Duct tape and super glue are two products that no household or bug-out kit should be without. Its cheap and each one has more uses than we could ever hope to mention or plan its use. However, there is a third product that is lightweight, cheap and every bit as indispensable—paracord. Paracord is the new thousands of uses, must-have product. Okay, perhaps it isn’t new, but it has certainly popped onto our collective radars over the past few years.
Paracord History and Uses
Paracord is a lightweight, nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of U.S. parachutes during World War II. In the field, paratroopers found it useful for many other tasks as well. Today, it is used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. The versatile cord was even used by astronauts during the second space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The braided sheath has a high number of interwoven strands for its size, giving it a relatively smooth texture. The all-nylon construction makes paracord fairly elastic; depending on the application this can be either an asset or a liability.
Survival bracelets made a splash a few years ago—even now they are seeing a resurgence in popularity—when in reality they were a fad for most rather than a serious attempt at being prepared. For the rest, it opened their eyes to the possibilities of this little 4mm workhorse. Crafters picked it up, too, spawning an entirely new segment of the industry.
I won’t bore you with instructions on about how to build a bracelet. It has already been covered ad nauseum. Google a specific weave, design, product or look to CTD Suzanne’s article.
I do not expect many of the people reading this to be looking for fashion tips, but paracord can be crafted in so many ways that are more creative and useful. Bigger projects have more benefits to the prepared survivalist. The average bracelet uses less than 10 feet of cord. A fair amount, but inadequate for many tasks. On the other hand, every item possible needs to serve multiple functions—do more with less. I have no desire to drag around a large spool of rope, so I started looking for projects and compiled the following list of items that could be constructed from paracord.
- Dog leash
- Dog collar
- Rifle sling
- Can koozie
- Pallet hanging chairs
- Pouch for Leatherman multitool
- Cellphone holder
- Drawstring pouch or ditty bag
- Cargo net
- Monkey Fist
- Lanyards for zippers
- Boot laces
- Jug or bottle sling
- Paracord handcuffs
- Kubotan (with plastic insert)
- Wrist lanyard
- Bow sling
Bigger items will obviously yield larger hanks of cord while small lanyards can be easily pulled apart to lash smaller items. The key is to be creative and think on multiple levels. One bracelet may contain a wrapped fishing kit or supplies to start an emergency fire. Prepared projects are important in any preparation scenario, but don’t be lazy. The knowledge you’ll gain by making these yourself will not only save you money but could save your life.
The uses are only as limited as your imagination or time to search Google. What are some of your favorite uses for Paracord?