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[personal profile] bquinlan
One of my simpler gadgets is a device made by Nite Ize called the Figure 9. The name comes from its shape.

Nite Ize Figure 9

Using one of these you can tie off and tighten a cord quickly, easily, and securely without learning any knots. There are even instructions printed right on the device, although you won't really need that once you've used them a few times. And there are three sizes that will handle everything from 1/16" (2mm) cord to 5/8" (16mm) rope.

First you thread one end of a line through the loop and tuck it under itself (as shown) to secure it. Then you wrap the other end through the "anchor" (as shown) and pull to tighten it. You end up with an arrangement like this.

Nite Ize Figure 9 in use

If you need to take up some slack just pull on the loose end that's wrapped through the anchor and it will hold at whatever tension you provide. When you want to release the rope just unwind it from the anchor and it will come from free. Nice and easy.

Yes, learning knots can be a valuable skill, but not everyone wants or needs it. A few of these in your kitchen cabinet and glove compartment will let you achieve similar results.

I originally bought a few medium Figure 9s to simplify tying down my canoe on the roof rack. After fighting to keep the ropes under tension on trips these were a big improvement. Now I use them for almost anything that involves tying, short of putting bows on Christmas presents.

They are small, light, inexpensive, and useful. If you have anything you need to tie down regularly you should give them a try.
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