Paracord used to be used as the suspension lines for parachutes. After landing on the ground soldiers would cut the cord from their chutes because they found a multitude of uses for the light weight, durable cordage. Today, paracord has become incredibly popular not only with the military but with the civilian sector as well.
The most commonly used type of paracord is type III. Type III has a minimum strength of five hundred and fifty pounds, which is why most people refer to it as 550 cord. Paracord is a nylon kernmantle rope which means there is an inner core of nylon strands incased by a nylon sheath. This type of rope construction gives way to its strength and the variety of tasks it can accomplish. Type III paracord generally has seven inner strands but can have up to nine. Given that it is made out of nylon, paracord is fairly elastic and mold resistant. One of the reasons it is so versatile is that you can cut the outer sheath and use the individual core strands as well. Years ago, paracord only come in black or olive drab but with its grown popularity you can now purchase paracord in virtually any color that you want.
Below is a list of how I have used paracord.
- A line to hang up wet clothes
- I have used one of the inner strands as fishing line and yes I did catch a bluegill. Some people have even made fly lures out of the paracord.
- I have braided ropes
- I have made monkey fists for the purpose of weighing down one end of my ropes. This makes the task of throwing a line over a tree branch or from a boat much easier.
- Bracelets, while stylish, can be undone for emergency cordage. I recommend a double cobra weave as you will have twice the amount of cordage available.
- Lanyards, I caution that if you make or buy a paracord lanyard make sure it has a break away clasp or on it.
- Long gun slings
- I have used the inner strands and an upholstery needle to sew shut a rather large hole in one my packs and it has held for over a year now. I also sewed shut a hole in my driver’s side truck seat which due to climbing in and out, gets a lot of wear and tear. Six months later it is still holding strong.
- Rock slings
- Tow lines, for vehicles and boats
- I have tied down loads in my truck bed
- Knife handles
- Bottle wraps
- Dog leashes
- Dog collars
- Dental floss. While somewhat uncomfortable to use it will serve the purpose if you get popcorn stuck in your teeth around the campfire.
The uses for this cord are only limited by your imagination. Generally paracord is sold in either one hundred foot hanks, or one thousand foot spools. Personally, I like the one thousand foot spools because you can cut the length you want for a specific job in mind. If you are going to be making other items from the cord, such as bracelets and slings, having the extra cord on hand in case you make a mistake is definitely worth having the spool on hand. Given it’s plurality of uses and durability, any survival scenario is improved by paracord. I would be very interested in hearing what you have all used paracord for and your experience with it. So sound off and keep making adventures!