Why is Paracord So Important & How Can it Save Your Life?
I recently received a question from one of our members asking why they should use paracord instead of a more affordable plain nylon cord. This is a great question because on the surface we really don’t see much of a difference. They’re both cord, about the same weight and diameter, even though one is about half the cost of the other.
So what’s the big deal about paracord? Why should we even care if you use paracord or just plain cordage on your Bug-Out Bag, emergency kit or on your next camping trip?
Let us explain…..
Parachute cord (also paracord or 550 cord when referring to type-III paracord) is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. This cord is useful for many other tasks and is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during the 82nd Space Shuttle mission to repair theHubble Space Telescope.
Paracord 550, commonly used, gets it’s name because it’s breaking strength is rated at 550 pounds.
“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). 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).
Additional Benefits of Paracord
(In just a 1/8 inch diameter cord, an incredible breaking strength of 550 lbs.)
(It 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
- Clothes Line
- Tow Line
- Tarp Tie Down
- Equipment Guy-lines
- Pack Strap, Fasten, lash and secure gear to backpack
- Shoe Lace, Boot Lace
- Garden Lines
- Shelter Making
- Fire Bow
- Survival kit
- Knife Handle Wrap
- Lifeline, since it will support the weight of a human
- Inner strands: sewing, fishing, trapping-snares, dental floss, emergency stitches (boil first)