Parachute cord which is also known as paracord or 550 cord is a nylon kern mantle rope, which is lightweight. It got its name from the suspension lines of parachutes, as it was originally used for such purpose.
However, the use of this cord has now evolved a great deal and is used for a variety of general purposes. Believe it or not, this cord has also been used by the astronauts during a space shuttle mission as part of repairing the Hubble Space Telescope!
There are countless uses of this cord as you will see later on in this guide. There are non-traditional survival cords and are used for purposes such as fishing line, snare wire and fire tinder. Paracords are also used to manufacture certain day to day items given their durabilities such as belts, leashes, lanyards, key chains, whip crackers, and rosaries. Its utility is endless and so is the variety in which it is available in the market.
Best 6 Survival Cords on the Market
We have carried out an intensive review and research to shortlist the best 6 survival cords available in the market. These are some of the best brands manufacturing the survival cord. They have carried out multiple assessments and tests on their products such as static load, abrasion and chemical tests. Let us have a detailed look at them and then you can decide for yourself, which one is best suited for you.
TOUGH-GRID 750lb Paracord/Parachute Cord
This is a premium cord and that too at a discounted price. Its diameter measurements are 3/16″ (+/- 1/32″). It is available from 50 feet coiled bags to 1000 feet spools. It is unarguably one of the best Type 4 Mil-Spec Paracord present in the market.
This cord can be used for multiple purposes including stringing a hammock, rigging sails, securing your tents for camping or even in manufacturing emergency compression bandages.
It has an additional 220 pounds of strength which makes it stronger than the standard 550 cord, providing super protection.
It is made in the USA. It has 100% nylon (with 11 triple strands), providing for a tough grid and is not spliced.
This tough grid paracord is lightweight and ideal for outdoor activities or as strong cordage, ensuring protection and safety for yourself and your family.
It comes highly recommended from US military personnel who have used it personally and professionally in survival situations (apocalypse for example) and for camping and hiking etc. There is so much that can be done with these cords, for example, creating shelter, crafting or stocking a bug-out bag.
If you require a military-grade, sturdy and lightweight cordage, this product should be your automatic choice. It can be easily carried around and stored in your backpack, survival kit or toolbox.
It is reasonably priced in the range of $9.50 – $129.50, depending on the size you choose and is available in multiple colors.
Survival Paracord Parachute Fire Cord
This parachute fire cord is a great quality product that is made out of 100% nylon (which is better in terms of quality as compared to polypropylene) and weighs 380lb (and also available in nylon 550 type as well). It doesn’t contain any metal and hence stretchy and sturdy.
This survival cord comes standard with a PE braided fishing line about 40lb (1), waterproof flax fire tinder (1) and cotton thread (1). It has diameter measurements of 5/32 inches.
The red waxed flax fire tinder is water-resistant and can help you make an instant fire in adverse weather conditions as well. This revolutionary life-saving cord can help you do fishing, create an instant fire, making bracelets, key chains or clothes. You cannot, however, use it for climbing.
It is available in multiple colors.
GOLBERG G MIL-SPEC-C-5040-H Authentic Mil-Spec 550 Paracord
This paracord is UV sunlight resistant, mildew, molder, and corrasion. These qualities make it perfect for outdoor use including in emergency scenarios, survival situations, fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking.
It is made in the USA. It is sturdy and durable and can withstand tough tasks in all circumstances.
This is a handy cord that is compact enough to be stored literally anywhere but well suited for bug-out bags, garage, toolbox, survival kits, sheds, boats, and bag packs. You can also use them as shoelaces or to craft a survival bracelet. Other activities that suit this cord are fishing, fire starter kits, sewing, shelter, repairing, traps and snares and much more.
Since this is a strong and high-quality paracord (thanks to its 7 three-ply woven yarns inside), it is routinely relied upon by military personnel and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
Its genuineness and authenticity are proven by the manufacturer label strand inside its outer sheath. This ensures that you are buying the right product for the right price.
It has a minimum breaking strength of 550lbs, which is why you can rely on it in most critical times.
