Save >50% More Cordage Building Bushcraft Shelters

I feel like one of those Capital One Credit Card Commercials – “Who wouldn’t want to save 50% more cordage?”  If you have ever built a semi-permanent to permanent bushcraft shelter, you’ll find that each joint takes ALOT of cordage.   A secure lashing requires several wrapping and frapping turns, and starting and finishing hitches that wrap around the spars/poles.  On top of that, for a simple lean-to shelter, you may have to make as many as 15 secured joints.  If you thought the 100 foot paracord you stuffed in your bug out bag is enough, you need to get out in the field and see if it’s really sufficient.

The Tourniquet Lashing

Here is a video where I demonstrate my modification of a square lashing I found in an old black/white scouting book from days of old.  It saves up to 50% cordage because you do not need to wrap a starting and finishing hitch around your spars.  Additionally, you save cordage because you do not need to do frapping turns.  Essentially, the tourniquet bar tightens the two spars together in lieu of the frapping turns.

One extra point I did not mention in the video is that I display a very minimal lashing with one wrapping turn around both spars.  You could double or triple your loop before you lash the poles together to give you the full strength of a traditional lashing.  Actually, I think this lashing is much stronger than a traditional due to the tourniquet forces you cannot obtain from frapping turns.




  • greenbush

    Great video, thanks for sharing. Another alternative is to use the jam knot / arbor knot. Thanks again.

    • Greenbush, thanks for reading and commenting! I’ve tried the Jam knot and it is a good “starter” knot. It will help take the load off your hands so you can reposition the spar, but it will not hold weight for a load bearing structure. Make sure you follow up the jam knot with lashings and a constrictor knot.