Rodney Liwanag LAB Lightweight Adventure Backpack

Rodney Liwanag LAB Lightweight Adventure Backpack
Rodney makes custom backpacks or small runs of many small backpacks for people out of his home in Quezon City, Philippines. I visited Rodney Liwanag in Quezon City, Philippines, about a 200-300 Peso Taxi from Makati, Malate, Ermita, and Airport in the city of Manila.

Thank you Hoz for introduction to Rodney Liwanag,

Bangkok Thailand - Southeast Asia
Khao San Road
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Andy of ---

This is Rodney Liwanag working on backpacks at his home ran, one-man business in Quezon, City. The chair where I sat to discuss backpacks, computer set up on table.

This is a more open or broad picture of his set of sewing machines.

I have concerns and trepidations when I write about a person, hotel, or any way good or bad explaining about a business or person. I have not purchased or finished a backpack from Rodney yet, as of now, I spent about 10 days talking and paying him to discuss my Chasing Windmills Backpack.

I have got my moneys worth, I am crystallizing in my mind, the exact bag, I do not even need to draw it, I know it, I can see it after many discussions of bags with Rodney. While explaining my dream bag, making long list, the vision becomes clearer.


Materials - Clips, Zippers, Clothes or Materials like Cordura

EQUALS a bag - If all are great, with no rush, walk slow, out will come a great bag.

There is knowledge of what we know, and what do not know, when I research or am designing a bag, I want to bring into my brain ideas and concepts I did not have before, I need to learn what is not possible to come out of my brain, to go where I have not been before.

Rodney I believe has the ability to take his extensive knowledge of backpacks and make a great bag.

Rodney does not have the raw materials, the Clips, Zippers, Sliders, Clothes or Materials like Cordura to make a great bag; he can make a great design. He does have average stuff around to use.

Not having great materials is a huge problem, I believe I must travel to all the countries that make specific products, for example, I may need to fly to Japan to find the YKK Slider that may work, or Korea to find the best materials. I think I need to adapt or invent some materials and commission companies to make.

The best option is that Rodney does the research, finds the materials and learns about the sources, it will teach him about what is NOT in his brain already.

I hope to bring together all the materials in one place about January 20, 2007 to make a good first sample with about 80 percent of products needed already sourced. Then proceed for 100 percent sourced materials.

The clock is ticking, the days are passing, and life goes on.

Do I recommend Rodney, Yes, I do believe if you have the materials, then he is highly capable of making a great bag. I think he listens, and implements ideas. I do not know how much he charges to make a backpack, maybe it is good, and maybe it is bad. I would say the price should always be about half or less than the price of a retail bag in the USA, and will cost about the same to ship to your country.

Time and urgency is difficult with low pay countries, the concept of speed is always a few days late, sometimes too late. There is no need to hurry or rush, however when it is too late, it is too late.

I am searching for the zipper slider, then will work my way towards the Spectra, Kevlar, or Cordura materials. Still need to make a decision as to what I need, I am learning towards Cordura, these other materials are just sales gimmicks. Making a bag that gives all the benefits that solves problems is the need.

Rodney Pages or sites explaining his: LAB Super Light
Lightweight Adventure Bag:

Thanks Rodney, and Hoz in USA. If anyone know more people on the planet who make custom backpacks, I am always searching for new people with ideas. Please click on contact and send telephone numbers and email address, Thanks Andy

Rodney Liwanag LAB Lightweight Adventure Backpack


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My big question in life:
Why aren't all backpacks water-proof?

My smaller 'daypack' that I took to india isn't water proof. That didn't matter in India, as I was in the dry season.

But now I use that bag to carry my textbooks and notes and sometimes laptop about in london. The other day I was caught in a massive flash storm whilst on a walking research trip. My notebook, inside my backpack and has plastic covers still got damaged by water.

My big backpack is for sure not waterproof. Why? Why do backpack makers insist I provide my own lining inside or out? Why don't they use some non-expensive version of gore--tex in there?

Hi Andy, I can only hope you and Rodney can finalize the design and construction of your Hobo Traveler Bag.

I met Rodney through a lightweight backpacking site. A couple of emails and he made an excellent lightweight bag to my specifications. I was surprised at the excellent workmanship, fit and finish. The bag has performed beautifully on several canoe trips through Canada.

Best Holiday wishes to all who read Hobo Traveler.


Ash, this is truly a great question.

Why aren't all backpacks waterproof?

I do not know the answer, my first guess is because all the manufacturer are following the long held types of ideas. Canvas bag, then nylon, however only the scuba bags are waterproof.

I have an accidentaly almost waterproof or air tight pocket. I found my passport that was in it, inside the room started to mold.

My camera bag does not breath, I am going to make it waterproof and also allow air to enter and leave by way of mesh. The AC in the rooms is causing havoc, life was easier when I was on a cheaper budget. AC is a continual problem, and nice, but difficult.

Condensation I think this need continually researched and explored.

I have a waterproof backpack cover, it totally repels water. The to me is not needed, if the bag is waterproof. I do believe though I also must somehow stop mildew, condensation and other moisture or humidity problems. I hope to engineer into the bags solutions.

I agree that breathing is important, especially for gadgets. This is why I think the 'gore-tex' style materials are ideal for backpacks... it is waterproof but breathable. My boots are gore-tex lined... I can walk in puddles and my feet stay dry. But also, my feet can breath, so they don't sweat then sit in pools of water like they could if it was just water-proof plastic.

Problem with real Gore-tex is that it is over-priced and gimmicy. My normal everyday shoes have a lining that is waterproof, breathable but much cheaper and not 'official gore-Tex'. Works fine.

Little mesh windows in the right places would also be a good solution. I maintain that I don't expect to be able to throw my backpack in a river and everything inside remain dry. If I was boating I would wrap it in a tarp. But being resistant to very heavy rainfall should be on the designer's mind.

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