Hiker’s Rescue Rope

(a.k.a. Toggle Rope / Commando Rope)

 During World War II soldiers were issued a length of 1/2 inch rope approximately eight to ten feet long with a spliced-in wooden toggle at one end and a spliced eye at the other end. The concept is to insert the toggle of one rope into the eye of another rope thereby allowing any length of rope to be constructed quickly and simply without knots. It was nicknamed the Toggle Rope or Commando rope. See illustrations below. 

toggle-rope-short   014

 

Here is a Wikipedia listing

The Boy Scouts of America adopted the Toggle Rope in the 1940s as part of their toolset for Pioneering and general use. See Articles in Boy’s Life Magazine.

Boy’s Life Magazine, June 1947 – Buddy Rope (aka Toggle rope) history and uses

Boy’s Life magazine, December 1978 –  Commando Rope uses

The Scouts later reworked the design to replace the toggle with a second eye. This may be due to the slight possibility that a toggle from one rope may disengage from the other rope accidentally. Sometimes a locking carabiner is used to connect the two ropes.

How to make a Buddy Rope (pdf) BuddyRope

The Hiker’s Rescue Rope increased the size of the eye loop to be large enough to allow a hand or foot to be inserted. The current design uses Tubular Nylon Climbing Webbing instead of rope because of the ease of stitching webbing versus splicing modern-day braided synthetic rope.

If several members of a hiking group each carry a Hiker’s Rescue Rope then a long rope can be improvised at a moment’s notice.

How to make a Hiker’s Rescue Rope

Material:

  • Twelve feet of tubular nylon webbing, 5/16th inch wide rated at 2,000 Lb strength or more.
  • Nylon or Polyester thread, Sailmakers or Awning strength.
  • Heavy duty sewing machine or hand stitching awl.
Hiker's Rescue Rope - 10 feet
Hiker’s Rescue Rope – 10 feet

Construction:

  • Mark the webbing at 4 inches  and 12 inches from the end
Mark 4 inch, 12 inch
Mark 4 inch, 12 inch
  • Fold the webbing 12 inch from each end.
Fold at the 12 inch mark
  • Leaving 8 inches for the loop, stitch the last 4 inches in a series of six bar tacks or six complete zig-zag stitches.
Recommended half twist ensures loop stays open
Recommended half twist ensures loop stays open
  • A recommend practice is to add a half-twist before sewing. The twist helps keep the loop open.

 

Alternative method – quick and easy

  • Mark 14 inches from end
Mark 6 inch, 14 inch, fold at 14 inch
Mark 6 inch, 14 inch, fold at 14 inch
  • Fold and tie Overhand Knot 8 inches from end. Ensure at least 1 inch of tail extends beyond knot. Pull to tighten knot securely.
Tie Overhand Knot at 8 inch from end
Tie Overhand Knot at 8 inch from end

Use:

  • Around an anchor.
Wrap rope around anchor and thread end through loop
Wrap rope around anchor and thread end through loop
  • Wrap rope around anchor and thread end through loop
Pull end tight to secure it to anchor
Pull end tight to secure it to anchor
  • Pull end tight to secure it to anchor
Wrap rope around anchor and thread end through loop
Wrap rope around anchor and thread end through loop
  • Wrap around anchor – close-up

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  • Grasping the loop by hand.

Insert Hand
Insert Hand
Grip Rope
Grip Rope

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  • Securing a foot in the loop.

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  • Attaching two Ropes together securely.
Linking Two Rescue Ropes
Linking Two Rescue Ropes
  • Thread first loop over the second
  • Pull first end through second loop and tighten
Linked Rescue Rope
Linked Rescue Rope

Maintenance:

  • Nylon deteriorated in sunlight (ultra violet light). Do not leave it exposed for extended periods.
  • Wash webbing in cool water and air dry.
  • Inspect and replace if it shows significant signs of wear.

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Jim Yuen, 12/2014

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