Paracord is inexpensive, easy to get your hands on, and can be used for so many different things. We put together a quick list of ways you can use it and why it's important to make sure you always have some with you, no matter if your adventure is in a far off jungle or making your way to and from the office.
What exactly is paracord? Also known as 550 cord, paracord is a light nylon rope that was first used during WW2 for the suspension lines of US parachutes. It is a relatively small diameter (only 3-4mm thick) kernmantle rope, which means it consists of an interior core (Kern) that provides strength that is protected by a woven sheath (Mantle). Think of it as a bunch of small ropes with a wrap over it .
There are various types of paracord (with four classifications, I-IV, according to military specifications), and you'll likely see Type III the most, as it's the most popular. Type III indicates a minimum break strength of 550 pounds, hence the name “550 cord”. Type III paracord, 550 cord, generally consists of 7-9 core yarns which can consist of 2-3 nylon fibers per core. You'll see some discrepancy in these general standards, as it boils down to manufacturer preference and whether or not it is MIL-Spec or commercially produced.
Paracord is known for having some quality attributes, which contribute to its popularity. It has a history of being durable, quick drying, strong relative to small size, lightweight and resistant to rotting or mildew. It really is all-weather cordage.
What can paracord be used for?
We're glad you asked. Here are just a few examples of its many uses:
1. Shoe or boot laces
If you want your broken-in work boots or hiking boots to last a bit longer, or just want a stronger and more reliable pair of footwear, switch out your laces for paracord.
The plus to this, is that you always have paracord on-hand in case of an emergency.
2. Mending broken equipment/gear
That time you're standing in a foreign airport and your backpack strap decides to break, use your paracord to piece it together enough to keep you moving on.
3. Emergency sling
For an emergency, the ability to tie something up, together, or off can can make a big difference in your ability to stabilize until you can get additional help.
4. Zipper pull
Adding paracord to your zipper pulls can make getting that stuffed bag ready to go much easier.
5. Fishing net/line
Taking the core yarns out can give you plenty of strong string to make a makeshift fishing pole or fishing net.
6. Emergency shelter support
Paracord and a tarp can mean the difference between being drenched or having a secured shelter to keep you out of the elements.
Use paracord to build a small game snare in a survival situation. Put it to work while you are busy doing something else.
8. Weapon Sling
Paracord can be used to mend or supplement a broken sling on your trusty rifle. Carrying your weapon by hand is not something you want do when you are trying to manage difficult terrain.
Use paracord to lash cross poles at camp, erect a tripod for cooking or fabricate an impromptu hunting blind.
10. Bow drill
A good piece of paracord enables you to make a bow for your friction fire.
11. Tying up bear bags
Car camping or setting up camp in the back country, you still need to keep your food away from unwanted visitors.
12. Handle wraps
Add some comfort and personality to your favorite piece of gear with a paracord wrap.
13. Clothes line
Whether you're doing a thru-hike or just a short weekend, time spent outdoors means that a quick rinse out of clothes can be necessary. Throwing your clothes up on a paracord clothes line gives you the air flow for quick-drying clothes.
14. Multitude of braiding projects
If you want to kill some time grab some paracord and use a little "Googling" and you find more than enough paraocrd projects to give you hours of enjoyment. If you choose wisely, they may even be useful.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless in regards to its uses and functionality. Combine that with the fact that it can be carried by methods such as belts, bracelets, slings, lanyards, coils, and in briefcases, bug out bags, vehicles, etc. Why wouldn’t you keep some around? You never know when you just might need it.
What else do you use paracord for? Where do you store it, just-in-case?