How To: DIY Paracord Compression Sack

Space is at a premium when packing the last few items in your backpack for an extended backpacking trip. It's easy to wonder how it's ever going to fit. That's the moment when a compression sack can really come in handy. However, you definitely don't want something that's going to weigh you down. Luckily, this DIY paracord compression sack will free up some space in your pack and it only weighs two ounces. Just follow these steps to complete this easy DIY project:

First, gather the materials. You'll need a galvanized washer, a thick rubber band, and approximately 17 feet of paracord.

Materials needed for your DIY paracord compression sack Materials needed for your DIY paracord compression sack


Step 1: Now, begin tying the base knot. Fold the paracord in half and lay it on a flat surface.

DIY paracord compression sack - Step 1 Step 1: Fold paracord in half and place it on a flat surface.


Step 2: Measure the item you want to compress and ensure that the top loop is several inches longer than your item. Once you've measured (or eyeballed it) bring the paracord out to each side to create the clover-looking shape below.

Step 2

 Step 3: Make sure the paracord looks like the picture below.

Step 3: DIY paracord compression sack

Step 4: Bring the bottom section of paracord up and to the left.

Step 4: DIY paracord compression sack

Step 5: Take the left loop up over the other loops and to the right.

Step 5: DIY Paracord compression sack

Step 6: Take the top loop down over the other loops.

Step 6: DIY paracord compression sack

Step 7: Take the loop on the right and pull it to the left. You'll go over the first section of paracord and under the second section. At this point, you'll notice that you're creating a basic weave.

Step 7: DIY paracord compression sack

Step 8: Pull the knot tight.

Step 8: DIY paracord compression sack

Step 9: Center the item you want to compress in the middle of the knot and then pull the loops around the item and through a galvanized washer.

Pull Ends Through Washer

Step 10: Wrap rubber band around paracord several times just above the washer as shown below.

Wrap rubber band around paracord

Final look

Step 11: Compress!

Compress the item by pushing down on the item and the washer and by pulling up on the loops. Another way to compress your item is to take two of the loops that oppose each other on the stuff sack and pull outward. Next, repeat the process with the other two loops. For maximum compression, find a friend and have them help you pull the opposing loops. Once you have the amount of compression that you are happy with, tie the top off with an overhand knot.

Benefits of this compression "sack."

  1. It uses one long, continuous, piece of paracord. This single piece of paracord is easy to manage and can come in handy should you ever need it in a survival situation.
  2. This compression sack is extremely lightweight. It only weighs 2 ounces, which is extremely light.
  3. It's easy to take your item in and out of the compression sack. After you tie the knot the first time, you're all set. No tying and untying knots over and over each time you want to compress your item.
  4. It's inexpensive
  5. This compression sack offers a lot of vertical compression without any expansion width-wise


Do you use compression sacks for backpacking? Why or why not? Let us know what you think in a comment below.
Chris Martin
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Chris Martin
Chris shares his passion for cycling, hiking, skiing, and climbing from Fort Collins, Colorado. As the videographer for Sierra Trading Post, Chris shares outdoor tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your time spent outside. When he's not out adventuring he's making videos or trying to keep up with his 4-year-old son.
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