I carry a lot of things with me every day. some things like keys and wallet and a folding knife I keep in my pockets. Other things I find myself putting in my pockets that I would prefer to carry on my belt, but the carrying cases always wear out. Generaly I like to have my multi tool and a flashlight with me at all times, and when I go in the field I carry several more things, such as survival gear and first aid items that may be needed in a hurry like field dressings, tourniquet etc. So today I am going to show you how I make my own pouches to carry things in.
They are extremely easy to make, and a lot cheaper than buying more carrying pouches.
Step 1: Materials and Their Uses
The first thing you will need is some good sturdy material to make the pouches out of. I prefer something that is either vinyl, nylon or polyester, they seem to last longer. The material I am using here is part of the leg from a pair of tactical pants that the right knee wore out of. Tactical pants are generally made with a type of weave that will stop the fabric from ripping if it gets cut. As with any fabric it will eventually get weak from use or from rubbing against something, but the good thing about these pouches are they are easy and quick to make, and cheap.
A few other ideas for material would be old backpacks or duffle bags, and most types of luggage are made from fairly strong material. For this project though, the fabric can not be to thick or stiff. If it is, it may not be flexible enough.
First off, let me say I can not stitch anything. So for this project the only thing needed to bond the material together is a good quality super glue. I like all types of Loctite Superglue. The gel type bonds faster than liquid superglue, and it resists water and will function fine in temperatures below freezing. This will be good for the main adhesive used in this project. Liquid super glue is also useful, especially for gluing the edges of the nylon straps, and the pouch seams.
This address will take you to the Loctite website, where you can get more information, including the material safety data sheets.
Super glue will bond skin together in seconds, so knowing what to do if that should happen before hand will be easier than trying to look it up with fingers all glued together, or if you find yourself glued to your project.
For closures I use velcro, which can also be glued in place, provided the velcro is not the industrial strength kind. This kind of velcro is meant to hold heavy objects and is not suited to this kind of job. I bought a pack of Velcro tape from Dollar General for 90 cents that is perfectly strong enough for this.
To add strength, and your own style, you will need a nylon strap. If you are making this from a backpack or duffle bag there should be some on it. Nylon dog leashes and tie down straps are also potential sources. I am sure there are more sources for these materials, but these are the ones I have around my house, and in my workshop / junk pile storage area. The straps I am using are shoulder straps from duffle bags that I do not use.
Once a nylon strap has been cut, it will immediately begin to fray. The easiest way to remedy this, and the way that looks the best is to simply coat the end with the liquid super glue.
Step 2: Carrying Pouches for Common Items
Now, as far as tools needed for this project, the list is pretty short;
2; Ruler or tape measure
3; Corrugated cardboard box
That is it!
To start things off I will begin with my multi tool. So far it has outlived two store bought belt pouches, and since then I have been carrying it in my cargo pocket, much to my knee's disapproval.
Using my pair of tactical pants, I cut off the leg just below the knee.
I then split the leg lengthwise as close to the seam as possible. Scissors work best for this, a box cutter could be used but it will sometimes bunch the fabric up and give you jagged edges. Remove all the rest of the seams, so you have a nice flat piece of material.
Next, measure the object you intend to use this pouch for. My multitool is 4 1/2" long, 1 1/2" wide, and 3/4" deep. Take one section of your cardboard box and cut some pieces to the length and width of your object, and stack them until they reach the right depth. you can then tape or glue them together. For the rest of the project you will use this in place of the actual object to prevent getting glue all over it.
The size your piece of material will need to be is 3x the length, and 2 1/2x the width. When the material is folded over the object to make the pouch, the width of the material covers both the width and the depth, which is why it has to be 2 1/2x the width of the object, in this case the multitool.
Take the rest of your box to lay down for your work surface, as it is likely to get glue all over it.
Lay the material out flat, with the side that you want as the outside of the finished pouch facing up. Once we get some of the edges glued we will turn it inside out, so for right now what looks like it will be the inside is actually the outside.
