Instructables
vintagetravel.jpg
flamecord-color.jpg
Introduction:

The day broke grey and dull.  The clouds hung heavily and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow.  You have your pack, and you are ready to leave for a journey.  Full of straps, the Airline would be vicious, gnashing conveyor-belt teeth, deft fingers choosing to remove your favorite pair of wool socks from your pack.  You have decided most certainly that "the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise [NOT] the most perfect."   And your next steps into the world are surely, going to be the most interesting. You are well prepared. 

You have perused the shops for a wide variety of backpack securing devices.  There are many.  They are heavy and expensive.  They are over engineered, complicated, and designed with a single purpose.  Sometimes they don't meet your backpack's specs. 

Goals to address with this Instructable:
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Easy (to do, to replace, common materials)
  • Adjustable
  • Multipurpose
  • "Annoyance++ level" security
  • Adaptable
  • Strong/Durable/Secure
Tutorial Video:


Step One:  Pack your Bag
I can't very well tell you what to put in your bag.  But you should put it in there.  Perhaps also buy a ticket to somewhere if that sort of shenanigans suits you.  When you have arrived at the station/airport/depot and wish to secure your bag, 'batten down the hatches' and secure all the straps on you luggage.  If you can secure your bag at the terminal/station you will be able to scope out the security needs, so you can tie your bag once you pass through some security checkpoints (depending on your location.

Step Two:  Prepare the Ropes 
This is a counter intuitive process - much like the cake at the Lion and the Unicorn's party.  

Cut about 9-14 yards of 1/4 rope or parachute cord (paracord is sublime.)  In the video I used about 11 yards, and it was too much for the not-full backpack I used for the filming. 

Then at one-two inches from the end, take your lighter and "flame" the paracord casing.  Rotate the cord to heat evenly and stop when some of the weave slicks over.   Allow to cool (without touching it! ouch!) and THEN cut the cord in the middle of your flamed, now hardened area.  This will give you a clean cut, guard against unraveling, and a rope end that isn't a melty glob.  Flame the end of the cord lightly to bond some internal fibers, but do not melt the jeebus out of it.  Repeat for both ends of your cord.

Step Three: Tie the Knots

Fold your rope in half, and from the loop end, make several overhand knots. about 4-7 inches apart.  Tie as many as you like in the chain for the distance of one and a half times the height of your bag.  More knots means that there is more intricate options, and less knots means that it is quicker to do.  There is a way to do this without putting knots in the rope, by twisting the rope, and spreading the twists to create the same effect.  It is a little less stable and a little more fidgetty, but it is effective once you get the hang of it.

Step 4: Begin the bondage-latticework

Most backpacks have a carrying handle/loop attached at the top-center of the bag.  Use this as your starting point by threading the knotted end of the cord through the carrying handle.  Wrap the tail-end of the cord around the bag, and through to the first loop of the knotted end.

Situate the loop you pulled the rope through at appropriately the top 1/3 mark at the back of the bag.

Pull all the rope through, and split the tails and wrap them around the sides of the bag to the front of your luggage.  You do not have to cinch this down very tightly - the latticework will do that for you.

Take each tail and pull it through the hole between two knots on the front of the bag, and bring each tail around the side to the back and repeat by picking a hole between two knots, threading them through and splitting and bringing the tails around the sides to the back. 

You can play with which knots connect to what areas, and you can keep going back and forth until you run out of cord or you have reached the front of the baggage check-in line.  When this happens, and you are near the end of your cord,  find the nearest knot, and tie off the tails with a double knotted bow (cross each cord under the knot, and tie a shoelace-style bow, and then tie the bow-loops and tails into a knot.)  You can use a multitude of knots to do this, and it is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Step 5: Revel in your glory and address any other issues then get on your transportation method of choice.

If you *really* wish your bag to be secure, I have had excellent luck with using zip-ties to secure the compartments.  The ropes will handle most of this, but a little over engineering works out well enough.  Pro Tip: put a small fingernail clippers that _does not_ have a nailfile in your carry-on.  This works really well to clip zipties when you reach your destination.

While zipties are not reusable, or considered "locks"  I use them because:
  • Every baggage handler has just about every key known to man
  • Locks often don't do the origami needed to secure a backpack
  • Zipties must be cut to remove them, meaning that when you arrive at your destination, a quick glance for clipped ties, alerts you to check your pack before you leave the station/terminal/etc.
  • They are harder to undo and the ropes doubly so... this makes your bag a lesser target for illicit tampering.
Step 6: Not really a step
  • Rope/cord, when traveling is super useful.  Alternative uses, include:
  • Tying the rope ends to the hostel bedpost, or train fixtures to keep it from walking off.
  • wrap your fingers into the latticework, or tie it ti your arm/leg/etc -- movement travels through rope like a web.
  • Unclip your shoulder straps or thread your ropes under/around/through them to secure your pack for walking travel.
  • You can also use your rope for all sorts of things, belts, clotheslines, shoelaces, tie-downs, repairs, etc.
  • Fixing your hammock, leashing your dog, and so on.
  • Use this same method on consenting, of-age people in countries where such activities will not be punishable by drastic means (if that sort of thing floats your boat)
  • Amuse the hot chicks in Rome who want to know where you learned this because they may or may not have been a consenting of-age person in a scenario listed in the point above.  (Girlscouts = good answer)
Happy Trails!

sidmarx2 years ago
One grt. idea deserves another: Actually, you can lock it, v. conveniently, with about a handful of small chain (about 2 ft.) and a padlock with a hasp slim enough to pass thru the links.

Start at one side of the final knot and wind the chain over it , to its other side. Make the wraps tight so that the chain covers the knot. then padlock the chain ends together, also passing the hasp thru a few center links.

The knot is now locked under the chain and can't be untied unless the chain is unlocked and removed.