Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review: Paracord

Whats that you say? A review of paracord? That's like a review of "water", or "shoes". Or is it? There's a lot to be said for something so ubiquitous. As I've said before, I like having cord on hand and there is nothing better than having cord that you can depend on. So, here are some of the reasons paracord is so useful. Originally used for the suspension line in WW2 parachutes, the cord has come to find a place of pride in any well equipped kit. Also known as "550 cord" because it is nominally rated to have a breaking load of 550lbs (or about 250kg) That's a phenomenal load for a 4mm cord! There are 6 classes of paracord according to US MilSpec and its generally the Class III that is referred to when "paracord" is mentioned.

The cord is made of an outer densely woven sheath of nylon which covers 7 to 9 inner yarns, each themselves made of 2 or 3 threads, also nylon. This makes the whole cord both smooth and somewhat elastic. Being woven nylon, when cut the ends fray if not melted or crimped.  I have a little blowtorch and knife dedicated for cutting and sealing mine. The inner yarns can be removed to leave the sheath for use or vise versa, using the inner yarns, or "guts" as commonly known. Being nylon, the cord is resistant to mold or mildew, doesn't take up water readily and is long wearing. I have some as a bracelet closure on a crocodile hide band, which I've worn 24/7, wet, dry, hot or cold for several years now. It comes in a rainbow of colours; from black, coyote, OD through to "safety orange", my preferred choice for taking to the clubs. Great under UV!

Paracord is a really useful piece of gear to have on you, and there are a number of ways to keep a bunch of it on hand. One simple way is to feed a hank of it through some spare loops of MOLLE, if you happen to have that kind of attachment on hand. I always keep a hank or two in mine, along with  that other mainstay of "keeping things tied up", zip-ties.

It can also be woven into a variety of patterns, such as the chain sinnet on my grappling hook cord or the Portuguese Sinnet or Cobra Weave on my belt-lanyard,  and I really have to put in a word for Stormdrane here, who's amazingly clear blog and Instructables not only inspired me to look more into making my own gear, but making it elegant as well such as the "survival bracelet" I also wear. Lashing poles, tying down tarps, securing luggage, padding contact points. There are so many options. I've previously shown two different ways to add a paracord wrap to the handle of a knife or other tool but here is another. It's on one of my machete-type fantasy swords, which I re-handled this twisted wrap. Its a twin set, and by alternating the sides, it lays flat together, and puts the twisted ridge of the handle against my curled fingers.

Whether you are putting up an emergency shelter or throwing a lead line over a high branch to drop a log on an invisible alien hunter who can see your claymore mines, paracord is a must have in your supplies!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for giving me a space in your blog. I refer this to my close friends who are already seeking for the Paracord .Thanks again guys…


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