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How to Make Survival Cordage From Urban Garbage

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In a survival situation cordage is one of the most useful of items you can acquire, and fortunately you can make it from all sorts of human refuse.

There is hardly a place on earth where human refuse cannot be found. Plastic bags, bottles and all sorts of manufactured products are used and thrown away by the billions every day. They wash up on shores and get blown into forests and wind up everywhere. You can make survival cordage from a lot of this garbage.

Here, Bob Hansler shows you just a scant few items of recyclable or repurposed refuse that you can make cordage from if you’re ever in a tight spot.

Bob makes strips of single strand cordage from plastic soda bottles, aluminum cans and even from an orange highway cone. He uses a leather cutting tool or bottle cutter to make some of the cordage, but chances are slim that you’d actually have anything like these tools on your person in a real life survival situation.

But you should be able to look at the design of these specialized tools and come up with something similar on your own. And of course you could just take your time and use your knife to slowly and surely cut the strips from the bottles or cones.

Plastic bags are an obvious source material for making all kinds of things, including cordage. The trick is to accumulate enough of them to make line that is substantial enough. His technique here is worth paying attention to, as it is basically the same technique used to make cordage from natural materials like nettles.

Also, if you want stronger cordage you can weave or braid individual strips together to make a thicker, bonded “rope”.

In my opinion, natural cordage is usually far superior to the garbage kind of materials, but it’s probably good to know these things and increase your options when they present themselves. I would also think that if you were to find, for example, a discarded soda bottle in a survival situation, its use as a bottle or storage unit would far outweigh its limited use as cord material.

The main takeaway here is to think creatively. Think of multiple and unusual uses for everyday items. After all, remember what Tom Hanks used for cordage in the film “Cast Away”? The recording tape from VHS cartridges!

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Survival Hack: Make Your Own Stormproof Matches

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How to Make Survival Cordage From Urban Garbage