Introduction: Mobile Laptop Harness

Picture of Mobile Laptop Harness

I needed to take notes and measurements in the field, but I hate writing by hand because then I have to keep up with multiple papers and plans. Then I have to transfer it to a computer anyway and my handwriting is difficult to read. I like to enter information directly into a laptop even in the field. When drafting in the field on a computer, if a measurement is wrong, I'll know it instantly when lines don't meet.

While I've held the laptop with one arm and typed one handed, that can be difficult by itself, and detrimental for long periods of time. There isn't always a place to sit the laptop. I needed some kind of harness to hold the laptop and allow me the use of both hands. I came up with exactly that.

Version 1.0 was a single uncut length of nylon strapping with knots to hold the laptop in place and carabiner clips.

Version 2.0 upgraded to adjustable sliders and metal rings in lieu of knots. Not only did it look good, now it was adjustable to various sized people.

Supplies:

• (2) 3" d-shaped carabiners

1" nylon strapping 110" long total for the knotted version// 142" for version 2.0 with adjustable straps

1" elastic -- which I decided not to use

• (4) 1" plastic tri-glide sliders (for version 2.0)

• (2) 1" metal welded O rings (for version 2.0)

Tools:

• hobby knife/scissors

•cutting mat

• duct tape

• sewing machine (for version 2.0)

I can walk around with the laptop and not worry about dropping it while getting work done much more efficiently than holding it with one arm or trying to find a place to sit down and type. Of course, I then decided to make it look more professional in Version 2.0, which didn't cost much more and it looks like something you could buy.

I already had some of the materials on hand. Buying everything will run $15 for version 1.0 and $32 for version 2.0.

Step 1: Version 1.0 - Knots

Picture of Version 1.0 - Knots

The first version was nylon strapping, knots and carabiners. I used a single 110" length of nylon strap. I looped it around my neck, hooked the carabiners to my belt and looped it back around.

The neck loop is 28", the cross strap at the neck is 6", 18" from cross strap to knot before the carabiner, 8" between knot and carabiners, and 10" between carabiners.

I'm average height/weight, so you'll need to adjust the dimensions for you, but this gives you a good place to start. By using a single piece you can keep adjusting the knot positioning until it fits.

I made a knot in one end, looped it around my head. I then took it down
to my belt, but put a knot in it 8" before the first carabiner attached to my belt. I knotted the strap around the carabiner, spaced 8" from the second carabiner and knotted it around the second carabiner. I added another knot 8" away from the second carabiner, and I ran it back up, knotted it above and below the very first knot and then ran it across my chest and knotted it again.

The cross strap and carabiners are narrower than the laptop so that the straps pull in and the laptop won't fall out. The straps go in between the screen and keyboard of the laptop in the hinge. The knots just before the carabiners stop the strapping from sliding through the hinge.

Step 2: Version 2.0 - Adjustable Sliders

Picture of Version 2.0 - Adjustable Sliders

Version 2.0 added 1" metal rings at the neck cross strap and plastic sliders to make it adjustable. I was going to add an elastic band across the carabiners that holds the keyboard to stop the laptop from wanting to roll backwards. I never ran into this problem, and ultimately decided to forgo it. Velcro would probably be a better option as elastic stretched too much in my testing.

I sewed one end of the strap around the welded metal ring, ran the strap through the glider, looped the length of strap through the other metal ring, and then sewed it to the center post of the glider. There is a glider in the neck loop, on each vertical strap that holds the laptop, and at the waist. The total length for the neck loop is 34", the cross strap 14", the side straps 38" and the belt strap is 18". Each sewn loop takes up 1" of material which is included in the previous measurements. I used my knotted version as a basis for the adjustable version. Portions that were adjustable are 1.5 times longer.

There are two sewn loops for each strap, one at the ring (or carabiner) and another at the center post of the glider.

The 'top' of the sliders are against the bottom of the laptop. Oriented the other way, the straps wanted to loosen.

I've used this in the field and it works great, though your neck may get tired if you're using this for long hours. The only changes I'd make would be shortening the neck and waist straps. I've got them as short as they'll go and wish they were even shorter. I'd start with shortening each one 4" to 6".

While I could go back and shorten them, this works fine and it's just a wish, not a demand. I didn't need to make it adjustable, but I wanted to make it look a little nicer as I do plan to use this again.

Step 3: Video Tutorial

Check out the video tutorial.

Comments

k24tea (author)2017-07-11

A good idea and well made. Not to be hyper-critical, but I have similar concerns about ergonomics, unless you're wearing & using it for very brief intervals. I made something very much like this a few years ago, though it wasn't as "finished" as yours. I had to give up using it pretty quickly, for two reasons: First, it put quite a lot of strain on my neck, between the laptop's weight and having to look down at a steep angle to see the screen, and second, because typing so close to my body was awkward and cramped. For just a few quick data checks & entries it was OK, but if I really wanted another one I'd probaby design some sort of shoulder & back harness to keep the weight off my neck, also a frame or tray that could hold the laptop a little higher up and further away from my body for easier typing and bettter screen visibility.

Nowadays I find it convenient in the field to use a full-size collapsible aluminum camera tripod that I've fitted with a screw-on platform (toaster oven drip tray, fits in the laptop case) and a couple of shock cords that secure the laptop to the platform. It's stable, easy to carry/ set up/ adjust, and no neck strain. A field-ready standing laptop or writing/drawing desk, with tripod still available for camera or scope. Your harness is much more compact than my tripod, though!

If you want to pursue the harness idea, maybe take a look at how a front-carry infant snuggler is designed to distribute the child's weight on the adult's back & shoulders (not the neck), then also consider putting the laptop on a tray or frame to see & type at a better height, angle, & distance (not at the waist). I'll look forward to seeing your Version 3!

WardWorks (author)k24tea2017-07-12

Thanks for the comments.
I used this for three consecutive days, 12 hour stretches. It definitely made my neck tired, but my use of this is rare. I like your idea of creating a shoulder harness set up. That would definitely improve long term strain. A back pack could be salvaged to make that work.

The tri-pod is a great idea provided space, and I like the use of a toaster tray.

DiyWaterDog (author)2017-06-08

After you develop a case of "text neck" see this link. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/...

I know from experience that prolonged use of a laptop with this posture will help develop problems. Years ago I was diagnosed with Occipital neuralgia. The posture alone will cause problems. Not even yet considering the strain placed by the strap around the neck. Just saying... Maker beware.

Swansong (author)2017-06-06

That would work pretty well :) I'd rather use that than put it in my lap when I'm out and about because it tends to get really hot.

Yonatan24 (author)2017-06-06

This is a nice idea. I would clamp a small piece of plywood to one side so I could use my mouse too.

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Bio: I like to create, no matter the medium. I've made furniture, digital models, costumes, props, videos, graphics, animations, restored a vehicle, etc.
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