Paracord has gained some popularity in the past few years, mostly in the form of bracelets and pouches. There are many different types, styles, and colors out there. So what exactly is it, what makes it different from rope, and what are some of the different uses for it? In this show I’ll explain what it is and some of the different uses for it for both survival and decorative purposes.
What is paracord?
Paracord is short for parachute cord. It was originally designed to be used for skydiving. Sky divers use paracord to tie their parachute to their backpack. The most common type of paracord is 550 paracord. The 550 means that one strand will hold up to 550 lbs. There are other types like 450 paracord, 350 paracord, and 90 paracord which are thinner than 550 but will hold less weight. Paracord is different from rope in three main ways. The first is that 550 paracord has 7 smaller strands inside of it. These strands can be pulled out and used in emergencies as well. The second difference is that it's made of braided nylon which is a plastic. This means that it will melt if you hold a flame near it. Most rope is made out of cotton or other organic materials and will just burn if they come in contact with a flame. This ability of paracord melting can be helpful when you’re making something like a bracelet or a pouch. You don’t have to tie it off like you would normal rope. All you have to do is cut it, melt the end, and press it down. The melted cord will keep the bracelet or pouch from coming untied. The last difference is that it is stronger, lighter, and thinner than most rope which makes it useful for many different things. Be careful when you buy paracord. Some cord may look like paracord but it won’t have seven strands inside of it.
What can you do with paracord?
In an emergency you can use paracord to build a shelter. After you take your bracelet apart you can use the cord to lash some logs together and create a makeshift tent. You can also use it carry heavy loads like whatever gear you need, buckets of water, or if you have enough of it, a person if they’re injured. Another emergency use for paracord is snares for hunting if you’re lost in the woods and need to find food. You can use the inner strands as a makeshift fishing line or for emergency sewing as well.
First Aid Uses:
You can also use paracord for first aid. For example, in an extreme emergency you can use it to tie a tourniquet. If you're unable to stop severe bleeding by applying pressure, a tourniquet may be needed to stop someone bleeding to death. You can also use it to tie a sling or a splint. A sling is used a keep your arm immobile and relaxed if it’s been sprained or broken. You can wrap a something like a shirt around the person’s arm to prevent rope burns. Then tie the rope around their arm and back behind their head to keep their arm immobile and to prevent any further damage. A splint is similar to sling except is used more for keep the limb straight and you can tie it on someone's leg as well as their arm. If you can find a stick that is relatively straight you can tie it to a person’s arm or leg to keep it straight if it’s broken.
Practical and decorative uses for paracord:
Some more practical uses for paracord are things like pouches for phones, knives, and altoids tins. Altoids tins are great for making pocket sized kits. You make first aid kits, fire starting kits, and survival kits out of altoids tins and with the added paracord pouch you’ll have rope whenever you need it. You can also use paracord to make grips your hiking stick or knife as well as straps for a bag and monkey fists that fit on a keychain. A monkey fist is a length of cord tied around something round like a marble to make it heavy. You can then tie the monkey fist to a length of cord and throw it over a branch in case you need to keep your food away from bears.
Finally of course you can use it for making bracelets and even necklaces. When you wear the bracelet you’ll always have a paracord with you if you need it. There are ton of different designs for bracelets and necklaces and you even add emblems and beads to them to customize them.
How to take a bracelet apart:
If you ever need to take a bracelet apart first find the melted ends. They’ll be near the buckle or knot and will look like one or two black or dark dots. You may be able to take the ends apart with your fingers or you can use a knife or scissors to cut them apart. Then you untie the knot until the bracelet is completely untied. If the bracelet is two colors sometime the cord will be melted and joined together in the middle. This makes the cord longer but the point where it’s been joined is weaker than the rest of the cord so you may want to cut the cord in two. There are a few bracelets that are designed to come apart easily, an example is the zipper sinnet. With the zipper sinnet you can cut off the knot, undo the first loop and then just pull the two strands apart and the bracelet will come apart in seconds.
Survival accessories for paracord bracelets:
The are a few survival accessories that you can add to paracord bracelets. There are special buckles that have an emergency whistle or flint and steel for lighting a fire. You can also attach a compass to a paracord bracelet so you can find your way. You can even put a saw inside of it. There are hand chain saws that you can weave the paracord around. When you take it out you can wrap it around a log and move it back and forth till you’ve cut the log.
Learn To Tie Paracord
These are some of my favorite resources for learning to tie paracord:
I’m starting a paracord shop and the grand opening is on February 1st, but I’ll also have a soft opening before then. I will have 7 bracelets, 3 pouches, and one cup handle available in 7 different colors. I will have the normal cobra weave and also the zipper sinnet. I will also offer a coupon for a discount on the cup handle. Sign up to be notified when my store opens!