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Don’t you hate buying a compression sack, and getting it home only to find out that it’s the wrong size? I’ve been guilty of this a few times. That’s when I decided to make my own DIY compression sack for 1/3 of the cost.
With an upcoming trip to the BWCA just days away, I needed to come up with a solution fast. One last-minute purchase at amazon and I had a custom size DIY Compression Stuff Sack completed within an hour.
What You’ll Need for your DIY Compression Sack
- ¾ yard of Nylon Ripstop Fabric or ½ yard and ¼ yard of alternating fabric
- 3 yards of Nylon Strap & 3 Plastic Clips
- Drawstring or Shoelace
- Lighter or Candle
- Sewing Machine
- Polyester or Nylon Thread
- Heavy Duty Sewing Needles
Most of these materials I had on hand, reducing the cost dramatically. If you get into the MOYG (Make your own gear) world, I highly recommend buying a bag of clips and other things to have on hand. For under $10 you can get 20 clips to keep on hand.
The fabric will have enough leftovers to make an additional bag and for a few dollars more, you can get triple the nylon straps and clips.
You can make yours with Ripstop nylon, Dyneema, Tyvek, or any other type of lightweight waterproof fabric. I made 2 DIY Compression Stuff Sacks for $10 total. I have leftover hardware to make more if needed.
Total time = 1.25hrs
Skill Level = Intermediate
DIY Compression Stuff Sack Pattern
The pattern is for an X-Small Compression Sack. I needed it to fit my ultralight sleeping bag created a few days prior. The pattern is for the final size. You’ll need to add in a .5” seam allowance on each side.
How to make a Stuff Sack
Step 1 – Cut Nylon webbing
Cut three 14” lengths of nylon strap and three 4” lengths of nylon straps. Melt each end of the strap with a flame to prevent fraying.
Step 2 – Carrying Strap
Take your two rectangles, the wrong sides facing out, and sew them together along the long side. Turn right-side out and topstitch.
Add this to the top of one of the circles you’ve already created. Sew along the rounded sides.
Step 3 – Scrunch Sack
With your large rectangle cut for the stuff sack, fold it in half lengthwise and sew along the edge. Leaving right sides together, fold over the top an inch and secure down.
You need enough room for the drawstring. Cut two small holes in your top channel and add the drawstring. Attach one circle to the bottom of the bag.
Step 4 – The Sides and Straps
With wrong sides out, lay the three 14 inch straps in-between each layer as shown below. Stich along the top edge. Turn right side out and add a topstitch. Fold the piece in half, and stitch together to make a circle.
Repeat with the other set, but instead of laying the straps flat; fold the 4-inch strap in half with the top portion of the clip in it.
Step 5 Putting it all together
Add the side pieces to the two remaining circles.
On the bottom of the compression portion of the bag (the side with the long straps) sew the bottom of the bag, to the sack. The bottom of the compression portion should be the wrong side out.
The sack remains right side out. Sew the seams together. Then thread the nylon straps with the bottom clip.
Be careful to watch the right side/wrong side when assembling pieces. I constructed two bags and both got messed up. Circles always add a level of confusion.
I reduced the size of the stitch to create tighter seams. With smaller stitches is harder to use a seam ripper to fix mistakes.
Topstitching isn’t necessary but I like the look. I also feel it adds to its stability since the compression bag is under a lot of pressure.
Backstitching over the straps to reinforce it isn’t necessary since you go back over it with a topstitch. For extra peace of mind, I did backstitch over the strap once.
Never store your down sleeping bag in a compression sack for longer than your trip. It can cause damage to the feathers. Instead, put it in a storage sack or mesh laundry bag so it can breathe when not in use.
Would I make DIY Compression Stuff Sack again?
I loved making these DIY Compression Stuff Sacks. Because of the material, I used, it can double as a dry bag too.
I also loved that it is easier to stuff my sleeping bag into compared to the original that I had. They have a cylindrical design than most, which stuffs easier into tight spots.
Since making the stuff sack, I’ve used it more for my clothing and personal items on the trail. My sleeping bag is floating around filling up the little nooks and crannies of my MYOG Backpack for Hiking.