Last Hack You’ll Ever Need for Dangling Backpack Straps

Fellow traveler, there can be a lot of small nuisances on our journeys, but dangling straps from your backpack does not have to be one of them. Travelers trade home comforts for the joy of the journey, so the things in that bag–and the bag itself–take on outsized importance.

…Or not. Have you been traveling for years, backpack straps fluttering in the breeze, and it’s never bothered you one whit? Awesome. Carry on, traveler. But if you, too, despise the dangle, let’s fix it, shall we?

This hack is easy, cheap, and after several months, it’s still working perfectly. You’ll use stuff you probably already have: spare buttons and elastic hair bands. Here is my purse-sized backpack, but this would work on most backpacks with pesky straps.

Like everyone else, I tried the old tuck and tie, but the straps came undone. I looked online for solutions and learned that some of our fellow travelers are Velcro-ing them. They are buying little devices to keep them rolled. They’re even cutting off the straps and taking a lit match to the ends to prevent fraying.

I didn’t want to do any of those things. Could I tame the dangle without a purchase and without burning plastic? Yes!

Gather thread, a sewing needle, small scissors, two buttons, and two elastic hair bands. If you have a long-haired person around you, there are probably two (or two hundred) of these little bands to spare. If you have to break down and buy them, they cost about $2. Likewise the buttons–grab a couple medium-sized you’ve got around. Four holes worked well, but two-hole buttons would be fine, too.

Sew the button onto the elastic band. To do this, stab your needle through the elastic. It’s not enough to loop the thread around the band–you want the thread to go through it. Your success lies in having the button VERY securely sewn onto the band, so make a cup of tea, have a seat, and take your time. It can be a little fussy to guide the needle through the thin elastic. The thread loops will be hidden under the button, so no problem if it gets a little messy. Tie off your thread securely. Repeat with the other button and elastic band.

Adjust your bag to where you want it, neatly fold up your straps then fold the elastic band around it and slide it over the button. Position the button facing out, so it doesn’t rub against you as you’re wearing the bag.

Enjoy your tidy straps!

Thanks for reading, and by the way, I love comments. Bookmark for more on travel, minimalism, books, public transportation, and hikes. For daily postcards from, well, wherever we are, subscribe to

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