The other day at work, I received some documents in a FedEx courier bag. I thought I'd keep the bag, and see if I could make a stuff sack out of it. I had seen this done elsewhere on some 'make your own camping stuff' blogs. And so I made one. At some point, I could graduate to making fancier stuff bags, but this is essentially free and works well enough for me for now.
This stuff sack bag is a great way of organizing camping gear - flexible, compactable, rip-stop tough, and easy to pack a few into a knapsack.
It was simple to make and took no more than 5 minutes. The materials I needed were as follows:
- A FedEx bag made from Tyvek, a strong fibrous cloth-like material that is water resistant, rip-stop, and tough
- A sewing needle
- A spool of dental floss
- Transparent tape - 'Scotch tape'
- Some cord - ideally something with the thickness of 550 Paracord - I used some thicker stuff I had in my car trunk
- A knife to trim the bag into the correct dimensions and to clean it up
Now I had a bag with a cord sewed into a rim, and extending out of the cut edge. I noticed that the cord was a bit bulky, so next time I would use thinner cord - but it works well, and it only took me 5 minutes. Now I just have to go and find me some more FedEx bags!
One of my big problems when I go camping is having everything scattered everywhere once I remove it from my knapsack - putting a dozen or so of these together should fix that, with hardly any weight penalization.
I used a cable tie to seal the cord together, and snipped the long end off, because I didn't have a cord lock with me. Since then, I now have a cord lock from WalMart (from the craft / fabric section), which I bought for 40 cents... I'll put that on so I can keep the bag closed tightly without having to tie the cord in a knot.
Here is why I cut that 1/2 inch square off of the side of the rim, before sewing it up. You can see why in this close up photo of the rim, showing the exit/entrance points for cord.
Again, a close up detail shot of rim, with exit/entrance points for cord.
You can see the detail here of the inside of the stuff sack, which is the outside of the original FedEx courier bag.
Cord cinched closed, showing detail of rim sewn with dental floss. It is really sturdy, and the dental floss won't break down with exposure - as it is waterproof and tough as anything.
You can pack it full of items and not worry about the bag being ruptured, like you would with a plastic bag.
Here is my stuff sack cinched up closed, containing my Trangia cooking kit, and a few other items.
Hope you found this useful. If you've done something similar, let me know. I've heard of folks making knapsacks and tarps and other camping equipment together using Tyvek.
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