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How to make a rope stretcher

Updated March 21, 2017

In many circumstances, a pleasant camping or hiking trip may become disastrous. If a member of the party is injured and cannot make it to a location that provides medical help, it may be necessary for other members of that party to transport the injured or afflicted person to safety. However, if that injured person has a broken bone or head injury, they may need to be carried by stretcher. If the party has rope on hand, a rope stretcher may very well be used to save the life of a fellow hiker or camper.

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How to make a rope stretcher

  1. Sever or collect two tree limbs. The limbs should be about as long as the victim and should be sturdy enough to bear that person's weight. If you cannot find tree branches, the rope stretcher can be made without them.

  2. Lay out the two tree limbs parallel to each other and wide enough apart so that the victim can lie between them. If you have no branches, lay out two pieces of rope parallel to each other and as wide apart as the victim is wide.

  3. Make a clove hitch knot with a loose piece of rope near the end of the first branch. To make the knot, loop the rope over the branch so that the loose end of the rope comes under the bottom of the branch and up towards you. Then, loop the rope again, this time moving the same loose end over the top of the branch so that it comes under the branch and up towards you. The knot should look like a butterfly.Tuck the same loose end of the rope that you have been working with beneath the second loop and tug it so that it tightens.

  4. If you do not have branches, substitute the branches for ropes that you laid out parallel to each other and to the clove hitch knot to the end of the rope.

  5. Make a clove hitch knot on the corresponding end of the other branch and pull it tight as well. Then move the rope downwards and horizontally to the first branch and make another clove hitch knot about six inches below the first. Continue this zigzagging pattern until the stretcher is long enough for the victim to lie on.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rope
  • 2 tree branches
  • Knife or axe

About the Author

Tessa Holmes has been writing professionally since 2007. Her short stories and articles have been published on Relevantmagazine.com and in the "Cypress Dome." She has worked with the "Florida Review." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.

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