Introduction: Waterproof Pouches, Almost Free!

Picture of Waterproof Pouches, Almost Free!

Super Simple DIY Waterproof Pouches that cost next to nothing to make!

Welcome to our first Instructable. We are ‘long time listeners, first time callers’ and it’s about time we put something back in the mix.

OK, before we begin they are pretty darn waterproof if you take your time and make the fancy version of these aluminium clips. The ultra simple version using a twig or dowel will hold up to a lot of rain and even a quick drop in water. I would not use these for expensive gear while kayaking though...but that’s up to you!

As a bonus, we are going to describe how to make two versions of these DryPouches: The ultra simple,100% free to make and eco-friendly pouch as well as the fancy looking one on the cover picture.

Many of you will work these out by just looking at the first few pictures (that’s how I tend to learn anyway). They really are that simple. It’s just a twig and a recycled inner tube! The following pages will be for people that would like some simple construction tips and a walk-through on making the fancy version of these clips.

If anyone wants to suggest a name for these, I would appreciate the help! ‘DryPouch’ is just a little...well... bland? It sounds a bit like something you would get in your armpit while hiking!

I have been making and using these for years now and have not seen them anywhere on the net, but it’s impossible to have an original thought these days, so...

If I have stolen someone’s idea, sorry mate! I’m happy to share the limelight with you.

A quick note about us, we have been making high end custom adventure and bushcraft gear for a long time. Secretly, we have always preferred the rustic and DIY approach to camping over the slick, tactical and manufactured products. Machete Bushcraft Australia and this Instructable are all about us getting back to basics. We are packing away all the fancy tools and jargon for a while and just focusing on sharing what works for us! Hopefully you might find these helpful as well.

If you like this Instructable and would like to say thank you, vote for us in the Survival Contest! We are late in the running and would appreciate a running start!

You might also like to take a look at our YouTube video if you want to see these pouches in action! Click the link below. It's a long video with lots of related info on bushcraft related topics.

Click Here For A YouTube Link!

Like and Subscribe as we have many more YouTube clips on the drawing board!

Step 1: The Ultra Simple and Free DryPouch Using a Twig

Picture of The Ultra Simple and Free DryPouch Using a Twig

This really does not need much explaining. Take the twig, fold the inner tube slip once over it and secure that fold with a ranger band (an elastic band cut from the left over inner tube). Fill the pouch and repeat on the other side.


Tricks with getting the ultra simple dry pouch to work a little better

  • These work just fine for large mountain bike inner tubes. The sizes we look out for are 2-2.75” wide. Bigger tubes (motorcycle sizes and up) are going to struggle with this method unless it’s well packed with a large fold.
  • Try to pack your equipment so it fills the void near the folds. This helps the ranger bands to close the inner tube up tight, as well as stretching the folded tube over the round twig.
  • Reuse discarded inner tubes from bicycle repair shops. Manners get you everywhere in this world and if your polite, they will point you over to a recycling box to help yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask, bike people are generally very eco-friendly and happy someone will get good use out of them!
  • Cheap inner tubes are better. They tend to be much softer and thinner. Don’t bother with the thorn proof or extra HD ones.
  • Use a smooth straight twig or 6mm (1/4”) timber dowel.
  • You can fold the flap back under the ranger band, but the extra length needed means it is a bit difficult getting light and well packed items out.

What, a bonus on the bonus page!

Want a look inside out field sharpening kit?

The last picture is the breakdown of what we carry when we need a field sharpening kit. We need our tools sharp and with this system, we can put a razor's edge on a machete, knife or axe very quickly while out in the field. The advantage with this system is that nothing is disposable or readily wears out. Provided we take care of the two flat chainsaw files, we have months worth of daily sharpening in this kit.

We are soon to do a second sharpening video on YouTube on how we use this kit. Take a look on the 'about us' page on how to find us. The biggest tip I can give to beginner sharpeners is that a strop is not just for the pro's. It's a very easy to use and very inexpensive tool that improves the edge that you already have.

Ok, enough of the twig method and on to the fancy version.

