My 2 Cents: an Improvised Backpack From a Grocery Bag and Paracord

About: i like to make things. i usually forget to document them, but i hope to start.

Forgot your bag? Have a grocery bag and some string? Don't worry, you're not stranded at all! I've used this method many, many times to carry stuff home from work on my bike when I've A) forgotten my real bag, B) not remembered my bag, or C) remembered my bag, but remembered it sitting next to the door as I left. It takes about two seconds and two cents. No excuses!

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Step 1: Collect the Materials

For this instructable, you will need:

1. some paracord, twine, string, shoelaces, bootlaces (not strawberry), ripped bits of fabric, anything that'll hold what you're carrying (shouldn't be too heavy anyway - you're putting it in a plastic grocery bag!) Mine was approximately 7'5" just because that's what i cut it to. I have lengths of paracord like this stashed everywhere. You'll need about that length anyway. So tie stuff together, whatever you have to do. I won't judge.

2. two coins, pebbles, candies, marbles, quail eggs (maybe not), anything small, not sharp, and having a shape. I used pennies because i wanted to use the cheap pun in the title.

3. a bag. great way to recycle! also most businesses give you this if you purchase something anyway...if you forget to tell them not to bother. don't worry, this time it works out! two handles on the top are really handy, although you _could_ do this without them...but i won't be going over that.

4. something to carry. sharp edges are bad, as is excess weight. you can double bag if you want.

Step 2: Drop the Money

Place your two pennies, pebbles etc in the bottom two corners of the bag. Pinch around them as shown. Wait patiently until the next step.

Step 3: The First Knots

Tie a "noose" in each end of your cordage. This is like a slipknot but with the long end (the one that takes the weight) being the one adjustable. If you tie a regular slipknot, as soon as you put it on, it will fall apart. Just follow the picture.

Place each "noose" around the scrawny neck below the penny you've placed in the bag and tighten. Do this on both sides. You should now have a bag with the same cord tied to each corner. Almost there!

Step 4: Placing Your Goods, and the FINAL KNOT

Place your objects to be carried inside the bag. Make sure no sharp corners protrude, or laser beams, or anything. Grocery bags acutally aren't that strong!

Next, take the cord that you've already attached, grab it in the exact middle, and thread that middle through both handles. pick an appropriate length (the bottom sections of cord will form your shoulder straps) and tie a regular slipknot with the doubled section (the part that you threaded through the handles). It's just the opposite of the "noose" that you tied for the bottom ones. This way you pull on the doubled section to untie, as opposed it untying itself.

EDIT: For ease, I've added some more pictures. It's just a regular doubled slipknot, but the original pictures looked like a NYC subway map of paracord. So, for reference, in the upper right corner of the photos, i've simulated the knot in just one strand.

Step 5: Portage Your Belongings

Now, put it on! and ride off into the sunset. Don't forget to recycle your bag when you get home, or just remember one next time. Also don't accidentally throw out your pennies. I like to ride with the "thank you" side outward, so everyone says "you're welcome."

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    6 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 5

    The solution to taking stuff home on my bike! Two cents and a paracord! Thanks, it was becoming an absolute pain to have the wheels mess up the bag or have the bike go out of whack because one of the handlebars was weighed down.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I guess its my age but I was thinking paperbag b4 I opened the "ible" . This is a great idea although if your pack is heavy those strings would hurt, perfect for emergencies however

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    yeah it's not a good "everyday" pack but it beats the pants off trying to dangle a plastic bag from your handlebars, and, if you're like me, you always have some paracord, but usually not a bag


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I think it's a good idea. It's like a plastic bag furoshiki.

    I am having trouble, though, understanding Step 4; your written explanation is confusing to me, and I wish there was a more complete set of photos for it.

    2 replies

    Thanks for the input! It's definitely easier than it looks, the sort of thing that everyone knows by heart but is tough to describe. So, i've added some pictures in step 4 to clear it up. It's just a regular slipknot, like a poorly-tied shoe. How do the pics look?