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bank line: the new cordage of choice - bank line in hand

Bank Line: The New Cordage of Choice

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Cordage is one of the most important things you can have in any survival kit. Whether it’s a large home kit or a small one for the car, cordage is of utmost importance. 

One thing people don’t understand about cordage is it’s very hard to replicate. While we can fashion all sorts of things with our hands, rope is very time consuming to make yourself. That’s why it’s important to have plenty of cordage of various types and lengths. 

In the last few years, I’ve been getting into bushcraft. In studying this, I came across something called bank line which is a tar treated cord that’s very resistant to rot and adverse weather. 

bank line: the new cordage of choice - bank line strands against grass background

Bank Line

Now, for any vets reading this you may think nothing in the whole wide whole will ever replace 550 cord. After years of using 550 cord in many environments, I can honestly say bank line has its place on an equal pedestal with 550 cord. 

Bank line is outstanding because of the tar that protects the rope. Where 550 cord will deteriorate over time when outdoors, bank line is going to have more longevity.

It’s also highly effective at holding knots. Because of this, bank line is a great option for making shelters, setting waterfowl decoys, etc. 550 cord is good for these applications, too, but it can’t hold a match to bank line when it comes to maintaining a knot.

bank line: the new cordage of choice - 550 cord in hand

550 Cord

Bank line comes in braided and twisted configurations. In preparation for a bushcraft course at Campcraft Outdoors, I purchased a bunch of braided line but wished I’d got some twisted as well.  

The twisted kind allows the cord to come apart easier in the event you want to use smaller strings. I also learned that pieces of bugs, mouse guts or whatever can be placed between the strands in order to lure game to a field expedient trap. Once the game starts chewing on the baited rope, the trap gets tripped, thus, catching the animal. 

The bank line we bought was from a company called Catahoula Manufacturing, Inc. We’ve purchased multiple spools of their cordage and have had no issues.  Catahoula’s line, which they call tarred twine, comes in tensile strengths ranging from 50 to 1100, numbered # 6 to # 120 respectively. For home preparedness / survival / bushcraft applications, #30 and # 36 should be good for a variety of applications.  

bank line: the new cordage of choice - cordage examples laying on board

While 550 cord served me well in the military, I believe bank like is a better option for surviving outdoors. It’s definitely my official go-to cordage these days. Whatever you go with, just make sure you have plenty of it. 



Less expensive than 550 cord.

Very weather resistant. 

Holds knots much better. 



Less individual strings than 550 cord.