Step 2: Step 2: the Fancy Aluminium DryPouch Clips

Picture of Step 2: the Fancy Aluminium DryPouch Clips

These are made from aluminium tube and paracord. The way these work is very simple. The slit you are going to cut is only wide enough to accommodate an inner tube folded over once and slid in from one end. If you have the paracord laid inside the fold, it then becomes too fat to be pulled through the slit. The fold around the paracord and the pinch at the slit create the seal.

What size Aluminum tube do I use?

  • If your making a DryPouch from mountain bike inner tubes: Use 10mm by 1mm wall thickness aluminium tube (For our fellow USA campers, 3/8 tube by 1/32 wall thickness may work. 10mm by 1mm are both about a 1/64th larger).
  • Making a DryPouch from a motorcycle inner tube: Use 12mm by 1mm wall thickness aluminium tube (1/2” by 3/64th).

You can use what you like. We use aluminium tube as these sizes are easy to find here in Australia but brass and copper tubing would look a bit ‘Steampunk’ lf that’s the look you’re after.

The process is simple.

1. Cut the aluminium tube to length which is about 10mm (3/8”) wider than the flattened inner tube.

2. Mark the cut-out to suit the thickness of the rubber (folded) which is about 4mm for bicycle inner tubes and 6mm for motorcycle tubes. Adjustments (experiments!) for fit may be needed so cut shy of the mark, test and widen the gap with a file to suit. Snug fits are more waterproof but are frustrating to put back on the dry pouch. Read the FAQ at the end for solutions.

3. Drill a 4mm (5/32") hole on one end for the paracord. It’s centred about 6mm (1/4") from the edge (not that critical). Keep it above the gap you just cut for the inner tube though.

4. File and round all edges that come in contact with the rubber. Polish with fine steel wool (#000 or #0000 steel wool both work well)

5. Add paracord, install on your new inner tube DryPouch and go for a hike in the rain!

Step 3: Step 3: Tools Needed

Picture of Step 3: Tools Needed

This depends on what tools you have access to. We are describing a method that suits the most basic tool box as this will cover most DIY’ers.

Bare minimum tools: Pictured inside the hacksaw in the photo

  • Hacksaw: Cutting slits and aluminium and trimming to length. Use a fine tooth pattern about 20 tpi
  • Flat chainsaw file: Smoothing everything out. They have rounded safe edges which is helpful
  • #000 Steel Wool: Polishing everything. The zero’s are a numbering system similar to sandpaper. #0 is coarse and #0000 is very fine
  • Bench vise: Clamping the tube for cutting. It’s very difficult to hold the tube any other way

More tools make life easier: Outside the hacksaw in the photo

  • Cordless and 4mm drill: If you want an integrated cord
  • Round chainsaw file: Helps smoothing everything out
  • Debur tool: Same as round chainsaw file
  • Tube cutter: Easier to use for cutting the tube to length
  • WD40: Lubes the hacksaw while cutting the long slits
  • Pencil and ruler: It’s easier that guessing the length and scratching a mark!

So how do you install and remove these clips? That's step 4!

Step 4: Step 4: How to Use These Clips

Picture of Step 4: How to Use These Clips

Ok, we described how these clips work but not how to install or remove them.

To get them off is very fast. Just grab the pouch near the clip, grab the clip near the hole for the paracord and slide the clip off.

To install the clip, it takes a little practice. You’re reversing the process above with a few more steps, one trick and one tip.

You can close these pouches with the back or front facing towards you but I find it helps if you keep the clip in your dominant hand.

The trick is to keep the tail (opposite side to the clip end) of the paracord taught while you start to slide the clip on the folded rubber. If you tuck the paracord tail in your pinkie finger, this keeps the rest of that hand free to work.

The tip is to read the first “Helpful Shop Notes and FAQ’s” post on the next page. Automotive paste wax really improves these pouches and it helps the clips to glide rather than bind.

Step 5: Step 5: Helpful Shop Notes and FAQ’s

Picture of Step 5: Helpful Shop Notes and FAQ’s

We have been asked so many questions about these over the years so here is a list of the more common Q&A’s...and a little light humour as the topic is a bit..well... ‘Dry’.

