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A hackpack is a backpack with a set of "always carry" tools for hacking the world around us.

We are starting a project at sudo room to create cheap base hackpacks with optional expansion packs.

The idea is that you get $1000 (pollination project, awesome foundation, donations). Once you have $1000 you buy 20 hackpacks at $50, have a series of workshops for 20 teenagers (e.g. in your hackerspace) where you teach hacking skills using the contents of the hackpack. After the end of the workshop series, everyone who made it to most of the sessions will take a hackpack home for free so they can continue hacking the world around them!

This page attempts to gather ideas for the contents of the hackpack, the curriculum for the workshops and complete source lists for hackpacks including where to buy everything to hit the $50 target.

We have a mailing list where we discuss everything related to hackpacks.

People currently working on project: Tunabananas, Matt, Juul.

Base hackpack

Price assessment

Ideas for stuff

This is only an initial possible version. It's probably too electronics-focused. Comments/changes welcome.

  • A backpack (get from thrift store and wash at high temp)
  • Soldering iron (should be 30 watts)
  • Set of small screwdrivers (at least philips and flat-head)
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Diagonal wire-cutters (these will probably suck, but maybe we can sharpen them?)
  • Tweezers
  • Larger screw-driver with assortment of bits
  • USB to 3.3v serial adapter
  • Multimeter
  • Assortment of resistors
  • Small assortment of diodes, caps, mosfets, buttons, switches, LEDs
  • Female to female pin header cables (like these)
  • Some male-male and female-male pin headers
  • USB stick (2 GB minimum) with bootable Linux and lots of libre books / learning materials.
  • Sharpie
  • White china marker/chalk...something that will write on dark surfaces
  • Zip ties
  • Binder clips
  • Hose clamps
  • A small LED flasher, and/or instructions to make one?
  • Shrink tubing
  • A lighter
  • A hot glue stick (melt it w/the lighter)
  • USB wall plug w/decent amperage
  • A spare USB cable for your smart (or dumb?) device
  • Pair of disposable gloves (rubber or vinyl)
  • Bandanna
  • Snap knife w/locking blade
  • Alcohol prep wipes or a small bottle of hand sanitizer with a screw top (no flip caps)
  • A 1/2 gallon ziploc bag
  • List of where to buy more of everything
  • List of other awesome things to add to hackpack, what they do and where to buy
  • A sudo room sticker
  • An invitation to sudo room
  • List of places / ways to get free food
  • Band aids


  • Solder
  • Wire of different colors and thicknesses
  • Duct tape
  • Yerba mate tea

Bootable GNU/Linux

Which distro? What should we include?

  • UBCD and Trinity Rescue Kit should definitely be included. Maybe an older, smaller copy of Backtrack? -chrisbee
  • Tails?


I do not think we have to worry about using CC material with the non-commercial clause, as we are not trying to make a profit (Juul (talk)). We are collecting libre data on our datasink.




There is definitely lots of CC music out there. Here are some resources:


  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
  • ?


We could have a set of cloth pens and let sudoers or buyers of hackpacks customize them.

Expansion packs


Dead-tree versions of $1 to $3 essential hacker works. These are sold individually.

  • The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
  • Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash or The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • please add more


Dead-tree versions of $1 to $3 important non-fiction hacker literature. These are sold individually.


  • Hacking the xbox by Andrew Bunnie Huang
  • The Cathedral and the bazaar by Eric S. Raymond

Libre / Public Domain

Manual for Civilization

A project from The Long Now:


Mackenzie is working on this. Current target is $5.

Some things that may go in the pack:

  • Scissors - $1 at dollar store
  • Sewing needles
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Tailors chalk
  • Conductive thread
  • Instruction manual/booklet
  • List of nearby places to access sewing machines for free

chrisbee would add-

  • Dental floss
  • Safety pins
  • Ball o' wax
  • A snap knife or razor blade
  • Some gaffer's tape (makes good patches whether it's sticky or not)


Target price: $16

  • A rtl-sdr compatible usb adapter (like this one)


Target price: $30

  • A dual-radio OpenWRT compatible router
  • Instructions on how to flash with sudowrt firmware and do interesting things like spectrum analysis.

Mate anywhere kit

Make tea and stay awake anywhere!

Target price: $10

Hygiene pack

Target price: $5

  • Toothbrush (25 cents at university/san pablo dollar store in four-packs)
  • Small toothpaste (50 cents)
  • Floss (50 cents)
  • Hand sanitizer (50 cents)
  • Small soap/bodywash (50 cents)
  • Small deodorant ($1)
  • T-shirt (can be used as emergency towel) (1.50)
  • Condoms (free?)
  • Small mirror ($1)
  • Comb or hairbrush ($1)

Sewing pack

a hack pack for sewing with a sewing machine

Preferably on a belt, especially that can be easily slung across the chest, over one's shoulder. If sharing, should be adjustable to many sizes, for many-sized people.

  • Adjustable belt
  • Scissors in easily accessible holster (could also use electrical cable or wires to approximate holster)
  • Pin cushion in close-able container (used goofy rotating bait box here)
  • Hand needle, thread, thimble or cork for hand-stitching, in small pouch
  • Scraps of fabrics in large pouch&or patterns, manuals, or documents if necessary.
  • (Optional) could attach machine oil lubricant container to belt as well.

Camera pack

  • Bag
  • Foam (styrofoams from packaging materials are easy to find free)
    • Use knife, scissors, and fabric+sewing to cut, arrange, and possibly cover foam padding.
  • Camera
  • Microphones
  • Charger
  • Other accessories


Note: numbered by step completed & uploaded here, but re-ordered to show the process.


These are ideas for classes that we could teach at Sudo Room with the hackpacks:

Make something useful out of commonly found trash electronics


  • Soldering
  • Basic analog electronics
  • Basic digital electronics

Network class


  • Programming a router
  • Basic networking
  • Ethernet cable crimping
  • Radio wave propagation basics
  • Node mounting techniques
  • Roof-climbing safety

Web class


  • Basic HTML and CSS
  • Setting up a server and domain names
  • How to deploy a Wordpress instance in 5 minutes
  • Website optimization and basic SEO

Microcontroller class


  • basic C programming
  • how to program an arduino.

Javascript class


  • The console
  • Strings
  • Values and variables
  • Using functions
  • Built in JS functions and writing new functions
  • Loops
  • Arrays
  • Objects
  • Callbacks

Physical game class

Have a bunch of sensors, blinkers, movers, etc. and let people figure out what kind of game they want to make, then actually make it. Use node.js to talk to the arduino and the arduino to interact with sensors.


  • Combining multiple skills
    • Soldering
    • Arduino C programming
    • Javascript programming
    • HTML/CSS (for graphics)




  • 99cent Store @ Shattuck
  • Goodwill @ San Pablo
  • Daiso in Berkeley