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Backpacker Magazine – June 2000

Homemade Tool Tube

A tool tube answers the age-old packing dilemma: Where do I put the long, skinny stuff?

by: Mike Youngblood

Looking for a better way to fasten a tripod, ice axe, shovel, or trekking poles to your pack? Tired of that gear flopping around back there? The tool tube is the easy-access, snug and secure answer to loads of idiosyncratic strapping problems. Making your own is a snap. All you need is about a half-foot of 2-inch-wide hook-and-loop fastener (available at craft stores and most outdoors stores for about $1 per foot), 3 inches of webbing, and some strong thread (about $1.75 for a 150-yard spool).

Step 1: Cut the hook (bristly side) and loop (soft, woolly side) strips to the lengths indicated, and lightly sear the cut ends with a candle or lighter. Attach the two sides face to face so they overlap 21/4 inches at the center. Step 2: Sew the end of the loop strip to the center of the hook strip, using a standard straight stitch (at a medium or greater stitch-length setting if using a sewing machine, or at 12 stitches per inch if sewing by hand). Cut a webbing strip to 3 inches, and sear the ends. Step 4: Fold the webbing end to end. Sew the cut ends together against the fabric side of the loose end of the loop closure strip, using a tightly spaced zigzag stitch or several parallel straight stitches. The webbing loop should extend out from the end of the loop strip as a pull tab. Try it out! Feed the tab end of the tube under any vertical strap or daisy chain on your pack; secure it in place with the central, overlapping hook closure flap; and then wrap the ends of the tube around your shovel handle, trekking poles, or tripod.


  • one 41/2" long, 2" wide hook closure strip
  • one 51/4" long, 2" wide loop closure strip
  • one 3" long, 3/4" to 1" wide strip of light-duty webbing
  • heavy synthetic thread, such as nylon upholstery thread
  • sewing machine or size 9 needle, if sewing by hand
  • scissors

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