I'm a volunteer with a wilderness rescue team. I've been continually dissatisfied with many of the commercially available packs, as many of the lightweight ones don't have an adequate suspension or enough access, and the deluxe ones use heavy materials and end up weighing in excess of 5 lbs. Thus, I set out to make my own.
The main packbag here is basically a duffel bag with a long zipper that allows access to any part of the compartment. After I finished, I realized the main compartment was not large enough for all my gear, so I added an additional pocket.
Making the framesheet was a simple matter of using a heat gun to mold the kydex into the appropriate shape.
The shoulder straps were more difficult; I couldn't figure out a way to make contoured shoulder straps with a sewing machine, so I had to hand-stitch the shell around the foam core. It wasn't easy, and the finished product was rather 'meh' compared to some of the high-tech suspension systems you see on commercial packs. if/when I build version 2 of this project, I plan to just use a commercially manufactured harness, probably the one off of my Osprey backpacking pack.
For an exhaustive description of the build process, please see my blog post series at the following links:
The packcloth is Ripstop by the Roll's (RBTR) 1.6oz HyperD ripstop nylon. Reinforced areas such as the bottom of the pack and the belt pouches were done with RBTR's 2.2ox Hex70, which in hindsight, I probably should have made the entire pack out of. The HyperD, while durable, doesn't have any stiffness or 'structure' to it, leading the pack to be rather floppy. I think I used about a yard of HyperD, and maybe a quarter yard of Hex70
The foam padding in the straps is a GI sleeping pad I cut up.
The black fabric lining the suspension is a stretch synthetic of some kind that I picked up at a local fabric shop.