that is no good idea.

I recommend to use that rucksack how it is for temperatures higher than 5*C (in the night) with a well fitting equipment, and to buy a larger rucksack for winter use.

I don't know the rucksacks fitting in the PLCE system, because that's a British military system and I am a German.
I know that not every British military rucksack is a good recommendation for civil use, and so you need the answer of a British bushcrafter, if perhaps the Berghaus Centurio would be a good idea for you, or what ever.

But I can tell you, that I have no problem to fit a 3 seasons equipment in a 34 litres rucksack. And that means equipment for several weeks!
Ok, I don't use the cheapest stuff, but it also isn't horribly expensive.

I am convinced, that you are able to pack a summer hiking equipment into your rucksack. So from a very experienced point of view your problem seems to be a packing fault.
 
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Erbswurst

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What do you think about telling us your equipment list?
You could use the kitchen scales to tell us the weight of every single piece of your equipment. And so we can compare our stuff with your equipment and can find the fault you did.

That's for example my packing list.
I think, at first you should try to pack your existing stuff like me, perhaps your stuff will fit in your rucksack in this way.

If not, you can weight your stuff, write it in a list like this here, and I can tell you with witch little and cheap changings you can optimise your stuff, so that it fits.

Rucksack 34 ltr , 775g
Insulation mat, 425g
Dry bag 7ltr, 60g
Sleeping bag, 1030g
Bivvy bag, 340g

Dry bag 6ltr, 55g
Fleece jacket, 370g
Legs of the convertible trousers, 150g

Dry bag 4 ltr, 50g
T-shirt, 150g
Woolen socks, 75g
Swimming breefs, 60g

Dry bag 4 ltr, 50g
Waterproof jacket, 410g
Waterproof trousers 300g

Dry bag 2 ltr, 40g
Pot 750ml, 110g
Mug 450 ml, 65g
Folding spoon 20g
Cotton laces 100 cm with wire hook, 8g
Handkerchief 30g

Dry bag 1ltr, 30g
1/2 roll of toilet paper, 60g

Small nylon bag, 10g
Soap 40ml, 50g
Wilkinson's razor, 5g
Folding tooth brush, 15g
Tooth paste 20 ml, 30g
Microfibre towel 42x55cm, 45g

Nylon bag, 15g
Poncho -tarp 400g
Cordage 2mm, 30g
4 pegs, 40g

Moskito head net, 30g

Little organiser pouch, 100g
Aspirin, 2g
Ibuprophen, 2g
Micropur forte, 3g
Spare batteries for head torch, 12g
Head torch, 30g
Compass, 25g
Lighter Bic mini, 10g
Ball pentel, 10g

Waterproof bag for smartphone, 40g
Waterproof bag for charger and cable, 40g

Plastic bottle from super market 1 Ltr, 35g
Second bottle 1 ltr, 35g

Victorinox Compact, 65g

As you see, my equipment is very light, but even if yours is a bit heavier and larger it should probably fit in your rucksack if you pack after this list.
Where I use an expensive dry bag, nylon bag or the organizer pouch, you can use a plastic bag from the super market or a freezer zipp lock bag, that's far lighter and cheaper.

More isn't really necessary for most short adventures in Britain and most other European countries.
 
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Clickhappy

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Coventry
What do you think about telling us your equipment list?
You could use the kitchen scales to tell us the weight of every single piece of your equipment. And so we can compare our stuff with your equipment and can find the fault you did.
Thanks for the reply, here is the start of my kit list.

It's funny you sent me that YouTube link as I was watching that yesterday and it's where I took inspiration for the PLCE pouches. I struggle to fit a 750ml bottle in my current side pockets where as Paul's fit loads of stuff in.

I've used your list and added my weights after yours to aid comparison.

I really like how organised you have your things, going to have a go at packing like this.

