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Making Survival Kits

Survival kit videos: Check out this paracord rifle sling as part of your backcountry emergency gear

Survival kit videos: Check out this paracord rifle sling as part of your backcountry emergency gear

I was not paid to do this review, and at the time of publication, Ridge Runner Belts was not an advertiser.

Paracord and duct tape are survival necessities, IMO, and any way to include them in your emergency kit is a plus.

by Leon Pantenburg

I bought my first .22 rifle with earnings from raising pigs. It was a Springfield, single shot bolt-action and cost $18 in 1965. After I got it, my dad bought sling swivels, and a leather military sling for it. Initially I didn’t figure it out.  A sling might be kinda weird-looking, I commented, and  none of my buddies had slings on their guns.

Check out these prices on MilSpec paracord

Check out these prices on MilSpec paracord


The Ridge Runner paracord sling fits well on my 7 mm Magnum Remington 700. The sling is interchangeable with many of firearms. (Pantenburg photos)

The Ridge Runner paracord sling fits well on my 7 mm Magnum Remington 700. The sling is interchangeable with many of  my firearms. (Pantenburg photos)

“None of them know how to shoot very well, either,” Dad replied. Dad, a World War II infantryman, had spent a year in Camp Shelby, Miss., teaching rifle and pistol shooting. In addition to gun safety, Dad taught me how to shoot with a sling from the prone, sitting,  kneeling and offhand positions. I  never had a chance to learn bad habits.

See the video below!

Today, after decades of big game and waterfowl hunting, I prefer a sling on any long gun.  My duck gun, a 12 gauge Remington 870, has sling mounts, and the only long guns in my gunsafe without sling mounting potential are a couple of classic shotguns and the traditional blackpowder longrifles, where a sling wouldn’t be historically correct.

I really like the concept of a rifle sling made of paracord. For the uninformed, paracord or parachute line is a nylon cord witha tensile strength of about 550 pounds (hence the term 550 cord). I carry a minimum of 50 feet in any of my survival kits, and use it for everything.

In an emergency, it would be really easy to cut the sling end, unravel the cord, and use it as needed. So I ordered the two-point rifle sling from Ridge Runner Belts. I also got a paracord bracelet in Royal Blue for my daughter, a junior at Bend High  – that’s one of  the school’s colors. Go Lava Bears!

The three Point Sling has about 150 feet of paracord in it. It can be unraveled during an emergency if you need cordage.

The traditional  Two Point Sling has about 150 feet of paracord in it. It can be unraveled during an emergency if cordage is needed.

Bill Watson, owner of Ridge Runner Belts, makes all the products himself in his shop in Reedsville, West Virginia.  His guarantee is impressive.

Bill writes on his website:  “If you ever have a problem with your belt or rifle sling caused by normal usage, I will repair or replace it free of charge. Also, if you ever have to use the paracord in your belt or rifle sling in an emergency situation, send me the buckle, or sling hardware,  tell me your story and I will make a new belt or sling for you.

 I got the sling and bracelet the same week I ordered them.

My first impression of the products, right out of the box, was very good. The workmanship shows a pride in quality craftsmanship. The weaving is tight and uniform, and the connections to the sling’s buckles and swivels are well-done.

A plastic pad is located right at the carry point where you would locate the sling on your shoulder, so wear should be minimized. The two-point has about 150 feet of paracord in it and the longer section of the sling is 48 inches and, the shorter section is 24 inches.  The sling is adjustable from approximately 36 inches to 66 inches.   The sling is easy for me to assemble once I looked at the catalog photo.

All the Ridge Runner firearm slings comes with Uncle Mike’s quick detachable swivels, which are a standard here in the United States. This means I can transfer the sling between rifles and shotguns as needed.

Workmanship on the swivel connections is very good.

Workmanship on the swivel connections is very good.

My typical reaction would be to attach the sling to whatever gun I was using at the time, and take it hunting. But we’re kinda between seasons right now here in Central Oregon, and I’m going to have to wait until spring.

The only change I will make after the sling has stretched out some  is to wrap the sling end, and a point in the middle with some duct tape. I hunt heavy cover, and if something has the potential to snag on brush, it will.

IMO, you can’t have too much duct tape or paracord in the backcountry, and the uses are limited only by your imagination. Chances are, if you carry emergency gear  and have a well-thought-out survival kit when hunting, you will never need to unravel your Ridge Runner sling to get cordage.

But if you ever do – won’t it be nice to have it? That extra paracord could be the critical tool you need to survive. And later, when you get home,  Bill will appreciate hearing your story as he makes you a free replacement.

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Making Survival Kits

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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