Nomad Hacks: Hobo Swag Bag

While in Seattle visiting Eric Wolff, I realized that I did not have anything in which to carry my things. So my solution? I took my pants off and made a bag.

The Hobo Swag Bag is a cheap carrying solution for those on the road with a pair of sweatpants and $2-10 to spend on modifications. Or the cost of shoestrings if you own a pair of ETRE-FORT.

Using ETRE-FORT sweatpants makes for the most straightforward but least economical option unless you already own a pair. You can use any other baggy sweats by modifying the drawstring to be similar to EF. While any long drawstring will work, a thicker cord will create a sturdier pack.

Remove your original drawstring; This may be as simple as pulling it out or may need some additional cut and sew work as some sweats have the drawstring stitched into the pants in the back. Once removed, attach a safety pin to the top of your drawstring to thread it through the drawstring hole. Pull the string in as far as you can; the material will bunch, straighten it out, and repeat until the drawstring is the entire way through.

On EF sweats, you will just remove the black pullies and replace them with shoestrings. If your pants do not have a similar system, you’ll need to modify the bottoms.

Cut a small slit/hole in the interior layer of the sweatpant bottoms. The hole should look like the one pictured in the next step. Do not cut through both layers of material.

Then, taking your shoestring/safety pin combo, pull the shoestring through the bottom of the sweats. As a result, you should be able to tie off the bottoms of your sweats.

I recommend this step for any baggy sweatpants you train in as it gives you more control over bottom tightness and will not break like plastic pullies.

Tie the left pant leg bottom just as you would regularly tie your shoes. If you don’t know how to tie your shoes, now would be an excellent time to learn.

Close the right leg off by crossing and pulling the strings as you would when tying your shoe, but leave the right pant leg untied since we will need it later.

The left pant leg will be your primary storage space so fill ‘er up with whatever stuff you’d like.

Take the waist drawstrings and pull them as tightly as they can go, closing the top of the pants.


Cross the cord as if you were going to tie your shoes and pull it tight, but do not create a knot.

Flip the pants over so that the left, filled leg is now on the right.

Take the filled pant leg and fold it up to meet the top.

Take the drawstring that is on the left and pull it under the crotch of the pants. Pulling firmly, wrap around one complete time so that the drawstring comes back from underneath the crotch.

Take the left drawstring that was just wrapped under the pant crotch and pull it across the body of the bag. Do the same with the right drawstring creating and X.

Flip the pants over and tie the drawstrings together like you would your shoes or your favorite easy-to-undo knot.

Thread the one end of the laces on the right pant leg through both loops on the left leg. Lace it up like your kicks.

Congratulations! You’ve made yourself the bummiest, parkouriest bag imaginable that will hopefully save you in a bagless situation. Now, go off into the world and continue perpetuating the belief that you’re some fringy, homeless, edge lord with Jackie Chan for a spirit animal.

Follow Andrew Obenreder on Instagram and Twitter.

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