Line Tensioners Made From Bottle Tops




Line tensioners make setting up a tent much easier than tying off rope, and they're incredibly easy to make. Here are a couple I made from the screw-on lids from soda and juice bottles. The only tools you need are a drill with about an 1/8" bit and a sharp utility knife. I also used some channel-lock pliers to hold the lids while drilling.

Step 1:

Drill the holes similar to this. Precise placement is not necessary. You want two holes on opposite side of the lid, another hole near one of those first two holes, and the last hole about 90 degrees off from the first two holes.

Step 2:

Use your sharp utility knife to join these two holes, forming a rough oval. Perfection is not required.

Step 3:

Wrap some packing tape around your paracord. Cut through the tape, which will leave a relatively clean edge. This will help in the next step.

Step 4:

Begin threading the paracord through the holes. First, in one side and out the other.

Step 5:

Then around the outside and up through the same hole from the bottom.

Step 6:

Down through the last hole.

Step 7:

Then back up again from the bottom through the oval hole.

Step 8:

Remove the tape from the end of the paracord and put a simple knot in it. Tighten up the paracord around the tensioner, removing any unnecessary slack, and viola! A simple line tensioner. This should be plenty strong for tents and such.

Step 9: In Action

Here's a shot of a bottle top tension in action. In this pic you see the yellow tent, the aluminum pole supporting the peak, the orange of the paracord I used, and the blue bottle top. The paracord line loops over the top of the pole, then goes down through the top of the bottle top. It then goes back through the bottle top and down to the stake in the ground. This is where you slip the tensioner over the line to adjust the length of the line.

We just spent a weekend camping with two of these holding up our tent. They held the lines very taut and didn't slip at all.



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    11 Discussions


    4 years ago

    not bad. a bit complicated for the simple task its performing.


    8 years ago on Step 9

    I just made one with some paracord and a bottle lid I had sitting around. it's a neat trick, but I think learning to tie a proper tautline hitch is easier. YMMV, of course.


    9 years ago on Step 9

    A hackish yet effective trick, just as I like them.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Just got enough spare  time to try out one of those in a real application...
    They work amazingly well and hold tight ,even tied on my inapropriately thin and silk piece of string!

    This is really worth knowing to help all your not so knotting enclined friends  ;)
    Moreover, it's easyly done on the field with just a spare cap and your favorite knife, which will most likely be both aviable at the time.
    All a clever trick needs.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I am a bit silly, I need some explanation about how it is used. It cost me understand step 5, so imagine.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I added an additional step, Step 9, with a picture and explanation that should help you understand how they work.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Nice ible! You should however, put the disclaimer that this is for people who cannot tie the tautline hitch.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Tensioners like this are a convenience. They're for anyone who either doesn't know how to or doesn't want to bother with tying knots. If you'd prefer a tautline hitch, by all means use one. To each his own.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    great idea, I dont understand how its easier than tying a knot though. I have to say Ive never been happy with tensioners and usually discard them in favor of a truckers knot and half hitch which very seldon ever loosen until you want them to. This is a well done ible. One note that might be easier, instead of cutting between the 2 holes, if you angle your drill you can "cut" a slot avoiding 2 or 3 steps