Mom Goes Camping

DIY Paracord Bear Canister Holster

diy bear spray holster paracord instructions

Because I live in Serbia, I don’t always have a lot of options for backpacking gear (most brands won’t ship here!).  So, while I was able to find bear spray, I wasn’t able to find a holster for it.   A holster is incredibly important for carrying bear spray.  If you can’t access the spray immediately, then you might as well not be carrying it!

So, I decided to make my own bear spray holster out of paracord. I figured that a paracord “bottle wrap” would also work for holding a bear canister.

First, I tried using “vertical rib hitching” to make the holster.  It looked pretty and held the canister securely.  The problem was that the wrap would lose its shape each time I took the bear spray canister out.  It was a pain to get the bear spray back into the holder.  I actually remove my bear spray frequently (I encounter feral dogs a lot), so this wasn’t a good option.

I considered the “chain sinnet” wrap, but it uses a lot of paracord.  The holster would end up heavy and bulky.

Next, I tried the “cow hitch” wrap.  It worked perfectly and met all of these requirements:

  • Quick and easy to get canister out
  • Lightweight (lighter than a storebought holster!)
  • Wrap holds its shape (even without the bear spray in it)
  • Can carry on hip or backpack strap


For bear spray, you will need:

  • 1 short piece (at least 6 inches) of paracord to go around the neck of the bear spray
  • 1 sliding “spring cord lock” (I just took one off of a cheap drawstring bag I wasn’t using)
  • Approximately 20 feet of 2mm paracord. You’ll use more/less depending on how big you make the hitches



  • I used a Celtic button knot for the drawstring
  • I put a tiny dot of super glue on the first and last hitch to ensure it wouldn’t ever unravel.
  • To attach to my belt, I simply slid two carabiners into the wrap (it wobbled a bit with just one carabiner)
  • You could also just put a small piece of Velcro webbing through the wrap to attach it to your pack/belt.

diy bear spray holster paracord

Bottom view of the holster

Wearing the bear spray holster on my fanny pack strap. It’s attached with two carabiners.


Below are the video instructions.

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About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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