It comes as standard in a high-quality fastener which ensures that the cord remains untangled, organized. This fastener can come in very handy for rolling other cords as well such as USB or electrical ones.
It is reasonably priced in the range of $8.88 – $20.49, depending on the size you choose and is available in multiple colors.
PARACORD PLANET Paracord
This planet parachute (made in the USA by certified US government contractors) is made up of 100% nylon sheath and has a diameter of only 5/32″. It has 7 TYPE III twisted inner strands which makes it super strong and withstand about 550-pound tensile strength.
This product has a seamless texture and it doesn’t wear or tear due to friction. It is also resistant to ultraviolet rays and mold/mildew. These aspects further strengthen its durability and strength.
It is an ideal choice for a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, crafting, camping, and emergencies. It is also widely used to make lanyard, necklaces, coasters and cozies, self-defense items, knives or wrapping hatchets. It is also quite popular for those who visit lakes, use boats and more particularly for scouting troops.
The manufacturer of this paracord is called ‘Paracord Planet’. They are a US-owned enterprise and pride themselves in providing only the best and sturdiest cords for all types of situations.
It is reasonably priced in the range of $5.99 – $52.95, depending on the size you choose and is available in over 50 colors.
620 LB SurvivorCord
This is an exclusively US patented paracord (available only from TITAN Survival) which was initially designed for Special Forces US Army in Afghanistan. It comes with a 620lbs tensile strength and has 3 life-saving survival strands within the TITAN’s WarriorCord 550 cord.
It includes a transparent mono fishing line that has been tested to withstand 25 lbs for some quick fishing within reach. The filament of this line can be melted and then subsequently utilized to patch holes or as a binder for tools.
The waxed jute tinder (twisted jute fiber strand) is waterproof and designed to instantly start a fire in emergencies. The manufacturer claims that this is the best strand for your fire starter kit available. Since this is water-resistant, it is ideal for use in inclement weather situations, particularly rain and cold nights.
It consists of a 30 AWG metallic alloy which makes it sturdy, conductive and not capable of magnetization. This feature makes it a multipurpose wire and ideal for camp-fire, food wraps, trip-wires/traps, small snares, and aerials. These are ideal survival-type scenarios and you can add more, depending on your use of the cord.
This authentic US TITAN product comes with a ‘lifetime guarantee’ and if you are not satisfied with their product you get a full refund. It is reasonably priced at $123.98 and is available in multiple colors.
TITAN Survivor Cord
When you’re packing up your survival pack, you might think just any old bundle of rope will do. While rope can perform a great number of functions, it doesn’t quite compare to parachute cord.
Why? Because it isn’t just rope. Inside the rope, you will find other components. With the TITAN Survivor Cord, you will find waxed jute twine, monofilament 25 pound test, 30 AWG copper alloy wire, and 7 braids of 3-strand nylon. No wonder its patent pending!
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of using the TITAN Survivor Cord is that there are so many uses for it. You could use it as a clothes line, hang your tarp for shelter, stringing your rucksack, or it can be used to set traps. Of course, when you cut into the wire and take it apart, it is there that the versatility of the paracord really shines.
The conductive copper wire can be used as a snare to trap animals or other emergency needs. The mono-filament fishing line will come in handy if you are without food and you have to try your luck at catching some fish. The strand of waxed jute is excellent tinder for starting a fire.
What Makes It Different
What makes this paracord different than others is that Titan offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Why? Because Titan knows that their cord is incredibly durable, as it is made 10 strands of material (7 braided nylon, 1 waxed jute, 1 copper snare strand, and 1 mono-filament fishing line).
TITAN SurvivorCord / Parachute Cord Types
Unlike other paracords that may fall apart when extracting the fishing line, the TITAN Survivor Cord stays together and the extraction is pretty easy.
When it comes to drawbacks, you would be hard pressed to find any. When looking a user reviews, the lowest rating was 2 stars because they received a defective cord. Their particular product had copper wire poking out of the sheathing and they felt the cord was useless because the copper could ruin other items in the pack.
Another possible drawback that was pointed out among reviewers is that the cord can get tangled pretty easily, although it isn’t difficult to untangle—it is more of an inconvenience.
