For 2012, I’m using my Marmot Kompressor pack for my bikepacking setup. It has a bit more room for gear than my Lezyne pack. The one thing it did not come with was a waist strap. That was fine for hiking, but when biking, I prefer a waist strap to keep the pack from bouncing around too much.
Yes, I could probably buy a waist strap to attach to the pack, but I am a make your own gear guy and I have paracord. (You can imagine the manly grunts made as I typed this).
The requirements for the waist strap were that it had to be adjustable and minimalist. I didn’t want to use a cobra knot like you find on the sternum strap for the pack or paracord bracelets because I felt that would make the strap too bulky and uncomfortable around the waist.
Making the strap
The strap is made up of two cross knot chains that are attached to the pack straps using sternum strap adjusters. Since my pack did not come with waist strap buckles already in place, I had to use a pair of quick attach adjusters.
Finding these adjusters in small quantities was a challenge, but I finally found them from Best Buy Buckle. They are made and shipped from China, but that was the only option I could find. If you need a couple for one of your own projects, let me know and I can send some your way.
Each side of the waist strap is made from approximately 5′-6′ of paracord. Start with a Cow Hitch to get the paracord connected to the sternum strap.
Next, it’s on to the series of cross knots. A cross knot tutorial can be found on Instructables. I realize that my finger cover up part of the cord in the picture. The first bend goes over the vertical cord and the second two bends are under the vertical cord.
To complete the knot, bring the vertical end of the cord behind all of the bends, up through the top loop, and then down through the bottom loop.
Pull the ends tight and adjust the distance from the strap adjuster. I tried to get 1″-2″ distance between the knots.
Keep tying the knots until the strap is the desired length.
I stopped the first side at the middle of my waist and attached the end to a size 2 Nite Ize S-Biner These are the same type of carabiner that are available for paracord bracelets in the store.
The second end was made several inches longer to allow for “winter growth”, aka extra layers of clothing and extra layers of Oatmeal Stout induced winter weight.
I used cross knots for all of the knots, but there is probably a better one to use for the last knot on each side of the strap. Something less bulky so that it fits into the carabiner a little better. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Wearing the strap
I’ve used the strap on a couple of shorter rides, but I haven’t had the chance to use it on a fully loaded bikepacking ride. So far, the strap is working as designed and it prevents the pack from moving around.
Want to see more paracord? Head over to the paracord section of the store and have a look at the quick release bracelets. 50% of all bracelet sales are being donated to NUMB (Nebraska United Methodist Bike Ride for Hunger). It’s a great ride that I have done the last 3 years and they support hunger projects locally and globally.