Backpack From Old Army Laundry Bag V.1




I've been searching for an army knapsack/haversack for a looong time, and the ones I find in surplus shops cost absurd amts of money. So I figured I'd buy canvas and make one.
Problem: I lost the fabric :P.
One say when I was visiting the thrift store, I found an old army laundry bag, olive drab with a few holes. It was only 2 bucks so even if I never used it, I figured it wouldn't be much of a loss. Problem 2: Too damn big to carry anywhere. So I figured I'd turn it into a usable backpack.

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Step 1: Measuring.

After getting all your material and supplies mentioned in the intro, take your measuring stick/tape measure and count:
-7 inches from the top of the bag and;
-12 inches from the top of the bag
Do this all around the entire bag.

Step 2: Cutting!(Not You Emo Kid!)(No for Real, Emo Kids Are Cool)(Sometimes).

After you mark all around the bag (dotted line with sharpie works good), begin to cut. Don't try to cut with one pass, you WILL screw up. Instead make a small incision on the side, then cut around in a circle.
Start with the 7" line (or the 12", It really doesn't matter) and cut across, and follow up with the other. Set them both aside.

Step 3: Ok.

No you have 3 pieces(if you didn't screw up, that is): Main Bag, Middle Piece and top array.
Set the middle piece aside (you'll use it later).
Take the top array (the part with the hook and loop thingies) and slip it over the main bag top. make sure the metal spring loaded part is facing the table, and the pack straps are facing up. Line the cut edges up and make sure they are even. Pin it together every few inches.
Now you are ready to sew!

Step 4: Hope You Paid Attention in Home Ec...

Using heavy duty/upholstery thread (choose a color), sew the edge. You should go back and do the overhang for added durability.

Step 5: Remember That Seemingly Usless Piece of Middle?

Well if you ignored my instructions and threw it out, go dig it out of the trash! Idiot.
If your bag has holes like mine did (and it probably does, since it came from the thrift store or a soldier willing to sell), then you need patches. You can get as many of those as you want from that piece.

Step 6: You're Finished!

Now you need to make it yours!
Stencils+spray paint, sweet patches and buttons make it look alot cooler.

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    12 Discussions


    Question 2 months ago on Introduction

    I've been very intrigued by this idea for quite some time and am finally ready to make use of this project. Do you have any pics of the finished product? How much smaller is the final pack? Or how do you use it nowadays? Thanks.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    *whispers* thats not a laundry bag that is a duffel bag*/whispers*
    the laundry bag/barracks bag is green with a drawstring at the top.

    good job on the instructable.

    duffel bags make great travel luggage because the airline treats it as 1 piece of luggage regardless of weight. you can easily fit over 80 lbs of junk into it.

    5 replies

    Just flew Southwest from Tampa to Providence. Limit is 50 lbs per bag. Which sucks, as my bag, empty, weighs in at 8... $25 if over 50 lbs.


    No, no duffle bag. But on their website, it says that you are limited to 2 checkin bags, with a weight limit each of 50 lbs. It might be different for military. It should be!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Haha thanks! Dude at the thrift store told me it was a laundry bag thought. Thanks for the clear-up.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    to tell you the truth id rather have the duffel bag but good job


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, it is called a Seabag. Nice job though. The Navy laundry bag is called a "ditty bag" and is netted.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    The Army bag is a duffle-the Navy calls them sea bags, but I think the difference used to be the sea bag had drawstrings and grommets at the top-duffles have a pin that the grommets all go over, and the strap clips to them to hold it all in place. I also think sea bags used to be white canvas.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice Mod! I did an army duffle mod for anything flat and long like snowboards, airsofts, etc. Check me out <a rel="nofollow" href="">HERE</a><br/>

    Mr. Rig It

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely done sir and I have to say I am jealous of your sewing abilities. Good job with you project . If I may suggest, you could use some more pictures of the finished product. Fill it and show it being worn. Great use of material, lots of good photos, very cost effective, and great use of skills. Good job.