Rucksack 34 ltr , 775g - 1100g
Insulation mat, 425g - 620g
Dry bag 7ltr, 60g
Sleeping bag, 1030g -1390g + 200g pillow
Bivvy bag, 340g - 870g

Dry bag 6ltr, 55g
Fleece jacket, 370g - 345g
Legs of the convertible trousers, 150g - 243g base later trousers

Dry bag 4 ltr, 50g
T-shirt, 150g - 252g
Woolen socks, 75g - 76g
Swimming breefs, 60g - 40g spare pants, never considered swimming

Dry bag 4 ltr, 50g
Waterproof jacket, 410g - 540g
Waterproof trousers 300g - 490g

Dry bag 2 ltr, 40g
Pot 750ml, 110g - 690g jetboil
Mug 450 ml, 65g - 75g
Folding spoon 20g - 40g
Cotton laces 100 cm with wire hook, 8g
Handkerchief 30g - 20g

Dry bag 1ltr, 30g
1/2 roll of toilet paper, 60g

Small nylon bag, 10g
Soap 40ml, 50g
Wilkinson's razor, 5g
Folding tooth brush, 15g
Tooth paste 20 ml, 30g
Microfibre towel 42x55cm, 45g - 280g large towel
- Wash bag 120g

Nylon bag, 15g
Poncho -tarp 400g
Cordage 2mm, 30g
4 pegs, 40g

Moskito head net, 30g

Little organiser pouch, 100g
Aspirin, 2g
Ibuprophen, 2g
Micropur forte, 3g
Spare batteries for head torch, 12g - 41g
Head torch, 30g - 90g
Compass, 25g - 25g
Lighter Bic mini, 10g - 17g
Ball pentel, 10g - notebook and pencil 60g

- First aid kit - 130g
- Water bottle - 200g plus water

Waterproof bag for smartphone, 40g - need to get one of these
Waterproof bag for charger and cable, 40g

Additional kit I took was spare set of clothes (which I didn't need), saw, knife, axe, fire steel, power bank, sit pad.
 
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Erbswurst

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You seem to have a very well equipment.
In the first view I can't see directly a real fault. You have in Britain a bit colder weather than we have it in Germany, and so your a bit heavier sleeping bag is a good choice for three seasons use.
The a bit more robust stuff you own is a good idea for a beginner, because it pardons misuse, and assuming that you are young, that stuff will probably last a lifetime. And in this case you should be strong enough to carry it, if you aren't a dwarf.
To carry a basic first aid kit is a good idea for a beginner, because you aren't so experienced with the tools and other risks.

On longer hikes you need swimming breefs or even better swimming shorts. You need them if you want to wash yourself in a lake, where other people run around, you can use it in a public swimming hall, you can walk to the toilet or shower on camping grounds or use it as pyjamas in youth hostels. You could wear them when you are waiting in front of a shop with coin washing machines. Or somewhere else, if your clothing are drying at the washing line. In cold conditions I use the waterproof trousers in this case, in warm conditions the swimming shorts.
The lighter swimming breefs are enough, if you really stay strictly in the forest, but in the reality of longer journeys and hikes swimming shorts are a really good idea.
I prefere them with two or three mesh pockets, so they really can replace normal (heavy and roomy) cotton shorts pretty good for a few hours.
Together with spare socks, T-shirt and waterproofs that are usually enough spare clothing, if you use convertible trousers in the warm month.

And letting other unneccessary spare clothing at home saves a lot of volume and weight!!!
To take them with you when hiking is in temperate British 3 seasons weather a real beginners fault.
Only additional spare breefs (1x) are a good option, but they aren't necessary in summer conditions, because they usually dry very fast.

That's my towel. It's large enough. If you wring it out in between using it, it works better. It is easy to attach it in the morning to the rucksack to dry it and than it fits very well over the rucksack, after one hour in the sun it's dry. It bleeds out a bit in the beginning, I recommend to wash it with dark clothing several times before you use it.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/microfibre-towel-grey-s-id_8542768.html

I have two of this telephone pouches, one I use for the charger. They are surprisingly robust. I walked with one in the side pocket of my trousers surely 7000 km and it's still fine.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/waterproof-pocket-x-acc-orange-id_8
 
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Erbswurst

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My sleeping mat is the folding German army mat which folds down to a sit pad.

