Introduction: Pillowcase Backpack

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

Travel Essential. A pillowcase is a versatile essential in my pack. See below for a range of uses going back to my days as a backpacker.

Pillowcase to Pack. In this instructables I create custom loops for a pillowcase backpack. Something I've wanted to do for years and am glad to have the final instructables push with the backpacks competition!

Pillowcase Uses:

  1. Pillow - the obvious. stuff a few layers in the pillowcase and you have a cushion
  2. Towel - many times I've showered with a pillow case. standard size isn't long enough to wrap but it's an easy way to dry off and avoid the weight of a towel. (always squeegee off first w/ the side of your hand!)
  3. Extra Item - flying economy? a pillow case is a beautiful way to get an 'extra bag' onto a plane. in my experience attendants never both a tired traveler carrying a pillow. I've gotten on full backpacks stuffed into pillow cases. once I even boarded with a skim board tucked in a pillowcase!
  4. Pack Cover - slip a pillow case over your pack to make it more discreet and less vulnerable to would-be thieves.
  5. Pack Organization - a lightweight way to keep a pack organized. as a space for clean clothes or easy way to bury items deep in a pack.
  6. Dirty Clothes - from pack organizer to dirty hamper. I regularly change the use of my pillowcases inside my pack.
  7. Towel Replacement.... really any use for a towel a pillow case is a better, lighter option.

Step 1: Materials + Tools



Step 2: Nylon Loops

Two Types. I used two different types at the top and bottom. The idea here was to make as clean a connection as possible without impacting use of the pillow. I suggest keeping it simpler and using the type at the top for both sets of loops.

  • Bottom Loops - cut to 3" - step 3
  • Top Loops - cut to 2" - step 4

Finishing Nylon. Each time I cut the nylon or the polypro twine I use a lighter to melt the edges. Melting the edges assures the edges don't fray.

Step 3: Bottom Loops

Locating. I placed the bottom loops in the corner and turned them to face inside. This minimizes their profile when not as use as a backpack.

Stitching. My box stitch is one I've seen regularly on packs. I went over each side and the central 'X' twice. In each case it was important for me to have the stitching run through two layers of pillow case and two layers of nylon.

Step 4: Top Loops

Locating. Top loops are 4 inches from the top seam. I located them based off a standard lightweight backpack. One that I recently modified in the linked instructable.

Stitching. Again, I used the box stitching and passed through 4 layers of material. This sandwich approach is my preferred method for future packs.

Step 5: Stringing the Pack

Using Knots. My go-to knot is the bowline. I use the bowline at the top loop. From there I tied a figure 8 about 6" from the bottom. That allows me to tighten and secure the pack. Ultimately both knots would be bowline.

Step 6: Carrying the Pack

Packing. For this example I used (3) three 'mexican' blankets. These are a simple standard item for me when preparing for a picnic or car camping.

Step 7: Duffle Pack

The same combinations of loops makes a simple duffel.

Step 8: Thank You! Kickstarter?

Thank you for reading!

Kickstarter? Considering turning this item into a first kickstarter. It may be too simple but I'd love to know what you think! ---project survey(three multiple choice + comments box, thank you!)

My approach to sewing... sewing is the first craft I learned. Before I ever picked up a saw I had learned to operate a sewing machine. The sewing machine is a powerful tool. Just like carpentry a good tailor knows how to create their own tools, understand materials and use templates to be more efficient.

Here is my recent lightweight pack modification.

Backpack Challenge

Participated in the
Backpack Challenge