Especially when walking or cycling longer distances carrying a lot of groceries in plastic shopping bags can become quite irritating. Any hacks to optimize this?

4 Answers 4


This might not help for cycling, but when I walk with lots of bags of groceries, I put the handles through a carabiner. It's thick enough that it won't dig into your hand as much as plastic or cloth bags.

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  • I use a big carabiner to carry multiple bags easily. Plus you can use it to clip it to something to hang too and they're pretty cheap to buy. Here's an example: i.sstatic.net/5GUBC.jpg Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 20:56
  • I never had a carabiner that big, but that makes so much sense :D Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 21:05
  • When I was still in an apartment, I used those big blue bags from Ikea and carried ALL my groceries up at the same time like a pack-mule. Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 15:54

A useful hack: Protect your fingers

So, the worst thing when walking is that the plastic straps can start cutting into your hands incredibly painfully. Normally this is not too bad, but sometimes it can really become too uncomfortable. In those rare cases I have wrapped my wallet through the plastic hole of the bag(s), thus giving a nice protected area. If you have an expensive wallet it's definitely not advisable, but with an old crappy wallet it really works quite well. The big advantage is that you do not need anything that you don't usually carry with you.

The obvious: Distribute weight

When walking make sure to have two bags where each arm carries a similar weight. When cycling make one bag heavy and another bag light. Carry/hold the heavy bag on the luggage rack whilst carrying the lighter bag in the hand you use for steering.


The most commonly suggest option would be to use a carabiner as @mkingsbu stated in his answer. This is great as an option, but it tends to be unevenly allocated as far as weight distribution goes.

Your best bet is to go with something cylindrical. As you can see in the image below, it essentially takes the stress points out of the carrying/transportation of the plastic bags.

Carrying plastic bag

A common tool I like to when I can't find anything myself, is simply a BIC lighter of mine, it does this well and allows me to carry the bag without straining my fingers.


Have you considered getting a backpack? Even reusable shopping bags will have a better grip on them and dig into your hands less than free plastic bags. You can also disperse the weigh in your hand if you put something like a fat marker pen through the handles and grip that.

  • No free plastic bags in these parts of the world (illegal here), but I find myself buying those reusable bags relatively often when I do my grocery shopping at unexpected moments. Still, I have to say I never considered going with my hiking backpack to the store. Although it would look terrible it would be practical for those times that I am refilling my storage. Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 21:10

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