Survival Paracord: What You Need to Know

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Parachute cord, short for parachute cord, is a type of rope used for a wide variety of purposes. Military personnel, survivalists, and everyday people take advantage of paracord’s versatility and variety of uses.

Whether you’re looking to learn more about emergency preparedness or would like to learn how to use paracord on a daily basis, keep reading to discover more about this handy tool.

How Is Paracord Different From Other Cords?

Paracord might seem like any other rope at first glance, but this is far from the truth. While other ropes may be made from polyester or polypropylene, paracord is made from nylon and known for its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. It was so strong, in fact, that astronauts used it to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

A braided sheath has a large number of interwoven strands to accommodate its size, and the nylon construction is fairly elastic, making it ideal for a variety of uses. Due to its lightweight nature, survival paracord is often included in bug out bags and survival gear kits because of its many life-saving capabilities. We chose a paracord for our SEVENTY2 backpack because it is so versatile.

There are six different types of paracord defined by the U.S. military: I, IA, II, IIA, III, and IV. The most common type III cord consists of seven to nine core yarns and has a breaking strength of about 550 pounds, hence its nickname “550 cord”.

The core (or its “guts”) can be removed when finer string is needed, allowing it to hold 550 pounds at its maximum capacity. After World War II, paracord became widely available and popular because civilians appreciated the same uses as the military and NASA. So what exactly is a 550 cord good for? Let’s take a closer look.

The Best Ways to Use Paracord in an Emergency

Paracord was originally designed for parachutes, but it is now used in virtually any situation where cordage is needed. The importance of survival paracord is so great that it’s even taught in Boy Scouts at a young age. Some common paracord uses include:

Survival/Shelter uses for paracord

  • The survival paracord might be necessary in an emergency rescue situation for a number of reasons in nature. When someone is stuck in quicksand, drowning in water, or fallen down a ravine, paracord will keep you far enough away from the danger while still providing the necessary leverage to pull them to safety. Tie a figure eight knot in your paracord, take a steady stance, and throw the rescue line to the person in need.
  • If you are caught out in nature in a survival situation, you might have to seek shelter. You can quickly build an emergency shelter using paracord and tree branches if you have access to them. Gather about 10 appropriately sized, sturdy branches, cut out the seven inner strands, and use the guts to tie knots securing them together. The paracord can be threaded through the eyelet of the tarp and tied to two trees to make a simple hammock if you have a lightweight tarp.