Monday, 16 January 2017

Tramplite Custom Made Packs

2017 50L Pack

My first major MYOG item was a pack and I've never used a commercial one since. Tramplite packs have evolved beyond recognition since that early example but the core principle of being as light as possible, while still comfort, remains. My 2017 packs have had a major update with a new frame design, increased ventilation and some additional new features.

Original Tramplite pack


Tramplite packs feature an adjustable, internal, tensioned carbon fibre frame. This is comprised of 2 carbon rods held in an arc by a length of adjustable cord. Packs are custom sized but the adjustable arc allows some variation in pack back length and pack shape. Tightening both frames shortens the back length but pushes the pack further away from the body, so ventilation is increased. Nice if you have a light pack and are hiking in a hot environment. Lengthening the frame raises the straps and pulls the pack closer to the body, perfect for carrying heavy loads. Each side of the frame can be adjusted individually, if you have one shoulder/hipbone higher then the other then you will appreciate this! Adjustments can be made, on trail, without emptying the pack. In addition there are 4 horizontal carbon rods, on the back panel, that keep the pack shape, help vent the lower back, and transfer the load directly to the hipbelt. The curved back panel doesn't touch the lower back to allow for ventilation, the upper of the pack is in contact with the back but is covered in 3D mesh for comfort. The vertical frames can be easily removed for lightweight trips, or if you prefer a frameless pack saving 31g. The horizontal rods are not removeable.

Tramplite adjustable internal frame

Carbon fibre is very tough and incredibly stiff for its weight but is not indestructible. If you over-stress it, chip it, kneel on it, trap it in a car door, sit on it, etc etc, it can fracture. A fractured frame is easily replaced on your return and can be splinted on trail. Worst case the frame can be removed and the pack used as a conventional frameless pack. If you are heavy on gear then carbon fibre may not be for you and I can offer a heavier but much tougher fibreglass frame at no additional cost.


Packs are available in 40L or 50L capacity. Volume is calculated for the main compartment only and the side/front pockets will add a few extra litres (around 8L). The 50L pack is sized to easily take most bear canisters and is a very big pack, the 40L pack will take most smaller bear canisters. Pack capacity, of both packs, can be further increased using accessories. Packs have side and rear volume compression cords. 40L packs have a simple single cord side compression system while the 50L pack has a full compression system from top to side pocket.

Pack dimensions of the 50L pack are 32(w)*20(d)*75(h) cm. The 40L pack is 32(w)*16(d)*75(h) cm.

When deciding which pack to get it might be wise to measure one you already have as many producers would rate my 50L pack nearer 60L and the 40L nearer 50L.

*Actual height of the pack will depend on back length

Tramplite twin colour 40L pack
Gear access

Tramplite packs have the option to access gear from the top or bottom. The bottom opening is closed using a combination of clip/cords and is further held tightly shut by the shoulder straps when carried. The top has a standard rollover opening (like a drybag) and is further secured using a “V Top” elasticated cord. 

Tramplite bottom opening


Packs are bladder compatible and have a hydration port that allows the drinking tube to pass over the left or right shoulder. It should work with most bladders as long as the hose and mouthpiece fit through the hole but it was designed around the Hydropak Reversible Reservoir (currently the best bladder available). The bladder is laid horizontally inside the pack.

A modified Ortlieb 4L water bag can be fitted as an accessory directly to the hipbelt (see accessories).

4L waterbag accessory


Straps - The body contoured shoulder straps are extra wide and contain 10mm 50Nm foam (upper chamber) and 6mm 30Nm (lower chamber) that is user replaceable. This is a feature you will appreciate if you do really long hikes and as far as I’m aware exclusive to Tramplite packs (Gossamer Gear used to have open straps). The medical grade Evazote foam is held in 2 clipped chambers and covered in 3mm 3D mesh for ventilation and additional padding. You can vary the amount of padding in each chamber, or remove it completely (there really isn't much need for padding in the lower chamber), and replace it completely should it get thin on a long hike. Straps adjust using linelocs and nylon covered dyneema cord and shouldn't slip, even after 3000mi continuous hiking on the CDT I never had to re-adjust these straps. Should the cord wear out it's easily replaced with no tools needed.