When it comes to purchasing rope to add to your survival kit or to take with you on camping trips, you may want to splurge for TITAN Survivor Cord. Not only can it do everything ordinary rope can, but inside the actual parachute cord lies other strands that are equally as useful.
Who ever thought that you would use a thick rope to catch fish or start a fire? With the TITAN Survivor Cord, you can do that and so much more.
MilSpec Paracord/Parachute Cord
This is a 55 feet TYPE III paracord 550 which has a diameter of 1/8 inches. It comes pre-shrunk with 8 thick and twisted inner strands (including the colored ID strands) which are removable. It is made up of 100% nylon and is a strong hank with a tested breaking strength of 638 pounds.
It is designed with some great properties such as resistance from tangling, abrasion, mildew, rotting, and UV sun rays.
It is manufactured in the USA by a local enterprise and fully compliant with US military specifications. The warranty offered on this product is “No Muss, No Fuss, No B.S. Guarantee,” for 1 year.
This product comes with 2 e-books and a copy of MIL-C-5040H. These books have all the useful information you expect and need to know about paracord and contain a lot of illustrations using high resolutions photos and drawings. Once you make the purchase, these e-books will be emailed to you instantly.
US military personnel and civilian paratroopers have vouched for this cord for quite a few decades. Given this, it is no surprise that this hank is deemed to be sturdier and more dependable than routine commercial products of similar description in the market.
This multi-purpose cord is great for the following activities and purposes: bug-out bags, kayaking and boating, marine rope, spool tools, hunting and fishing kit, boot laces, scouting projects, sturdy traps and snares, gripping material on knives, belts, lanyard, camping equipment & tent gear, hiking, craft and bracelets items, monkey fist jig, pet leashes, sewing, flag pole rope, teeth floss, rescue equipment et al.
It is reasonably priced in the range of $3.97 – $129.97, depending on the size you choose and is available in many bright colors.
Choosing the Right Cord for Survival
A normal hank is different in properties, size, and texture and hence one needs to comprehend which rope is suitable for what purpose. You cannot expect a polyester-based standard rope to save your day (or you), in an emergency scenario.
A survival paracord is renowned for its versatile qualities (as we know it is lightweight and durable) as it can be utilized by literally anyone for a variety of purposes, such as creating a shelter for safety, making a fire or even acquiring food (such as fishing, creating bear bags for hoisting food and deterring predators and snaring).
It has a fairly smooth texture which is due to the 32 interwoven strands in its braided sheath. It is also elastic as it nylon based. There are, however, variations of it available in the market and they can be made of polyester too.
These cords come in all shapes and sizes, colors. The cords used by military personnel are often in sheath colors namely natural or olive drab. Some other colors range from solid ones such as blue, green, brown, and black to more complex patterns and multi-colored ones such as camouflage and neon based (glow in the dark) or zombie patters.
What Makes Paracord Different From Other Cords?
On the face of it, a parachute cord aesthetically looks similar to your usual rope. This is not factually correct though. Your usual rope is commonly made out of polyester or polypropylene whereas a paracord is composed of nylon since it is known for its remarkable high quality and overall endurance strength. It has an amazing strength-to-weight ratio.
A paracord has a braided sheath which contains large quantities of interwoven strands give its size and the fact that nylon is meant to have superelasticity. It is for this reason that this cord has multiple utility features. Since the composition of nylon is lightweight, it is commonly used as a survival rope and commonly found in survival kits or bug out bags, for its life-saving uses.
US army has six different classifications of paracord that are: I, IA, II, IIA, III, and IV, with Type III being the most widely used. Type IIII has seven to nine core yarns with an incredible breaking strength of around 550 lbs. It is due to this reason that Type III cord is also known as 550 cord. The guts or yarns of the core of this cord are removable when circumstances require the use of a finer string.
Post World War II, this cord gained more prominence as the common people started acknowledging its utility and durability once these cords were frequently relied upon by the US Army and NASA.
Paracord knots can be of several types, with each one intended to serve a specific purpose. It is super easy to make these knots as the cord itself can be easily weaved, tied into a shape or any structure you desire and then untangled with similar ease, in case of emergency or any outdoor activity.
