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Installing Grommet -- need suggestions

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by zul, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. zul

    zul

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    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    I've got some new packs, large haulers. 70L and 80L made by Mountain Top. I really like these packs! Super cheap, full featured and comfy when hauling 40-60lbs. I've packed into the Grand Canyon a few times with my kids, thus the load goes to Dad -- the Grand Canyon Mule. Great packs, great trips.

    I'd like to start using these packs for overnight canyons that are wet. I've pounded a few grommets before. But with these packs, the best locations for the drain/grommet is always 2 layers of material -- the traditional pounding method is not going through the 2 layers.

    Also, hard to get at spots. Hard to get a clean swing here the other parts of the pack are getting in the way ... I'm even attempting to flip the pack inside out the get a good strike at the desired places. Little to no luck.

    Any ideas or suggestions? Can I use a large drill bit (onto a 2x4) to cut through? Could I use an exacto knife? The exacto knife will cut, but not 'round' as needed for the grommet snaps. Hmm. I'm stumped.

    Another idea is to skip the grommets and unzip a bit of the zipper at the base of the pack. There is the classic sleeping bag zipper flap at the bottom of the pack ... I think this will drain, but maybe end up with some water trapped near the rear? I'd hate to think this will do the job and have it not do the job.

    Thanks Crew!

    zul
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  2. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Hi Zul
    I am a grommet expert- but not all grommets are the same!
    Can you post a photo of the grommets and setting tools you are using?
  3. zul

    zul

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    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  4. GravityWins

    GravityWins

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    I'm assuming that you a grommet kit with a punch, base plate, and set tool not a the set that has a pliers type tool.
    1. Take a 3-4 foot piece of 2x4 or 4x4 and stand it up on a hard work surface, like the garage floor
    2. Drape the pack upside-down over the post.
    3. Using the punch and a hammer create all of the holes, you will be punching through the pack and into the top of the wooden post.
    4. Remove the pack, place the grommet base plate with half of the grommet on the top of the post. Replace the pack without knocking the base plate and grommet on the floor. Position the pack so the base plate and gromet line up with one of your holes
    5. Put the other half of the grommet on the hole and using the set tool and a hammer install the grommet.
    6. repeat 4 & 5 for each hole you made in step three.
    Bonus Steps:
    4.5 While putting the pack back over the post you knock the grommet or base plate off, swear, and try again.
    5.1 While trying to balance the whole mess swing the hammer at the grommet set and miss, hitting one of the digits on your non dominant hand.

    Alternatively I sometimes burn the holes using a soldering iron, this is very material dependent if it works without causing unwanted damage.
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  5. Jason Linder

    Jason Linder

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    This is exactly my method. I award you 10 redneck points.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
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  6. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Gravity has got it!
    Bolting or clamping the post to the side of a work bench can help.
    Instead of the hole punch use a hole burning tool (soldering iron or wood burning tool works ok)
    A sealed edge lasts longer with the washer grommets like you are using.
    Remember the grommets will only be as good / tough as the fabric you are placing them in.
    :)
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    If you REALLY want to do a good job, goop the bottom of the pack, but especially where the grommets will go, with Aquaseal, shoegoo or other thick chemical glue. Let dry completely (2-3 days). Then put in the grommets.

    Often the end of the 2x4 or 4x4, due to the grain, will be soft. You might have to put a small piece of harder plastic or wood material there to get a good clean cut. Serious = buy a better punch = Arch punch from your local hardware store or Amazon.

    Tom
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  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    One more bonus tip:

    I melt the holes in woven fabrics with a soldering iron. The grommets are much less likely to tear out. Especially the hardware store kind that don’t have spur washers.

    But +1 to the above. Use a piece of 4x4
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  9. clangingsymbol

    clangingsymbol

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    If you have a sleeping bag access at the bottom (and don't have a long section of wood as described above), open the zipper for the bag access, place your small 2x4 IN the pack and hammer on the punch from the outside in, not inside out. Then you don't have swing problems. I usually do my grommets this way because I have issues locating the punch on the inside of the bag regardless of other access problems anyway. I usually don't have issues getting a solid enough surface to hammer against, even through the pack. Just another suggestion.
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  10. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Make sure isolated spaces also get drainage. For example water bladder pockets need dependent drainage. Early on I over did the grommets. Primarily I need this for the rare occasion when I mix backpacking with canyoneering. Generally a canyon specific backpack is a much better choice in my opinion.
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  11. danf

    danf

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    I don't think having a circular hole is necessary - I've had good success skipping the punch entirely and just using the tip of a pocket knife to cut a single slit that's slightly wider than the diameter of the male side of the grommet. A lot easier to keep everything lined up this way when you're going through two layers.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    The advantage of a round hole is that it is less likely to tear the fabric. A slit, with stress, is likely to become a longer slit. A round hole is everywhere resistant to further tearing.

    T
  13. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Not to mention not placing a round peg in a square hole...(or a slit hole). Extra material bunched up.

    Tom, those grommets we put into an old CCW pack of mine have held up with no tearing. Benefit from using a round hole punch (and a gob of seam grip).
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Really helps to smear a chemical reinforcement on the fabric as the first step. Shoe Goo, Aquaseal, Seam Grip - something!

    Tom
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