Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paracord Canteen Cover...

After working on this project off and on for several days, I've finally finished. I ended up using over 200 feet of paracord for the finished cover/pouch, for the 1L Flat Pack Canteen from County Comm, tied mostly with basic square knotting/macrame type knot work.

I wasn't following any tutorial, so this was a good bit of trial and error on how much paracord I actually needed, and especially finishing up the bottom side. I tried using hitching and weaving, but just couldn't get anything to work to my satisfaction, so settled on sewing the bottom side ends together. And although the bottom side is not flat, it'll still stand upright, and the needle/thread work is secure.

I used a length of tether cord to attach the canteen cap to the canteen, with scaffold knots/loops to prevent loss.

I had no idea of how much cord I'd need at the start, so after making a loop around the canteen with a few feet of cord and holding it with a cord lock, I started cutting 10 foot lengths of paracord and cow/ring hitching them onto the loop to fill up the space all the way around. I ended up with 36 strands/72 working ends, for around 365 feet of paracord to start with. That left me with using around 6 feet of each 10 foot strand for the way I completed the cover.  Other finishing methods would have used more cord.

Using alternating square knots, like I'd done with paracord belts and a guitar strap several years ago, I worked my way horizontally around the canteen.  I wanted the 8 inch height of the canteen covered, but you could make it shorter, or possibly longer to close the top, maybe using velcro, fashioning a flap, or sewing in a zipper. The knot work is tight, making for a stiff but still flexible form, so the pouch could be used to carry other items besides the canteen.

My hands sometimes bother me and cramp up, so I took frequent breaks with this project, also being careful to avoid blisters that you can sometimes get with tightening a lot of paracord square knots.  I have no idea how much time I actually spent on this project, but there's definitely a lot of hours in this one.  I used an adjustable shoulder strap from my Spec-Ops Pack-Rat with the cover, adding about 12 feet of paracord, with a Solomon bar/Portuguese sinnet/cobra stitch, for a wider shoulder pad, knotted over it.

Along with the canteen, I also got some new Pico Grappling Hooks and a Maratac Stainless Steel AAA Flashlight, that both fit neatly on a keyring.  I added a few gaucho knots with 0.9mm cord on them.  The knurling on the the light is great for easy one handed operation, and I'd say this is the nicest quality/built AAA LED flashlight I've owned.

The grappling hooks were made for use by soldiers in the field, to snag trip wires and IED detonation cords, but any good scout or civilian could certainly find them useful to retrieve items that might be out of reach otherwise. If you hadn't seen them before, you now know you need one your EDC key ring!  I have another on a split ring and attached to a Drop-Line Rapid Line Deployment System.  My deviant side can't help but imagine a cat 'o nine tails fitted with lots of the little grappling hooks, ouch...


The Mad Plumbarian said...

Im tired, and my hands hurt from just looking at it! Nice job!!!

Anonymous said...

Simply; amezing and outstanding! ;-)


J.D. Lenzen said...



Min said...

Top notch! I picked up half a dozen of those and have been brainstorming on how to para-wrap them. I like how they fit in my pack in comparison to my Nalgene.

Dan said...

Holy cow! SD, you keep raising the bar on me, this is truly some next level para cord work! I'd love to wrap a flask like that, it would be just incredibly cool. Keep up the excellent work man.

Anonymous said...

Good work, Sir.

I have been a fan of your work for a while now, and have recently started my own projects as well. I have been searching the Internet and I haven't been able to find a side by side comparison of cord. I have gone to supply captain and countycomm to look at what type of cord they have... Is it possible for you to post a side by side picture of the accessory cord from supply captain and the tether cord from countycomm? I am having trouble determining the difference between the two. Any help you could offer would be great.



Stormdrane said...

Thanks all for the kind comments :)

@Nate, Here's a photo link for a comparison of a piece of olive drab accessory cord from Supply Captain, and orange tether cord from County Comm.

