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Don’t lose your gear: Pop a top for equipment safety

Prevent loss of small critical survival items by attaching a poptop, and securing them to a clip or lanyard.
510 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Hanging on to your tools may be critical. Here’s how to rig small items so they don’t get lost.  

by Leon Pantenburg

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I learned a valuable lesson the hard way a few years back when my wife and I dumped a canoe at the top of a rapids. (Read the story)

Prevent loss of small critical survival items by attaching a poptop, and securing them to a clip or lanyard.

Basically, it amount to this: You keep the stuff that is tied down or secured. You lose the stuff that isn’t.

But some small items, such as butane lighters, Chapstick or some survival knives, don’t have a way to attach a lanyard or safety snap. (Here’s how to make a lanyard.)

Here’s an easy way to fix that.

Take an aluminum poptop and attach it to the small item with a piece of bright tape. Then, whenever you use that piece of gear, clip or attach it to a lanyard. Attach the lanyard to your belt, button hole or zipper fob.

Get into this habit and you’ll never drop or lose that critical piece of gear.  This is particularly important in areas with a lot of snow, like where I live in Central Oregon.

Add several feet of duct tape and a poptop to a standard BIC mini lighter and you have a firestarting kit. Secure the lighter to a lanyard with the poptop.

Add duct tape and a poptop to a standard BIC mini lighter and you have a firestarting kit. Secure the lighter to a lanyard with the poptop.

I frequently am out in areas with several feet of accumulation, and dropping a butane lighter in these areas of deep snow virtually guarantees permanent loss. Even if you can find the lighter again, chances are the cold will disable it for several minutes.

And what about that all-important knife? Drop one in deep snow, and it’s almost guaranteed you won’t see it again. Putting a lanyard on a survival knife is one of the smarter things you can do for winter survival in deep snow.

Either of these situations is a problem if you desperately need to build a warming fire and your hands are numb!

Avoid potential emergencies caused by losing gear by thinking ahead!

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3 comments
  • petem

    AKA dummy cord. The military has been teaching this since the invention of cord. The pop top addition is ingenious in it’s simplicity.

  • Leon

    Actually, if the knots are tied correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems. I’ve been using this setup for several years and haven’t noticed any safety issues.
    Again, the knots have to be tied correctly. If there is any doubt, test by putting the loop over some strong horizontal rail (like the arm rest on sturdy patio furniture) and applying a lot of weight. I used my foot and stood up on it.
    If there is still a safety concern, fray a place in the paracord, so it would break under less pressure.
    Also, the lanyard doesn’t have to go around your neck. I frequently loop my lanyard to my belt, through a button hole or on the shoulder strap of my coat.

  • Elizabeth Barnett

    had to move the stopper knot to 8″ (not 12″) to keep from strangling myself; however, seems that one could easily hang oneself with this lanyard… belt clips are probably a better idea! I appreciate most of your other stuff!

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