Paracord is a highly versatile multi-filament nylon cord with nearly unlimited uses, applications and benefits, and is pretty much a “must have” for preppers (or anyone!).
It’s like the duct-tape of cordage!
Here are more details about this amazing cord and a good supplier here in the United States Military-spec 550 Paracord:
Real paracord has seven strong nylon cords inside. Each of these seven cords are made of several smaller woven strands. All of these interwoven strands /cords are wrapped in a flexible outer braided nylon wrapper. The combined breaking strength of real paracord is 550 pounds. For this reason, some call it ” 550 cord “.
Rothco (100′ shank)
(view on amzn)
The History of Paracord
The cord was first introduced and applied in parachute construction during WWII. However this paracord was quickly recognized for its use in other tasks too. Today it is used by both military and civilians for countless general purpose tasks.
There are many copies in the civilian market today. But true military grade cord will be designated MIL-C-5040 Type III and rated for 550 pounds.
Genuine MIL-SPEC MIL-C-5040
Type III Paracord and has 7 inner yarns, each made up of 3 strands.
Commercial/Civilian 550 paracord
Imitations might not have 7 inner yarns or the inner yarns might not have 3 strands each.
“According to the actual Mil-C-5040 government document, 550 type III Paracord should be made up of between 7 and 9 strands and each strand shall be 3-ply.”
Having said that, much of the paracord on the civilian market is still very good. Just be sure that there are 7 inner yarns (some have 5) if you’re looking for higher strength.
It is apparently fairly difficult to find the real Mil-spec paracord with 7-inner yarns AND with each yarn consisting of 3-ply (3-strands) (most are 2-ply, which is still very good for most all purposes).
The cord comes in a variety of colors and lengths. Note, when cut, the ends should be burned or singed to prevent fraying. Also, the inner strands can be easily pulled out for many additional uses.
Benefits of Paracord
(Approximately 1/8 inch diameter cord, and an incredible breaking strength of 550 lbs.)
Paracord can be used over and over again while remaining flexible and durable.
(The Mil specification requires that 225 feet of cord weigh 1 pound or less)
Water and Mildew Resistant
(Outside elements are not a problem and it will dry very quickly)
(The unique ability to remove the inner strands make this cord extremely versatile)
Uses for Paracord
The list is really endless and up to your imagination, but a few ideas include the following:
Braiding for even more combined strength
Tent and Pole support, building shelters
Tarp Tie Down
Pack Strap, Fasten, lash and secure gear to backpack
Shoe Lace, Boot Lace
Knife Handle Wrap
Lifeline – it will support the weight of a human
Livestock leads and dog leashes
Inner strands: sewing, fishing, trapping-snares, dental floss, emergency stitches (boil first)
TIP: To avoid a tangled mess of a long length of paracord – of which you might cut off shorter lengths as needed, I buy mine in 1,000 foot spools and simply roll off what I need. I very much recommend this method.
I have republished this article again, having recently purchased another 1,000 foot spool. Here’s a good supplier of paracord, Made in the USA…
1,000 Foot Spools
If you have your own ideas for the uses of paracord (especially the clever uses), comment below!