Cordage is an important part of any Tactical Handyman’s EDC (every day carry) or survival kit. The cordage of choice in these types of kits is often para-cord due to its compact size, decent tensile strength, multiple uses, and relatively low price. I carry para-cord whenever I am in the woods just because it has come in handy so many times, but, recently, I have found myself using jute twine just as often.
Jute Twine is useful for many of the same tasks that you would typically use para-cord like lashing branches when building shelter, or stringing up a tarp or poncho. In fact, I have found that it stretches less than para-cord under load. I actually prefer it for keeping the lines on a tarp shelter taught even though I might have to double up the lines to keep them from breaking on windy days. It weighs less than para-cord and costs less too.
Jute Twine’s versatility comes from the fact that is an excellent fire making aid. It can be shredded easily with a knife or sharp rock. Once the jute twine is sufficiently frayed it can be lightly folded into a bundle that will readily catch fire when it catches a spark. You can also add small wood chips, twigs, fatwood, pine resin, shredded bark, or other tinder to the jute twine to make a tinder bundle. A few feet of jute twine and a ferro rod make an excellent fire starting combination.
Sadly, jute twine is not perfect. It is not as strong as para-cord and it can begin to rot in just a few days, especially if it gets wet. The ends can also fray very easily and can not be melted to control the fraying like para-card. However, given its versatility as both cordage and a very efficient fire making aid, there is definitely room for several feet of jute twine in anyone’s kit.