How To Make A Safety Tether For Your Camera

Have you had a time when you are on a shoot or even just carrying your gear on a budget strap and it just “fell” to the ground? It doesn’t matter if you dropped it or your cheap strap fell apart when you needed it most, it still hurts to see that camera crash to the ground. To avoid dropping your camera, you need know how to make a safety tether for your camera.

My Story

I dropped my new camera. It was on a hot afternoon a few weeks ago when I was inside an abandoned school gymnasium setting up my tripod for the shoot. I had the camera sitting in my lap and not hanging from the strap while I was adjusting the tripod feet. After about ten minutes of fussing with my gear, I stood up. As I stood up, I watched my gear crashed to the ground. Luckily, it only fell about two feet and landed on its bottom. No damage to the camera! I realized I needed to create (or buy) some sort of safety tether to attach to the camera and then somewhere on my body so it won’t hit the ground.

When I got back into town, I spent the next few days on Amazon looking at new straps that would work better than my neck strap (been meaning to change to the over the shoulder strap or harness). What I found was many of the cheap straps all had complaints of them falling apart and their gear crashing to the ground. When I looked at the more expensive straps, several came with safety tethers.

I realized that instead of paying between 8 and 20 bucks for a safety tether that isn’t the right size or I have to question the build quality, I could easily make one and make it for less than the ones you get online. I came up with an idea and searched the internet and found someone has created my idea and used a similar technique to make their gear safe.

DIY Safety Tether - How to make a safety tether for your camera

Using old Nikon camera for testing the new DIY Safety tether.

How To Make A Safety Tether For Your Camera

The article I came across was written by Tiffany Mueller on DIY Photography where she shared a great video about how to make a safety tether for your camera. The video is straight forward and easy to follow. To make your own safety tether all you need are a few things.

Tools and Supplies

I found everything for this little project at a local big box hardware store. But you are limited on color options and parts.  I could only get my wire in green and my heat shrink in black. I couldn’t find the light duty crimping sleeves. So I used the metal ferrules in the rope and wire section of the store. They are a bit heavy duty but it works. I spent less than $6 to complete the project and enough to make another tether for about $3. I needed another set of carabiners to complete the second set.

If you want more options, get on Amazon, you will find everything you need and more.

If you don’t want to deal with building your own, I can make one for you. I can make it to the length you want and send it to you with the carabiners or without. The colors are limited to what I can get in the store. I haven’t figured how much I will charge for these or charge for shipping. Please contact me so we can work out a deal.

The Process I Used

Sorry about the low quality pictures. I hope to make another set of tethers. When I do, I will add better pictures.

The first thing you need to do is figure out how long you want the wire. If you want it short you need about a foot of rope. At most you only need about 3 ft if you want the tether to hook into your backpack hooks.

Next you will need to have your heat shrink and your ferrules ready. Make sure to add your heat shrink tubing first. Once the line is looped you can’t get it on. Since I used a large ferrule I had to use 2 sizes of tubing. I used the large tube to cover the ferrule and the second tube to close up the gap between the cable and the larger tube. This second tube isn’t needed, it gives it a cleaner look. You also do not need the larger tubing. I use it to hide the metal ferrules and cover any sharp edges from the wire. By covering this up, it prevents damage to you, your equipment, and other surfaces the metal could rattle against.

DIY Safety Tether - How to make a safety tether for your camera

Once everything is lined up and ready to go, you will need to slide one end of the line into the ferrule. Then create your loop and take that end of the loop and put the end of the line into the ferrule. You can slide the line all the way through and have a little sticking out or stop the wire at the end of the ferrule. Make sure the loop is perfect and hold it in place. Then grab your crimpers and crush it against the line. If you are using metal ferrules and not the softer wire crimping sleeves you will need a heavy hammer or a swagging tool. I used a 4 lb one-handed sledge hammer (sometimes called an engineer’s hammer) since a swagging tool is to expensive.  To use a hammer, you will need to place the metal ferrule on a hard surface. I used a concrete block  as my hard surface and hit the ferrule once with a hammer (make sure to keep your hands away from the ferrule and wear safety glasses). You could damage the surface you are hitting or it could cause the surface or ferrule to fly through the air.

Metal Ferrules - DIY Safety Tether - How to make a safety tether for your camera

Now that the ferrule is in place, pull up the larger piece of heat shrink and put in place. I put a little bit of the tubing past the ferrule on both sides. I used a heat gun to shrink the tubing. Make sure to keep your hands away from the gun and tubing. It gets hot. Once it cools off, slide the smaller tub up to the edge of the metal ferrule and heat it up. Wait till it cools off and test it. After you are satisfied with the results. Repeat the process for the other end.

DIY Safety Tether - How to make a safety tether for your camera

Once completed add your locking carabiners to the line. Take your new safety tether and install it to your camera strap and to your belt, backpack, or strap. I have an old key lanyard that I hook one end to the tether and the other end to the strap loop that came with the camera. Make sure these loops are installed correctly and the lop strap is tight. If your straps are tight this tether should hold your gear if your harness fails.

Below is the video shared by Tiffany Mueller. The author is by GoPronaut.

About James

James spends most of his free time using social media and loves to teach others about design, web development, CSS, SEO, and social media. He is addicted to Wordpress, social media, and technology. You can reach him on his personal website, Evolutionary Designs Blog, Do not forget to follow him on Twitter @element321

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