They're both nylon, the tether cord is just slightly larger in diameter and the outer sheath is different in size/number of yarns used in it's construction, making it a bit stiffer in feel. I like both types for knot work, but you get more cord/length for your money with County Comm if it comes down to that...

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! This helped greatly.



ari said...

Fantastic - I wish I was up to something like that, just wait until I find a canteen to do it for :)

Anonymous said...

Possible to use this same technique for a multi-tool sheath?

Stormdrane said...

@Anonymous, Sure, it should work for a paracord multitool sheath, maybe using a bit of shock cord around the top, to help in retention. Or use smaller diameter tether cord/trot line/mini blind string...

For a more ambitious square knot sheath done with smaller diameter cord, check out this one by Vince Brennan(frayedknotarts).

And another sheath done with a gaucho knot by JP(Knotical).

Anonymous said...

Stormdrane I would just like to thank you for your blog I think the things you make are incredible. I am new to knotting and am finding it extremely enjoyable I am finding all kinds of new projects to tackle and loving it! Your blog has given me the majority of the resources I've used in my newfound hobby, so thank you. I have already gone through the majority of my first order of paracord and need to reorder I was hoping you could tell me where you purchase your cord because the vast array of choices out there is overwhelming. Thank you again.

Stormdrane said...

@Anonymous, I've bought paracord mostly from my local Army/Navy store recently, but for online ordering, the Supply Captian has been a reliable source with fair pricing and shipping for years.

Going Gear doesn't have the same variety of colors, but they have good paracord, touting 8 inner strands compared with more common 7 strand cores others offer, which is appealing for the 'survival' uses of paracord. They also carry an incredible selection of flashlights... ;)

Anonymous said...

Great thanks for the info keep up the good work i always look forward to seeing your latest creations.

Stacker33 said...

That's amazing!! On your profile it says you live in McDonough?

Stormdrane said...

@Stacker33, Being an Army brat growing up, we moved a lot, so 'home' is just were I find myself, which is currently McDonough, GA. ;)

Stacker33 said...

Cool i was asking because I live in McDonough too

Bound For Cory said...

I have to say it has been a while since i have been active on this blog, but of course when checking your recent work I am, as always, impressed. Good Work sir!

Anonymous said...

SO AWESOME. I'm speechless.


john9496 said...

how did u do the base im goin out tomorrow to hopefully to get 200ft of paracord and a .5L canteen to do this on... and i see how u did the main part but i dont understand the base

Stormdrane said...

@john9496, When I had the length I wanted I tied a few wall knots with pairs of strands, folded them under so the ends met up, then used needle and thread to sew those all up together.

There may be a better way to finish, but since I was doing this on my own, I just settled for sewing to finish.

You can certainly experiment with trying different knotting methods to finish, just tie/untie until you find something you're satisfied with before cutting any strands to end the project.

I don't have any macrame books, but if you look for some, they may have solutions for finishing square knotted purses/bags, that might work for this project...

Stephen Klassen said...

i like the design, but it kind of defeats the purpose of having that much para cord. if its not in one length, i'm thinking that instead of square knots you could crochet a case for the canteen. That way you have a usable length of 550 cord about 200 ft long.

David Dooley said...

Hi Stormdrain,

After several weeks of industrious work and blisters and tendonitis in both hands I have completed a messenger style bag based on your canteen project. My bag is 22" wide X 8" deep X 15" tall with a flap that covers the entire front of the pouch. I started with the flap and when I reached the length that I thought would cover the front of the bag I added more strings to do the sides and front, and I also included a center divider across the width of the bag. The Flap and back was made from 68 doubled over 25' pieces of para cord and when I got the bag I added 15 x 12' doubled over para cord for each side and then another 64 x 12' strands each for the front panel and the center divider for a grand total of 256 pairs or 512 live ends.

