This is a write up showing how to build your own disc golf backpack using an internal frame hiking backpack made by Swiss Gear. I will walk you through how to build and assemble the frame and the pros and cons that I have found through personal usage. I have sold a couple of these to some local guys as well and will include the feedback I have received from them as well. If you are wanting one of these packs but do not care to make it yourself I have bought some surplus packs I am willing to build and sell.
The first thing you will need is a Swiss Gear internal frame backpack. These are no longer in production from what I have seen but can still be found online if you look hard enough. They come in blue, green, orange and red. The bag has a large bottom pocket that will house the main disc compartment. It also includes a large top compartment with a zippered divider and is set up to accept a hydration bladder(Camelback). The top compartment will carry a soft sided cooler or extra discs and larger gear. On each side of the top compartment is a side pocket. These are great for smaller gear items you may need to carry on the course.
The shoulder straps are completley adjustable to get the custom fit you need to stay comfortable and the back panel is padded for comfort and allows airflow as well. This bag can get heavy when fully loaded and it is still comfortable. The hiking backpack comes with an adjustable waist belt. I cut this belt off as it is clumsy and hard seems to get in the way. Scissors will remove it easily. There is also a sternum strap that seems to help keep the shoulder straps properly located on your shoulders. I really like the sternum strap but it can be removed easily too.
There are compression straps on the side of the pack with quick release snap buckles. I use mine to carry my camptime stool or to strap jackets to in the fall and spring. This keeps room available inside the pack.
The bag has two mesh drink holders. One on each side of the pack. I can grab my drinks from the holders with the bag on.
I built the frame out of PVC pipe. It is inserted into the pack by unzipping the top-bottom divider and sliding it down into the bottom section. It is held into place by zipping the divider back up. It will hold 15-16 discs depending on how many are drivers and mids. I carry 4 mids, 6 fairways and six distance drivers in mine. You must keep it mostly full (13-14 discs)to keep the discs from falling out or keep them in the top compartment. I take out 1-3 discs at a time and have never had a spill-out but any less discs and you will need to be careful. It is easy to get the discs in and out of the bag by sliding them in and out of thier respective slots and the fabric tension will hold them in place and secure.
Building the frame:
You will need the following
2 - 7" long 1/2" pvc pipes
4 - 6.5" long 3/4" pvc pipes
4 - 4" long 3/4" pvc pipes
4 - 3/4 to 3/4 to 1/2 threaded pvc corner pieces
4 - 1/2 threaded to 1/2 slip connecter
4 - 3/4 90 degree elbows
The first step is to assemble the corners. Just thread the 1/2 adapter into the threaded socket of the corner piece and tighten firmly. You will want to sand or file down any rough edges that may wear out the fabric.
Then just assemble all the remaining pieces till they look like the picture. I use a hammer to tap the pieces together. You can glue them into place or just leave them tapped together. The frame is so strong I can stand on the top tubes of the frame without it being glued together and I weigh 200 pounds (not recomended to try at home). After the frame is built just slip it into the pack and zip it up and you are all set.
Folding the pockets:
To make the putter pocket I just fold over the front side organizer pocket and tuck it in. This makes a great place to put two or three putters. I also tuck the bottom pocket in over the frame and under the discs. This keeps it from flapping around and off the ground. If you need to store the bag and discs for travel it is easy enough to pull out and zip up the pockets.
Carries 16-19 discs plus tons
of extra room for a cooler or other gear
Two mesh drink holders
Comfortable enough for long tournament days
Set up for a hydration bladder (not included)
Very adjustable for any size person
Easy to keep organized
Stands up on its own even on slight inclines
High quality construction and a ten year manufacturers limited warranty (may be voided by modifying)
Easy to take on and off each time you have to throw
Nice padded top handle for carrying it with
Compression straps for extra capacity
Bottom compartment needs to be close to full (13-14 discs) or they can fall out
The bigger the bag the more you will carry if you are not careful
Can get top heavy and tipsy when carrying a cooler or heavy gear in top and can tip over on hills
Zipper pulls can come loose ( I replaced mine with a keychain and a 1/2" washer to pull on which can be seen in the first pic on the right side)
Bags for sale:
I have a couple of these bags for sale if you are to lazy to build your own or can't find them. They are $80 plus shipping and come in Blue, Orange, Red, and Green. Please PM me if you are interested. Thanks, Steve