Paracord Emergency Uses
By Adelia Ladson
What Is Paracord?
Paracord, also called “550 cord,” is a nylon kernmantle rope. Now, for those of you, like me, who don’t know what that means, here it goes. Kernmantle is a type of rope that has an inside core of several fibers that is wrapped in a woven outer covering. The basic idea is that the several inside fibers give the rope greater tensile strength and the outer covering maximizes the durability and flexibility. So, that’s kernmantle rope in a nutshell.
Where Did It Come From?
Yes, paracord did start out as the lines for parachutes during W.W.II but the military at-large uses it for a variety of purposes. Just in case you didn’t know, the reason you most often hear it as referred to as “550 cord” by soldiers is because this, most commonly used, type of paracord is rated with a breaking strength of 550 lbs. Since, its appearance, soldiers have used it for attaching gear to themselves and vehicles, for putting up camouflage and for securing tents. The fibers on the inside of the cord have been used for sewing and fishing, in a pinch. The outside covering has been used as bootlaces once the core is pulled out. With its inherent design attributes, there’s no wonder why 550 cord has been a soldier’s best friend over the years. As many items have done, paracord made its way from military gear to civilian application. It was made available to the general public as a military surplus item after W.W.II. Soon, it went into the retail market and, as they say, “the rest is history.”
What Are Its Uses?
Its applications for outdoor sports enthusiasts, survivalists and avid campers are pretty much the same as for soldiers – tying down gear, fixing belts or straps and building shelters. Since one of the forms paracord has taken is as jewelry, it is easy to have on you in abundance. The woven bracelets can provide you with up to nine feet of cord, for just in case. Other decorative items that have been made with this handy material include necklaces, belts, lanyards, key chains and watch bands.
- Build an emergency shelter with a tarp mounted between two trees or build a lean-to with a large tree limb.
- Use it with two sticks to splint-up an injured arm or leg.
- Pull out the inside strands to use as trip-line for a perimeter alarm, that’s practically invisible, to secure your shelter site.
- Make a bow drill to create a spark to start a fire.
- Use an inside strand to use as fishing line with a sturdy stick or branch.
- Make a spear by securing a knife to the end of a sturdy stick or branch.
- In an extreme case, it can be used as a tourniquet to stop life-threatening bleeding.
- Lash logs and branches together to build a raft.
- Use as a lifeline to rescue someone from drowning in quicksand or water.
- Make a simple snare to trap small prey.
Just so you know how truly handy paracord can be and what a great addition to your home or vehicle it is, here are some more uses for it:
- Use it to replace the string in your favorite sweat pants
- Use it to secure a blanket around your well pump when unexpected freezing temperatures come out of nowhere.
- Use it to tie down the cover of an above ground pool for the winter.
- Learn to tie or braid it to make crafts, therefore giving you a therapeutic outlet.
- Use it to secure your Christmas tree on top of your car.
- Wrap it around the top of a good old walking stick to give you a more comfortable grip.
- Use the outer cover to run your headphone cord through so it doesn’t get tangled.
- Pull out the inside core to use the strands to tie up running plants or vegetables.
- If you run out of floss, in a pinch, you can use the inside fibers.
- Wrap it around the handle of a shovel to give you a more secure grip.
Paracord comes in a variety of colors and quantities from spools to hanks. Here are some popular paracord products that you might consider snapping-up.
Green Luminous Paracord
The Green Luminous Paracord is a beast with an extra-strong, tensile strength of 650 lbs, plus, it glows in the dark. It’s especially useful for shelter or tent ropes so that you won’t trip over them at night. It has nine inner strands instead of the standard seven.
Black Legion 1000’ of Black Paracord
Black Legion’s Black Paracord is high-strength, black nylon with seven inner strands, giving it 610 lbs holding power. You are getting 1,000 feet of the all-purpose paracord on the spool.
100’ of Reflective Orange Paracord
The seven-strand Reflective Orange Paracord is easy to spot and the reflective tracer further improves its visibility. This 100-foot roll provides a super-high 550-lb breaking point.
Black Legion Paracord Survival Belt
There’s no better way to assure that you have all the paracord you need, at all times, than to wear the Black Legion Paracord Survival Belt. It’s made out of woven, seven-strand core, 330-lb black polyester paracord with a rust and tarnish-resistant, solid steel buckle. The all-purpose survival belt is 40” in length, with the buckle, and 1 1/2” in width and approximately 115 ft when disassembled.
SHTF Multi-Function Paracord Bracelet
The SHTF Multi-Function Paracord Bracelet is made of sturdy paracord with a quick release buckle, which features an integrated compass, fire starter and an emergency whistle. There’s no better way to carry the paracord you need than in a stylish bracelet around your wrist or attached to your gear.