Ep 111: Paracord and Its Uses
Paracord seems to be in every blog and in every prepping store. At first, I was incredibly annoyed with all of the attention it was receiving in the usual blogs/podcasts/etc. Then, my brain turned on: MAYBE if it’s all the rage, it’s worth taking a look at. (Yes, I know I just ended that sentence in a preposition…get over it) I have this bad habit of avoid popular trends and fads. It definitely makes me unique, but it can also be a negative when I buck convention sometimes.
MIL-SPEC Paracord has 7 inner yarns each made up of 3 strands. Commercial 550 paracord imitations may not have 7 inner yarns or the inner yarns may not have 3 strands each.
Parachute cord (also paracord or 550 cord) is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Once in the field, paratroopers found this cord useful for many other tasks. It is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during STS-82, 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.
While the U.S. military has no overall diameter requirements in its specifications, in the field 550 cord typically measures 5/32″ (4mm) in diameter.
|Type||Minimum strength||Minimum elongation||Minimum length per pound||Core yarns||Sheath structure|
|I||95 lb (43 kg)||30%||950 ft (290 m; max. 1.57 g/m)||4 to 7||32/1 or 16/2|
|IA||100 lb (45 kg)||30%||1050 ft (320 m; max. 1.42 g/m)||<no core>||16/1|
|II||400 lb (181 kg)||30%||265 ft (81 m; max. 5.62 g/m)||4 to 7||32/1 or 36/1|
|IIA||225 lb (102 kg)||30%||495 ft (151 m; max. 3.00 g/m)||<no core>||32/1 or 36/1|
|III||550 lb (249 kg)||30%||225 ft (69 m; max. 6.61 g/m)||7 to 9||32/1 or 36/1|
|IV||750 lb (340 kg)||30%||165 ft (50 m; max. 9.02 g/m)||11||32/1, 36/1, or 44/1|
Uses of Paracord
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Emergency uses for Paracord
Emergency Uses for Paracord:
I highlighted some of the best ones. See their site for the full list.
#4 Rig a makeshift tow rope. A single length of paracord has been tested to handle 550 lbs of weight, so wrap it securely 10 times and you have the ability to pull 5500 lbs…
#6 String up a clothes line. Wet clothes are uncomfortable when you’re camping and dangerous when you’re trying to survive….
#8 Replace your shoe laces. Just burn the ends and thread them through…
#16 Rig a pulley system to lift a heavy object
#17 Make a ladder to get up or down
Roughing it in the outdoors…Many of the uses above could be handy in the woods, but here are some options specific to outdoor survival:
#22 Build a shelter using sticks or by tying up the corners of a poncho or tarp
#23 Rig an improvised hammock (in case you haven’t sprung for a real hammock)
#24 Make a snare out of the internal strands
#32 Make a fish stringer. If you’ve just pulled the strings out to make fishing line, the remaining kernmantle (the colored sheath) would be plenty strong enough to hold fish. Otherwise just cut a length, and tie through the gills.
#33 Secure your boat or raft
#34 Make a net out of the internal strands…if you have some time on your hands
First aid uses:
#35 Tie straight sticks around a broken limb to make a splint.
#36 Tie a sling to hold your arm…
#39 Make a stretcher by running paracord between two long sticks, or fashion a branch drag to move an injured person
A friend of the show makes paracord bracelets. He’s a great guy and here’s his site if you want to buy from him directly: