How to Escape from Zip Ties

Escape from Zip Ties

Zip ties have been used by bullies and kidnappers since their invention in 1958.

These little plastic straps are completely covered in reinforced groves that enable them to slide tighter while the built up friction prevents them from sliding looser. This can prove quite challenging for kidnapping victims and survivalists who find themselves trapped in their binds.

The guide below will give you a quick rundown on what you would need to do to free yourself from zip ties without any outside help.

Keep Calm or Make It Worse

By struggling against the zip ties, the only thing that you’re going to accomplish is worsening your predicament. These devices are specifically designed to increase the tightness easily without ever loosening. 

This means that struggling against zip ties runs the risk of them tightening, further worsening your ability to escape and further cutting off circulation to the bound body part.

Making a Break for It

Whether you had a friend put them on you for the challenge or you’re reading this article from the trunk of a kidnapper’s Rolls-Royce, you need to get out.

Method 1: Slipping the Restraints

This is one of the simplest methods but it is also one of the most dangerous. Start by calming down. If you rush into this with a hot head, you’re likely to struggle, and we’ve already mentioned how bad that can be.

Next, press your hands together as close as they can go, nesting one in the palm of the other. Then, slide one hand up the wrist of the other until you’re free. In some cases, you might find a benefit to spitting on your hand or licking it to increase its ability to slide past the zip tie. In other cases, you might have to break one of your fingers to escape.

Method 2: Break the Tie

Before rushing to the conclusion and breaking your finger, try breaking the zip tie. These ties are, after all, only plastic. Reinforced plastic, but only plastic. As with all plastic, repeat antagonization can cause a rupture. Try to bite and gnaw at the tie until it’s been weakened.

Then, tighten the tie as much as possible around your hands and use the strength of your forearms and hands to burst the tie.

Method 3: Pick the Lock

If you can’t slip out and you don’t have the He-Man strength necessary to break the tie, pick the lock instead. Every zip tie has a small, plastic locking mechanism that secures the plastic in place. If you can fit a credit card, a pen, or a coin in there, you could potentially subvert the locking mechanism and slip right out.


Whether you shimmy out with agility, shatter the binds with your strength, or pick the lock with your dexterity, you’ll find that you can more easily escape these binds than ever before. With this knowledge, you should be much safer in the unlikely event of a kidnapping. Of course, this skill will likely come in handy as a neat and interesting party trick far more often than as a tool for escaping kidnappers.


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