It was quite intense working on it all and making sure everything came out even, but now I'm at the point where I need to do the base and I have all these strings and I have no idea how to finish it off neatly. The bag is looking great and I really don't want to screw it up now, so I figured that as you gave me the idea, from the water canteen pouch, I'd see if you could give me a hint as to what to do now.

The bag is not a single colour, it's made from a selection of neon rainbow coloured (6 colours) black, white and for the sides I used a multicolored para cord called Firestorm, I think. The front of the bag mirrors the back and flap, but the center divider is just a solid black. I'd love to send you some pictures if you'd like to see what I'm talking about.

Any ways thanks for the inspiration and I love reading your blog. David

Stormdrane said...

@David, I wish I had a good solution for finishing up a grand project as it sounds you've undertaken, but my own finish to my project was just an improvised knotting of the ends and sewing everything up.

The best bet would be to get a hold of some of those macrame books from the 70's and 80's that have purse/bag patterns in them with ways to finish up, lots of used ones available on ebay/etsy/amazon. Not having any of those myself, I couldn't say which would be the one to go with.

My own searches for such info online haven't been very succesful, only seeing a simple finish of tying square knots from front/back side cords together, but that would be something for a small pouch instead of a multi-stranded flat bottom for a larger messenger bag type of project.

There are macrame forums online, and could be someone in one of them might have a good solution. I'd certainly like to see how your project looks. You can host photos on photobucket, xanga, flickr, etc. and put the links here in a comment so others can see them too. ;)

Stormdrane said...

@David Dooley, That's an awesome bit of knot work you put together, thanks for sharing!

Not all of the photo links are working, but from the ones that do, I can see you did an excellent job with all the time and effort you put in to your project. :)

David Dooley said...

Hi Stormdrane, here is my post again with the links working, sorry. Combination of my dyslexia and blindness while typing the links in


Hi Stormdrane,

I have finally finished my bag and hopefully I have managed to add some links to the pictures which I have posted on my iCloud.com account. The Bag took me almost 4 months to finish, along with lots of RSI in my hands. I am on the whole very happy with the way it turned out but I will have to redo the handle on top and shorten the strap which is about 18 inches too long.

Link 1 should show a picture of the front of the bag


Link 2 is a shot of the inside showing the integral divider.


Link 3 is a shot showing the bottom of the bag showing how I linked the front and back panels to form the bottom of the bag. I finished the front and back in a sort of saw tooth pattern, I wanted to finish in a straight line but some of my working ends ended up be somewhat short so I came up with this. I over sewed, with gutted para-cord, the two edges and then I basically sewed the edges together with a running stitch.


This next image shows the base of the bag. I extended the side panels as far as I could and then I filled in the middle with a bit of a weave pattern to pull it tight. The to deal with the ends of the black from the divider I Pulled them through both the inner and outer bases along the middle of the base and then ran them out to the edges and over knotted back to the middle once there I decided to link all the black straps at the center to make the final base stable and locked together. So the base is very thick at 3 layers.


The next picture shows the strap and how I wove the ends of the strap into the side panel of the bag, I originally tried to end the strap with some knots but they were big and bulky on the inside so I came up with the weave. The strap is constructed of the same square knot of the bag just all in black.


To make the strap a little softer, so as not to chew up my shoulder and to lighten the strap design, not in weight terms, I created the pad you see in the last image. It is a 12 bight x 113 Turks Head and is the white that you see. I made it on a 3 foot section of 2 inch ABS pipe as I wanted it nice and wide open so that I could then weave in the colored sections following the over under pattern of the original TH.


The last Photo is a close up of the strap pad, mainly just cause I love the way it looks


I hope you like it. The concept was from your water pouch of this blog, but I kind of went over board with my version. The construction took almost 4 months and used the best part of $500 paracord, caused a serious amount of pain in both my hands from RSI. and it weighs in a almost 7.5 KGS

Thanks for the inspiration


Johann W. Coltrane said...

Thanks for the info. AND the links.