I occasionally use a very long stretch of twine to transport light gear (<1lb) between my partner and I when we're camping out ~30m from each other.

Unreeling and reeling this twine is extremely cumbersome - it's often tangled and I have to buy a new batch.

What would be handy is a cheap, retractable reel that I can use to unload and reload (think vacuum cleaner cord). Does anything small, cheap, automated (press a button to retract), and portable exist for extremely thin twine (not electrical cord)?

2 Answers 2


A wreck reel sold for scuba divers might give you what you want. They vary from simple line holders up through heavy duty reels.

  • Thank you Nik. I just did some searching - I see manually operated reels for <$30 but I'm looking for a motorized or spring-loaded mechanism so I can just press a button and have the line reeled in that price range. Oct 20, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    @user666 No spring would let you coil up 100' of line (safely) and a button would mean you need batteries for a trivial task, one that could be done faster manually and more reliably. THIS is what you want.
    – Mazura
    Oct 21, 2015 at 3:08

The thing that immediately jumps to mind for this is a retractable washing line, which should have enough length for what you want. However, they are relatively heavy and aren't exactly thin twine.

Another option may be a automatic fishing real. However, its probably not long enough for what you want.

  • My immediate thought was a retractable washing line too. I think if the OP was willing to modify one then this would be a workable solution.
    – Erik
    Oct 22, 2015 at 2:58

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