Solo portage pack, two-piece style

Feb 17, 2015
Alexandria, Minnesota
The I just got a two-piece solo portage pack completed.
To be clear, the two piece style is not my idea. It came to my attention from Ostrum’s pack.
This is my take on what I think would work well for what I want from a pack.
Each pack is 15” high x 18” wide by 12” deep.
420 denier packcloth with 500 denier Cordura double bottoms.
1/2” foam back.
Removable waist belt.
Top and bottom stabilizer straps.
Multiple haul loops.
PFD pocket on the bottom portion.
Compression straps on the top and sides.
Drawstring extendable sleeve closure.
Padding over the back connector buckles.
Bungee strap to keep the top flap in place when the packs are separated.
Dedicated buckles to attach the flap straps when the packs are detached.
Two zippered flat pockets.
A bit over 4 pounds in weight.

The two-piece design allows for more options to trim a narrow solo canoe and allow for a
To attach the two packs there are six adjustable side release buckles, one on each side and two each on the front and back.
There are also two side release buckles to attach the bottom of the shoulder straps.
The flap straps can be attached to the flap or not.
Now I need to test it out to see how it will work during a day of multiple portages.


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Feb 17, 2015
Alexandria, Minnesota
The standard style packs I made are the same size and are configured the same as this one.
I am able to carry a Wenonah MN II with a collar style portage pad and the pack does not interfere.
Dec 1, 2012
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Excellent work! I remember talking myself out of one from Bell when they were closing shop. I couldn’t justify it because I already have so many packs and I traveled with a dog. Now she can’t go anymore and I kick myself for not picking one up. Look forward to hearing your review after putting it to use.

Dec 5, 2017
Barrie, Ontario
Love it!

i have been on the look out for a used Ostrom Solo Pack with no luck. I have even contacted Dan at CCS to see if he would make me something custom with no luck.

So this looks awesome to me. Really like the idea of a split back for trimming the boat but don’t want to give up on single portaging.

If you would ever consider making and selling one custom I’m interested. :).

Each section is about 50L. ? Always thought the Ostrom solo was too big. Each was over 60L I think.

40-50L seems right to me.
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Mar 17, 2016
Hoosier State
i have been on the look out for a used Ostrom Solo Pack with no luck. I have even contacted Dan at CCS to see if he would make me something custom with no luck.
Here is a photo of an Ostrom pack.
Ostrom Solo Pack
Here is a reply I received from Dan Cooke (CCS) regarding the design. (I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here.)

"Every design feature brings with it the solution to a specific design problem, but often brings along compromises that cause greater problems than the design feature overcame. It all depends on how the user values the benefits and the problems

I believe a split apart pack has troubles that are difficult to overcome without sacrificing time and ease of use.
Can it be solved by having a stuff sack that fits into the top of a pack that can come out and go in easily. the upper stuff sack in the pack needs to be able to be squishable to fill the space without voids that would impead load transfer. The load is a soft packs structure if it is compressed.

The problem with a split load is the flexure and lack of structure between the two loads once assembled onto a common back frame. There is often a void near your back between the loads, so you cannot have good load transfer to your hip belt.

I believe Bill never sold a lot of the units and I never heard people saying they were the cats meow.

Designing and making a custom one off would be very expensive, and the functionality could not be promised to meet expectations.

" (Underlining is mine)

I'm very interested to find out how your pack will do in that respect.
Jun 30, 2014
I sort of use a split pack. I have a magnesium frame with a hard attached bag on the bottom half and a removable one on top. It is easily split up into two pieces. The solid metal tubing frame ( like an Alice) overcomes the issue of support between the two bags.

I also have large CCS and Woods canvas packs that you can put stuff sacks into in layers.

Either way works.

Jul 11, 2014
Ontario Canada
I liked this pack because I admire people who a) go ahead and make things themselves, and b) think outside the box. I guess I could've liked this twice.
Thanks for the follow up photo Sweetfancy, I was struggling to "get it" originally. Interesting concept and design. Looking forward to the field testing.
This pack doesn't speak to me and my tripping, but I'm willing to learn new stuff. Okay, that makes 3 likes.
Nov 22, 2019
I know this is an older thread but I'm just starting to make packs and I'm always open to ideas and learning from other's experiences. At 60L each how did the size of these work out and, if you did it again, would you stay at 60L or go smaller? And do you have any lessons learned you'd share?

Thanks and best regards,