How I wrap earbud and charger cables so they don't get tangled

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Yup, learned that way to coil in the scouts, doing my rock climbing merit badge. Coiled most things that way ever since.

Except very long ropes or cords, which I typically do this instead:


I’ve been doing that wrap for decades; ever since I worked trade shows and had to neatly pack dozens of mouse, speaker, and AC power cables. It’s kind of a compulsion, now.

It works for pretty much every cable except:

  • Really short ones, especially with bulky connectors.
  • Fiber optic cable. DO NOT wrap fiber optic cables this way.

Yep. The butterfly coil’s good for not getting kinks in ropes.

How I wrap earbud and charger cables so they don’t get tangled.
Earbud & Charger was and remains my favorite cop show from the 1970s.

For me it was afterschool reruns of Stickshift and Clutch.


I usually do a variation on that.

Here’s an animated version:

For climbing ropes, this one leaves an open coil that can be slung over a shoulder, bandolier-style.


I usually do the mountaineer coil (The second one shown there) as I generally carry it over a pack. The butterfly coil (as @LDoBe illustrated) kinks less, and actually has a variant where you can tie it on like a backpack:


I also learned the figure 8 knot in climbing class and use it for practically everything now. I like it better than the square knot, since it’s non-chiral.

I prefer the original USB Two-O to the current remake.


This is how I handle my cables (using a random serial cable I had on hand):

In most cases it’s pretty stable, won’t come unwound until you want it to. Main exception is thin wires that don’t have much rigidity… my solution is to coil the “tail” around the loop a few extra times.

The best part though is it never tangles with anything, so you can drop a bunch of crap in a box and it’s pretty easy to dig through. Do it for all my spare ethernet cables.


Ads work on an iPad. Video doesn’t.

Friends don’t let friends use Flash.

I don’t have Flash installed, and it plays. Different issue maybe?

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I use that wrapping technique too, among so many others.

Alternately, you can use this method to wrap your USB cables: Get Anker Powerline+ cables, they come with carrying pouches. ;>


Jesus Christ, how long is your charging cable?!?


Must have bought a Kickstartered cable on Boing Boing store…

Anyway, all of these coiling ideas are trade offs between the damage and time wasted by a rat’s nest of tangled cables, versus the damaged caused by tight coils. Gasket coils, and other tight coil variations are all bad for the tiny conductors in cables, which is why I have tiny Velcro cable wraps on all of my important cables. Even so, the biggest danger to my headphone cables tends to be a) doorknobs, and b) bad strain relief, and not tight storage coils.

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And that’s a great way to strain your cables and damage them, those turns are too tight you’re going to wear that cable out over the long term. My preferred method:

Edit: Oh yeah, ropes are not cables, ropes are not cables…


Don’t using it for joining two ropes, other than the “re-threaded” version where the short ends emerge from opposite ends of the knot.

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I’ve gotten no complaints


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