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Excellent ways to effectively manage your cordage are easily available. The effectively management of cordage is an ongoing problem for most people. Cordage can become tangled and knotted even with the best of intentions of not allowing to happen. The problem exists regardless if you have sewing string or climbing rope. I have experienced the frustration of attempting to keep my cordage neatly wound and secured only for it become a mess after several uses. However, in this article I will discuss some tips and tricks that will help you effectively manage your cordage.

Sewing String to Parachute Cord Management

 

1. Stainless Steel Sewing Bobbins

Stainless steel sewing bobbins are a wonderful way to store your sewing string, braided fishing line, or Kevlar™ line in your emergency kit. Sewing bobbins also come in plastic. Plastic bobbins are not recommended because they are not durable in a field environment. Plastic also has the quality of drying out and becoming brittle in hot dry climates. Thus, the stainless steel sewing bobbins are the best way to effectively manage the cordage in your emergency kit like twine, strings, or fishing line.

Advantages

The primary advantage of a stainless steel sewing bobbin is that it gives a compact and durable way to manage your small diameter cordage like braided fishing line. Stainless steel is the best material for field use because of its corrosion resistance. Another advantage of using this type of bobbin is easy of storage in smaller containers like Altoid® tins or small pouches for your personal emergency kit.

Disadvantages

The most glaring disadvantage of using the stainless steel bobbin is the limited amount of cordage that can be stored on them. Thus, the stainless steel bobbin an ideal option for effectively managing your cordage such as braided fishing line, jute twine, or sewing thread.

2. Plastic Floss Bobbins

Plastic floss sewing bobbins are thin plastic squares that on which small amounts of sewing sting are stored. Most people have seen the paper bobbins that come in the complementary sewing kits given by some hotels. The plastic bobbins work well for small personal emergency kits. I use these to wrap my braided fishing line in my emergency fishing kit. I also have wrapped my 25 feet of Kevlar™ cord on these bobbins. The use of the plastic floss bobbins works well for storing in my EDC personal emergency kit in my ALokSak® bag.

Advantages

The primary advantage of using the plastic floss bobbin is compact storage. As stated above, plastic is not the best material for the field. However, for storage in small containers or pouches, these are an effective way to manage your string-type cordage.

Disadvantages

The obvious disadvantage of the plastic floss bobbin is its limited capacity to hold cordage. Another disadvantage of the plastic floss bobbin is that it will crack or break easy if handled in a harsh manner. Yet, despite their disadvantages, the plastic floss bobbin is a great alternative of effectively managing your cordage.

3. Spool Tool™

The managing of your parachute cordage can be an especially aggravating effort. The TricornE™ company in San Diego, California has an innovative device for storing up to 100 feet of parachute cord. It is called the Spool Tool™. This is a hard plastic device that features a holder for a Bic® Mini lighter and a cord cutter. I use one of these to store my paracord in my backpack. These are great for people who have not mastered the art of coiling and tying off paracord for storage.

Advantages

The main advantage of the Spool Tool™ is the ease of storing up to 100 feet of paracord. Another advantage of this device is that it has a cutting device and fire making capability. These features make the Spool Tool™ a versatile item to consider for your pack loadout.

Disadvantages

A disadvantage of the Spool Tool™ is that it can be bulky with 100 feet of paracord. Therefore, 75 feet of paracord works best with this item. A second disadvantage of the Spool Tool™ is that replacing the razor cord cutting blade can be tricky in the field. The two small screws that hold the blade cover and blade in place can be lost if one is not careful.

4. Atwood Tactical Rope Dispenser

One of the more innovative products to come along for storing parachute cord is the Tactical Rope Dispenser by the Atwood Rope Manufacturing Company in Ohio. This is a practical item to consider when storing your paracord. As with the Spool Tool™, the Tactical Rope Dispenser is another great way to effectively manage your cordage.

Advantages

The Tactical Rope Dispenser is advantageous for its ease of storing and dispensing parachute cord. The TRD features a built-in cord cutter, similar to the Spool Tool™. Moreover, it also comes with a belt clip and small notches for holding the loose end of the cord. It is also easy to refill the spool with more parachute cord.

Disadvantages

One of the disadvantages of the Tactical Rope Dispenser is that it has a limited storage capacity of 50 feet. 50 feet of paracord is sufficient for most backpackers and hikers. However, those who spend more time outdoors usually need up to 100 feet of cord. Another disadvantage of this product is that refilling the spool can be difficult in the field. Thus, it is best to purchase two Tactical Rope Dispensers. One for regular use and one for a back up in case you run out of cord in the field.

