DIY Shoulder Strap Water Bottle Holders

Chad at Sticks Blog shows how he put together his DIY water bottle holders he attaches to his backpack shoulder straps.

A number of people have been asking me for more details about how I attach my water bottles to my backpack’s shoulder straps. I typically referred those people back to a previous video/blog post that I did entitled “I Put Kool-Aid In That!“ in which I talk a little about this very thing, however, to be fair, that post talks about a number of things. So, today, I figured that I would just do a dedicated video & blog post in which I discuss this topic in particular. Also, I would like to mention that I started carrying my water bottles on my shoulder straps when I received my ULA Circuit, but after watching a YouTube video by Torben Bo Hansen, I changed it up just a bit…

I would like to also add that this has been my personal preference for carrying my water, and for my own particular reasons. Before this, I used a (heavy) Camelbak water bladder, but for me it was a pain to refill while on the trail, and well, it was just heavy. Once I got my Circuit though, I was given a reason, and a way, to leave my heavy bladder behind.

Using the water bottle holders that came stock on my ULA Circuit was my first dealing’s with storing my water on my shoulder straps. The system worked fine, although, in hindsight, I think I was using the top water bottle holder different than intended, which resulted in a few dropped water bottles while hiking. All-in-all though, I really came to like the way everything seemed to work out with my water bottle on my shoulder straps.

When I first changed over, I carried a single 32 oz Gatorade bottle on one shoulder strap, however, as my pack weight decreased, the weight of the single bottle really offset my packs balance. It was at this time that I noticed that Gizmo Joe was carrying 2 smaller bottles, one on each strap. Sometimes the simple things escape me, and when I saw this, I slapped my head, threw away my 32 oz Gatorade bottle and picked up two 20 oz Gatorade bottles.

Using 2 bottles did in fact balance the weight back out on my backpack when on lightweight trips, and again, I was a happy camper…er… hiker. As a bonus, this also allowed me to have a 40 oz water capacity on hand instead of 32 oz. The downside is that now I was carrying the weight of 2 empty bottles as opposed to just 1 (and for the record, if I remember correctly, one empty 20 oz Gatorade bottle weigh the same as one empty 32 oz Gatorade bottle).

Read complete article on Stick’s Blog.

Sticks Blog Chad Poindexter: My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options.

For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.

Stick’s Blog Web site


  1. Where do you get spectra cord? I’ve looked and found a great lot of it but only need a little bit.

    • It doesn’t have to be spectra cord, it can be anything you want to use, or happen to have a piece of lying around. However, if you wanted to buy some of this cord, you could use a little for these, and have some extra for other things. It is a bit inexpensive… LiteTrail, ZPacks, and Lawson Kline (among others) sell 50′ hanks for around $15 shipped.

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