Paracord is one of those multi-purpose items – like duct tape – that all preppers and survivalists should keep on hand. Bet MacGyver would have loved him some paracord … So we’re going to talk about why you should buy paracord and where to buy it.

It’s light-weight, high-strength, compact size, and low cost make paracord a no-brainer addition to your bug out bag, vehicle kits, and even your everyday carry.

It’s easy to carry paracord on your person. Survival bracelets, watch bands, belts, rifle slings, key chains, survival kits, and handle wraps are just a few items that paracord can be used for in order to keep paracord handy. You can wrap just about anything with paracord. In fact paracord makes an awesome steering wheel wrap!

The versatility of paracord is virtually unmatched in the world or rope and cordage when compared to similar products.

According to Wikipedia’s entry on parachute cord the astronauts of the 82nd Space Shuttle mission even used paracord to repair the Hubble Space Telescope … in outer space.

Paracord’s Construction

Paracord is made from nylon strings contained inside a woven nylon sheath. The high number of interwoven strands give it a fairly smooth texture and elastic properties. Some commercial versions are made with other materials like polyester.

This type of construction with multiple types of cord increases paracord’s versatility. Not only is it a cord, but you can break it down and use the interior ‘yarns’ as small string for delicate repairs and situations where you may need thread.

paracord unraveled“Paracord-Commercial-Type-III-Inch-Scale” by David J. Fred – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.(Original text: Self-created, en:Nikon D70, uploaded by creator of image). Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons –

Military vs. Commercial Grade

There are multiple grades of paracord on the market. All the way from Type I with 95lb test strength to Type IV with 750lb test strength.

Mil-spec cord will typically be a little thicker than commercial grades because it requires more interior fibers per strand inside the core.

For most preppers commercial grade paracord is more than adequate and reliable for just about any use. Deals on commercial paracord are frequent and it’s low cost – often ½ of mil spec cost – means you can afford to have more in your prepper stockpile.

If purposely buying mil-spec cord make sure that you are buying from a source that discloses and guarantees that it is in fact mil-spec.

Here at PrepCabin we carry commercial grade paracord. We’ve tested and abused our commercial grade paracord and never had a failure or issue with it.

MIL-C-5040_Type_III_550_Paracord“MIL-C-5040 Type III 550 Paracord” by Rawkhopper – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

The Types of Paracord

There are different types of paracord, denoted by their strength rating:


The most common rating for Paracord used by survivalist is known as ‘550 paracord’.

Some Awesome Uses for Paracord

Binding and Lashing

Paracord is great for binding and lashing because it has a little stretch to it and is extremely durable. It also will not rot away as quickly as cordage made from lower grade nylons and natural materials.

As a former boy scout we used binding and lashing to make all sorts of useful items. From camp tables, tripods, tent frames, and even a log bridge over a small stream. To carry loads a simple travois (a-frame pole drag) can be lashed together quickly with sticks and paracord.

If you need to tie things together then paracord is a great go-to.

Starting a Fire

In a pinch paracord can come in handy when you need to start a fire … You can use the paracord to make a bow drill.

And you can unravel the cord to use the interior fibers as fire starter. The interior poly fibers will burn very hot like most burning plastics. When unraveled it catches fire easily.

Super Heavy-Duty Rope

One strand of paracord is very strong. But if you multiply the number of cords you can greatly increase the strength. Even a simple braid of three strands can turn normal paracord into a durable rope for heavier duty applications.

Hoisting Items

Hoisting items and gear into the trees is a great way to protect your gear from pesky animals like bears. When camping or traversing bear country you never want to leave your food where they can get to it.

Also use paracord to hoist items you’d like to hide up in the trees. Stashing gear along your bug out routes is highly recommended and paracord will help you get it done.

Paracord also works great with small pulleys and block and tackle for your hoisting needs.

Dental Floss

Personally I need my dental floss. It just takes a little stuck food to ruin your day and lead to other dental issues. You don’t want to be in a survival item with a toothache or infection in your gums because you didn’t have any floss!

What you do is unravel the inside cordage to it’s smallest strand and you have instant floss.

First Aid

Like with floss you can unravel the interior strands until you have a thread small enough to be able to use it for sutures.

Tying a splint, or creating a sling is another use paracord can come in handy. If you need an emergency tourniquet simply wrap some paracord around the appendage to stop the blood flow. It’s easy to adjust the tension by wrapping it.

Don’t forget your lashing skills to make an emergency stretcher using limbs lashed together.

Securing Cargo

Paracord is great for tying down and securing cargo and gear. I keep plenty in all our vehicles incase I come across the need to tie something to the top of the jeep or in the back of a pickup.

There’s nothing like swinging by a garage sale and having to ‘borrow’ some rope to secure the new-to-you item to your vehicle.

Trapping Animals and Fishing

Cordage like paracord makes a great snare material. When you’re stranded in the wilderness and on the hunt snares and traps can be your best friend.

Paracord is easy to use as a material for making snares and other small game traps. You could even use a nose snare fashioned from paracord to catch larger game like wild hogs.

The inner strands of paracord also serve as a durable in-a-pinch fishing line for catching fish in the wild.

Gear Repair

The inner strands of paracord can be used as thread to sew and repair clothing and gear.

Paracord can also be used to tie together objects that may become broken or damaged as well.

Maybe your boot laces have broken or are really worn out. Paracord makes a quick and durable replacement for broken laces. It’s also a quick repair for broken zipper pulls!

Need to repair a damaged tire … Maybe you can use Paracord and tree sap as an emergency tire plug? I’ve never tried it but who knows!

Improvised Weapons

Paracord is also useful to help you create improvised weapons whether their for hunting or self-defense.

Paracord makes a great bow string. Find you a good flexible branch, tie on some paracord and you have an instant bow.

A slingshot (rock sling) of the overhead spinning variety can easily be made from two pieces of paracord tied to a pouch. Even the pouch can be woven from paracord. You can get a pre-made paracord shepherd’s slingshot on Amazon for under $20! And a book to teach you how to do just about anything with paracord.

A monkey’s fist is usually a ball tied into a paracord covering (the monkey’s fist) with a braided handle. Then it’s used as a swinging weapon.

A simple trip wire makes a great, improvised weapon. You can use a trip wire to slow down your enemy or even to inflict severe lethal harm … depending on how and where you position it.

A trip wire can also be used with noise making objects as a perimeter alarm for security.

Handles and Grips

Paracord makes a great addition to your walking stick or any other item with a handle that needs – or could benefit from – a better grip.

Paracord in itself can also be used to form handles for items. If a handle breaks off your backpack, or if you want an auxiliary handle to carry an item Paracord is a quick fix.

It would also be nice to wrap the steering wheel of our vehicle with paracord to provide a better grip. In the meantime here’s a tutorial for wrapping just about anything: DIY Paracord Axe Grip

This is only a tiny, itty-bitty, brief list of uses for paracord. There is an internet full of paracord projects and DIY guides. So go getcha’ some paracord and get to it!

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