Hipbelt - is body contoured and has 3 clipped chambers of replaceable 10mm 50Nm foam and 3D mesh. Hipbelt uses “V style” webbing so top and bottom circumference can be adjusted individually helping to prevent slipping. The hipbelt is available in 3 sizes and is sewn directly to the pack, a carbon rods transfers the pack load directly to the hipbelt. Hipbelt straps are user replaceable without tools.

Back - the upper back panel is covered in 3D mesh for comfort and padding. 

3D mesh upper


Packs have 2 large adjustable side pockets, slanted forward for access on the trail, and a mesh rear pocket. I don't use mesh for side pockets as they have a habit of snagging on foliage. Side pockets are ice axe compatible, slot your ice axe through the side compression cord and the shaft fits through a slit in the side pocket base. Having your axe here allows access without removing your pack. There are also 2 conventional ice axe loops on the rear of the pack if you prefer your axe there. The rear mesh pocket uses a tougher mesh than on many lightweight packs but it's the lightest mesh that I've failed to tear on a long multi-month hike.

Large tough pockets


Packs are individually handmade in the UK, by Tramplite, using the finest materials from around the world. My background is in aeronautical engineering where doing every job correctly, and to a standard above the norm, is all I knew for 23 yrs. That's something I try and bring to my packs.

Packs are currently made from 210 denier Gridstop Fabric as it’s one of the best pack fabrics available and most suited to these packs. All seams are at least double sewn, many are triple sewn and some parts are bonded. 

Packs are available in a single colour of jet black or grey, or a twin colour of jet black (straps, backpanel, hipbelt) and your choice of autumn orange, slate blue, moss green for everything else.

Standard features

Packs come with a built-in safety whistle on the top opening,  3 position adjustable chest strap (removable), daisy chain webbing on straps and hipbelt. 


The hipbelt has 2 clips for directly attaching Tramplite accessories. I use 2 accessories on my hikes, a 4L waterbag (for desert crossings), and if I need to increase pack capacity then my bear food hanging bag attaches directly and can carry another 5-7 days food. Carrying heavy items, like 4ltr water, up front has a number of advantages in balance and space saving and whatever you carry up front, when attached directly to the hipbelt, will not be felt on your shoulders. Other items that could be carried here are a packraft or heavy camera system. Hipbelts do not have any pockets, as they would interfere with this accessory facility, but most 3rd party pockets should fit if you don't use Tramplite accessories.

BackrestPacks can convert into a backrest for long breaks on the trail. 2 mini pockets clip into the side compression system and hiking poles handles are inserted. The tips of the hiking poles slip into a cord brace which is attached to the bottom of the pack. This gives you a solid backrest that will stay put on any surface (on a particularly smooth surface, such as flat sun baked mud, I recommend fastening the hipbelt to stop the pack bottom sliding). 

Backrest kit (mat not included)

The backrest should only be used with a loaded pack, use around camp with an empty pack could over-stress the frame causing catastrophic failure.

Pack liner - Lightweight 0.54oz cuben pack liner with drawcords on both ends to allow access to pack contents from top and bottom.

Travel bag - Heavy duty 1.4oz cuben travel bag that converts into a pack liner when not traveling. Useful when flying with your pack, simply slip the loaded pack into the travel bag (pockets need to be empty) and when you get to the other end the bag becomes your pack liner. Baggage handlers will struggle to rip the heavy duty 1.4oz cuben but they may put an odd hole in it which will be easily fixed with the supplied repair tape. This is a copy of the Zpacks travel bag but sized to fit my packs and with a rollover opening at both ends to allow access to pack contents from top and bottom.


50L pack            800-850g

40L pack            750g (4mm frame, +50g 6mm frame)
Cuben pack liner 31g
Travelbag            115g (50L)
                            TBA (40L)

Weights are subject to variations caused by raw materials and selected back length 


All packs are custom built to users torso size, See guide here for how to measure your torso.


To order email me using the forms on this site. Please note Tramplite Gear is not a full time occupation for me and there may be a waiting list. See About Tramplite Gear for further information.

Both basic packs are currently priced at £230 (Jan 17). This is subject to the value of the £ and actual price could be higher or lower.

40/50L pack      £230
Backrest kit        £20
4L waterbag      £25
Bear bag            £30
Pack liner           £55
Travel bag          £75