13th March 2007

How to Make a Bindleflop

The Problem:
Carrying grocery bags, while not the worst of life’s trials, is kind of a pain in the butt. And the hands: those plastic handles get mighty uncomfy when you’re carrying cans and cans of Hobo Soup. The bags whack against your legs, unless you hold your arms out awkwardly. Each time you have to hit an elevator button, retreive your keys or open a door means a clumsy minute of bag juggling and rearranging.

The Inspiration:
Hobos. More specifically, the bindlestick. That’s the name for the kerchief-tied bundle at the end of a stick that is the icon of hobo living.

The Junkyard Clubhouse Bindleflop

The Solution: the Bindleflop
The Bindleflop lets you carry your groceries, or any handled bags, easily on your shoulder. The Lose Weight Exercise is rested at your shoulder instead of in your palms, making it much easier to go long distances without your hands getting fatigued. Instead of swinging around and whacking into your legs, your bags gently brush against your side. And your hands are free to handle doors, keys, or carry more groceries!

Groceries in a Bindleflop
Groceries in a Bindleflop

How to Make Your Very Own Bindleflop:
Take a removable strap from an old laptop case. They typically have metal clips at the end that spin freely. Clip both ends onto a carabiner*. Slip your grocery bags, or any other handled bags, into the carabiner. Slide the Bindleflop onto your shoulder, orienting any bags with squishy stuff (tomatoes, bread) to the outside.

Bindleflop in action
Bindleflop in action

Hanford and I have been kicking around the idea for the Bindleflop for a while now. At first, it was only half-seriously, but we tried it out for the first time last night, and were surprised at how comfortable it was, and how well it worked. Since it’s so easy to grab it on the way out the door (unlike a folding cart), it’s likely to become something we use regularly.

* I grew up in Seattle, where they give you a carabiner along with your first teddy bear when you’re born. I don’t know if they’re as easy to come by in other parts of the world. You can find them at sports stores.

There are currently 11 responses to “How to Make a Bindleflop”

  1. 1 On March 13th, 2007, MrBaliHai said:

    People, the hobo revival is upon us…can you smell it?!

  2. 2 On March 14th, 2007, Schnozz said:

    OK, do you live anywhere NEAR Cleveland? Because you are a genius.

    Also, can you drink from a flask? That may be required. I’m fuzzy on the details.

  3. 3 On March 14th, 2007, Humuhumu said:

    On the first question: I’m afraid I’m knee-deep in Silicon Valley.

    Re: flask drinking… I tend to avoid places where one has to drink covertly… I spend most of my time in tiki bars. But I’m quite sure I could handle a flask. I do, after all, subscribe to Modern Drunkard.

    Love your blog, btw!

  4. 4 On April 10th, 2007, mikewade said:

    Wow, I love this!!! And I never knew what those “clasps/keyring/clamps” were called. Now I do: carabiner. You rock.

  5. 5 On April 10th, 2007, Humuhumu said:

    Why, thank you! Glad you like it!

    We’ve been using our Bindleflop regularly for the past month now, and we love it. I still feel like a pack mule when carrying a bunch of groceries, but now I’m a pack mule with free hands. It makes all the difference in the world, I love it.

    If you’ve got an unused or little-used laptop case sitting around, you’ve got to make a Bindleflop!

  6. 6 On April 13th, 2007, Book of Ratings: Hobo Signs » Junkyard Clubhouse said:

    [...] our penchant for hobos ’round the old Junkyard Clubhouse, I couldn’t help but love his rating of [...]

  7. 7 On June 20th, 2007, Selba said:

    This is a really cool trick!!! I’ll try next time when I go for shopping :)

    ps: nice blog!

  8. 8 On September 17th, 2007, Graham said:

    I think this is a wonderful thing! mainly because it is so simple! However, I strongly recommend using canvas bags. They don’t have such a heavy tole on the environment.

  9. 9 On October 26th, 2007, Shelley said:

    Or you could just use a re-useable canvas bag with a longer strap!

  10. 10 On August 13th, 2008, piequeena said:

    the big box hardware store near me sells BIG OL’ carabiners (what rock climbers use) with padded handles for like $3-4. They do the same job as what you have pictured there only better and more comfy – admittedly not over the shoulder.

  11. 11 On December 10th, 2008, Tammy Blue said:

    Great little tool. One thing, though. PLEASE, for the love of all that we hold dear, wean yourselves off of plastic bags! You can still use the bindleflop for cloth or nonweave fiber bags.