Hobo Mug

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (tessel.io); now thinking about climate...

I made this last weekend for a hobo-themed picnic: something rustic, in-costume, but probably not practical for real usage.

But then I started using it. Every day this week, I've filled it with tea to bring to class or carry around campus. And I love it!

Basically, it's a mason jar on a strap. But it's so much more! It's a water bottle that doesn't leak if you throw it in your backpack, doesn't deform if you fill it with hot tea. Because of the strap, you can carry it around over your shoulder, and pick it up even if the jar is hot.

As a bonus, it's also WAY more environmentally friendly than those take-out coffee cups that always spill anyway. And as a friend of mine pointed out, it's a portable solar-powered tea maker!

So if this intrigues you, or if you just want to be the hippiest or the hipster-est, read on for my simple instructions.

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Step 1: Materials

You need a mason jar (mine is a wide-mouthed quart jar.. in case I need a quart of tea) and a strap.
The strap can be any length, natural fibers preferred (for authenticity/not melting).

Step 2: Clove Hitch

Wrap the middle of your strap around the mason jar, just under the lip (making sure you'll be able to screw the lid back on).

Clove hitch: wrap strap around once, cross previous wrap, wrap again, pull the end under the X created by crossing it over before. Pull tight.

Step 3: Secure

Tie a half hitch (overhand knot) to secure the clove hitch.

Step 4: Tie the Ends Together

Tie the ends of the strap together with a square knot.

Step 5: Go Forth and Hobo!

Now you have a hobo mug.
I made the obnoxious GIF just for you.
The hobo action shot is ©2012 MJ Maloney.

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    7 Discussions

    Miss Misery

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I hang out in an apartment building full of hipsters and they all drink out of glass jars. In fact, I drink wine out of those things all the time when i'm doing band practice so i don't accidentally kick the glass over and get wine all over the carpet (band practice is in a shed). They are pretty durable. I'm a class five klutz and I still haven't managed to break one.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    surprised you haven't done this before if a moonshiner can use it, why not me. I have been using these my whole life

    But doesn't it have reater chance of shattering and hurting than other containers? glass jars don't seem suitable for rough hobo usage to me.
    But they do look really hip in your picture.


    2 replies

    It depends how rough your usage is. I'm tempted to take one of my jars to the materials science lab and see just what it can handle- but mason jars are particularly suited to lots of use. The walls are thick, and I believe the glass used is tempered, because it is designed to withstand quick transitions between boiling and room temperature without shattering.
    Of course, as far as amorphous polymers go, your Nalgene will also handle many of the same conditions quite gracefully. But choosing between the two for steeping hot tea, I'll pick glass every time; heated plastics in general can give off some noxious chemicals, and I'd rather not chance it.

    We don't have mason jars in my country, but the glass jars which come with jams, pickles etc. will chip/crack/burst if they hit a wall. And putting the jar on a starp means it will fly around at times. Maybe mason jars are stronger...
    I agree for choice of glass over polymers for hot stuff. Even water in clear plastic bottles smells and tastes bad if kept in the sun for long.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    You probably should have worked on shoes instead... hippy! ;-)