Some if this may seem very basic info but keep in mind everyone has a different level of ability. We only get better by trying and sharing what we know!

And to add a safety note (for me), no lawsuits please! I have no idea of your level of ability! I do see this as a very simple and reasonably safe project even for youngsters but if you try any of these methods described in this Instructable, you do so at your own risk.

Any tips on making these awesome little pouches even better?

The secret ‘herbs and spices’ is just automotive paste wax. Apply it just the same way you would on a car. A little wax, work it in then rub the excess off. The wax will do four things:

1. It makes the clips slide on and off a lot easier.

2. It makes the water bead up on the rubber so it sheds the water drops. A quick shake generally dries out the pouch fast.

3. The weakest part of these DryPouches is the bottom seal as it’s turned up. Water can collect here and slowly wick its way past the seal if you have made the clip too loose. The wax helps create a better seal (not by having a sticky and gooey mess which ends up on all your gear). The light wax coating on the inside of the rubber tube prevents water from ‘wetting’ the rubber, instead it beads up.

4. Rubbing a little on the paracord helps prevent them getting waterlogged. Although when they absorb water, they swell creating a tighter seal inside the clip.

Keep in mind even dry wax makes your hands a little slippery.

What can I use these DryPouches for?

A Survival Kit would be easy to piece together and a good match up for these pouches. They are good for lots of things you want to keep organised and dry. A Fire Kit, First Aid and Sharpening Kit are the three that I mostly use. On a side note and while not recommended, strips of inner tube rubber burn for a very long time. This is a good way to dry out your kindling when trying to get a soggy fire started in an emergency.

How long do I make the paracord?

For the looped strap, its 4 times the clip length plus the knot as a minimum. For non-looped, it’s 2 times the clip length plus both knots.

Why have a knot?

It just keeps everything together. You can tuck the tail under a ranger band as a keeper.

Why do you use a bench vise like that in the photo?

It looks awkward like this but if you clamp the tube the other way, once the hacksaw makes its way through the slit, the aluminium closes up and binds on the blade.

Why do you ramp the aluminium tube openings?

These clips easily stay in place until you need access to your gear and to open the pouch is fast. Getting them back on is a little fiddly until you come up with you own technique. When these are made properly, they are a somewhat snug fit. Ramping the openings helps slide the aluminium clip over the tube.

Why do you cut the clips a little longer than the width of the rubber tube?

Because of the ramps we described above. The point that is most prone to water creeping in is the two outer edges of the rubber tube. By making the clip a little longer, all the rubber is clamped up in the slit.

I love the Med logo on the DryPouch! How can I make one?

Easy! Scuff the surface with #000 steel wool, make a stencil from masking tape and spray paint in your chosen colour. The paint actually sticks to rubber much longer than I first though.

My clip is binding up, what has gone wrong?

There are a few places where these can bind and keep in mind every brand of inner tube will be different thicknesses. The first two places to check are the width of the slit as well as the inside diameter of the aluminium tube. Widen the slit with a file if thats the issue and use a slightly thinner cord if the tube size is the issue. Check for any sharp edges and clean them up. Automotive paste wax helps everything glide nicely but keep in mind even dry wax makes your hands a little slippery.

Any other modification ideas?

We have lots but you can tailor these pouches to your needs. Ranger Bands on the outside of the pouches let you stack commonly used gear that’s already waterproof. Eg, a torch, fire steel, sharpening stone, band-aids (plasters) in plastic, paracord etc. Don’t stack too much as it can make it a bit difficult to get the gear in and out of the pouches though.

You can use the glue in puncture repair kits to weld more pouches and slips to the outside. Maybe a dedicated tool holder? You can stitch rubber and use silicone to seal the seam.

I don’t have callipers to measure the slits accurately. What else can I use?

Just cut shy of the mark and slowly widen the gap with a flat file. Test with a bit of scrap rubber as you go. Alternately, round chainsaw files are easy to come by. A 5/32 file is almost 4mm and a 13/64 file is a bit more than 5mm.

