Mesh Snorkel Back Pack – Time for the Beach

I wanted a bag to carry all my sandy snorkeling and beach paraphernalia.  Last year during hikes to IMG_3557snorkel sites in the Exumas I didn’t have a light bag to throw over my shoulders to lug my fins and mask, bottle of water and towel. It would be a bonus if the bag would handle wet, sandy items on  the return trip. We have a dry pack but I didn’t want to have to deal with getting sand out of it.  So, with some extra mesh fabric and Phifertex Plus I came up with a fairly simple back pack design with a drawstring top.

If I were to remake it, I’d make the shoulder straps adjustable.  You might find that Phifertex than Phifertex Plus used for the 10” base would be fine if not maybe a bit better for managing sand.  I used materials that I had on board.  Take a look at your backpack for ideas for further improvements. Maybe a pocket or a webbing loop for a carbineer to hold keys?  You could also add some length and make a boxed, flat bottom like in the Bowline Bag. You can adjust the overall size easily.

What I ended up with is a nice mesh beach bag 35” x 20” finished size with a 2” wide top drawstring casing for under $30 (Sailrite prices as of December 2014).


You may see a revised version of a back pack out of old sail cloth in the future.  Would be cute, huh?


Mesh – about 1 yard of 96” ($12.95)

Webbing –  6-9 feet of 1” wide. Add a buckle to make them adjustable ($1.35)

Phifertex or Phifertex Plus – about a yard – 1 piece 20” x 21”, plus  2 pieces 3” x 3” and 2 pieces 1” x 3” ($13.75)

Small line – 2-3 yards and barrel lock ($0.30)

Time:  2-4 hours


1. Cut two panels of 39” x 21” (will require a bottom seam that would take up a 1/2” for the seam) or one long panel of 78” x 21”.  Mesh is a bit of a pickle to work with.  You may want to lay some books on it to hold it in place or make a paper pattern.

2. Cut a Phifertex piece 20” x 21”.  Add Phifertex to the bottom by marking 10” up from the bottom fold or seam and sew the Phifertex on the inside.  I used binder clips to hold it in place as I was stitching.

3. Cut two pieces of Phifertex 3” x 3”.  Stitch Phifertex square about mid point across the top about 6” down from the top on the inside of what will become the back for an attachment point for a webbing handle and webbing for backpack straps.

4. Sew a web handle on the right side or outside of the attachment point and mesh at the top. About 7- 8” webbing should do.  Hot knife the ends.

Positioning of the webbing handle and shoulder straps.
Positioning of the webbing handle and shoulder straps.

5. Sew on the top of the shoulder straps on the outside of the bag on top of the attachment point and mesh on an angle towards the bottom of the attachment square. Leave about 1-2” inside the box.  Sew the second 3” x 3” square on top of the handle and shoulder straps.  Sew with a box stitch – around the edges and two diagonal lines in the middle.

6. Sew  about 3” of the bottom of the shoulder straps to the base and mesh. 20” was too short for me.  You could use a buckle and attach to two pieces of webbing for an adjustable strap.  Cut two pieces of Phifertex 1” x 3” to cover and secure the webbing. Stitch with a box stitch.

7. Sew the side seams 1/2” right sides together making sure the straps are clear of the seams.

Details of the casing and strap attachment

8. Stitch 2” casing with line in it being sure not to catch the line when you sew down the casing. I doubled the casing  because the mesh is light.  Leave about a 1-2″ opening at one side seam.  Allow about 15-20” extra line.  Cut and finish ends of line and add barrel lock. Tie knots in the ends if you wish.




Have fun at the beach!  The rest of your sewing projects will still be there when you get back…

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