Pantspack: the New Look From Flagrant Vagrant Fashion Studio

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Introduction: Pantspack: the New Look From Flagrant Vagrant Fashion Studio

Are you like me?

Wait, let me rephrase that in a way that's less likely to incriminate you should a law enforcement official read your response.

Do you share some entirely non-criminal inconveniences in your life that could be solved by having a hideously ugly backpack?
Do you want to look like a hobo, but think bindles are "Uppity"?
Do you treat your backpacks in a manner that causes them to deteriorate into uselessness in a fraction of the time they would for any reasonable person?
Do you occasionally wish to appear as if you had absolutely nothing worth stealing?
Me too, friend. Me too.

To that end, I have modified a design originally found in my Boy Scout Handbook for a temporary pack and made it permanent. Your Pantspack will be cheap, durable, and bordering on the practical!
Let's see if we can't start a ludicrous fad.

Step 1: Materials

Here's what you'll need to make a Pantspack like mine:
1 pair of extremely homely jeans
Needle and thread
1 Crown Royal pouch
1 profoundly ratty piece of rope

The uniquely utilitarian handyman05 suggested using waxed dental floss as an alternative to button/carpet thread. What a great idea!

Step 2: Setting Up

Very little alteration is required here. Basically, you're going to loop the legs up and stick the cuffs in the back pockets. It's pretty simple.
This will provide for a stronger hold...I would assume. These looped pantlegs form the straps of your pantspack.

Step 3: Sew

If you know how to sew, you're probably female and/or a doctor. I am neither, but I have been able to pick up the rudiments of sewing over the years. If you don't know how to sew, this profoundly helpful instructable will help profoundly.

You're going to stitch through the pocket, the pantleg and the inside of the pocket here--that's four layers of canvas. A thimble may be in order. Not having one handy, I used the handle of my toothbrush.

Step 4: Adding the Electronics Pouch

I wanted a pocket for my Mp3 player, GPS or other device that would cradle the screen in its soft embrace. But what sort of pouch would give me that freedom without ruining my hard-won hobo-chic aesthetic?
Why not a Crown Royal bag?
It's the work of a moment to stitch it onto the inside of the waistband.

Step 5: The Flap

In order to prevent your valuable hobo accouterments from falling out the top or being seen by nosy-parkers, you'd probably do well to install a flap of some sort. I made mine out of a bandanna, but Handyman05 used a bath mat and it looked pretty good. Just sew it on around the waistline.

Step 6: The Drawstring

For the drawstring, I used a piece of the most gnarly, awful rope I could dig up in approximately two minutes of looking around my garage. Other alternatives include a stained, tattered necktie and an old belt. Just feed it through the beltloops and tie it as you would your shoelaces.
Had I been possessed of the forethought, I would've gotten another pair and cut them up for a flap to sew inside so that my clothes don't poke out the top when I close it up.

Step 7: Congratulations!

You are now the reluctant owner of one of the ugliest fashion accessories imaginable. However I think you'll find that what it lacks in beauty, it doesn't at all compensate for in any way. It really is just an inexpensive, ugly backpack. It is, however, fairly comfortable, and amazingly stylish*.

If you can, use a larger size of jeans. While my computer, camera and a couple of changes of clothes fit in here fairly easily, it's a close thing. I might expand it with a burlap sack if I can find one easily, for added capacity.
You can probably sew the cuffs to the front side of the pants if you wish, leaving the back pockets free. It's your choice.

*Disclaimer: Not at all stylish.

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    35 Comments

    o wow thats really cool how clever

    if you put hook and loop strap on the cuffs and on the pocket then you could wear the jeans (maby)

    I was thinking that you could swing the legs up to front of the jeans and sew just the front of the legs to just below the waist band in front of the jeans. Slip it on and you have a butt-pack on your back! With the back pockets still highly visible and even more readily pick-pocketable, (not a word, but you get the idea) you don't put valuables there, however, since you didn't sew the front pockets shut, you still have those pockets. Bonus: The legs of the pants are open to slide something in there, too. Carrying one pair of extra socks? Put one sock down each leg and you have padded shoulder straps. Extra bonus: Not having to sew through so many layers of fabric.

    1 reply

    Sounds like a good idea. I guess it's all a matter of preference.

    You can add a pocket on the straps, for a cell phone or ipod, by stitching in a squared off U through the legs, then snipping carefully through the outer layer of fabric.

    2 replies

    You could, but there are so many wonderful pockets on it already. It seems overkill to make more.

    no such thing as too many pockets! ;)

    Is it supposed to ride high up with tight straps? Mine does not feel right. Fun to look at, but uncomfortable. I already cut off about 50% of the pant leg to reduce bulk, but it still feels odd.

    2 replies

    Hmmm...it does ride fairly high on the back, but it shouldn't be uncomfortable, obviously. Dunno what to tell you.

    I might add underwear elastic to the straps for streachability. And maybe a smattering of 80's sholder pads to the back to cushion the corners of books. COMFORT WILL BE MINE!! (Insert evil laugh here)

    my 2 boys love their backpacks thank you for the info!!

    1 reply

    I have found disguise things to look old and dirty (or broken) works very well at preventing theft- so does hiding them in plain sight (somewhere no one would expect to find something valuable) Then hide junk in the places most people hide valuables. (I once helped catch a credit card thief this way!)

    1 reply

    I make ugly duct-tape sleeves for my electronics on the same theory--most people wouldn't give my Mp3 player a second glance.

    You know what would make this an even cooler vagrant/hobo/nomad traveler? Adding a couple of belts, don't have to be leather, to the bottom of this to act as a carrier for a sleeping bag/bed roll. Kind of like what the hiking bags have these days, but something that you made. I am going to try and make one of these with that kind of a modification, and possibly even a flap to cover the top. I will post pictures when I do indeed make the awesome bag.

    4 replies

    Excellent idea. For a flap, I'm thinking either burlap or a bandanna.

    Burlap would be cool. I ended up using one of those woven bath mats. Which is cool because it is all really colorful, but i didnt have a sewing machine, so it is kind of unraveling. But i suppose that if someone were to make these as a hobo, althogh i dont know how they woud have access the these plans, that they wouldnt either. I also added a belt to the flap for a more secure kind of thing. i will post pictures when i am done.

    So here are some pictures of my finished product. It is a little awkward to put on, but once you do get it on and get it adjusted, it is really comfortable. I think that it actaully distributes weight better than the other bag that I was using, because this one feels lighter than the one that I was using even with the same amount of stuff in it. Did you have any trouble with your needles breaking? I think that it might have just been the quality of the needles that I was using, but I broke at least 4 doing this. And sewing through leather and denim at the same time didn't help.

    Photo 3.jpgPhoto 4.jpgPhoto 5.jpgPhoto 6.jpg

    For sewing thru several layers of denim, you might look at an uphholstery needle kit, usually $2-3US. The kit will have extra heavy-duty needles in it, even curved ones. Available at any fabric store, and most craft stores with a sewing notions section. An awl works for pre-punching holes in especially heavy materials. Use pliers to pull if you can't pull the needle thru with your fingers.