Climbing Rope Management

The next level of cordage to consider managing is climbing rope. It is sometimes called assault line or repelling rope. Some experts in the field of emergency preparedness recommend keeping 50 to 100 feet of climbing rope. However, employing climbing and repelling techniques in an emergency should only be accomplished by those experienced in those skill sets. However, methods to effectively manage rope-type cordage is a consideration for some. Therefore, the following tips are given to help with managing climbing rope.

1. The Alpine Coil

The alpine coil is one of the more common techniques for managing climbing rope. This technique also can be used with parachute cord. The technique is a simple coiling and then wrapping for security as illustrated in the picture. The alpine coil also can result in the rope looking like a figure eight with a wrapped middle. There are many sources on the internet and on YouTube® that demonstrate how to employ this technique.

Advantage

The alpine coil has the advantage of being simple. There are no complicated knotting sequences to remember with its use. As a result, the alpine coil allows for ease of storage on the outside of one’s backpack by securing it with a carabiner. Thus, this technique should be used by those just learning rope management.

Disadvantage

The disadvantage with the alpine coil is that it does not totally resolve the tangling concern after the wrap is loosed. A climbing rope can tend to kink and coil on itself when it is being stretched out for employment, which results in tangling. Therefore, care should be taken when unraveling the rope to prevent tangling.

2. The Butterfly Coil

The butterfly coil is a rope management technique a little more complicated than the alpine coil. However, this technique works best with longer lengths of rope, usually over 100 feet. The butterfly coil allows the rope to be carried on the outside of a pack or on someone’s back as illustrated in the picture. A rope coiled and wrapped in this manner will look like there is a loop securing the rope at the top. As with the alpine coil, one can find this technique being demonstrated on YouTube®. This rope management technique is for those more experienced climbers who use this method regularly for rope management.

Advantages

A major advantage of the butterfly technique is that it does resolve the tangling concern. As the rope is being coiled it employs an s-style back-and-forth fold. This helps the rope to be easily employed with out tangling after the securing wrap is loosed.

Disadvantage

The biggest disadvantage of the butterfly coil method is that it requires some practice to get a rope correctly secured in this manner. The initial moves of the coil are simple. However, when the rope is going to be secured by the butterfly knot, there are some more hand movements necessary to complete the technique. Therefore, this management method should only be used by those after they have practiced it enough to be proficient with it.

Final Thoughts

This article has been a little more lengthy than normal. Yet, it is hoped that it has been informative. The topic of cordage management is one that will continue to occupy discussions around the outdoor and prepping world. The importance of storing cordage and keeping it from getting tangled is a concern for all who love the outdoors. Thus, it is my desire that this article will motivate further thought on this topic.

There are 5 quality fire starter options to consider for your fire kit. The spring and summer outdoor season is upon us. As we plan to go and enjoy the outdoors, having a good fire kit is an essential part of your packing list. Fire is one of the core elements of survival along with food, shelter, and water. Thus, having a reliable, quality fire starter is an essential part of an effective fire kit to carry on your next adventure. These five fire starters are a great items as your build or improve your fire kit.

1. Bic® Lighter

Most outdoor, survival, and preparedness experts agree that a Bic® lighter is quality fire starter. It is an excellent addition to any level of emergency survival kit. The Bic® lighter is a butane fuel lighter and will work well under most conditions. It produces a flame pretty consistently. Therefore, in an emergency situation, you can not go wrong having a Bic lighter as part of your fire kit. Moreover, carrying one of these lighters in your Urban-Suburban EDC bag is a must.

There are a couple of limitations with the Bic lighters. First, they contain a limited quantity of butane fuel. The next limitation with this lighter is that the thumb-depressed valve can be pushed open. This can cause the butane vapors to escape. Finally, a third limitation of these lighters is that the butane fuel can leak out over time. However, most of these limitations can be overcome by simple hacks or with an Exotac® FireSLEEVE™.

2. Ferro Rod and Striker

The ferro rod and striker another quality fire starter. Ferro rods are a standard item in most bushcraft fire making kits. The ferro (short for ferrocerium) is a metal rod of iron alloy. Ferrum is the Latin word for iron from which the ferrocerium rod gets its name. The ferrocerium rod is a combination of iron (ferrum) and cerium. Cerium is another natural element on the Periodic Table of Elements. Carl Auer von Welsbach discovered the fire making aspects of them when these two metals are combined into the alloy compound, ferrocerium.

