Lawson Outdoor Equipment, “Reflective Glowire”

A shelter with the Lawson Glowire.
A shelter with the Lawson Glowire.

I have been using the Lawson Outdoor Equipment “Lawson Outdoor Equipment “Reflective Glowire” for two years and I recently ordered an additional 50′ hank for a new shelter, and thought I would take a brief moment to share how much I enjoy this cordage.

There is not a whole lot to say about cordage – well, there might be, but I am not a huge cordage fan kind of guy so for me there is not – but here are my thoughts on this stuff.

On the scale, it comes in at 52 grams (1.8 ounces) per ~50 feet (16.6 yards) of this cordage.

I have ordered it three times now, twice from zpacks and one directly from Lawson and each time it has been right at the 52 grams mark.

The first order was in orange colour and the last two times have been in black colour. It looks really good on the zpacks camo cuben fiber duplex, and I suppose I could have gone with any colour for my zpacks aluminized cuben fiber duplex, but decided to stick with black, though the lime colour would have probably made an already over the top bright shelter even more comical, maybe I will try that in the future :-D

Break Strength:

I will be honest and say that I think the whole “break strength” of cordage within the hiking world is something on the totally inconsequential side of things. Do we really need 200 pound, or even 500+ pound break strength cordage? No, of course not. When was the last time your food bag was over 30 pounds and needed super strong cordage? When was the last time you needed 200 pound strength guylines for a shelter (even in 50mph winds, totally unnecessary) – most folks in the sub 2267g world of hiking never do, and even those with larger shelters like the Duplex have no need for such high break strength cordage.

What I would like to see is a cordage that is at these larger diameters (2mm’is that work on LineLoc3 hardware) that focus more on being lighter and less on being uber tough.

But, when it comes to 2mm reflective cordage, the options are not very large for us to pick from, and the Lawson Outdoor Equipment “Reflective Glowire” is the best stuff that I have found. It has served me well on numerous shelters on a lot of hiking adventures!


There is really only one reason for buying this “GloWire” over standard cordage, and that is the brades of 3M Reflective Scotchlite that have been braided into this cordage. It makes getting back to your shelter after that 2am watering a tree event all the much easier. Whether you use a simple little Pak-Lite, a Photon Micro II, the much beloved Petzl e+LITE, or even a full on Petzl Tikka 2, the ability to see your shelter is greatly amplified due to the reflectivity within this cordage.

Holding Knots:

Available in 2mm (3/32") and 3mm (1/8"). I have always used the 2mm cordage.
Available in 2mm (3/32″) and 3mm (1/8″). I have always used the 2mm cordage.

I am not big into using knots, and I make no apologies or excuses for that. Even as a boy scout I didn’t care one bit about remember all those different patterns for tying knots. My family owned a trucking company when I was young, I learned one knot… the one that would hold any load on a trailer and took an axe to get it undone. I still pretty much live by that motto today. I tend to prefer to use plastic hardware for guying out my shelter. You are welcome to use the Skurka way, or your own way – to each their own, or rather HYODH/YMMV – but about the most I do when it comes to shelter guylines is a loop or an overhand. They are about the only two things I need, and use. When it comes to those two knots, the Lawson Glowire does very well. When I first tie them, they slip a little bit, but once set, they have been rock solid. I have cordage I cut two years ago and it is still holding strong. That too me is all that matters.


If these three terms are the totally wrong terms for cordage, again, my apologies… as I said, I am far from somebody that knows about cordage terminology and such.

What I basically am getting at is this:

Some cordage I have bought was too stiff to use as guylines… the stiffness made it just too hard to constantly deal with when setting up a shelter, or worse, when trying to pack a shelter into its stuff sack. This stuff is on the medium to firm side of things, not too stiff, but not at a point where it is a pain to use. I would like to see it a bit softer, or whatever the technical term might be.

Some cordage tends to have too much of a ‘memory’ of whatever form it was last night. For instance, do the typical finger/pinkie hank of the main guyline, and when it comes time to setup the shelter, it just wants to keep its form and not straighten out all that well. Hate that. Thankfully the GloWire does not have that problem. That makes me happy.


The GloWire is pretty easy to cut, even with a semi-dull knife. And, with a dull or even semi dull knife, it does not have a problem like other cordage where you get massively frayed ends. Also, it is rare for the guts to pull through and totally screw up trying to burn the ends – you paracord guys know what I am talking about!

When it comes to burning the ends, this stuff does really well. I have had some cordage that as soon as I put a flame to it, it burned through a half-inch of cordage before I could even blow it out. And, I have had other cordage that was dang near impossible to light. And, unlike that cool 550 FireCord, which I use on my EDC Compass, it won’t burst into flame either! It also does not put off a lot of fumes for the second or two that it takes to burn/seal the ends. All in all, good stuff when it comes to sealing the end pieces.


A 50′ hank will cost you $13.50 directly from Lawson GloWire and $12.95 from ZPacks, and I am sure other folks online are selling it – they just happen to be the only two places I have bought it from.


Thank you,
+John Abela

In accordance of USA Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: I hereby declare that at the time this article is published that I am a sponsored hiker of Black Rock Gear, Montbell US, Suluk46, Sun Precautions.

8 thoughts on “Lawson Outdoor Equipment, “Reflective Glowire”

  1. Good review. Have you used the cordage in the rain? Does it shed or retain water?
    Thanks for sharing your insight and the review.

    1. It rains a lot here in the Redwoods, so yeah, used it a lot in the rain :)

      As for shed/retain. Uhhh, can say I have never paid attention to that. I do not remember thinking to myself in the morning after a night of rain “dang, this cordage got heavy”.

      1. Har, Har, so true. I was just thinking of mildew. But I guess at 2 mm it wouldn’t be much water anyway. Ha Ha

        Thanks for the info, I really enjoy reading your reviews and commentary.

        1. I’ve had Glowire in long, heavy rain and I’ve never noticed it soaking up much water. It’s nothing like how paracord soaks water. It definitely hasn’t mildewed.

  2. I wish they made this line in thinner versions. Like you said we don’t need stuff so strong. A lighter version would be good… With that said I did get lots of compliments on it on the wct this spring.

    1. it seems that these days a 2mm is kind of the de facto standard these days for guylines it seems, but agreed that a thinner version would be sweet, could have so many more applications within a hikers backpack.

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