Making a bag for carrying a Brompton folding bike - what material?

2:08 p.m. on January 6, 2014 (EST)
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Hello, like the subject says, I want to make a bag for carrying a folding bike around that weighs around 13 kg. It does not need to be waterproof, but only needs to cover the bike and have some straps for easy carrying. And it should be as lightweight as possible. I am planning to let the straps go all the way around the bag so that they take most of the weight.

What material would you recommend for the bag itself and for the straps?

Oh, and that will be my first time sewing my own gear (I have some sewing experience with houshold stuff), so I will probably need everything spelled out clearly

Any help will be very welcome.

2:34 a.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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Not the lightest, but I would use Cordura or similar fabric. Cordura is about as close to wear resistant as you can get without getting an exotic fabric that costs a fortune. I have a small daypack made out of Cordura or a Cordura knockoff (more likely) that I have carried almost daily for about 25 years and it shows very little wear.

The only drawback I would see for you is having a home machine that is strong enough to sew it.

4:30 a.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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I used to make some of my gear, but found the experience time consuming and frustrating, as my machine lacked the power to accomplish the job.  The fabric weights and seams required to make your carry bag are beyond the capacity of most home sewing machines.  Experiment with a small sample of the materials and stitchery to confirm you have both the equipment and skills to assemble this project.  You can always hand sew, too, this project isn't that much seam work. 

When specifying the materials, consider specifics:  Cordura is a good choice for the main elements of the carry-all, but you may want ballistic nylon for panels subject to abrasion, and nylon webbing or straps to distribute forces in handles and key stress points.


2:47 p.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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Thanks for the infos. I also thought about using cordura for the main part of the bag, I am just not sure whether the 330den quality would be enough or if I should rather use the 500den variation. I would like to keep it as thin as possible so that it can be folded pretty small.

I thought if I use non-coated cloth my normal sewing machine should be ok, otherwise my mother still has a very old foot-driven machine that can sew practically everything.

Experimenting with some samples is a very good idea. I will definitely do that.

For the nylon straps - what width would you recommend?

Thanks again,


9:16 p.m. on January 8, 2014 (EST)
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3,523 forum posts

Grit Seidel said:

..For the nylon straps - what width would you recommend?...

Check out the large soft shell sports totes for some ideas..  A shoulder strap is usually wider than a handle strap; while reinforcing straps running along a panel are relatively narrow compared to these other applications.  Also be sure to use a heavy weight thread, preferable a dacron product.


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