Thanks for reading our first Instructable! If you liked these pouches and want to say thanks, Vote for us! We are very late in the game and would appreciate the kick-start!

Don't forget to add us to you subscribe list as we have more Instructables on the way!


Dr. Joe (author)2015-09-22

Great Idea. I have done experiments on sealing bags and discovered water has more trouble passing around a corner than a round dowel. If you fold the pouch three times around a sharp corner it will be waterproof. Try your pouch with a flat stick. River bags use webbing as the flat "stick" to make the sharp corners.

Good points Dr. Joe! I'm making this a featured comment as it's important.

Like everything, if your making these you need to experiment and test your gear! I have been tinkering with these pouches for years and they keep getting better.

I mentioned in the I'ble that there was 2 seals working together. There is actually 4 barriers water has to get past.

The first 2 seals that do the major work is the pinch (crimp?) along the long slit. As the rubber tube is folded, water has to make it through this pinch twice.

1 minor seal is the bend around the paracord. When the paracord gets waterlogged it swells up improving the pouch a little. You are right, that round seal on it's own is average at best. I would do a double roll If using just a twig but something flat is worth the test!

The last barrier is the automotive paste wax and use it much the same way as you would on a car . It's a very thin coating that dries out. It helps the clip glide so you can get a better pinch on the rubber but it also stops the water from 'wetting' the rubber. the water beads up. I use the wax inside the pouch just past the seals as well as everywhere outside the pouch. Just a little wax though.. you want it to dry out otherwise it ends up through you gear and on your hands making them slippery.

As with everything, test you gear!

That probably the best thing about DIY projects. If at first you don't succeed...make it again!

If you whittled the stick to a triangular shape and folded the inner tube once before wrapping it around the stick, you'd have 5 corners, and if you added a clip over that and count the crimp under the edges of the clip, you'd have 8-10 corners, depending on the rotation of the stick inside the clip.

If you have a bigger inner tube, how about one of those triangular tent stakes for the core and a piece of CPVC or PEX pipe for the clip?

thumbs up for the triangle stick dfield! thats worthy of a test!

wax the paracord, rub in paste wax to it then massage it in?

good pickup mate! Just a very light coat on the outside of the paracord will help. I have never tried working it in too much as the wet cord was not an issue, but try it out and post up your findings!

Kunstlabor (author)2016-07-29

Very great idea! Eventually a use for all the old bike tubes I am hording.

Piman1 (author)2016-05-03


Lavoz24 (author)2016-04-28

I know I'm probably late but if you want to make the tube wider you can cut it to open it and stick to another piece of tube using cement glue,the same glue used to seal the holes. It'll even work if you want to seal one end so nothing falls out from the bottom. Also as a name for it I think H2O NO! Or NO H2O sounds cool. In any case, great instructable, I will be making some of these soon. First I'm making a spray bottle from plastic soda bottles and the air nozzles from the bike inner tubes.

basementmaker (author)2016-04-28

Looks good

pje8268 (author)2015-09-30

When you said inner tube, I thought you meant the kind of tube like what you use when going down a river. XD

bryan3141 (author)pje82682016-01-04

Just requires a bigger stick and a bigger clamp.

Mihsin (author)2016-01-02

Great work. I'll make one with my sons, they ride motorcycles, I don't anymore. I saw a guy turn the tube inside out to show a smooth surface.

Nice one! I like the idea that this is a project to do with the kids! My little workshop assistant is almost at that age where we can start doing some proper projects togeather. I'm thinking compressed air rockets will make him smile.
If you go down the painted logo path, I find having the bulge at the front looks best. Post up some photos when you are done. Would love to have a look!

JulieJ25 (author)2015-12-31

Arid Sac

bmcelik (author)2015-11-10

cool! Best instructable ever! Finally something easy but useful. Gray for hiking. I go hiking all the time and this will be useful, especially for my rock collection. And congrats on the contest wins!

cheers mate! I really like these little pouches and I'm glad you will get some use out of them!

