Portage Pack - Soft Pack Support

I have an Ostrom soft pack and love it. I’m wondering if anyone else has a ‘minor’ problem with a soft sided pack collapsing when loading/unloading? I know, its ‘soft sided’ not a rigid pack. But is there some type of internal frame to keep some rigidity while loading/unloading? Nothing fancy, I even heard of using a plastic clothes hamper? Any ideas?

Keep it simple
I’d just use a couple pieces of cardboard cut to fit each side of the pack. Light weight, disposable, cheap and could be used as a fire starter. If it doesn’t work what did you lose a few minutes cutting up an old box. Adding a plastic clothes hamper is just going to add weight to the pack and any edges are going to start causing wear on the pack.

For a bit more than cardboard
you could try these…and if they get wet, they dont collapse.


for the tips. I’ve thought about those items and may go that way. I also say some old posts about using ‘trapper packs’, but they would add more weight and are expensive. I may just build an inner frame out of 3/8" - 1/2" pvc, it would be light and cost next to nothing. Not as cheap as cardboard, but structurally sounder. We’ll see.

Not quite sure what you mean …
… by collapsing during loading unloading.

I use a Duluth pack and one of the benefits in my view is the “cramability” of the soft sides and its ability to mold to the shape of a canoe hull.

Most of what I put in the pack is already pre-stuffed into large stuff sacks. I usually have three vertical stuff sack “pillars” comprised of my food sack (Ursack), sleeping sack and clothing sack. As these three stuff sacks easily slide in vertically, the entire Duluth becomes in a sense rigid. Then my tent goes horizontally across the top.

Smaller things are stuffed in the crevices between the three vertical sack pillars.

As to creating a kind of a wraparound interior side wall, I have seen lots canoe campers using their Thermarest pads in this way. I use an air mattress, so I don’t do that.

coroplast? Plastic cardboard. Can be cut, bent and taped to make a box, pretty lightweight, impervious to water.