How to Use Bungee Cord On Backpack (Step By Step Guide)

If you are a hiker and you just noticed that your backpack actually has a bungee cord on it, then you must want to know how to use bungee cord on backpack. 

This is why I am going to guide how you can use the bungee cord on the backpack in the most effective way. 

Also, we are going to know how you can add those shock cords in your backpack if you do not have them right now in your backpack.

 So, let’s get started.

What are the elastic bungee cords and strings on backpacks for?

If you prefer a backpack just like me while hiking then you must have come across the backpack which has strings on them. 

Those strings are actually the bungee cord of the backpack which will help you to carry some extra gears like they sleeping pads, jacket, tents, and other items.

The bungee cords are quite common for the hiking and camping backpack and sometimes they have named the shock cords. 

You will rarely find the bungee cords on the casual and the work backpack because there is not much benefit of those strings on such backpack, but these bungee strings can be really good for the gym backpack to carry the shoes and protein bottles.

The bungee cords or shock cords on the backpack are used to carry and secure the additional gear that can not be fitted inside the backpack. They are designed to carry heavy and bulky items, such items include the small tent that can be attached to the backpack, towel roll, sleeping bag, or a bulky coat. 

You can also use the string of the backpack to tie a pair of shoes if you are running out of space in your backpack which will help you to organize your backpack more efficiently. 

This will also allow you to keep your shoe dry and clean when you are hiking in a wet area or your current footwear got sweaty.

Moreover, you must have noticed that after camping at night the sleeping bag generally get wet due to the dews and the grasses which mean you can not keep that sleeping bag back in the backpack. 

This is where you can use the bungee cords to attach the sleeping bag to the backpack which will keep all the accessories and gear from the water.

What Is A Shock Cord and How It is Different From Bungee Cord?

The shock cord is quite similar to the bungee cord on the backpack which is used to carry and attach equipment.

The only difference is that the shock cords are elastic ones that can absorb the shock which makes it more comfortable and easier to carry the gear and accessories. 

The benefit of using the elastic bungee cord is that you can use them to carry the heavies and the bulkiest hiking gear which are generally long in size.

For example, poles are generally enough big that they do not fit perfectly inside the backpack because of their size just like the fishing poles.

So, it is better to attach those items with the bungee cord so you can move freely without disturbing your balance.

How to Use Bungee Cord On Backpack?

You can use different styles and lashing designs of the bungee cords on the backpack to carry the gears. Each design has its own advantage and you should experiment with it yourself and get teh best way for yourself just like the cross(X) and switch back design.

  • X Shaped Lashing: For Bulky Items
  • Criss-cross Lashing: Secure gears Tightly
  • Switch Back Lashing: For limited cordage.

#1. X Shaped Lashing

The design is always preferable to carry bulky items. By crossing the opposite corner to the opposite corner you are going to get more space for your get which can be double for a more secure fit of the gears.

#2. Criss-Cross Lashing

The criss-cross lashing design is the most common design that we see. This design is preferred by most of the hiker because it makes the shock cords cover more area which helps in keeping the gear safe and tightly attached to the backpack.

#3. Switch Back

Switchback design can be great for people who like to carry less gear outside the backpack and have limited cordage. The switchback design is also used when you want to anchor one end and leave the other end unanchored so you can adjust it whenever you want.

How Do You Attach Shock Cord To A Backpack?

When your backpack has bungee cords on it then it is a great idea to utilize them. 

But, in some cases the backpacks do not have the slots for the actual bungee cords, they have slots for the shock cord lashing.

This is why you should know how you can use the shock cords and perform the shock cord replacement. 

In case, if you ave already a shock cord on your backpack then you can use the same steps to replace the old one with a new one or with a longer one.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to buy the shock cords and the shock cord toggle stopper.
  2. The toggle is going to help you to attach the shock cords better and they will not let them open/untie.
  3. You should attach only two because this will let you make fencing lashing if you want to in the future.
  4. The size of the cord require is based on the size of the backpack, basically, a hiking bag is between 50 to 70 liter of capacity, so it is better to use 4 to 5 feet of lashing.
  5. The best thing you can do is to measure your backpack and use a few extra feet of the cords if you are willing to carry bulky items.

How To Shorten The Bungee Cords?

You can use the stopper on the shock cords to constrict the cord size rather than shorten it permanently because it is not a good idea to shorten or cut the bungee cords. After all, more efficiently you never know what size you will require and when.

However, if you really want to shorten the bungee cords then you can tie off or seal the end of the bungee cord after cutting them to make sure that they do not untangle later. 

How Much Weight Can Bungee Cords On Backpack Hold?

There are different factors that you should keep in mind before you can say anything about the weight that a bungee cord can hold on the backpack. The factors include:

  • How old the bungee cords are
  • For how much weight they meant to carry when you bought them from the manufacturer
  • How long you have been using them
  • What type of object do you want to attach to your bungee cords.

Generally, the bungee cords can hold 2lbs weight easily which is a normal weight of the sleeping bag which means you can attach almost 2lb to 4lbs to the bungee cords on the backpack.

The thing that you should be careful about is that you do not overweight your bungee cords because they will be broken because of the overweight which can be dangerous when you are hiking for you and your hiking partners as well.

If your backpack is brand new and you have not used the bungee cords much then there is no need to worry because there is no chance that these bungee cords are going to break. 

But, in case you have used them a good number of times then all you can do is to trust your gut and try to calculate the weight that those bungee cords/ shock cords can handle.

You can directly ask the manufacture of the backpack in case you are not sure about the weight that the bungee cords can hold or you can ask them in the forum and hiking community which is ultimately going to benefit you.

Tips on How to Use Bungee Cord On Backpack 

Although, it is good to attach the gear to the bungee cord outside the backpack you need to be careful because whatever you are going to attach outside the backpack using the shock cords is going to be bear the climate and the external condition.

You should follow the below-mentioned tips to use the bungee cord on your backpack:

  1. Always use the parka or tarp to cover your backpack when you are using the bungee cords.
  2. Use the sleeping bag cover to cover the backpack and protect it from the rain as well as the dust.
  3. Do not attach any metal element outside the backpack because it can gather rust if it comes in contact with water in presence of sunlight for some time.
  4. Do not overweight the bungee cords.
  5. Always double-check everything you attached is properly attached and is not in danger of falling down.

Bungee cords are generally elastics which means if you tie something that is too heavy then it can bounce that item which can disbalance you, so it is better to avoid overweighting the bungee cords.

Instead, you should the shoulder straps, compression belts, or the additional straps of the backpack to attach such extremely bulky items to the backpack which will definitely keep you safe and secure from such problems.


You can use the bungee cords on the backpack to attach some extra gear that you won’t be able to pack into your backpack. The bungee cords will help you to get some extra items including a pair of shoes, a tent, supplies, tools, or cooking items comfortably.

As long as you secure you, belonging carefully and in the right way, I am sure that you will find the bungee cord on the backpack so useful because I am using them from a long time and I have never felt them like a burden.

 I am able to carry my extra pair of shoes, my water bottle, and umbrella in the umbrella holder that can be attached to those bungee cords.