I have found an easier method that might be helpful. Aluminium shade sale track has an opening that's pretty much bang on for the motorcycle innertubes. I have not tested it yet though. It has a flat strip attached to it that can be cut off or drilled out for mounting options.

aaron81006 (author)2015-11-04

Congratulations on your win! Good job.

cheers Arron! I got lucky as there were a lot of great I'bles in the contest! I'm definitely posting up more I'bles but I think this one will be hard to top!

Matt2 Silver (author)2015-11-04

Congratulations on snagging that grand prize win in the survival contest, your instructable is fantastic and definately deserving of the win. Way to go!

Cheers Matt and thanks for the kind words!

I really liked your pouches and showed some of the family on the farm....Now I have a few more projects to make!

Your drop pouches are a great idea!

I Just wanted to thank everyone ...again! Grand prize in the Survival comp and runner up in the First Time Author comp. That's awesome. I'm glad I shared these pouches with everyone!

As I said before, the best part was all the feedback. So many great ideas and modifications you all came up with.

It's a big 'Thank You' and a thumbs up from me!

Kind regards,


I just wanted to thank everyone for there support!

268 favorites in 24 hrs! lots of visits and helpful comments! I'm really glad other people are going to find good use of these little pouches. I'm looking forward to seeing people post pictures up here if they made some! Bring on the mods as well..

This a great instructable. The q&A at the end is very helpful. Good photos too. I am trying to think of another material that is see through to use. Maybe someone has a thought. I could then see which pouch has what. Maybe even food safe. Thanks

You could use a capri-sun pouch, you can make MREs and different things out of them, the only problem is you cannot see through it

Stu discostu956

made the suggestion of using vacuum seal food bags which i think is a great idea. Closing the top up with 20mm webbing is an easy and fast option much the same system the commercial 'Dry Sacks' use. Google it for a few pic. That system would be easy and food safe.

393 buddy good job

Thumbs up Ktrantham! The little pouches ended up being quite popular! I should have shared the idea a long time ago. They are a fun project to make and I know I have found them useful on the farm and out in the bush. I'm really glad others will get to use them as well!

I Just wanted to thank everyone! I won a runner up prize in the first time author comp and that's just tops! It was a lot of fun and will be doing this again soon!

The best part was all the feedback ( They all were awesome!) . So many great ideas and modifications you all came up with.

It's a big 'Thank You' and a thumbs up from me!

Kind regards,


bjkayani (author)2015-10-01

Hey. Great idea. I am a bit jealous i must admit. But i recognize your ideas genius.I hope we both can win the survival contest. Good luck. :P

Cheers mate! Thanks for the kind words! I did catch yours a few days back. I really liked it.

Steady Betty (author)2015-09-24

Loved your idea,will try it as soon as I get to a bike shop.I am a 61 year old grandma,who loves my time with my dog and the outdoors!...your ideas inspire me,as living in the mountains of Montana,one does not have a store nearby!,but visiting in Florida,had proven,that I would would rather make my own than deal with all these stores and people.

Steady Better you would love my Mum! She is 64 and a fantastic Grandmother. You would not pick it as she comes across as a Nanna anyone would love to 'sit down and have a gentle yarn with' but you should see her with a machete in her hand when she is gardening! Honestly she is a very gentle soul, just darn good with a machete!

Best of luck with the pouches! If your having any problems with them, Send me a message and we can trouble shoot it togeather!

I am still on pg 1.. LOL I always like to read comments before I get to the grit.. maybe I am in the wrong country ;) Totally Love your responses. Especially to Steady here.. Ya make a Mom Proud
Sharing and voting for sure.. if I can find the link.. LOL
Name.. I vote Aussie Bush Bag :)) Texas Tea Bag was good too.. got a laugh but sounds like a type of weed.. and I don't smoke.. LOL

awww thank you for the kind words! I really liked Steady's comment and I shared it with my Mum the next morning over a coffee.I have always had a soft spot for our older and wiser generation. So much knowledge to share and all you need do is ask politely!

I tend to read the comments as well. You have a global 'brains trust' solving problems and inevitably improve the project. Spark Master and discostu both came up with great advice as well as a Ron Kellis over on youtube all had great suggestions!

