Make Your Own Backpack Rain Cover

Do you need a rain cover for your pack but wonder why manufacturers charge some $30 for piece of nylon?

Consider making your own pack cover with this easy instruction! It is very rewarding to make your own backpacking gear and you can customize it to the exact size that you want.

Here is what you need:


  1. Stuff your pack to its fullest capacity – that way you will be able to make the pack cover fit to size
  2. Lay out your Ripstop fabric on the floor and place your pack on top for measuring. Pull the Ripstop up around your bag toward the pack frame – be sure you wrap up and over the top of the pack to the shoulder strap and under the bottom of the pack as far as possible.
  3. Using the pencil, try to trace the best you can the oval shape that shows where the Ripstop would tightly tuck around your pack.
  4. Once you have this line drawn, trace a larger oval approximately 3 inches larger than the first – this will allow for the overlap that the drawstring will be within.
  5. Cut the Ripstop along the newly drawn line.
  6. Time to do some sewing! You will be folding over the perimeter of the Ripstop by 1.5 inches to create a pocket where the drawstring will be housed.  In the following diagram, the black line represents where you need to sew (leave about a half inch of fabric beyond the stitch). Note that you need to leave a gap for drawstring access.  It is most convenient to have the drawstring on the top of your pack for easier access in tightening and loosening the cover. Plan the gap in stitching accordingly. When you sew around the perimeter, special care needs to be taken on the corners. Use pleats to maintain a consistent overlap.
  7. Once you have completed the sewing, it is time to feed the Parachord through the overlap pocket. It may be helpful to tie the Parachord to a paperclip for easy threading.
  8. Once Parachord is treaded though, you can pull the chord to a tightness that you would allow you to just fit the cover over your pack (this prevents an excessive amount of slack in the drawstring once it is pulled tight). Is should look something like this:
  9. Cut the Parachord once you at satisfied with the length. Melt the cut ends with the lighter to prevent fraying.
  10. Install the plastic cord locks by feeding the two ends through the hole (see photo above). Tie Parachord ends.

Done! It is time to fit our pack cover on over your pack and pull the drawstring tight.

To further customize your pack cover, you can create holes for your external pack attachment straps to fit through. Be sure to reinforce the hole with stitching to prevent further ripping. This allows you to attach things to the outside of you pack that can get wet (i.e. we store your tent outside the pack cover).

Hope you have found this DIY backpacking gear instruction helpful! Now stay dry out there on the trail!