Sturdy, Flexible Wire Gear Ties – For Free

At our local department store, I came across an interesting invention in the camping section: a steel core, foam-rubber coated cable meant for temporarily securing lines, bundling rope or tying light equipment onto a roof rack. While this product was reasonably priced, you get get a simpler kit for far cheaper: an item you undoubtedly have in your house (but probably don’t want to pull out of your walls).
IMG_5556We’ve previously given a very favorable review to the Ultimate Survival Technologies Brila Mini Lantern – it was well-made with many clever features. The UST Gear Snake cable also seems to be a fine value: advertising it to be “easier than rope, won’t rust, slip or stretch”. It’s “cut to fit” with a knife or pair of scissors, so more flexible than the more expensive pre-sized gear ties from competitors such as Nite Ize.

But there’s another option available at any home improvement store: regular household electrical wire is simply nylon coating over an aluminum, steel or copper core – durable, flexible and dirt cheap. It’s commonly known as Romex – the most common brand for non-metallic sheathed wire.
cardas-wiringEach strand of building wire contains three or four runs of insulated wire held in an outer casing. This outer casing can be easily removed with an knife, leaving the inner strands ready for use. As with any gauge, lower numbers mean a thicker wire – a thin 24 gauge wire would be ideal for cleaning and organizing a workbench. For outdoor uses, I prefer using an eight or ten gauge copper core, crimping the ends into loops with a trusty multitool. Some users have covered the wire with the fabric sheathing found on paracord.

Like our recommendation of the best tarp that money cannot buy, building sites often have short lengths of leftovers they’re just going to send to a landfill. It’s worth asking – most builders will have plenty that they’d be happy to have you clean up and haul away. Experiment and see what works best for you.

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