Ferro rods come in many lengths, widths and configurations, such as having a wood or plastic handle on one end. The Sigma 3 Survival Store offers one of the best ferro rods and strikers on the market. The ferro rod is 6 inches long and a ½ inch in diameter. These dimensions ensure that the rod will last in the field. Moreover, it will give you plenty of fire making capability long after the Bic® lighter has run out of fuel.
The only limitation with the ferro rod and striker is it does not produce a flame within itself like the Bic® lighter. To gain a flame with this fire making instrument, you will have to possess or obtain a combustible tinder source. For more information on tinder sources check out the article, Four Optional Tinder Sources.

 

3. Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL™

The Exotac® NanoSTRIKER XL is another quality fire starter on the market. It is one of the most popular ferro rods being purchased by outdoorsman. It has a small diameter (.43 in.) and a modest length (4.17 in.). The striker has the dimensions of a tactical ball point pen. As a result, it fits well into an EDC kit or any level of emergency survival kit. Moreover, it is well suited to be carried into the field on a multiday outdoor activity such as a fishing, hunting, or thru-hiking. As with the ferro rod-and-striker above, you must use this in conjunction with a tinder source. Some optional tinder sources can be Birch Bark, Quick Tender, Wet Fire Cubes, Fire Stix, or some other natural or manufactured tinder.

 

4. UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit

Another quality fire starter to consider for your fire kit is the UCO Gear® Survival Stormproof Match Kit. UCO produces the best quality stormproof matches and match products on the market. The Survival Stormproof Match Kit is perfect as a redundancy item in your fire-making kit. Furthermore, stormproof matches are part of most military survival kits. Therefore, you can not go wrong with adding this match kit to your field packing list.

The kit comes with a clear plastic waterproof container. The container measures approximately 2.25 in. long and 1 in. wide. There are 15 water and waterproof matches inside. There is cotton batting in the lid and a paper match striker on the side. Some have complained about the quality of the matches on venues like Amazon®. However, you can purchase this match kit directly from UCO Gear or the Sigma 3 Survival Store if you want to ensure the quality of the product.

5. UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter

The final consideration for a quality fire starter is the UST® Spark Force™ Firestarter. Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST)® makes two versions of this product. The Spark Force™ and the larger Strike Force™. I have owned both products and they are excellent items for your kit. You will not go wrong with either product. The Spark Force ™ is more compact. Consequently, it is more easily stored in EDC packs, your pocket, or your personal survival kit.

The Spark Force™ is 3 in. long and ¾ in. wide. It has a lanyard that keeps the striker and rod together. The casing is high impact ABS plastic. The ferro rod is around 2 inches long. The purpose of this striker is for emergency situations as a backup fire making option. It was not designed to be your main fire starting instrument. Moreover, it is small enough that children can use it when they are properly trained on it.

Some Final Thoughts

A quality fire starter is a crucial item in your survival kit or outdoor adventure loadout. Redundancy items in your fire-making kit will ensure that you can make a fire in an emergency. One of the best fire-making kits on the market is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. You can read my review of the Sigma 3 Fire Kit if you want more information about it. However, if you choose to build or improve your own fire-making kit, the five fire-starting options listed above will greatly enhance your fire making capability in the field.

There are seven essential wearable EDC survival gear items to consider making part of what you carry all times. The main factors that determine what a person carries is location, experience, and necessity. The everyday gear that you take is as simple as what is on the body like watches or items in pockets. By contrast, EDC survival items can be the more sophisticated gear that you place in the bag, pack, or briefcase that you carry to school or work. However, there are a few essential items that one should consider having on your person regardless of location, experience, and necessity. What are these seven essential EDC items that one should wear or carry at all times?

Microlight or Flashlight

The first survival item to consider carrying on you at all times is some type of flashlight or microlight. Flashlights come in many sizes and configurations. The best EDC flashlight is one that you can place in your pocket. One of the best flashlights to consider is the Nitecore MT1C Flashlight. You can buy this item at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. This flashlight comes with a pocket clip and is roughly 3.5 inches long. It will fit in most trouser pockets or leg cargo pockets. This flashlight can also fit in the shirt pockets of most outdoor or tactical shirts. However, there is another type of flashlight to consider.

Another type of flashlight to think about is the microlight or micro-flashlight. These kinds of lights are sometimes called keychain lights. One recommended microlight is the LRI® Photon Micro-Light with a Covert Nose. This light is one that I personally own and is in the EDC survival kit in the cargo pocket of my pants. The second type of microlight is the ThruNite® Ti3 EDC Cree flashlight. This light has a pocket clip and is about 2.75 inches in length. Microlights are very versatile and convenient to carry on a daily basis. What is the next survival item to carry daily?

