It's also really great for "multi-modal" luggage going from one mode of transportation to another. It's a big bag, but you get to carry it on the airplane because it's easy to wedge into whatever space is available. You can reach under the flap to get or stow things without undoing the flap. It's not great for long distance hiking because there's no hip strap and the weight sits kind of low, but it's super handy for everything else, especially dumpster diving for groceries. Sometimes I fold the flap over the bike's handlebars to use it as a front bag.
Years ago I made a bunch of these packs for the St.Cloud Girl Scouts. This one may look like it's 150 years old, but I made this one myself, and have carried it all over the world. Now it's worn and weathered with patches and tatters.
Step 1: Long Ago and Far Away...
Step 2: How to Make a Canvas Pillowcase
You'll fold it twice and sew seams to make it into a bag.
Before you do that, sew a double layer of cloth onto the area that will become the bottom.
Otherwise your gear will bite holes there every time you set the bag on pavement.
Then, also before the seaming, sew on all the straps and hardware.
Finally, fold the cloth into a bag, but do it inside out with all the straps inside.
Sew the seams, turn the bag right side out, and go on a nice trip!
The shoulder straps can be scavenged from a discarded backpack when the students leave town and throw everything away. Or you can sew them from scratch.
The straps and snaps on the flap were scavenged from shopping cart baby seatbelts.
Don't worry, after using the straps I used the shopping carts to make shopping cart chairs, so no babies are endangered by this project.
Step 3: The Story of the Blue Cloth
The LEDs made the critter's eyes glow, but apparently it couldn't see that wavelength. I groped for a stick to club it with. There's nothing weirder than sitting on the ground trying to club an animal with sharp teeth that's staring right at you and not seeing you. Until it jumps back dodging the swing, looks around quizzically, and comes back to rip up your luggage more to steal your food. That's weirder. Eventually I managed to at least touch it with the club and it ran away. I hung the pack by a rope like you do for bears and raccoons, and that was good enough.
That old pack was mostly patches and holes already. As I hitchhiked to the airport for the trip out, I trashpicked a UV-proof Sunbrella boat awning to sew my next pack from.
That's why it's got that nice fringe. It should last a long time since UV won't weaken it like nylon. After 5 years of constant use, it's doing well.
Step 4: Corner Reinforcement
Fold a scrap of cloth and sew it over the seam. That will keep the bag from ripping at that spot.
Step 5: Hibiscus and Australian Customs
In spare moments I used the bark strips to darn the pack using interlocking stitches. If this process continued indefinitely, the bag would erode entirely and I'd be left with a net bag, what the Papuans call a "Manimani". Mani is their name for the hibiscus tree, and doubling means "lots of hibiscus"
which is what it takes to make a net bag.
I flew to Australia to visit Saul's parents. At the immigration and customs counter, they asked do you have any wood, bark, blah blah. I sure did. The bark was holding my bag together. A bug crawled out of my bag. The inspector stiffened and drew back, then pounced on the bug.
After a couple of hours it didn't seem like they were going to let me into the country. It took about 3 hours to go 40 feet through two sets of counters and officials. Finally they decided that my fibers were okay, the tools I had weren't the wrong kind of weapons, and they'd caught all my bugs.
By then Saul's mom had given up and gone home, and had to come back again to get me.
Want to learn how to do repairs on this bag? Learn machine darning , which is the quickest way I know to fix anything made of cloth.