The Ray-Way Backpack Kit

Make Your Own Backpack!

Ray-Way Products

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Weight and Description page 2 of 19
Jenny at 20,000 feet in Argentina with her Ray-Way Backpack.

Pg 2: Specs

Specs of the 2,200 in3


  • Weight: 9.5 ounces


  • Height: 23" without extension


  • Pack body: 2,200 in3
  • Pockets: 400 in3
  • Total volume without extension: 2,600 in3
  • Total volume with extension: 3,800 in3


The pack is intended to carry Ray-Way gear, and not the usual profusion of expensive, heavy and bulky paraphernalia found in commercial backpacking stores and catalogs. Therefore, pack size is moderate. The person on a long trip, fresh from resupply with a load of food, uses the pack's extension collar because this increased need in bulk is only temporary.

The Ray-Way pack has three external mesh pockets. One is located on the right side of the pack, which is designed for a water bottle - kept there for accessibility. This pocket is made of mesh to allow the bottle's condensation to evaporate. On the other side is a pocket intended for the fuel bottle, also of mesh to permit the fumes to evaporate. And on the rear is a large pocket that can be used for stowing the tarp or tent fly when wet with the morning's dew, or any kind of day-to-day knickknacks. Each of these pockets is fitted with elastic in the top hem, to help secure the contents.

When the backpack is lightly loaded, one can loosen the shoulder straps, tilting the pack backwards somewhat, and giving more ventilation to one's back area. The heavier the pack is loaded towards its top, the tighter should be its shoulder straps, keeping the backpack more vertical.

Why not use a frame and hip belt?

The vast majority of highly-touted features on most packs actually work against a person. For one thing, they tend to waste time spent fiddling with them. For another, they add weight, and of course expense. Contrary to hype, most of those features are designed for marketing rather than hiking.

With a light to moderate load, we find the hip-belt unnecessary. And of course we do not normally recommend hiking with a heavy load.

As you hike along the trail while carrying a load of any kind, your shoulders, spine, and hips twist, or rotate, in opposition to each-other. A hip-belt resists this opposition and so interferes with the natural bio-mechanics of walking. Without a hip-belt, you hike more natural and free. And this translates to a more efficient style of hiking with less effort and less fatigue.

Pack Straps

Our pack straps are adjustable in length with a small buckle on each side. Typically with most packs, these buckles are attached to the end of the shoulder straps, such that you pull down to shorten. With the Ray-Way pack, the buckles are located near the bottom of the pack, such that you pull up to shorten. While this arrangement is unfamiliar to many hikers, it is much more effective. Namely, it moves the buckle and the webbing tail from out of your armpit area, to down on the pack where it belongs. This streamlines the pack, makes it more comfortable to carry, and prevents chafe to the inside of the upper arms.

Pack Closure

The closure is an optional feature that goes on the upper part of the Ray-Way Backpack, where the pack body joins the lower part of the extension collar. It weighs just a quarter of an ounce.

The main purpose of the Pack Closure is to close the pack when lightly loaded, for example when pulling into a resupply, or when using the backpack as a day-pack. However it works when the pack is carrying a medium load also, as it helps stabilize the load from moving side to side.

The Pack Closure is included in all Ray-Way Backpack Kits, along with the materials needed and the sewing instructions.

Two Stowbags

We recommend using a second Ray-Way stowbag for your spare clothing and other items inside your backpack. First load the heavy food items into the bottem of the pack, followed by the quilt in its stowbag, then the clothing stowbag.


We are not fond of waterproof backpacks. With use, they don't stay waterproof for long, and then you have wetness inside that you can't get rid of. So in rainy weather, your clothing and gear languish inside a damp interior.

We are not fond of rain covers either. They leak around the shoulder straps and the backside, and then they tend to pool the rain water in the bottom, the part underneath the backpack. So they turn the pack into a hiking waterbag.

So how do we keep our gear dry inside the Ray-Way backpacks when hiking in heavy, prolonged rain?" And we done a great deal of that!

Pretty simple. we each use two trash bags. The first one is medium size to fit inside the quilt stowbag. The second one is larger, sized to fit the interior of the backpack. This system is cheap and lightweight, and keeps the gear bone dry. And the quilt is doubly protected inside two trash bags. We don't care if the outside of the backpacks get wet, because they are fast drying. And because they are fast drying, we can throw them into a washing machine, when passing through a trail town, when the packs have gotten a bit smelly from sweat. Larger store-bought backpacks get smelly also, but they can't be washed.

In fine weather we don't use the backpack sized trash bags, but keep them handy, just in case.

Ray demonstrates his two trash bags method on his AT Gear Video.

Jenny in Argentina.

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