Yes, we know that HMG makes some amazing products, but sometimes I want to modify gear to suit my individual needs (sorry guys).
The first modification I made was for the Long Trail in 2020 to remove the velcro at the top of my Southwest 55 pack and replace with KAM snaps. The velcro always caught and snagged my delicate trail clothes or long hair whenever I reached in. I resorted to rolling down the top to hide the velcro every time I opened it, but was quick to tire of this task and finally removed the velcro with a seam ripper. I installed KAM snaps and I'm so much happier with this mod. No damage was done to any part of the pack when removing the velcro.
She's got a lovely trail patina after a few thousand miles!
After trekking halfway through the Sierra with a bear can and heavier than usual pack, I found that the aluminum stays were digging into my back and I ditched them in Mammoth. I prefer the ability to conform the pack to my back and find it much more comfortable.
I know others have cut out the mesh hydration sleeve inside the pack, but I have yet to do this. Another consideration was to cut off the hipbelt pockets. It kind of annoys me to have pockets on my hips- I prefer a fanny pack. It would be nice to have a stowable hipbelt with minimal or no pockets for when the pack isn't heavy enough to need one.
When you hike for months on end its impossible to not think about modifying your gear for the better!
My question is- how do you modify your pack (or other HMG products) to suit your needs? Hopefully this discussion can aid in future gear development!