04 February 2009

favourite travel items: bottle bags

We've been on hot summer holidays before where we need to drink a lot of water. It felt like the whole time we were being nagged by kids for a drink, and it also was a pain having to lug around about 4 bottles of water. This time we decided it would be different: the kids could carry their own drink bottles.

I decided to make a little bottle bag pouch for each of them that they could carry over their shoulders and across their bodies. That way, they could have a drink when they wanted to, and we would only have to carry our own water. I used the same quick dry fabric as I made them each a pair of pants from. That way, if the water spilled it would dry pretty quickly.

I made a fabric tube a little bigger than the size of the bottle, and put a bottom on it. I then added a thin shoulder strap made from some fabric tape. Bottle bags, Mark I.

On their first use, it became apparent that the strap was a terrible design. It was the right length, but because it was so thin, it cut into their necks and was terribly uncomfortable. Hmm, a redesign was needed - and quickly!

Not having much to work with in our hotel room in Paris, I decided to use a pair of the airline socks that we'd been given on the plane. I wrapped them around the strap, and with some string I'd brought with me, I tied them on sausage-like, to create a little padding on the strap. Bottle bags, Mark II.

Next day this was evaluated as being better, but the strap kept making its way out of the sock wrapping. Further redesign was needed...

I pulled out my extremely valuable needle (valuable because I had managed to get it through airport checks!). I undid the ties, and re-wrapped the socks lengthways along the strap. I then stitched along the length of the sock to make it into a long tube. This was Mark III (see photo). It worked well for the rest of the holiday, and the bags turned out to be some of the best things we took with us.

Next holidays, I will revise the design to make it less make-shift and more professional looking, while still having a well-padded shoulder strap.

We have since used the bottle bags for day trips to the art gallery, and even just up to the shops. Not just useful for holidays!

Wish list: For the sake of those who don't have sewing skills, if anyone knows of somewhere you can purchase these sort of bottle bags, please let us all know in the comments section! And if you manufacture them yourself, I'd be pleased to evaluate such a product. I *have* seen ones that clip onto belts, but most kids I know don't wear a belt to clip one onto. I think a shoulder bag style bottle bag is much more preferable for kids.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea. I saw a big, bulky nylon bottle bag at a travel store and I liked the idea but not the execution.
    I hope I have time to whip up two of these for my kids - we leave tomorrow! Thanks for the tip about the strap - I'll try to make mine wide and soft.