Let us take a closer look at some of the most widely used types of knots.
The figure 8 knot (as it takes the shape of the digit 8 once done) is alternatively called the Flemish knot. This type of knot acts as a stopper and is particularly helpful for climbers and sailors. The knot prevents the tag ends of the ropes from slipping out from its retaining devices. The climbers can also utilize it as a hitch to entangle or create a hook. It can be made with a one-handed technique as well. It is easy to tie and untie. It is ideal for light applications as the knot is only 80% efficient.
The slip knot creates a noose (like an adjustable loop) right at the end of the middle of the cord. This type of knot is used to loop around something that requires support and then tighten it by sliding the knot, e.g. attaching it to a bar or post.
Quite a few knots will also incorporate this version that requires creating a loop in the rope at the working end (as opposed to the single tag end). These knots, however, are not connected to the slipknot.
It can be tied with a single wrap and ideal to be used with paracord, leather cord, string, and even yarn.
The constrictor knot is known for being one of the most effective knots amongst the lot. It is made in a very simple fashion but ensures that you are properly secured. It is very hard to untie once it is tightened.
This knot is made quite similar to the clove loop but with one end passed under the other, hence creating an overhand knot with a riding turn. There is also the double constrictor knot which is firmer, as it has two riding turns, and more frequently used when the knot is being tied with a slippery twine.
The constrictor knot needs to be treated and handled with care as it can damage or distort the objects it is tied around to.
The Cobra Knot, which is also known as the Solomon Bar or Portuguese Sinnet, is quite common when it comes to lanyard knots. It is commonly used for decorative purposes as well as military shoulder lanyard and macramé patterns.
A typical cobra knot is made by creating a loop and tying the overhand knot. A half knot is tied around the loop and fastened. With the same cord in the front, you then tie another half knot and fasten again. This process gets repeated. The last few knots should be kept loose. The ends can be tucked inside the loose knots. Lastly, the loose half knots are then tightened and its ends are trimmed out.
This type of hitch is frequently tied with webbing sling, although this can also be achieved with a rope. This knot is also commonly known by the names of Strap Knot and Bale Sling Hitch. This knot is used to attach a sling or loop created from a webbing into a harness. This essentially creates an anchor point.
It is commonly used during climbing and canyoning. It creates an anchor when all the items are clipped solely to the hanging loop. These anchors must be inspected and reviewed before applying the bodyweight to it. Please bear in mind, however, that using this knot as an anchor can reduce the webbing substantially and can damage the tree trunks too, given their narrow contact points.
Over time, paracord has become a household name amongst the masses. It is also readily available in all hardware and depots. Given its qualities of being lightweight, stretchy and fairly inexpensive, it is also a great survival tool.
Here are some of the paracord uses that might be of interest to you.
One of the best survival usages of a paracord is a survival bracelet. Hikers and sports enthusiasts routinely make and wear one so they can use it in emergencies. It is several feet long and usually woven into a round, compact and presentable form.
The emergencies can include securing cargo, lashing poles, fixing broken items such as belts or straps or pulling water out of a ditch or hole.
Survivalists and scouts are routinely taught the importance of utilizing a paracord in survival situations. Having said that, a paracord will not be an apt choice for an emergency compression bandage, given its small diameter.
Paracord can be used to rig a temporary shelter when you are out in the open and need to spend a night. This would happen when you forgot to pack a tent or a camp or what you did bring isn’t good enough or isn’t working properly.
This cord can provide you with a structure that you can rely on. It can lash poles together by using it as a guy line. You also do not need to worry about the weather conditions, as it can withstand inclement weather as well (more often than not). A 550 cord core can be multiplied to offer you various other shelter tying tasks.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of a dead vehicle (which isn’t responding at all) and you cannot find a tow strap, then a paracord can certainly be a great choice to bail you and your vehicle out of this situation. You will need another vehicle for the paracord (550 one ideally given its tensile strength) to do its magic.
Always ensure that you have calculated the weight of your vehicle that you are trying to two. Multiply that weight by 2 and then assess whether the cord is strong enough to withstand the pressure of pulling your vehicle through.
