How To Create A Handy Zip-Pull For Your Rucksacks And Travel Luggage

by Paul Kirtley

 

In this video I'd like to share with you a simple tip. It's something I like to apply to all my rucksacks, all my luggage, bags and the like - anything that I use that has any sort of zip-pull on it. The type of thing I mean is where you have a zip-pull on the top pocket of your rucksack or the zipper on the main opening of a duffel bag or travel holdall. It's generally useful wherever you are but is an important consideration when you are operating in cold conditions. The type of zip-pull I share in this video allows you to open zips easily when wearing gloves, mittens or when you have cold hands. Remember - you lose dexterity when you have cold hands. So, being able to access your kit easily - to get at spare clothes, gloves or a warm drink for example - is doubly important in this situation. To make each zip-pull you need a length of paracord (or similar cordage) about 40 cm (18 inches) long. Melt the ends so they don't fray. The only knot you need to produce this is an overhand knot - which is explained clearly in the video. I hope you find this useful. Please do let us know in the comments. Also, let us know in the comments section below if you have found other applications for this type of zip-pull or if you have another method of achieving the same thing.
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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including The Bushcraft Journal and Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.

 

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

David

Very handy article.

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks David. Glad it was of use.

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Leena

Hi Paul

Content of video- very handy, simple, clear instructions, simple knot, very do-able.
As usual..great video! thanks.

My version and adaptation- when the metal zip pull tab actually comes off and one is stuck…in an emergency and the paracord will not thread through the slider or not available…use a bit of wire clasp, plastic coated…the kind that comes with bread loaf covers, and use to make a pull…. to tide thru crisis.

I liked the bit that the paracord was actually used to go through both ends of the zip -pulltab – this actually stabilises the metal zip-pull, giving more leverage.

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Leena,

Thanks for your comment – as detailed and engaging as ever. I like your crisis zip repair tip. I’ll file this one away in the the mental database.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Nige

Great tip Paul. My new rucksack gonna get some zip pulls now!

Cheers
Nige.

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Paul Kirtley

Great stuff Nige!

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Aidan

I did something very similar to reinforce some zipper pulls on some kit bags and rain jackets. I added a key ring, about 1.5m of paracord and a carabiner. Used a cobra knot on the paracord to bind the key ring on one end and the carabiner on the other, attached the key ring to where the zipper pull attaches to the zipper and now I have some extra cordage and a place to clip something in a pinch. Total length was about 12cm once attached.

Aidan

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Aidan,

Thanks for your comment.

That’s a neat and compact solution. Thanks for sharing.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Craig

Hi Paul,
Is there a way to secure a rucksack draw string with a padlock, I m thinking security to stop thieves when travelling through airports, hostels etc.
Thanks.

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jim schofield

Thanks Paul
very useful, I’m getting ready to guide group in Sweden this winter and have shared this little tip with my potential guide as I train them.

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Bill Jackson

Thanks! Great tip. Simple, practical, looks obvious after someone points it out!
Thanks to Leena, too, for the temporary repair tip.

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Kevin Reitr

Great video, as always, Paul.

Over the years I’ve done the same thing with rawhide, paracord, or whatever I had laying around.

I also put them on all cold-weather gear, such as jackets etc.

My only suggestion (that I’ve learned over the years) is to use contrasting colors on the cord, to make it easier to locate in low light conditions.

Keep up the great work.

-Kev

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Jim

Hi Paul,

I did something similar but made more a fob using some paracord woven in a cobra braid (after removing the metal tab). Yours is much simpler and I would suggest more effective as; a) it’ssomewhat longer and b) doesn’t affect the integrity of the zipper head. In fact it probably strengthens it as the cordage is doing most of the work.

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Stephen Richardson

Thanks Paul.

Where’s that paracord 🙂

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Dave Howard

Hi Paul,
Thanks for another useful tip. Simple to make, easy to tie, and definitely essential in the cold, (and in the warm with arthritic hands), I used to make zip-pulls out of old shoe laces using”French plaiting”, (a series of bytes pulled tight) which is nice and chunky to hold.
All the best, Dave.

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John Broadleday

Hi Paul. Fabulous article as always and I already implement these on all of my rucksacks and even on zipped jackets too. Keep up the good work.

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