Hellcat Backpack Rig and backpacking FOOD!

OK So I decided I wanted to see how much room I would have by packing the ALICE pack on top of my system, instead of the small Recon pack; turns out for 4-5 days with a polyester fleece pull over and a rain coat, I have more than enough room in the main pack, and the MOLLE sustainment pouches are now only half full of food; which means I could in theory, bring a lot more foods for a much longer backpacking trip…. DSCN1971I know it looks rather bulky, BUT it holds a lot more than I thought..

DSCN1972everything laid out. Clothes are all in the main ruck, hammock and top quilt goes into stuff sack; canteens and cup goes into two pouches on main ruck, hammock hanging straps, stakes, cordage, and mini stove goes into center small pouch on main ruck, foods go into MOLLE sustainment, hydration bladder, 64OZ/3L goes into a pouch between ruck and frame.

DSCN1973clothes for three or four days, depending on conditions. I can add another shirt and another pair of pants in main ruck and still have room…..

DSCN1974foods and cooking and such;

Ben’s rice, Zatarin’s Rice, Idahoan instant potatoes, Marie Callendar’s Quick Sides, Ramen Noodles and granola bars; all require only hot water to be cooked in; hence the steel canteen cups. small Esbit stove with tabs, first aid kit, wand lighter, knife, and gloves are also shown. I will be adding GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) along with jerky and possibly candy bars for the backpacking trip soon. Might also add something with more protein, like foil packed chicken and peanut butter….(to spread on tortillas…)

What else am I missing?

Total weight!

with 1 gallon of water, it comes out to 40 pounds or so; which isn’t that bad honestly…clothes made up for 9 pounds, water made up for almost 9 pounds (round up to 9 due to canteens and bladder weight); pack is 11 pounds empty…rest of the weight is in foods and hammock/tarp/top quilt, and misc things. I may pick up a water filter and reduce weight by removing half of the water, may reduce more by getting lighter pants and clothes, foot wraps instead of socks….I’m not sure yet. I walked a few miles with this rig, and it is pretty comfortable…. I could reduce the pack weight even further by going to a different external frame pack but it isn’t as comfortable….so I am not sure.

comments are welcome! 🙂

Modified a Thrift Store Kelty mummy bag into a top Quilt!

Scored a Synthetic Kelty mummy bag from a thrift store; tested it in store, its a little tight fit in its stock form, so after looking up other designs for mummy bags into top quilts, I found one that works with the Kelty’s shape, because it doesn’t have a peaked hood and a head hole like the other mummy bags, I did not need to remove the tiny “hood” from this one, and I decided to cut it in the middle going down around 50 inches, this gives me a nice foot box to keep my feet warm, and allows me to tuck the sides in. I am not sure which synthetic insulation this one is, but it feels MUCH warmer than my camo Great Land underquilt, and only weights 3 something pounds according to my fish scale….

Kelty Mummy Bag to Top Quilt 1basic Top quilt for hammock camping; top view, the top panel has two layers of insulation, while the bottom panels have only one, it was originally meant to be clipped to a pad of some sort, but because I’m a hammocker, and I dislike having to deal with zippers when in hammock; I cut it in the “back/bottom” and sewn the edges into hems  and now it is just a top quilt with a foot box.

Kelty Mummy Bag to Top  Quilt 2Back view of the topquilt, I didn’t do a perfect job of making sure my scissors stayed in the center of the back panel…..zipper is still on, I will be removing that later on and sewing the panels back together.

Two Hammocks under a single tarp; Bat-wing and Hex shaped tarps!

So after the day outing at Moose Creek, I decided that the Bat-Wing tarp may be large enough to hang two hammocks underneath, and decided to also try the Hex shaped tarp as well for a two hammock hanging set up;

Using 8 stakes, and two poles, The Bat-Wing tarp is set up below, great for summer/dry weather hanging!Bat-Wing Tarp Double Hammock 1

view of tarp and two hammocks under; this is a temp rig with two straps holding both hammocks, for camping, I would be using two long 2″ wide straps with two hooks on each ends, so that it is more effective and sturdy.

Bat-Wing Tarp Double Hammock 2Side view;

Bat-Wing Tarp Double Hammock 3view underneath; the main panel in the middle is approximately 57″ wide, plus 17″ wide triangles with 57″ bases; this provides just enough overhead coverage. And yes I am using whoopie slings on both hammocks, along with the spreader bars.

