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JMT with Dyed Black Pack

Chris Scala

Here’s an album of a couple pictures of the MANY I took on the JMT a few weeks ago. Was wearing my dyed black 2012 Mariposa. Had one of the lightest packs of anyone we spoke to! This pack became quite the friend–I had a packing scheme I perform every morning and am ready to go in minutes, and along the trail it was nothing but convenient and comfortable. Had an amazing trip full of great new friends, beautiful views, and some great memories. Oh and 5 bears!  

-Chris Scala

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10 Responses to JMT with Dyed Black Pack

  1. Brian Green September 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    So, how do you go about dying a Gossamer Gear Dyneema backpack? The only thing I would hate to accidentally dye would be the cool little logo – but would hate to have to remove it just to dye it. Would love to hear more… ^BG

  2. josh camp September 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I second Brian’s question. Does it change any of the fabric’s qualities?

  3. Chris Scala September 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Hey Everyone!

    Thanks GG for the spotlight! My trip was awesome, and these pictures hardly do it justice.

    As for the backpack… All I used was 2ish gallons of boiling water, a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket (with lid), and 2 bottles of liquid Rit dye.

    Get the water boiling in some pots on the stove. I dye in my bath tub to prevent staining anything uncleanable. Once BOILING (not just simmering), add the water to the tub, the dye to the water, and the packs to the mix. I use a metal rod to stir them while they’re in there. I just make sure everything is submerged, then put the lid on, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I stir, and recover, and repeat. I usually let them go a half hour to an hour. (And that’s probably excessive.)

    Afterwards, RINSE in the shower with cold water… thoroughly. Make sure the water runs as close to clear as possible. Then take the sopping backpacks to the wash and do a gentle, warm wash with an extra rinse cycle. Then either Air Dry or throw them on very low in the dryer for a short amount of time.

    Some tips:

    1. The hotter the water, the better. I think if the water isn’t hot enough, the black can come out slightly blue.

    2. To ensure that my blacks come out neutral, and not with a navy tint, I sometimes add Orange dye to the mix with the black, as orange cancels out blue on the color spectrum. You have to experiment with this, but I’ve also found it can’t really hurt to add some anyway.

    3. Any stains to your tub can be easily removed with a little Fantastik with Bleach. Nothing should permanently stain… I’ve done this many times and share a house so I wouldn’t be getting away with it for very long if I was turning the tub black.

    4. The logo patch will not accept the dye, neither will the white dyneema grid. Only the dyneema and spectra cords. I replace my spectra cords with yellow just for a more custom look, but they come out black straight out of the dye.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! It’s a very simple process.

  4. Colton A September 14, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Does it affect the material itself? Say like thinning or comprpmising stitching strength?

  5. DavoColo September 14, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks for the great pix. Looks like a gorgeous hike.

    But to clarify one point, you mean to put the dye and boiling water in the 5-gallon bucket, then add the pack to the bucket. Putting the bucket in the bathtub just keeps any stray splashes from staining anything that would accept a dye.

    From your description, it first sounded like you were just pouring it all into the tub. (“I dye in the bathtub” … “add the water to the tub, the dye to the water”…) I can attest that THIS would be a rather big job to clean up.

    Myself, I’ve got a grassy backyard so I can do all the dying outside and not worry about any spillover inside.

    The only thing I would add about the process is that it works best on new, clean packs. If you’ve ever spilled anything waxy or greasy on the pack, clean that thoroughly before dying.

  6. MMallory September 14, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks for the information. Also would be interested to hear you explain the packing system you mention,

  7. LarryB September 14, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Why did you dye the pack in the first place?

    • Grant Van Peski September 14, 2012 at 10:08 am #

      The same reason I asked my father to sew me a custom-colored G4 backpack 9 years ago… some people find great satisfaction in altering the aesthetic appearance of things and being different. If you had a choice, what color would you go with??

  8. Dale September 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    I also like the Mariposa – If I wasn’t a MYOG kind of guy I would have bought one. I made my own version using thru-hiker x-grid dynema fabric. I used a semi rigid foam back padding for the suspension rather than aluminum frame and roll top lid. Mine weighed in at 29oz. This pack handled my HST JMT thru-hike nicely. I started from Crescent Meadows with 42# with 1 resupply at MTR. That starting weight was a little heavy (typically don’t go over 30# but lots of food and bear canister add up)it carried great, I tribute that to 4″ shoulder straps and 4.5″ hip belt.
    BTW mine came in JET Black from the start.


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