Rather than buy a machine, can you rent one? Or just time on one. Find someone who has a nice one and offer them some cash to let you use it, maybe even get some training from them.
The Thailand people are independent and do not speak English. This is Bangkok, near Khao San Road, the locals in this area are a little more stressed, less happy to talk with Farangs or Foreigners, not an easy task for even small talk.
I found a machine yesterday for 4850 Baht, about 150 U.S. dollars, not a bad deal, brand new, portable.
I am first going to cut up the pieces, pin them together, then take to one lady I know who sews and speaks a little English. I have a special sewing thread I purcahsed that is stronger, I have to tell her, or instruct here to remove the bobbin and the top thread and use the thread I have.
I had a huge problem in Nepal with the use of thread, I want all the thread to be white, so I can inspect the threads, see them, and monitor quality.
Quality and rules are difficult for cultures, they have a way of doing things and do not change just because I am paying them.
Ergo, the reason why sewing the pieces myself is a temptation and even a reality.
I fully anticipate I will be living next to the factory where I make the runs of packs. I refuse to allow the quality inspection to anyone, or any company until I have tested the company for ages.
Quality is about rules, obeying the standards set, and continuously achieving the standards without exception. This is totally opposite of the way things are done by the common folks of countries.
I must say, I'm not sure I understand this idea of making packs. If someone is traveling to the third world and wants something durable, why not just use a military duffle bag with shoulder straps? Cheap and durable.
I know quite a bit about sewing because I make my own gear. This is for long-distance wilderness hiking, rather than third-world travel, however. Based on my experience, I really think you should settle down in some cheap location in the United States for a few months, buy yourself a sewing machine at Walmart (under $100), order a boatload of fabric from owfinc.com and perhaps some backpack kits from rayjardine.com, and then start sewing. You can't possibly manage someone else until you've done some sewing and pattern making yourself. Maybe, after you've perfected a design, hired someone in the United States to do some professional quality sewing, and made a few initial sales, you can think about moving production overseas. Personally, I wouldn't bother going overseas unless price was the major criterion and you had very high production quantities, and I just don't see that happening, given that the military duffle bag or the stuff on sale at the outdoor shops is your major competition.
www.ula-equipment.com is an example of a typical United States small business specializing in backpacks. They do their production in the United States. One guy running the place and a few women sewers to help him out. Their customers are long-distance hikers who demand very specialized equipment and are willing to pay for it. These packs are not designed for third-world travel. www.rayjardine.com is an example of someone who travels much of the year and sells things when he and his wife aren't traveling, in order to finance his travels.
Thanks for the links, good information.
You are the normal Trek type bag person who really does not understand long-term travel bags and the reason I will make bags.
I carry more weight than a trek person, I have went for over 10 years, trek people do not travel for 10 years. The bags of mountain or trek people is what I have been trying to fix for years, they are not good bags.
I do not live in the USA, have no desire to live in the USA, and I plan on making 10,000 to 20,000 bags, there is no need to make 100 or 200, I can do tha easy.
I have already made over 11 bags in Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Philippines and have visitd Indonesia, Guatemala, and Vietnam to look at backpack business in these countries.
I am within inches of knowing the bottom lines of mass production of backpacks.
I have three companies in the Philippines lined up for meeting, I will talk with a Philippines, Chinese lady soon that also speaks Mandarin to buy products from Taiwan or China.
I am 100 percent sure I can make bags better than 90 percent of backpack manufactures from the start. There are a couple of really good ones, that I am still admiring their techniques.
This is a dyanmic project in a dynamic global world. I have no connection really with the USA other than I am born there. I make decision from a global basis as to how best to produce the highest quality bag.
The biggest reason for the Philippines or maybe Guatemala is one person can put in three days work on one bag until the bag is perfect. While in the USA, three hours would be all the person could devote to one bag for the same amount of wages.
Quality is about taking the time, I have been working on thie project for five years. I am 100 percent sure I will make a great bag because never give up.
My 10 years of travel experience has allowed me to experience every possible problem with a pack.
Here are working links from the trekkers post. Maybe it will help these companies.
The one above says it has had 49,113 visitors this year, and in a way the point. I have this many visitors in about five days.
This is interesting link and more or less mountain backpack, a whole separate world from travel.
Another person that has to work, then gets to go hike... hehehe
I think the difference here is anyway you do it, I do not stop using the backpacks. I live out of my pack, while these people live in houses. I touch my bag every day of the week for over ten years. I have enough money, I want to make great bags and share them for a real need.
99 percent of people buy a 100 percent inadequate trek, hiking or mountain bag that is dangerously stupid to use. I live and travel around the most dangerous animal on the planet.
A Human, there is no way to plan and predict as easy as a mountain, plus I carry over 90-120 pounds all the time, really I think in Kilos.
I never come down from the trail, I am living on the trail.
The USA is good for a few things, but for taking their time, thinking I would go to Switzerland or German first... hehehe
This is Andy's dream. Don't tell him it's futile or he will stop traveling and writing and I'll have another 2 hours a week to kill (drink).
Do not worry Chuck, I do project for fun, to dream, to have something to do, this anonymous writer is not used to finishing projects. I do not care how long the project takes, I will work on it until I am happy and finished.
Perfection is only achieved by a person that never considers the idea of quitting.
I use to date a US Navy Seal and he had this awesome backpack that was bullet/shrapnel/knife proof was water proof. It also could be used as a flotation device. You could blow up a few pockets. It also had a miniature oxygen tank (hand size)to give you a few minutes to navigate out of a burning building or a capsized ferry. He actually used that in the Philippines. A type of Swiss Army Knife it also had a RFID chip to be located 24/7 could expand to mountain hiker size to as small as a carry on. It had some weird removable ball bearing type wheels that could also be used to shoot food with a sling shot with the rubber cords used in the bag in the jungle. I probable shouldn't be telling you this if the backpack is top secret or something but it looked good too.