It isn't really thick and warm and needs some twigs under it in temperatures lower than 5*C.

In Germany a sit pad isn't really necessary between April and Oktober. I guess in Britain it's the same.
I can just sit on the poncho.

What kind of shelter do you use?
That's missing in your informations.
Or do you just sleep with the bivvy bag in the open, what is possible of course, but not the most comfortable option.
Is that the British army bivvy bag you have?
 

Erbswurst

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If it doesn't fit immediately, you should let the insulation mat out of the rucksack.

During the summer it isn't necessary in English flat country. But probably necessary in Scottish mountains.

I didn't use a sleeping mat for decades.
I just put the jacket under me.

Now a days I use the jacket in a waterproof dry bag as my pillow. You can put the other spare clothing under the fleece jacket in this bag. The fleece belongs to the head, the other stuff to the ground. That's the most comfortable way to do it.

Most times I let that pillow in the rucksack and put the head on the rucksack. So it stays dry and clean and I am able to start faster if needed. I keep everything in the rucksack if it isn't in use.
 
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Clickhappy

Full Member
Jan 3, 2016
39
10
Coventry
I currently bivi in the open using the British Army bag but am planning on getting a small tarp or maybe a poncho. I like how the poncho has more than one purpose, I could forgo taking the waterproofs if the weather isn't too bad. Can you recommend a good one?

I like your advice about using my fleece as a pillow, this will save me some space.

Sent from my Mi A2 Lite using Tapatalk
 
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Clickhappy

Full Member
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The towel and phone pouches from decathlon are an excellent price, I need to find my nearest store.

Sent from my Mi A2 Lite using Tapatalk
 
Jan 13, 2018
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Rural Lincolnshire
My 3-day pack contents & weight :
31 pounds overall.
23 pounds 'base weight' (excluding food & water consumables)

I do like my 'toys' (PLB, satellite GPS, Solar Panels etc)

Item then weight in Kg

Rucksack & Pack Rain Cover 1.760
2x Heavy Duty Bin Bag (Pack lining) 0.070
Whistle 0.010

Wolf Wise 2-Man Tent (complete Tent, Fly, Poles, Pegs, Bags) 1.896
Footprint 0.257
OEX 4-seasons Helios Down Sleeping Bag (23cm x 19cm) Inc. bag 0.861
Exped DownMat 7M (Inc Bag and Repair Kit) 0.917
Seat Pad / Cushion 0.025
(2nd) Inflatable Pillow 0.051
Outsmart Inflatable Pillow (inc bag) 0.085

Titanium Saucepan, Lid & Contents* 0.325
Aluminium Wind Break (5 Panel 240mm - 9.5") 0.148
220g Gas Cartridge (5 grams of gas per 300ml water boiled) 0.366
Stainless Steel Bowl 0.053
Foil 'Frying Pan' 0.009
300ml Measuring Jug 0.024
Stainless Steel Mug & Lid (300ml) + Contents* 0.143

4x 500ml Water Bottles 1.853
Sawyer Mini Water Filter, Kit and Case 0.280
1.5 litre Water Carrier 0.043

2x Pack Dextro tablets 0.096
7x T-Bags / Milk / Sweeteners (Inside Mug ) 0.000
1-Day Ration Pack (~2000Kcal) 0.569
2-Day Ration Pack (B) (~ 2250Kcal per day) 1.130

Washing Kit 0.100
Nail Clippers / Nail File / Bottle Opener / Knife 0.035
Folding Trowel, Toilet Paper, 4x Wet Wipes 0.168
Toilet Paper (4 days) 0.046
Sewing Kit 0.041

Poncho 0.207
Down Jacket 0.342
Sun Hat (64g) Fly Mask (14g) 0.078
Pants, Socks & Base Layer/T-Shirt 0.250
Trousers 0.318
Spare Boot Laces 0.016

