MP#14: Outdoor Paracord & Tape Organizer Mk.IV




About: Hi I'm Alex and I love to make stuff! I mainly work with different metals but I also love to explore new (to me) materials and dabble in woodworking, jewelry, knife making, design and many more.

Hi Instructables Community,

this week I'm sharing with you a version of my favorite way to organize paracord (and duct tape) for outdoor use.

When out and about I usually carry a good length of paracord (or similar strong line) as well as some duct tape. Both items can be used for nearly every task in the woods and having them with you makes life so much easier. There are however a few problems:

  1. Paracord usually comes coiled in hanks when bought but this will quickly become a tangled mess
  2. Duct tape is usually wound around cardboard tubes which is rather bulky and taking up too much space.

As you can see in the pictures above there are a number of ways I have addressed the problems. In the beginning (15 years ago in the army that was) I simply wrapped cord/tape around small strips of cardboard. Cardboard however isn't the most rigid of materials and it doesn't like water. Years later a stumbled upon a new material (new to me at least), sheets made of PVC foam that where easy to work with, water resistant, relatively stiff yet flexible and tried it out in combination with a simple cord stopper/cord lock. I tried a few different designs (Mark 2 & 3 which you can see above) until I decided to go with this design which offers a flat profile whilst still holding 30'(10m) of paracord & about 10'(3m) of duct tape.

Please also check the last step which contains info about my monthly Giveaway.

Cheers Alex

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Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

  1. PVC Foam Sheet of your favorite color (I used gray as it showed best in the videos) or your preferred material (e.g. HDPE plastic sheets, wood, Alumin(i)um etc.

  2. Roll of duct tape

  3. Cord stopper/Cord Lock

  1. Electric drill with 8mm drill bit
  2. Metal straight edge
  3. Pencil
  4. Scribe
  5. X-Acto Knife & Utility Knife
  6. Lighter
  7. A coin (I used a 1€ coin but a Quarter $ works fine too)
  8. (Optional) coping saw or Scroll saw for faster detailed cuts.

Step 2: Measuring Pt.1

As a first step you should prepare a rectangular piece of PVC foam with a length of 27cm (10 1/2") and width of 10cm (4").

I used a 1€ coin for this project but you could also use a US Quarter or other coin with a diameter of 22mm - 23mm.

Place the coin in each corner and use your pencil to trace a circle around them.

With a square edge draw parallel lines connecting the four circles (Hm... that sounds strange, check the pics or video if you are unsure about this step.)

Step 3: Measuring Pt.2

Use the roll of duct tape to get the width for the duct tape part and mark with your pencil. With the coin you can find the correct width for the middle separator segment.

Step 4: Measuring Pt.3

With the coin you can also draw "softer" edges for the paracord part.

Find the middle of the top and middle separator sections and mark it with a scribe or nail.

Step 5: Cutting & Sawing

I usually use an X-Acto knife of fine utility knife for the long straight cuts. You will need a few cuts to get through the material. If you chose wood or some other material you might want to use a tool that is appropriate.

I also use a coping saw and scroll saw for faster cuts of the round parts.

Step 6: Sanding. Sanding Always Stays the Same

I used a small file to smooth all edges but you could of course also use sandpaper for this job.

Step 7: Drilling

Remember the two points you've marked earlier with your scribe? Right get yourself a drill with a 8mm (1/4" should work too) and a backup board. Drilling through the PVC is quickly done with two clean holes. The holes will later be used for a lanyard & as part of the friction lock for the paracord.

Step 8: Lanyard & Protective Film

Cut a 40cm (16") piece from the paracord which will be used later as a loop to hang the organizer to trees and such.

Also remove the protective film from the other side of the PVC sheet if you haven't done so yet.

Step 9: Now the Boring Part...

Ok, we have now reached the most tedious part of this project. Take a short strip of painters tape and use it to fix one end of the paracord to the organizer.

Before you start to wrap the cord around I strongly suggest to untangle the cord and lay it in long (non-overlapping) coils on the floor. This should ensure that you can continuously wrap the cord without having to untangle it every few feet.

Step 10: Cord Lock

Approximately 15-20 minutes later you should have wrapped most of the cord around the organizer and have only a few inches left standing you can thread them through the hole you drilled through the middle segment. Use the cord stopper/cord lock to secure it from the other side. Friction alone will hold everything in place.

Step 11: The Second Most Tedious Part...

... is to wrap the duct tape around. Its only made second place since you won't have to wrap as much length around as with the paracord. The tape however will put up a bit of a fight due to its sticky properties. I suggest you try to wrap a few feet at a time as this seemed to me the easiest method.

Step 12: Finished at Last

Congratulations you are done and your paracord/tape organizer is ready to be packed into your backpack!

You can of course make separate organizers for tape & cord if you like or add another level for wire, self-cling tape, jute twine or whatever you would like to carry around.

I have plans for a Mk. V which would incorporate a rope cutter, a lighter and a few other gadgets so stay tuned.

Step 13: Monthly Giveaway

You can win a Let's Prep Outdoor MakeKit v2.0 including a 1-Year Instructables Pro Account. I will also send out stickers to the runner ups again!

All you have to do is to subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave me a comment at this video and include "I want to go out and make something!" & your Instructables username. The winner will be announced on Mar 31st 2016 1800hrs GMT on my FB, Twitter & Blog. (Only entries from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, USA & Canada are eligible to get the full package mailed (please understand that I pay for this myself), residents of other countries may only receive the Pro-Account).

(I changed the Pro-Account from 3-Months to 1-Year since this Instructable was featured on the homepage!)

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Hack Your Day Contest

Participated in the
Hack Your Day Contest

2 People Made This Project!


  • Furniture Contest

    Furniture Contest
  • Reuse Contest

    Reuse Contest
  • Made with Math Contest

    Made with Math Contest

6 Discussions


3 years ago

A nice way to clean your mess^^

1 reply
Alex 2Qxp24

Reply 3 years ago

Hi xp24, thanks for reading and for your feedback. It really makes it easier to keep your stuff together when out and about ;)

Cheers Alex


3 years ago

I want to go out and make something. My instructable username mauG

1 reply
Alex 2QmauG

Reply 3 years ago

Hi Mauro,

could you please leave that comment here at the video? This helps me keeping all participants in one place.

Cheers Alex