I like to carry a drink around with me (Arizona Diet Green Tea, in my case). I also like to have my hands free (especially when walking my dogs), and I don't carry a bag that I could put a drink in. I had made my own carrier on a sling years ago, and later bought a smaller one that I could clip to my belt loops. Over the years it wore out, but I wasn't able to find a suitable replacement, so I decided to build my own.
The design I used is rather simple: first, a piece of nylon or fabric webbing runs down one side of the bottle, under the bottom and up the other side, creating a "U". One side of the "U" is longer than the other, and folded over itself to create a loop for a carabiner. Two strips of elastic webbing run around the "U" and snuggly hold the bottle in place .
The fabric materials can be found at any fabric store, or online. I tend to buy a few feet so I have plenty of extra in case I screw up.
The carabiner can be found at a hardware store. They seem to come in two classes, "barely strong enough to hold your keys" and "strong enough to lift a car". The former is probably what you want; they're strong enough to carry a small drink bottle without any problems.
- Nylon or fabric webbing for the "U" shape
- Elastic webbing for the rings
You'll also need a way to sew. This is much, much easier with a sewing machine. If you know how to use one, it's well worth it. In fact, it's worth getting one and learning anyway. The hardest part is just threading the machine and bobbin; the actual sewing is pretty easy . But if you really want to, you can get some needles and do it by hand.
I eyeballed everything. This stars with wrapping the nylon webbing in a "U" shape, from the top of the bottle, down and under the bottom, and then back up the other side. Leave one side a few inches longer to form a loop for the carabiner. I made the "U" about 2-3 inches shorter than the bottom itself so that it stopped below the neck of the bottom. Cut off the excess.
Run a piece of the elastic webbing around the base of the bottle, about an inch up. Cut it about an inch too short to fit around all the way around. The idea here is that we want the elastic to stretch around the bottle so that it doesn't slip out of the carrier. Do this again for a second piece.
Put the "U" webbing back on the bottle, and mark the points for the ring. One will be about one inch from the bottom, and another about an inch form the top of the short side of the "U". Be sure to mark both sides of the "U".
Now just sew the elastic rings onto the "U" shape. I found it easiest to overlap the end of the loops and sew them to the "U" first, and then sew the midpoint to the other side of the "U". This made it easier to find the center of the ring, and didn't make sewing the other side of the "U" significantly harder.. For stitching, I created a kind of "X", running the machine forwards, then a diagonal, then back across again, and then another diagonal.
Form the carabiner loop again and sew it into place. Ideally, you've left enough material that it will run down the inside of the "U" and over the top elastic ring. I again sewed an "X" shape in it, plus a few back-and-forth runs along the top to reinforce the area immediately below the loop.
The last step is to run the carabiner through the loop, and you're done. You can now clip it to a belt loop and carry your drink around with you easily and hands free.
I use this every day. The only problem is that it can swing around a lot, especially if you need to job. I haven't come up with a solution to that yet. Some way to anchor the bottom of the carrier to my leg would work, but I have no interest in actually strapping it to my leg. I have thought of sewing a small piece of metal into my jeans, and a neodymium (aka "rare earth") magnet into the carrier, although I question both if the magnet would be strong enough and if it would attract other metal items I don't want it stuck to. Also, the metal in the jeans would probably rust in the wash, so it would likely have to be coated in something first. Plus I'd have to modify all my jeans, which seems like a lot of trouble.
But it's really a minor issue. If the swinging is annoying, I can just take it off and carry it. I can also clip it to backpacks, camera bags, etc. if I don't want it on my hip, although I usually leave it there.