Cordage: The Multi-Use Product Made From Trees and Leather

Cordage is a highly useful and necessary item to have on hand when in the backcountry. Here's how to make it from certain trees or from a piece of leather.

One of the most useful camp and survival items you can have on hand is cordage or line.

Its uses are myriad and varied, from binding sticks together to make tripods. You can also use it to hang vessels over a fire, support a tent or hammock, secure items for transport, craft a bowstring, create animal snares or traps or even secure a brace in a medical emergency.

Most of us do carry some form of cordage with us when we head into the backcountry, but what to do should we run short? The answer is to make it from natural materials.

Here, Dan Wowak shows Jon Townsend how to fashion cordage from certain tree barks such as tulip poplar or any other tree with lengthy, fibrous inner bark.

The process of making the cordage is the same whether you're using tree bark or other plant fibers such as nettles, hemp or even coconuts. You can even make emergency cordage from trash. It's a matter of alternately twisting the plant fibers together, which is largely a function of simply practicing the technique until you become skilled at it.

Wowak also shows how to make cordage from a small piece of leather. The cordage he makes is a single strand of leather, like a lacing. I'd suggest cutting the leather strip thinner than he did and braiding or twisting multiple strips together for added strength and durability.

This is a fun and very worthwhile project for you to practice whenever you're in camp, whether you actually need the cordage or not.

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