And with the Hex tarp I made, which still needs to be waterproofed;

DIY Hex Tarp Double Hammock 1SO MUCH COVERAGE. Though it is a bit short on the Ridge line, I think that can be solved by moving the tarp closer to the ground a little bit, so I will be figuring out the tarp suspension for this particular tarp later on.

DIY Hex Tarp Double Hammock 2Half the number of stakes and no poles; this is by far a much lighter option!

DIY Hex Tarp Double Hammock 3A lot more room and coverage, this set up with possibly trekking poles holding one side up in “porch” mode would give the two of us room to sit and cook on stoves, or just sit and chat…..if we aren’t in the hammocks laying and chatting. There is enough room under this tarp for some privacy, though I’ll be bringing a smaller tarp/curtain for privacy screening.

More Hellcat pack set ups!

SO I decided to see just how much I could stuff into the MOLLE sustainment pouches and what the main compartment of the Recon Pack can carry;DSCN1957Front view;

DSCN1958Showing the 2 qt canteens on the waistbelt portion;

in the MOLLE sustainment Pouches; I have the following;

3 pairs of pants all packed into one pouch,

and in the other,

3 pairs of underwear,

4 pairs of socks

3 shirts,

and a Fleece pull over.

in the Compression sack, I have the hammock, underquilt, and a fleece blanket for summertime.

in the Recon pack, I have food, fire starting kit, canteen cups, esbit stove, stakes, hammock suspension, tarp, first aid kit, empty 1 qt canteens for cooking water.

and here is the ridiculously big set up, with an ALICE pack in place of the Recon pack;  I transferred the 3 pocket contents from the Recon pack to the 3 pockets on the ALICE, and filled the main compartment with an USGI mummy bag; I know, it is ridiculously large and bulky hahaha


with the older ALICE pack up top, I notice that the coloring are quite different…


DSCN1960view with belt opened up;

And then here is the minimal set up that would make sense if I have clothes in one pouch, and food in the other pouch;

DSCN1962Basic pack; stuff sack and 2 MOLLE Sustainment Pouches.


Made MOLLE panels for Baby Hellcat pack’s Stuff Sack!

So I decided that If I wanted to carry more gear, I would need a way to attach my MOLLE pouches to the pack, but I didn’t really have any good way to attach them to the pack without going to a new bag, until an idea struck me from the M1910 pack system; and inspired by Kifaru’s MOLLE panel compression system, I decided to make two MOLLE panels that could be attached to a frame and has compressing straps, to go around a stuff sack; which enables me to carry more gear without going too wide or going to a full sized pack system…

DSCN1952MOLLE panels by themselves, 9″ wide, 11″ tall, Triglide attachment straps and Fastex buckles

DSCN1953Mounted to the stuff sack and frame

DSCN1954With MOLLE sustainment pouches; sidelong view

DSCN1955Direct view of vertical set up; very similar layout and feel to the current crop of slim hiking packpacks one could find; though in camo 😉

DSCN1956With panels unbuckled to remove stuff sack.

In theory, one could use just the stuff sack and the panels on a smaller frame for an overnighter/ultra light backpacking system…..similar to the Molly Mac system, though with two panels instead of one.

With this set up, I could push 3-4, maybe 5 days of camping by putting clothes in the large pouches and food into the small main compartment of the upper pack, and add canteens to the waist belt for more water carriage; and still have a slimmer profile than the standard Hellcat with ALICE pack and additional pouches on the outside.



Baby Hellcat pack!

After the Moose Mountain trip, I decided the pack I used could carry better by being attached to a frame; so I took off the old ALICE pack off my Coleman PEAK 1 frame and put the little Recon pack on the frame…it carries better, and whats nice, I have the ability to lash whatever I need onto the frame!

DSCN1943pack on frame without sleeping bag;lots lots of room on the lower half of frame!

DSCN1946detail of top mount, I used the same short straps that attached the ALICE pack to the frame, and mounted them to the D rings on the Recon pack

DSCN1944Detail of bottom mount, I used the upper LC pack connection straps, and slotted them into the slotted panel on the middle of the PEAK 1 frame, its almost as if the frame was made for this sizing!

DSCN1949with sleeping bag mounted vertically instead of horizontally, this gives the pack a slimmer profile, and makes it easier to put into cars, and there’s room on the sides for tools if I need to carry them

DSCN1947sidelong view of the sleeping bag mounting system

DSCN1948detail shot of the slots the lashing straps goes into, there are many slots which can be used to lash tools or other items to the sides; this is actually a great frame to use for such things!

the frame is an old Coleman PEAK 1 frame, and I have USGI MOLLE pack straps and belt mounted to the frame, although the Recon pack is not an ALICE, it is shaped and built like one, just much much smaller and with two extra pouches on the top (large box pouch on top, zippered pocket on underside of flap), and has cinching cords on the 3 external pockets for keeping snow and water out.

