Although most of us already carry paracord or rope as part of our survival kits or bug-out bags, it’s always wise to know where to find backup sources of cordage. There are obvious choices, like boot laces and lanyards, but some are less obvious. If you really think about it, you always have cordage on hand, even if all you’ve got is the clothes on your back.

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Lonnie of Far North Bushcraft and Survival shows how to find emergency cordage.

In this video from Far North Bushcraft and Survival, the host demonstrates how to scavenge cordage from an old T-shirt’s hem. The additional stitching and doubled-up fabric in this area makes for added strength, and it’s easy to cut off without losing the protective qualities of the shirt. You might end up showing a little midriff or plumber’s crack, but in a survival situation, that doesn’t matter much, now does it?

Lonnie takes this T-shirt cordage, and twists it for added strength. Then, he incorporates it into a bow drill, which is an excellent friction fire-starting tool that we’ve covered here before. Considering the only other tools you’d need for this method are some wood and a knife, the T-shirt cordage could make the difference between a cold night and a crackling fire.

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After hearing about this tip, you may think cannibalizing a T-shirt for cordage is an obvious choice. However, in a frantic survival scenario, you might easily overlook this resource, so it’s good to be aware of. You can even use the sleeve and collar hems in a similar manner, without losing the warmth that the shirt provides to your core.

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Of course, the bow drill is a great tool in its own right. To learn more about building a bow drill, check out our MacGyver-Level Pyro guide.


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