Paracord, showing internal strands

Parachute cord is a lightweight nylon rope with a core (typically 7 strands) and a sheath. Its primary purpose was for parachutes, used by the military.

There are variants of paracord but the de facto standard is 550 Paracord Type III 7-strand, although this will often be commercial – not military spec. Paracord has the following features:

  • 70 – 250 kg strain
  • Lengths typically available from 5m to 30m
  • Diameter typically around 3mm


The following are examples of paracord usage:
Paracord bottle holder.
  • Tow rope – wrap it securely 10 times to tow up to 2.5 Tonne
  • Tie rucksacks and other items to a vehicle or tie things to your rucksack
  • Make a clothes line for drying clothes
  • Replace broken shoe laces, zip pulls, guy ropes
  • Secure an animal to a post/tree
  • Make a trip wire around an area with bells/cans as an alarm system
  • Make a pulley system to lift a heavy object or even make a ladder
  • Tie up a tarp or poncho as a shelter from the rain or sun
  • Tie yourself to a buddy if hiking in a risky terrain
  • Tying sticks together for a splint, shelter or a raft

The following are examples of usage for the paracord internal strands:
A net made from the internal strands of paracord.
  • Repair Torn Clothing
  • Make a snare
  • Make a fishing line
  • Sew up a wound
  • Dental Flosss


A survival bracelet woven from paracord.

Paracord can be kept on a person as a ‘survival bracelet’ or woven into a belt. Certain techniques can be used to weave each so that pulling a strand enables the cord to be released easily.

Paracord is not a climbing rope – it will not catch you if you fall.

There are various types of paracord available so be sure to ‘shop around’ and try to go for the best quality as it is hard to anticipate usage.

There’s lots of resources to make a paracord survival bracelet – here’s one:

I made a paracord bracelet for a watch that my Dad gave me. (Any watch collectors, will be in horror at my disfigurement of a vintage 1960s French Seaman’s military – it’s a copy). I actually wove it from one long strand so it does have four strands running under the back. Pretty handy to not have lots of small strands. I’m hoping I never to need to pull it apart and use it!

A watch strap made from a single length of paracord.

Challenge: Can you think of any other uses for, or ways of carrying paracord?

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