How To Secure Any Draw-Cord Closure

posted in: Tips & Tricks | 25


Watch this video in the Tips & Tricks series to see how to secure any draw-cord closure. Here I share a simple method of applying a really easy knot to make any draw-string closure – on stuff sacks, compression sacks or rucksacks for example – much more secure than relying only on the cord-lock.

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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.

25 Responses

  1. Matt

    Great tip Paul, thanks. I’ve always tied an overhand knot with a bight on these types of closures as a matter of course, but up until now I did it above the toggle – I never thought of doing it your way, i.e. below or around the toggle. This seems much better and more secure, so I’ll definitely adopt the method from now on.

    I think these kinds of ‘instant’ kit tips would make a really valuable series – your packing a rucksack video over at is similarly useful. Are there any other little tricks you could show us?

    • Paul Kirtley

      Hi Matt,

      Good to read you liked this tip.

      As it happens I have some more in the pipeline.

      Watch this space 🙂



  2. Leena

    Awesome! it was very easy to understand, simple, and short. Liked it better than the pictures…for eg..cow hitch is easy for those who know it, but not for those who havent done it before.

    Do you have/or know of simple videos for setting up a tarp…ie knots to use on the trees….for those of us
    who wander among the trees and have a picnic outdoors….could you target it at a similar level…so that it requires less muscle power, and it is easy to do.

    yes…the how to pack rucksack was a ‘hit’ among the kidz zone…tips on how and what to pack before one travels…I do use your videos as instructional manual in the family! ( Do not pack the house…just the essentials!!!…its bushcraft motto…comes in very handy…and the checklist is great as well…I just personalise it to my need. I never thought of packing things in stuff sacks before…so that came in handy as well.( used to use plastic bags…but stuff sacks are more handier).

    One handy tip I use is to colour code the stuff sacks- ie red, amber , green, so that in order of urgency or just group them ie water, solids, first aid…I also add small labels to them with description of whats in it…so that..its all packed and ready to go…( with kidz, its mom..wheres the spoon?..that kind of easier to give firm instructions.)

    • Paul Kirtley

      Hey Leena,

      Lovely to hear from you again.

      Colour coding is certainly a good idea if you have multuple stuff-sacks.

      I have shot a tarp video but it hasn’t been edited yet.

      I hope you’ll find it useful.

      Warm regards,


  3. chris

    haha.. typical, just when you think you have something sorted, some smart alec comes up with a better way to do it.. As said above, I always just the obligatory overhand with a loop above the toggle.. never occurred to try it that way.
    Thanks Paul, another great, simple tip that works.

  4. Suzanne

    Genius. My sleeping bag toggle is cracked and slips all the time. This tip is just in time for Secret Garden Festival this weekend. Cheers Paul!

  5. Peter

    That is similar to how I do mine except that I just tie it immediately after the cordlock and usually tuck the loose end back through the gather. Would you say that there is an advantage to having the loop round the closure?

    As a youngster I was taught a way of threading buckles where you go through the first side normally but then over the second bar and up from below wrapping the end so that the excess comes a neat “swiss roll”. Not as easy with clip buckles but they can be rethreaded to do it and lose the annoying flapping ends.

    • Paul Kirtley

      Hi Peter,

      I find the overhand knot can be made to butt up against the bag tighter and stays in place better this way.

      I like the swiss roll idea. Very neat.



  6. Stewart Lomax

    Great that you’re doing demo videos! I have actually done this with the tie cord around the top of the stuff bag forming a ‘neck’ and improving the seal of the bag.

  7. Peter

    Hello Paul,
    Just wondering if there’s any chance that of your videos and podcasts could be subtitled, for the benefit of your deaf viewers, if you have any? I myself am deaf, and would be very interested in “hearing” what you have to say, especially on wild camping in the UK in your latest podcast.

  8. Vinny

    Thanks for the time taken to show a cracking tip. Like others I tied my knot above the toggle your way makes so much sense. Thanks again

  9. David

    Great tip, as usual. One note: I have found that knot-tying novices can struggle when shown the slipped version of a knot first. It can be easier to show them the knot without the bight, then show them the slipped version. Of course, you have taught many more people than I have about knots, but thought I would share this observation. Regardless, thank you for sharing this and so many other videos with the bushcraft community.

  10. Sean

    Like all the great ideas, a simple solution that works a treat. Great tip, cheers Paul !

  11. Dave Howard

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for sharing this simple but effective way of preventing stuff sacks etc. from sliding open. On bags without the locking clip I have tied the string around the top inch of the bag itself, however on a bag i used regularly it wore a hole in the material, this looks far better.
    All the best, Dave.

  12. Colin Callan

    Nice tip Paul. I’ve been doing this and making the quick release knot the other side of the toggle, I’ve never thought of doing it this way. It makes total sense! Thanks. Keep up the knowledge.

  13. Stephen Tomlinson

    Perfect timing Paul! Just packing my stuff for a day in the woods. Cheers

  14. Dave

    Thanks paul . Am loving all these tips and information the videos are brill too .keep them coming

  15. Nigel Gregory

    Hi Paul.
    Another great informative piece from yourself, I saw this article some time ago but it is nice to be reminded of it, simple and effective, too many people make information too long, you keep it short and sweet, therefore easy to understand, many thanks.

  16. Joe Pratt

    Hi here Paul It’s good always to hear from you. That was an excellent tip,and when I think how many times i have just relied on the Slip Fastener! It is so imple and yet so excellent.I have travelld a bit, but I have never come across it before!
    I would have like to have been more phyisically active with you but I’m afraid time and tide is against it,none the less written, your written aspect is excellent and it’s appreciated. Best wishes,Joe

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