I'm glad you like the responses. If someone has taken the time to post a comment I do my best to reply. Some have been a good laugh! I just got a comment on youtube saying they liked my video but I use UM far too much! I nearly fell off my chair laughing!

Thanks for the vote and share nbronwyn!

All the best,


Dr. Joe (author)2015-09-26

This is a river wallet I made years ago. The seal folds around a flat webbing then cinches with Velcro through an O ring to keep in under tension. It is air tight as you can see it inflated in the image. I wanted it to fit in a pocket and keep my valuables water safe if I took a swim while paddling.

qball24 (author)2015-09-25

do you think you might be able to use old ski poles as the aluminum tube? then it would be fully upcycled materials.

There is every chance it would work and I'm a fan of recycling as much as possible. It may even save a trip into town for materials as well.

If the I.D. (inside diameter) of the tube is too big, you can use bigger cord if that helps.

Ron Kellis just commented on youtube that you could use the cable housing from bike parts to replace the stick and even the cable can be reused as a keeper if you're creative. It would look pretty cool as well.

CHaD4HiM (author)2015-09-25

Great job on this!

spark master (author)2015-09-24

nice instructable.

For the bottom, clean the inside innertube as well as outside, you can us plain rubber cement to stick it together, BEFORE, you do seal with the clip. Then do the wax trick at the top!

Excellent concept for having fire kits to be left in the car or boat or anywhere you think you could use it.

I will check out your sharpening vids as I take forever to sharpen, but like your they are capable of shaving with. Dull knife is only useful for inflicting blunt force trauma, gouging soft bits and pry bar situations!



I wonder if pvc cement would work?and remain flexible, or just dissolve?

I should add, the permanent closure idea at the bottom of the pouch you described sound really solid and fast! Very good idea mate!

thanks Spark Master! Mate I'm really happy to share the sharpening tips and will put them up soon.

That's the next video in the series but I will put up an instructable for it as well.

m3harri (author)2015-09-24

Think how much you could pack in a large truck inertube. The whole bugout bag

lambbinature (author)2015-09-24

try using a tractor tire innertube. You could waterproof you whole wardrobe lol. Cool idea.

hahaha! I like it!

Thanks Mate!

Battlespeed (author)2015-09-23

Nicely done! However, when it comes to prepping/survival, I recommend that people not spend their time and effort on making things that can be readily purchased (at an acceptable quality and price, of course).

These days, you can buy good waterproof/tight pouches or "bags" in various sizes and shapes - and even in different colors for rapid identification of contents - for anywhere a few dollars or less. Many of these are made for electronic gear from phones to notebooks to cameras, that people are taking in, on, or near the water and who need cases to protect the gear.

Just Google "dry bag", "diving bag", "waterproof bag" - and if need be substitute words like "pouch", "case", etc.

As an example:

You have some solid points Battlespeed any yes you can buy great quality gear at reasonable prices, but I fell you might be forgetting the essence of instructables...It's about making, learning and sharing.

Another perspective is everyone's different level of ability. For some, a simple project like this is a first step to making something for themselves, and for others it might be a fun project but then it's onto something bigger and better...or it's just a another pouch to put there gear in..?

One thing is for sure, I learn by doing and I have always got a kick out of using the gear I made myself. From the little I know about the prepper/survivalist circles, a lot of these same ideals line up.

Thank for sharing your perspective mate!

You'll see a lot of those "But you can buy it here and here" comments. I think you hit the nail on the head with the response. It's been bugging me since I've been contributing here.

Some buy others make. I'm all for making :)

Two thumbs up mate! I had a wealthy ex girlfriend like that. She never understood that concept until I explained to her that if it was not for makers, there would never be any buyers.... after all Amazon and ebay are for buyers and I use both of them ....Ibles is for makers, learners and sharers.

If someone has made the effort to comment, I can still be polite in a response.

About This Instructable




Bio: We have been making high end custom adventure and bushcraft gear for a long time. Secretly, we have always preferred the rustic and DIY approach ... More »
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