What Exactly is Paracord?
Here on Backdoor Survival, I first wrote about paracord in May 2012 in the article Paracord for Function and Fashion. I described paracord this way:
Paracord is a lightweight nylon rope that was originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Soldiers, however, found that this miracle rope was useful for far more than their paratrooper missions. In the ensuing years, both the military and civilians alike have found hundreds if not thousands of uses for paracord.
It is available by length, typically 50 to 100 feet (or more) and in a variety of colors. It is also available is large quantities by the spool. Many hikers and outdoor sports enthusiasts make or purchase “survival bracelets” made of several feet of paracord which is woven into a compact bracelets that can be unraveled in the field.
By the way, you will often see paracord referred to as Paracord 550 means that it has a breaking strength of 550 pounds or more. Now that is strong!
Paracord can be used for many purposes such as securing things, removing heavy debris and fixed objects, strapping things together, as a harness to escape a burning building, controlling bleeding as a tourniquet, and the list goes on. You can even unravel the cord and use the individual strands as a fishing line or as thread to sew on a button. Wonderful stuff.
I touched upon a number of uses in my description above but that was merely a sampling. There is more – a lot more. What follows are 44 different uses of paracord for survival purposes.
44 Ways to Use Paracord for SurvivalSecure a tent Secure a tarp between trees Hang tools from your belt Hang tools from around your neck Secure things to the outside of your backpack Make a tourniquet Secure a splint Make a sling for your arm Make an emergency belt to hold your pants up Make emergency suspenders Replace a broken bra strap (it happens) Replace broken or missing shoe laces Repair a zipper pull Secure your boat or skiff to a tree Make a tow line; double or triple up for extra strength Create a makeshift lanyard String a clothesline Hang something up off the ground Rig a pulley system Make traps and snares Replace damaged or missing draw strings in packs, bags and sweat pants Keep rolled up items secure Create a neckerchief slide Tie objects together for easier transport Make a rope Make a hammock Make a sack for carrying groceries or gear Bundle stuff together Tie tall garden vegetable plants to stakes Make a pet leash Make a pet collar Secure a garbage-bag rain poncho around your body to keep you dry Hang food in trees to keep the bears away Tie stuff down so it will not blow away in a storm Create a trip wire Create makeshift hand cuffs Tie bad guys or intruders to a tree or chair Tie people together on a trail so that they keep together Identify members of a group using different colored armbands or bracelets Use as sewing thread (inner threads) Use as fishing line (inner threads) Emergency dental floss (inner threads) Emergency suture material (inner threads) when there is nothing else available Make arts and crafts to stave off boredom
The Final Word
Paracord is awesome stuff. I happen to like all of the various colors and have a number of personal favorites. You might even say I have become a collector. You can purchase paracord at most outdoor stores as well as online, most notably Camping Survival (a Backdoor Survival sponsor) and Amazon (of course). Just keep in mind that different colors are priced differently so if you are looking for a bargain, consider various color options.
Now if you are handy and want to make stuff, free instructions for paracord projects abound on the Web. Try Instructables for their set of Easy Paracord Projects. I know that I plan on making some key fobs using their Easy Paracord Key Fob instructions. (Did I mention that these instructions were free?)