1st Aid Kit (190g) Inc Tablets (14g) 0.204

McMurdo Fast Find PLB (inc bag) 0.188
Satmap Active 10 GPS (inc Extra SD Card) 0.301
Headlight USB Rechargable 0.186
7W Solar Panel Kit 0.539
Folding Knife 0.083
Spare Glasses, Case & Wipes 0.066
Mirror 0.021
Cash 0.008
1x Green Bin Bag 0.018
Ear Plugs 0.002
Red "Tail" Light 0.041
Paracord 550 (4 metres) 0.018
Super Glue (2g Tube) 0.005


Theroretical Total Weight 14.252 (31 lbs)

* Pot Contents : Cooking oil, Sponge Scourer, T-Spoon, Washing Up Liquid, Gas Cooker, Lighter, Storm Matches, Can Opener, Gas cartridge Adapter

* Mug Contents : 7x 'brew bags' (T-bag, powdered milk, sweeteners), Tea Towel.
 

C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
5,518
600
Bedfordshire
I have been a great fan of PLCE type side pockets. I made a pair in 500D Cordura that I could combine into a 20ltr day bag on a set of Kifaru accessory straps (better than the PLCE shoulder harness that is meant to work with belt/web gear). I have also sewn up my own version of a PALS /Organiser to go with my Hill People Gear packs.

First, the bad news:
Based on my experience sewing these and other projects, adding PLCE pockets to a pack that isn't designed for them, or designed for modular pouch attachment (not covered in PALS webbing), isn't going to be easy, and the result is unlikely to be satisfactory. There are exceptions, and it will help greatly if you have an industrial sewing machine set up for heavy fabric, have experience with sewing gear, and are happy and prepared to disassemble the entire pack, and then re-build it to get what you want. Otherwise you are in for a lot of frustration, and at best a butchered looking pack that doesn't work well, at worst, you won't have a pack at all.

For the PLCE pouches to work they have to fit the pack, that means the width between the zips on the pouches must match the base width between where you are sewing the zips to the pack. On the pack you show, I think this is going to clash with the main compartment zip opening. I also think it will clash with the straps that hold the pack lid down. Then there is how you are going to sew a zipper on down to the very bottom of the bag. It is either a by-hand job, or you have to accordion half the pack up in front of the sewing machine foot, unless you split the seam, insert zip and turn the bag inside-out.

Now, better news...
The reviewer makes it sound like this pack has a strange top lid, but even so, I think you could probably manage to sew on two pairs of webbing loops that would allow you to mount removable tie-down straps (G-Hooks and split bar side release buckles). This could enable you to strap a PLCE pouch, or larger stuff sack / dry bag to the top of your pack. There are pictures of this arrangement under Google for "hill people gear stuff sack".


The main reason for having side pockets like the PLCE system is that it allows you to leave your main bag in camp, and make a smaller day-bag using the pockets. As a means to just increase pack volume, they are inefficient weight-wise compared to getting a pack of the right volume to start with.

Best of luck

Chris

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Erbswurst

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The Defcon 5 poncho is the best military poncho of the world market.
400g, New 40€.

It is the original poncho of the Italian army.

Older NATO ponchos cost half the price used (!) but weight the double.

If we compare normal outdoor fabrics, double weight always means double volume, nearly independent of the material.

Indeed you could let in the summer your rainsuit at home, and save a lot of weight and volume by using the Defcon 5 Poncho instead of Tarp and rainsuit.

By the way: you can dry the poncho on the man, instead of putting a whet Tarp in your pack.
You can order a coffee in the bakers shop of the next village and dry it on the coat hook. With a Tarp you can't really do that.


ALL OTHER PONCHOS DO NOT COVER THE ARMS OF ADULT MEN.
FORGET THIS CIVIL PRODUCTION IN CIVIL OR MILITARY STILE!
Only the ponchos with sleeves do it, but usually can't be used as a shelter or they are horribly heavy.
 
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Erbswurst

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If you don't own a filter and carry like me Micropour forte (I don't use them, but I have them), your bottles should not have 0.5 and 1,5 liters volume.

