How to Make a Bindle

If you've ever seen a cartoon, you know that vagabonds carry bindles. You may not actually know what a bindle is (that little bag-on-a-stick thing) or what it's for (they carry their stuff in it) but you know they carry it. It's become ingrained in our collective consciousness, like detectives carrying magnifying glasses. Well, times are getting tough again, and you never know when you'll need to make one in case you yourself become a career hobo.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Making the Bindle Stave

There are two basic components to a bindle: The kerchief and the stave that supports it. For a stave, any long, straight pole will do. A broomhandle would work fine, but I decided to go more hillbilly-chic and cut one myself. I prefer willow saplings, because they're long, straight, light and strong. They don't carry them in most stores, so I sought one out in the local vermin-infested swamp.

Step 2: Tying the Kerchief

The kerchief is the part of the bindle that contains your hobostashtm, which may include a harmonica, moonshine, a comically ragged stovepipe hat, or victuals. In this case, it contains my Pantspack, which in turn contains all of the clothes I took while visiting friends this weekend.
I made this particular kerchief myself out of cotton cloth, it measures about 1 square yard and will also make an excellent keffiyeh for when the dustbowl envelops your shantytown.

Congratulations! You have a bindle. You can now enjoy the majesty of the countryside from the comfort and safety of a moving boxcar, make stew in rusty tin cans, and die of consumption. For best results, grow a beard and keep it just long enough to be really gross, wear oversized threadbare suits and use a piece of rope to keep your trousers from falling down.

Be the First to Share


    • Home Decor Contest

      Home Decor Contest
    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest

    27 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 1

    Actually, "Bindlestiff" is the term for a hobo who carries a bindle. "Stiff" just refers to him being an average guy. An average guy who carries a Bindle.

    It's a Kercheif, and a stick/pole.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 months ago

    According to wikipedia: A "bindlestiff", according to James Blish in his novel, A Life for the Stars, was about a hobo who stole another hobo's "bindle," hence the colloquium "stiff" as in steal.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    The only giant bandana I've found that is suitable for a bindle is the Hobo Hanky. It's as big as the keffiyeh or shemagh but it doesn't make you look like a terrorist. :-)


    5 years ago

    Your handkerchief is more of a small blanket :)

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hobo's used a kerchief, which is a much bigger version of the bandana. Cowboy's also used them. Nobody really makes a proper sized kerchief anymore except the Hobo Hanky.


    5 years ago

    My life is complete!!!! Now i can bindle everywhere!! Walking around butler!! At home! At a friends house! Traveling to distant lands!! At camp! At walmart!! I might even take my bindle to school !!!
    cuz im all about dat bindle life yo!!!

    great instructable and bindle btw :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    man thank you u saved me just in time for halloween to i can't wait.....

    Die of consumption?    My Grandfather got consumption in his hobo days (although I don't think he died from it)

    Again, great Ible

    chicks dig me

    10 years ago on Introduction

    this shouldnt be awesome, i should be appauled some one is doing this from a cartoon, but its damn cool. i love it. almost better than a backpack and i love the odd looks i get from a croud, there like"what the hell is that dude carrying". people even compliment me on it while im traveling! this instructible is awesome!

    I tied one of these about a month ago. I used it to carry my twine making equipment, a board, mallet, and yucca leaves (of course), and a knife, which was actually on my belt (I have a Letherman Juice Kf4 multi-tool) Anyway, people gave me weird looks. It wasn't like when a little kid does it and they say "how cute" It was more like "Is that kid crazy? should I call the cops?" It held my stuff well though, thanks for the instuctable.

    A passing fad, I say! Hillbilly-Chic Monthly is a rag, all "10 ways to tell if your cousin is cheating on you" or "Lose weight on the possum diet". They have to come up with a bunch of filler because of the publication schedule. For the good stuff, you've gotta go with a bi-annual publication, like Appalachian Living or the Okey Revue.

    Everyone knows that possums are a healthy part of a balanced breakfast, how do you make such accusations. Besides, someone else's barbecue sauce on them is a great way to tell if their cheating, but that's mostly with brother and sister. Ewwwww!

    Well, perhaps, but even possum is bad for you if you eat too much. The trick is moderation--you have to keep a balanced diet of coon and squirrel, too. Barbecue sauce is good, but I thought the most reliable one is if you see a new tattoo with someone else's name on it--careful, though; it could just be your name misspelled.

    The utilitarian hat! That wide brim is especially useful for people like me who spend a lot of time outside in the sun and the rain and who are made extremely uncomfortable by eye-contact.