Introduction: Paracord Blanket / Sleeping Bag Compression Strap With Handle - I Made It at TechShop!

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It can get frustrating carrying soft items like blankets or clothes to a camp ground. I designed this super easy to make strap to carry blankets; however, it can also be used to carry other items like bundled wood which makes it incredibly useful!!

The Design is super simple and does not require many tools or materials. I used two colors to make this, but you could of course use one if you prefer. I am using this for camping so I made sure to choose darker color paracord to ensure that it will not show how dirty it will get after extended use.

Material List:

10' - Red Paracord

7' - Black Paracord

Lighter or candle

Cup of water (I like to use this to cool the ends of the cord after I melt them)


Knife with serrated edge

Pen tube (used to slide on the cord to create a locking mechinism)

Wire hangar (for added support in the handle)

Measure tape (not required, but will help to be precise)

12" File folder (used to measure paracord)

Wire cutters (to cut hangar pieces)

I designed this handle to be super simple. It only requires 2 different types of knots and can be made with 17' of paracord and household items!

Step 1: Prepping the Materials

1. Measure the cord - I like to use a file folder to measure out the length. The standard size is 1' which allows you to easily measure out the appropriate length for your project. You will need 2 strands; 1 - 10' length for the strap; and 1 - 7' length for the handle.

2. Cut 2 - 7" pieces from the wire hanger and mark the middle (aprox 3.5"). This will be used to add some support to the handle which will keep the cord separated while carrying your equipment. The hangar method is only going to give enough support for around 10 pounds, so if you are planning to make this to carry something heavier I recommend using something stronger for support; I used an aluminum tent steak for my wood carrier.

After you cut the wire, mark the center point. Since I used 7" lengths, I marked them at 3.5 with my knife.

3. Cut 2 equal lengths of tube from the pen casing. I recommend using lengths that are around 1 1/2 ".

4. Melt the ends of the pen casing to give them a smooth feel so that it will not wear away at the cord. When melting the tube you want to make sure that you have a cup of water handy to dip the plastic in to cool it down after it has taken form.Be careful because if you melt too much you melt to much you will not be able to pull the cord through the center.

Step 2: Step 1: Laying Out the Strap

A. Lay the long cord out in an S-shape with equal lengths on the loops and open ends. This design is built to be able to adjust after the handle is built, but can be difficult to pull the cable through, so the more symmetric you make it at this step the easier it will be later on.

B. After the cord is lay'd out you want to cross one of the open ends over  the middle so both of your loops are on one side (horizontally) and the open ends are on the same side (horizontally).

Step 3: Step 2: Creating Your Salmon Bar Knot Handle

The Salmon Bar Knot is the fist of the two knots that you will be using and is super simple. I like to start on the loop only (2 strands of cord) before I incorporate the 3rd open end strand to give some directional separation from the two strands.

The following steps correspond in sequence with the pictures which should be pretty self explanatory. The important thing to remember when working the salmon knot is that if the knot is sticking up on the left side, then you will take the opposing cord under the sequence; this should make sense as you work the knot.

  1. The fist knot - Like I said, I like to start around the two strands that go to the loop, this is just a simple overhand knot.
  2. The second part of the Salmon Bar is just another overhand knot that is reversed. (I know that this is not illustrated great, but there are several examples of this knot on Google)!
  3. Once you make the 3rd knot you will start to see the handle take form.
  4. At the fourth knot I like to add the hanger pieces that will add support. You want to push them all the way to the start of the handle. The three pieces of cord should lay flat and the hangar pieces should lat on top (when were done this will be the back side)
  5. After the hangar is in place you continue the knot all the way up to the middle of the hangar.
  6. Once you are at the middle of the hangar you want to take the open end string from the opposing side and pull it up and over the hangar pieces. This will make sure that your loops are on one side and the open ends are on the other. Ensuring that the cord is flat under the hanger after the twist continue the knot until you reach the end of the hangar.
  7. The next five pictures illustrate how I finished off the handle. I separate the open end and the looped end just like in step one. This will allow the cords to have some separation. I used the leftover pen to separate the last knot in the strand and pulled the string back towards the underside of the handle. After that I cut the cord pretty close the the end of the knot and melted a bump on the end to ensure that it could not pass back through.
  8. If your loops are not exactly even at this point don't worry, they will still have some play. Follow the strand through the handle and you will be able to pull the excess to one side until the loops are even. It may seem like it is too tight to pull through at first, but trust me if you pull hard enough it will go through!
**Note, you will have excess lengths of cord on the handle when you are finished, save these pieces for the next step! 

Step 4: Step 3: Creating a Draw String Around the Loop

In order to secure the locking mechanism you need to be able to adjust the size of the loop on the loop ends. To keep it simple I just used a couple salmon bar knots that will create tension, but still allow it to slide. Since I am just using this for a lightweight compression strap, the blanket pushing on the cable will do most of our work.

If you want to make one of these for something heavier, I recommend using a more robust knot like a sliding monkey fist knot or putting extra salmon bar knots to create more tension.

Step 5: Step 4: Finishing the Locking Mechanism on the Open Ended Cords

  1. Slide the pen casing over the open end of the cord opposing the loop that you just finished.
  2. Since this is going to be the adjustable side of the strap we now need to tie an adjustable knot. After the casing is on the cord, loop it around and tie a double half hitch on the cable as shown above.
  3. After you are finished with both sides you will be able to put the pen casing through the loop and sinch down the draw string locking your blanket or sleeping bag in place!

Thats it, you are finished! I hope that this instructable was both useful and easy to read. I would appreciate any feedback that you have to give on either the design or the instruction! 

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