Micropour forte sterilisation tabs are made for 1 litre bottles: 1 litre = 1 tab !

Yes, I throw them in 0,75 litre bottles too.
Why not? But usually I can find fresh water or boil it and carry that tabs only for emergencies.
 

Erbswurst

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As a pillow I use currently a dry bag, that has the right size with 6litres, but somehow it doesn't really convince me.

It isn't air tight, that means not absolutely water tight, and sucks air if the rucksack is open, but keeps the air in, if I want to compress the rucksack.
And it is slippy on an airmat (what I use only in France on camping grounds at professional journeys).

I will do some research, which dry bag I really can recommend to you as a pillow.

Currently I know only the oliv green "Ortlieb Ultra light dry bag 7 litres" which would do the job satisfying. Perhaps you should try that.

It is a roll, no real pillow, but works well and has an outstanding high quality.
It's made in Germany, and they use a patented technique to produce them. They are since decades the market leaders for canoe dry bags and bicycle bags.

The "Snugpack Drisack 4 litres" are very very good to store clothing, because you can fold a shirt correctly in it and they are available in three different nature colours, but as a pillow they are a bit to flat.
 

Erbswurst

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Decathlon runs an internet shop too.

Should there be a minimum amount of money you have to reach for free shipping, what I didn't look up, I can easily tell you other cheap good stuff they sell, if you should need something.

I have a lot of this stuff, tested it well and I am absolutely convinced about quality and prices. Let's say I own everything of them that looks interesting.

;0)

Light pegs for hard ground for example you could take. Or thin orange 2mm line to tension the poncho, or whatever you need.

Especially the hunting clothing is very interesting.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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If you check the weather forecast, and it is going to be sunny and dry, no need to carry a tarp, tent, bivvy bag.

Pillow: I always roll up the jumper with my trousers inside as a pillow.

Backpack; buy one where all your equipment fits. One for a short trip, one for longer. 50L and 100L +?

Adding pouches, pockets etc just increases the risk of failure.
 
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Erbswurst

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Agree, but I would say:

1)One for summer, short trips and long trips in civilised areas.

2) And one for winter and long trips in really wild areas.

And as I wrote, in my opinion for the circumstances in 1) now a days 35 litres are enough.

The most stuff became smaller after Janne made his most experiences and bought his stuff.

What 15 years ago fitted in a 50 litres bag fits now a days in a 35 litres rucksack.
Fabrics become lighter and thinner, the rest of equipment smaller as well.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Yes and no, the truth is I do not carry much stuff. Never had.
For example, when it comes to 'hygiene' stuff, I only ever carried one of those tiny soaps you get in hotels, and toilet paper.
Overnight only the loo paper.


My issued Trangia - I only ever carried one pot, plus added a civilian Trangia coffee pot.

As I always fish, I carry rod/reel plus a few extra leads.

Pack according to weather. Thick jumper in summer? I use the sleeping bag.
My "standard' overlayer is a HH pile. A binliner in case it should rain.
What I have done many, many times, if the weather forecast is 'rain', I just stayed at home.
I think it is pointless to be outside suffering.

If it starts raining the second day ( usually Saturday as I used to get out into the forest on Friday) I just pack up and go home.

Edit: Stuff in the 1970's were basically just as light as today.
 
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Erbswurst

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Yes, stuff in the 20ies was light, in the 70ies too, during the eighties it became heavy.

Now a days you find both. 80ies stuff and reinvented 20ies or 70ies stuff.

The best example is the rucksack we discuss here. It has nominally the same volume like mine, but because my rucksack has a large flap it's larger at all.

But my rucksack has nearly half the weight, but it's made from 1000 den Cordura nylon, the strongest rucksack material on the market.
It's made in the 80ies but the construction is surely from the thirties.

I pack for all weather but yes, if I am hiking and it continues raining I go in a youth hostel and visit museums. Why should I sit or run around in the rain?
In my packing list is always a light fleece jacket, because I go for very long tours and through a lot of different areas.
But yes, in summer times I mainly use it as a pillow.
 
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