Here's a simple way to keep a compression buckles out of the way when you don't need them. I'm using an older REI Lookout backpack (the design of the model has changed since this one) and this is the first bag design with which I've encountered this problem so maybe it's unique to this bag.
The problem I'm addressing here is the fastex buckle getting caught in the main compartment zipper because of the excess material in the panel/proximity of the buckle to the zipper opening.
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Step 1: Materials
- needle, thread, thimbles
- 1/8" shock cord, one 4" length per buckle
I used a strong nylon thread because I like to overbuild things and this is what I usually use on cordura, webbing and other outdoor gear. Pliers are for pulling the needle through when pushing with the thimble isn't doing it (going through a couple layers of cordura and the shock cord, for example). Flame is to finish the shock cord by melting the end and you'd normally do for such synthetic material.
One tip when cutting the cord to length- I've found it's good to wrap the cord (or rope, webbing, etc.) with some tape so it doesn't immediately fray. It makes for a smoother end instead of a bulbous melty thing.
Step 2: Begin Sewing
I started by putting the needle directly through the cord and tacking it to the backpack flap. Over the course of sewing it, I probably ran the needle through the cord itself 4-5 times and also around it a few times to tie down the loose thread ends. I'm sure people with better needle skills can do a better job so I'm basically showing how little actual attachment is needed to secure the cord.
I started with maybe 9" of thread to give myself enough working room.
Step 3: Weave Cord Through Buckle
The nice thing about this design is that you only have to attach one end of the cord. In weaving the cord through the buckle, it creates its own bight and is also adjustable in case you for some reason don't want to engage the compression strap but don't want the buckle sticking out, either.
The buckle still fastens securely with the cord in it.
Step 4: Scrapped Beta Version
Here's the first design.
The panel-side end point is sewn the same, but the other is sewn into the webbing that attaches the one side of the buckle.
Reason why I like this one:
- it's a little tidier since there's not loose buckle ends
- needed less cord (though at $0.15, it's not much cost and the weight difference is negligable)
Reason why I scrapped it:
- two fixed ends meant more to sew and required more exact measure of cord (I sewed the webbing end first then cut after I sewed the panel end)
- not adjustable
- panel always slightly puckered so buckle sticks out except when compression straps are in use
- didn't pull buckle as reliably clear of the zipper (most important deciding factor)