Backpack Webbing Hack

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Introduction: Backpack Webbing Hack

About: applied simplicity

I really like my backpack (a Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40l). It has compression straps on the sides which are very useful to attach a tent or a sleeping pad. But when I use it on shorter adventures and tighten all the straps it becomes a hellish bundle of dangling webbing straps. Of course I can shorten all the straps and cut them to the minimal needed length. But I like the compression straps to attach things sometimes. And I need the shoulder straps to be a bit longer when I'm wearing an insulation jacket in winter.

Some backpacks have small pieces of velcro at the end of the straps to roll them up and fix them in place. But you always have to open the velcro, adjust the length and close them again.

I found a solution that is extremely easy and fast to implement (no sewing required). It works best if the ends of your straps are folded two times and thus have a small closed channel that you can use. If they don't come like this, it's very easy to sew them in that way.

Maybe this will help you to tidy up your backpack and ban the dangling mess forever.

Step 1: Materials

You only need some shock cord (elastic string), scissors and a lighter to tidy up the ends. And some very minimal knotting skills.

Step 2: Adding the Shock Cord

Cut a small piece of shock cord. Put one end of the shock cord through the loop/channel at the end of the strap. Guide the other end under the returning strap. It should be obvious when you look at the pictures.

Step 3: Making the Knot

Make an Overhand Knot (not that sure it's called that way but I'm pretty optimistic that a helpful sailor will soon correct me and point out the correct term) with both ends. Pinching the knot with your thumb and index finger and pulling with the other hand at the loose ends, try and bring the knot as close to the webbing as possible. Ideally the shock cord should stay under tension so the two webbing parts are always pulled together. When you're convinced that the knot is tight enough, shorten the loose ends and use the lighter to carefully burn the ends a bit to prevent them from fraying.

Repeat these steps for all the straps you want to roll up/shorten.

Step 4: How to Use

Now comes the easy part. When you want to compress the backpack, just grab the loop and pull. To shorten the strap, just roll it until it's short enough. Should you not like this solution you can easily cut the shock cord away without any harm done to your backpack.

I did the same to the shoulder straps, but I don't roll the straps since I adjust them quite often. I simply pull them down and they stay close to the load bearing straps without dangling around and annoying me.

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    32 Comments

    Great hack! I've implemented it on all my loose straps. However I made one slight change by using a square (reef) knot to tie the shock cord and then pulled the knot into the channel at the end of the strap - gives a slightly neater appearance (see pictures) - thanks for the great idea!

    BTW - you could use paracord instead of the shock cord if you don't want to use the roll up feature.

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    1 reply

    Brilliant. And even neater with the knot gone! Thanks.

    Awsome hack! Thank you for taking the time to share.

    Absolutely Genius! As a boy scout, the staros always bugged me. Thanks for sharing this great tip! I hope to try it soon!

    1 reply

    Glad you like it!

    Excellent idea and very well illustrated...Thank you for sharing!

    Thank you. Taking the pictures one handed while operating the straps was actually quite challenging. :D

    I love this tip! I have several straps that can be tamed this way.

    1 reply

    If you make it, please post a picture when you're done. I would very much like to see it.

    You're welcome, thanks for commenting!

    Nice! Been looking for something like that for a while

    1 reply

    Me too. I'm actually a bit puzzled that this solution didn't come up yet..

    user

    I don't really have need of this particular tip, but I want to compliment you on your extremely well-articulated, well-illustrated, totally user-friendly presentation. You are a born teacher (without being the least bit pedantic!)

    1 reply

    Thank you that you took the time to write these kind words. It means a lot to me.

    Excellent 'ible! I love my backpacking pack, and the functionality of all of its compression straps, but I am often at a loss with all of those dangling, tangling ends. No more! Very simple and non intimidating instructions. I'm sitting down to implement right now. :)

    1 reply

    I know exactly how you feel about those straps. :) Hope it works for you and please post a picture when you're done.

    That's excellent; a true hack! Simple, effective, solves a genuine problem, but we hadn't thought of it!

    1 reply

    It's something that annoyed me for quite some time. :)