If you cut the ends of a paracord and melt it, you will realize that the material flammable. It doesn’t matter if your cord is made up of nylon or polyester. Both of them are plastic-based and will catch fire once proper heat is applied to them.
Certain manufacturing companies specialize in producing flammable paracord, which contains an additional red strip in its core. This red strip can be extracted with the help of a knife or a sharp object and exposing the flammable tinder. This can then be burnt in an open flame and used as tinder for fire starting purposes or to burn twigs and dry leaves for alternative fire options.
A paracord can be used to make a rescue belt which serves two main functions namely, a high decibel whistle which you can use to seek help and use the 550 cord for all types of rescue measures.
In a survival situation, it is all about the speed with which you can access survival tools and this utility of a paracord is right up there. The entire belt can be pulled out without needing to untie the whole series of knots.
It depends on the technique with which you have weaved and of course, your waist size too. The belt can extend up to the length of your cord (usually 70 feet or so).
Fold that in half to make a bowline on the loop knot. Take at least 12-20 inches of the additional cord before you start on your first rung (which is the horizontal support on the ladder). This helps you in securing the top of the ladder later on.
A rung is made with an S shape created with one side of the rope. The other side is passed over the top rope of the S and then subsequently under the middle and bottom ropes. Wrap and tighten it about 8-12 times. On the other end, string the cord through the eye and fasten the rope on both sides evenly. Repeat this process on the opposite side as well.
6 top ways that you can use a paracord as a means of first aid are:
- stitches (by using inner strands of the cord to sew up the wound);
- tourniquet (to slow or stop the blood flow by tying around the wound);
- dental floss (inner strands of a cord are perfectly reusable floss material);
- a splint (secures a splint in place or can make an improvised on with cord);
- sling (by tying the cord to fabric and wrapping your arm around it);
- stretcher (by creating an improvised stretcher to transport an immobile person in an emergency).
These are certainly some serious life-saving benefits of paracord, which should never be underestimated.
A paracord can be used as a self-defense item too, such as in a bow or, surprisingly, in the form of a key chain.
It looks fairly innocuous to a normal person who is unaware of its usage, but with some practice, it can certainly save you from an attack or even worse.
A paracord key chain can double up as a self-defense weapon and is also known as a monkey fist. These key chains contain a ¾-inch steel ball, which is weighty enough to upset your attacker. At the same time, it isn’t that heavy so you find it cumbersome to carry it. It is around 9-10 inches long which allows you to hit the other person from a distance.
When you are out in the wilderness, you need protection from all sorts of predators, who may threaten your security.
This is where a paracord tripwire can be a lifesaver. This will allow you to disorient a stranger for some time, who is intruding your space and in turn, give you ample time to either rescue or deal with the threat.
The tripwire can be created from the inner threads of your paracord which are fairly strong in nature as well as camouflage well. Just tie these threads tightly between the two branches or trees and ensure that you do so at a height that is around your shin area.
If for any reason whatsoever, you find yourself (hands or feet) tied with zip ties and restrained, your paracord laces can come in handy and save your life. Your laces can double up as a saw as well.
You will need to completely take the laces off and tie them together so that you have a single cord that is reasonably long. Then tie a loop that can fit your feet on each end. Place one foot in one cord loop and start moving your feet back and forth, like you’re riding a bike. The cord will start working as a saw on the zip tie, create fiction and make it hot, and eventually snap.
A monkey’s fist or monkey paw is a type of knot that can be derived from a paracord. It is called that as it resembles a small bunched fist or a paw. This fist is tied at the end of a rope so it acts as a weight to the cord and making it easier to throw. It is also known as an ornamental knot.
This weighted rope acts as a hand-to-hand weapon, or as the sailors in earlier times used to call it, a slungshot.
A monkey fist cord has also been used as an anchorage by the climbers, by simply stuffing it within the cracks of the rocks.
A parachute cord has come a long way and established its utility across multifarious activities and sections of the community. It is a must-have item in every household and anyone may need it, anytime. The possibilities with a paracord are endless!