Quick Tip: Pull tab guyline tensioner

When setting up a tarp or shelter, sometimes some cordage has to be wound around the stake.

A taut line hitch or a trucker’s hitch are two traditional ways of tensioning cord without needing to spend extra money on commercial guyline tensioners.

Knowing these knots are what is known as “good things“. (No really, I did address this before. Read it! 😀 )

But sometimes a quick trick is good.  Perhaps you just need to set up something quickly once-in-a-great-while when the weather is really crappy?

I recently stumbled upon a cool little quick and dirty hack. A hack that is light, inexpensive and effective: A pull tab guyline tensioner.

That’s right, the pull tab from a can of Coke or your canned beer of choice makes a wonderful little guyline tensioner:

resized-20160321_190059Make a simple overhand knot on the wider side of the pull tab (or, if using thinner cord, a bowline knot would be best, esp if is a permanent cord attachment. Of course an overhand knot is quick and dirty…) , snake it under the stake facing side of the tab, over the middle of the tab and then under where the tab pulls off the can. The cord stays in place rather nicely. I found this tab works best for thinner accessory cord or bank line cord.  Simply loosen it or tighten the guyline as needed.

Using thicker cord (such as the 550 cord above?) and enjoy making homemade alcohol stoves?  Or perhaps you (also) have a cat that loves Fancy Feast and arguably rates higher than you in the family structure? (I kid. I think.)

He was here before me. The jury is still out if I will last longer than him… Still kidding. I think.

Then use a Fancy Feast pull tab! I found it handles the thicker rope better than a soda can pull tab. Also easier pull up and down the cord.  Use the same steps as above.


Total weight of all these pull tabs? Could not tell you. They did not register on my scale good for .125 oz increments.


A total of six on the scale. That’s a lot of turkey giblets cat food…

Here’s a good little video if you want a bit more instruction...

Of course line locks work well and aren’t that expensive either. But “go buy these at REI” would not be a good quick tip. 😉  Being serious, these pull tabs probably work best for when you need something quick and dirty as opposed to permanent. A properly tied knot is also one less piece of gear needed and is perhaps more reliable. But, again, the pull tab is good to keep handy in the knowledge base.


Knots are good to learn and know as they are useful. But sometimes, esp when it is windy, wet and/or cold, a simple doodad could come in handy versus tying a knot. The pull tab guyline tensioner is something good to keep in the bag of tricks.  I plan on having the Fancy Feast ones in the car camp kit as we sometimes use different tarp configurations.

So next time you are drinking craft beer or feeding your demanding cat, besides making a stove, think of another DIY piece of gear: A pull tab guyline tensioner!

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Dan Thornton
Dan Thornton
4 years ago

Mr. Mags,

I like this tip, but all my pull tabs are quite rough in the bottom side. Have you had any issues with the tab ripping ir wearing holes in the tent/fly while in the stuff sack?