Lighter

The next survival item to carry daily is a lighter. There are many types of lighters on the market. The most recognizable is the Bic® lighter. This is a disposable butane fluid lighter. These lighters come in two basic sizes: the classic and mini. The mini Bic lighter is a favorite to carry among those who do not smoke tobacco products.
Another iconic butane fluid lighter is the Zippo® lighter. The lighter fluid in the Zippo lighter can be replenished through a cotton felt pad in the bottom of the lighter case. The main reason for carrying one of these kinds of lighters as an EDC item is their reliability. The Bic and Zippo lighters will function under most circumstances encountered on a daily basis. What about tools?

Multitool

The first tool to consider carrying every day is a multitool. Multitools come in various sizes and configurations. The two most reliable multitools are those manufactured by Leatherman® and Gerber®. I personally have owned both Leatherman and Gerber multitools, and each is quality tools. However, I would recommend the Leatherman® Skeletool™ multitool for EDC purposes. It is the right size for carrying on a daily basis without the bulkiness of the Leatherman® Wave™ or Gerber® MP 600™. Yet, the Skeletool offers the same versatility as its larger counterparts.

Pocket Knife

The second tool to think about carrying every day is a pocket knife. There are many opinions about pocket knives and other folding blade knives. A pocket knife does not have to be an elaborate tactical folder for EDC purposes. The intent for pocket knives is that they are tools and not weapons. There are folding blade knives that function more as weapons than tools. The classic stiletto switchblade knife is an example of a folding knife being a weapon and not a tool.

Furthermore, pocket knives come in many sizes and configurations. The most straightforward pocket knife has a single blade, such as the Gerber® Paraframe™. Most pocket knives have, however, at least two blades, one small and one large. Pocket knives can have various blade shapes. The most common blade shape is the drop point and clip point. There are pocket knives that use 1095 high carbon steel in their blades. The Bear & Son C205 Heritage, Walnut Midsize Lock back Folder, is an example of a pocket knife using 1095 high carbon steel in its blades. These kinds of pocket knives are excellent for bushcrafting and other outdoor applications.

However, some of the best makers of pocket knives are Victorinox® and Case®. The recommended pocket knives to carry on a daily basis are the Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer or the Case 6.5 BoneStag® Medium Stockman. These knives have blade lengths that are legally compliant most anywhere. They need minimal maintenance and will do most cutting jobs, such as cutting cordage, making a trap, stripping wire, cutting bandages, box cutting, or letter opening. The Swiss Army Farmer has more features than the Case knife, such as a saw and awl.

Wrist Watch (Solar-Powered Triple Sensor)

The final survival gear item to consider wearing on a daily basis is a solar battery powered triple sensor watch. A good watch is a valuable piece of gear to wear every day. A triple sensor watch has the features of an altimeter, barometer, and a digital compass, hence ABC. The barometer on these kinds of timepieces gives the current temperature when this feature is engaged. The solar battery that characterizes these outdoor watches keeps the watch working all year in all types of weather. The compass on this type of wrist watch is helpful because you do not have to worry about ambient magnetism affecting its reading. For example, the metal from your belt buckle or wedding band will not influence the direction given by the watch as it would your lensatic, baseplate, or wristband compass.

Furthermore, the best solar-powered triple sensor watches on the market are the Casio® Pro Trek™ Pathfinder™ PRW2500T-7 and PAG240T-7. These watches come with a titanium watch band. This watch band is excellent for rugged outdoor activities. Additionally, the more sophisticated smartwatches are great but have their limitations because of the need to update their software periodically. These two Casio watches can be worn every day in every situation. The solar-powered triple sensor wrist watch is an essential survival gear to wear on a daily basis.

Tourniquet

The final item to consider carrying at all times is a tourniquet. These used to be cumbersome to carry so most were stored inside of bags or packs. However, in recent years, manufacturers have started making belt pouches to hold a tourniquet. Blue Force Gear® and Rescue Essentials® sell tourniquet pouches that can be worn on a trouser belt or mounted on MOLLE gear. There are several versions of tourniquets on the market. The two most common are the combat application tourniquet (CAT) and the rapid application tourniquet (RAT). There is a third option available called the ratcheting medical tourniquet. This seems to be growing favorite tourniquet among emergency preppers and SOF personnel. Therefore, carrying a tourniquet should be considered as part of your wearable EDC survival gear.

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