Tuesday, March 20, 2018

On a Roll: Cheap, Compact and Versatile Cordage

From in-field repairs, to basic camp chores, whenever you head into the backcountry there's no shortage of uses for rope. There are countless varieties of cordage out there, and finding the right balance of strength, cost and bulk can be tricky. One of my favorite options is a spool of 100LB test fishing line that I picked up years ago. It's strong enough to be used most for camp activities, like staking out a tarp or lashing items together. But its utility doesn't stop there: because of the narrow diameter (6mm or so) and lack of stretch, I've used it as sewing thread and even as an improvised cutting tool. Heck, I bet you could even use it for fishing. Of course, the lack of bulk means that it's quite packable and easy to stash in whatever kit I'm carrying.

I've often wondered what the ideal way to carry this type of cordage was, and being inspired by the sewing I've been doing, I decided to try spooling it onto a bobbin. This isn't really a stretch: it's more or less exactly what the sewing machine was designed to do. The spool of fishing line was too large to fit where the thread usually rests; but I found that a baby's stacking toy we had lying around made the perfect resting place for the fishing line.

Once I had things situated, it took only a minute to fill up two bobbins worth of cordage.

By my estimate, each bobbin holds about 18 feet of cordage. Not bad for the size of the finished product. Also I confirmed that I can pull the line off without forming knots.

I can see picking up a half dozen more bobbins, filling them up, and sprinkling these little spools of cordage all over. I think this method works quite well.

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