DSCN1704the bare frame with the MOLLE equipment attached, and with two MEDIC pouches attached to belt.


Sleeping bags into hammock quilts! new modifications

So I modified my previous sleeping bag underquilt once again, to a set up I think will be better; by having 1/8″ shock cord running through the long side channels I made, and through the short side channels, it is now more comfortable, and not too tight against the hammock; it started as a rectangle sleeping bag, and I added webbing channels to the short sides and loops for a quick under quilt mod, but with the boot strings I used, it was not comfortable, and the sides kept wanting to fall off, so I cut holes in the corners and hemmed them, and ran shock cord through the new side channels, and the existing short side channels in order to be able to cinch up and suspend the quilt better;

Underquilt mod 1a close up of the cinched end;

Underquilt Mod 2attached to the tree strap with tow hook; the whoopie slings are larksheaded/girth hitched to the hook so as not to fall off easily, while the shock cord is simply looped and attached to the hook, which eventually will be replaced with lightweight climbing carabiners

Suspension whoopie and shock cords to hooka view of how I did the free end of the webbing straps by making a water knot loop on the end and doing a sling attachment point

Tree StrapThat is for the under quilt modification; here is the winter/cold weather top quilt I made out of an USGI Mummy bag; before the modification, it worked, but was a hassle just buttoning it up since it wanted to bunch up on the back side when in the hammock; I made a slit on the back around 44″ to 46″ roughly, and tested it, it is MUCH easier in the hammock, I simply put the hooded head end on while sitting up in the hammock, and then tuck my legs into the foot end before I lay in the hammock, this allows me to keep the front buttoned up and keeps my shoulders and body warm, with insulation on the back now taken care of by an under quilt, and if I need more insulation, I simply add a pad or a fleece blanket on the bottom of the hammock.

For the summer, I use a fleece blanket as a top quilt.

view of the slit I made on the back

Mummy Bag to Top Quilt 1slit opened up;

Mummy Bag to Top Quilt 2view from the front with partially unbuttoned fly;

Mummy Bag to Top Quilt 3buttoned up showing how it is covered

Mummy Bag to Top Quilt 4

Day trip to Moose Mountain!

went out to Moose Mountain in the Willamette National Forest; it was going to be an overnighter, but some things came up that I needed to do; so trip was cut short into a day trip….Anyways, it is a beautiful area to camp and hike; and there are many convenient trees for the hammock set up!

the view of the woods;

DSCN1913and another view, of the camping area I decided on;


the trail leading uphill to the car

DSCN1915a view of the road uphill to my camp; the tarp camp is in the picture if you can find it!

DSCN1925my tarp camp set up; using the Bat Wing tarp and with more stakes, opened up the interior by tying the side pull outs and guy lining them out.

DSCN1918another view of tarp camp;

DSCN1920the interior, you can see how it is opened up quite a bit compared to without the side pull outs;

DSCN1919a close up of the side pull out detail;

DSCN1921a dead stump with things growing out;

DSCN1916a Blue Oregon Iris growing near the campsite;

DSCN1917my attempt at making a Feather Stick out of a twig;

DSCN1932my overnight pack on the tree;

DSCN1922a view of the area downhill from the road/trail;

DSCN1926all packed up before leaving; ground tarp is always in my car

DSCN1933back side of pack showing the LC strap set up;

DSCN1934The pack is packed with the following;

In Main compartment
one pair of pants,
one pair of underwear
one pair of socks
two polyester shirts; one short and one long (Underarmor and jersey)
one fleece pull over
one fleece blanket
In side large pockets
canteen cups
1 qt canteens with water
large bowie knife
wand lighter
In center large pocket
Ramen noodle, one pack
Three Granola Bars
two packets of hot chocolate
3 L stakes for stove
Esbit Stove, no fuel
Y stakes
matches in waterproof container
hammock tree straps and tarp lines
In top pocket on flap
In pocket on underside of flap
first aid kit
strapped to pack bottom;
hammock and under quilt with shock cords and whoopie slings

attached to the pack is a Bell bicycle tail light and a Corona RC 4060 small saw,

On my belt kit;
compass pouch with compass and small LED light
small Bowie knife
2 magazines in pouches
Ruger P85 MKIIR 9mm
M16 pouch with camera in padded case