Lay your fake cardboard object on the material and pull the it up so that it covers the entire object, then fold the material back at the top like bed covers. Glue this down with generous amounts of the gel super glue. You will have to hold some pressure on this until it dries, but the glue will penetrate the material so you will have to press it down for a few seconds, then move your fingers before you become a bigger part of your project than you would like to be. Let it dry about 5 minutes. Next glue the sides down, again with generous amounts of the gel glue. Repeat your press and move process as you do this. I found it easier to make the sides come out even if I did both sides at the same time. Let it dry about 5 minutes.
Again, the glue will seep through, and it may also glue your pouch down to your work surface, so be careful.
Next, using the long "tail" at the top of the pouch, carefully turn it inside out. Check to make sure the object slides in easily. If so, cut the "tail" off leaving about 1/2 inch. Apply glue to this and fold it inside the pouch. This will help create a stiff and durable top. Apply liquid glue to each side seam, to increase the strength of each side.
Step 3: Adding Support and Velcro Closure
Next you need to put your real object inside the pouch. Using a nylon strap, which will be used to add support and serve as the closure for the pouch, measure off enough length so that it is long enough to go around the pouch and the object lengthwise, and overlap enough to cover the width of the Velcro used to hold it closed.
Now put your cardboard fake back in for the rest of the gluing. Starting at the front, apply the gel glue to the pouch and press the nylon strap to it. Continue around the bottom and back. Trim the overlap until it is just long enough to cover the width of the Velcro, and seal the end with glue. You can now cut a length of Velcro to the appropriate size, determined by the width of the pouch. The Velcro I bought was a Velcro tape, but the adhesive tape on the back is not strong enough by its self to hold when applied to fabric.
There will be a lot of pull on this part of the pouch when opening, so apply plenty of the gel glue under the Velcro. Super glue will seem to be dry within a few minutes, but to reach full cure it should set for 24 hours. This step should not be cut short for the glue holding the Velcro in place. Wait at least 24 hours before using the Velcro once it has been applied.
All that is left to do now is to add the belt loop. Cut another nylon strap, usually about 4 inches will allow most tactical or nylon belts through. Glue heavily on each end to ensure the weight of the tool does not pull it off. Finish by gluing all seams and edges one more time with the liquid glue and you are done. This same technique can be used for any kind of object you want to carry. Measurements for your pouches are tailored to the size of whatever you want to use it for.
For most things, 3x the length, and 2 1/2x the width is a good size. If you do end up with extra material, trim it away after gluing. As with anything you will be using in the field, test it out first to make sure your seams are firmly set. Besides carrying on a belt, these are great for duct taping to the shoulder straps of a backpack for quick access to your gear.
Step 4: Flashlight Holster
Making a holster for a flashlight is incredibly simple, and quick. For this you will need two nylon straps. One around 10 inches long for a belt loop, and the other long enough to go around your flashlight 2 1/4 times. You will also need something just slightly bigger around than your flashlight handle. For mine, an old deep well socket is perfect.
With your 10 inch long strap, fold it over to make a loop that is about 3 1/2 inches, and glue the remaining 1 1/2 inches together.
Next, wrap the other nylon strap around your "fake" object until it reaches the point of overlapping, and apply a strip of gel glue to hold it. This will be your holster. Keep applying glue and rolling for another quarter turn. Let this set about 5 minutes to dry before continuing. Apply a wide section of gel glue to each side of the glued together end of the belt loop, and the inside edges of the holster. Lay the belt loop on the holster and roll it up inside. Continue rolling and gluing until you reach the end. If the end of your holster strap is going to end up on the front of the holster, it is fine to trim it so that it ends near the back, out of sight.
While it is drying, it may be necessary to clamp or tape it around the "fake" flashlight to preserve its round shape.
Again, glue all seams and edges again with liquid glue to strengthen the holster. The same technique used for the other pouches will work fine for a flashlight too, but I like this design better, because it is lighter, allows easier access to the flashlight, and it will not hold water around the flashlight if it gets wet. This part is especially useful if temperatures will be below freezing.
Let it dry for 24 hours before use.
Step 5: Finished
That is it! If you would like to further personalize your carrying cases, a permanent marker can be used to mark you first aid pouches with a cross, or if you do not have anything camo, but like the camo design, simple black, green and brown stripes and spots can be added.
The technique used for my multitool can be used to fit any sized object. I hope this proves helpful if you are going out for some adventure.
As always, be safe!
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