How to Make a Sail Pack


Are you looking for a quicker way to flake and cover your mainsail? Have you tried using a sail pack? Sail Packs are an adaptation of traditional sail covers that work with a lazy jack system to make setting and dousing your mainsail quick and easy. We’ve just released a new video on how to make a sail pack and it highlights tips, techniques, and step-by-step instructions for making this popular sail cover.

Sail packs are held upright by lazy jack lines and stay in place while you sail. The pack is always open and when you are ready to lower the sail, the lazy jack lines help the sail to flake neatly in place inside the cover. This sail pack design features sleeves for battens or PVC pipes to be inserted along the top, which helps keep the cover open during flaking and reduces flutter when the sail is hoisted.

This sail pack is made from Sunbrella® Marine Grade fabric and features a long zipper along the top of the cover for quick closure and a removable forward mast boot for closing off the front of the cover. To see the full video, visit and search #200598XHT.


How to Make a Sail Pack Video Chapters:

  • • Taking Measurements — 0:48
  • • Creating Cover Panels — 4:16
  • • Sewing Forward & Aft Hems — 10:47
  • • Completing Top Zipper Closure & Pockets — 15:40
  • • Sewing Bottom Hem — 25:13
  • • Starting Mast Boot — 27:02
  • • Attaching Lock Straps, Rings & Loops — 29:32
  • • Preparing Slits for Lazy Jack Lines — 40:49
  • • Finishing Cover Panels — 49:26
  • • Finishing Mast Boot — 51:21
  • • Optional Zipper Slider Control Line — 1:00:19
  • • Materials List — 1:07:21

Do you use a sail pack? Tell us what you love about it in the comments!

  1. George Chamberlain said:

    For now we are using a traditional sail cover. Our lazy jacks are a Sail Care kit – they have a mix of line and bungee, and they can be drawn forward to lay along the mast and boom when not deployed, so they do not chafe on, or restrict, the sails (main and mizzen). Can the lazy jacks be rigged that same way with the sail pack, or are they always “deployed” around the sails when the sails are hoisted?

    • Nikki said:

      George- You absolutely can use a sail pack with lazy jacks that collapse. That just means that when they collapse the sail pack will be unsupported, so you will have to fold/flake it and secure it in some manner while you are sailing.

  2. Caryl Hunt said:

    This is our second year with a stack pack. What a fantastic piece of equipment. We have had lazy jacks and the next boat came with Dutchman system. This boat came with stack pack and is the best of them all. No more storing sail cover. Sail flakes into pack and you just zip it up and go. Wish you had this before we sold the last boat. I would still own it.

  3. Cindi Petersen said:

    We have the Dutchman setup, will your sail pack work with it?

    • Nikki said:

      Cindi– The Dutchman system won’t get in the way of the sail pack, but it won’t support the pack. You will need to install lazy jacks to support the sail pack, which is a somewhat redundant system.

  4. David said:

    My sail does not have any spaces between it and the boom. A rope within the sail hem slots into the boom. Is there a modification which would work with this type of sail

    • Nikki said:

      Hi David,

      Yes, there are actually a few modifications options that would work for you to use a sail pack. You could: 1. Cut slots in the foot tape edge on your sail, just above the bolt rope with a hot knife. Then the sail pack attaches through the sail. 2. Add slugs to the sails’s foot edge, allowing the sail pack to attach under the sail. Or 3. Attach supplemental tracks for the sail pack to the sides of the boom.

      We’ve also had a customer tell us that they’ve had luck with putting tabs of Dacron in the track along with the bolt rope as the sail is being fed in. The tabs have twist-lock fasteners on each side that attach to the bottom of the sail pack sides.

      Hope one of those methods works for you!

  5. Ella McCulloch said:

    I love my stack pack system. However the zippers only last about two years. I don’t have a machine so I have to send it back to the canvas maker AGAIN. What do you think about closing the bag with velcro instead of a zipper? The first zipper just failed. The second one got a worn spot on the stern end, now has broken teeth there and the pull won’t go on.

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Ella,
      We don’t recommend using Velcro on a sail pack. A good zipper will actually outlast Velcro in a tropical setting. When we made sail packs, we try to leave a hem of fabric long enough to cover the zipper, to provide it some UV protection. You could ask your canvas maker for that.

  6. Stephen Ss Soult said:

    Thanks I am taking on my first boat reiteration project. Your video have been able to stear me away from some costly mistakes

    • Nikki said:

      You’re welcome, Stephen! Good luck on your renovation. We’d love to see photos when you’re done!

  7. Paula Mueller said:

    I have a bolt rope bottom to my main sail but really do not like the idea of cutting slits in my main sail. It’s probably fine but I just feel squeamish about it. What about screwing the common snese fasteners onto the sides of the boom and connecting it that way. Or can you really reassure me that slits in the sail just above the bolt rope is really OK?

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Paula,
      I understand. You’re not alone–alot of customers don’t like the idea of cutting into their mainsail. Here’s an alternative that might work better for you: Use a 3″ wide, non-adhesive, UV Dacron tape (#998 on our website) in place of the webbing tabs at the bottom of the sail pack. Cut the Dacron into 6-8 inch strips and sew one end of the strip to one side of the sail pack and the other end to the opposite side of the pack in the same locations as where the webbing would go. Then to install the pack, you would slide the foot of the sail out of the boom. When sliding the foot back in, the cover’s Dacron tapes would be tucked under and around the boltrope and slid in at the same time. Then you’ll have half of the cover on one side of the boom and half on the other.

  8. CPT MudGuts said:

    Is it possible to sew a bolt rope hem along the bottom of the sail pac panels instead of tabs and eyelets, then install readily available alloy ’-C’ strip extrusions to anchor the sail pac right along the boom on both sides. ?

    This would have the advantage of widening the bottom of the sail pack, allowing the sail to snug down a little more. It might also reduce the tendency of the sail to slump or bulge in places along the boom when stowed…

    • Sailrite said:

      Yes there are quite a few people that follow that approach. Most of the time we see people using Keder Rope and Flex-A-Rail.

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