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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Up until 2 years ago, I had never heard of Paracord. Now if you don't have any, you are a giant looser. Exactly what is it and what makes it better than anything else I have like rope and stuff? Do I really need it that bad and what is a good price? Are there different qualities - some suck and some don't?
 

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Paracord is the thin very strong cords sewn into a parachute envelope and run down to the parachute's harness. Very strong, but I feel over rated in some respects. Great for tying things but very thin (3/16" dia.) so trying use to climb is nearly impossible unless you want to braid a lot of strands together. It is very handy and I think every BOB should have a hundred feet.

If I may, I'm planning to relocate to Tucson asap. Where you located?
 

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Paracord is smaller and lighter for the strength. It's made up of several strands (usually 7 I believe). You can usually get a thousand feet for right around $50 (though I've seen it for as cheap as $30). People prefer it because you know exactly what you're getting for it. It is a mass produced, standardized piece of equipment like screws or bolts, so you get the same product with the same tolerances and the same capabilities ever time. Also it's versatile because it's made up of a number of strands, you can peel off the outter sheath and use the inner strands for different things. Further, unlike say twisted polyester rope, it's smoother, so makes great handle wraps for knives and equipment. Lastly, I don't think you're a loser if you don't have paracord. Different ropes have different uses, paracord for example can't be spliced together like twisted poly, you have to rely on knots which as you know cause weak points. (Insert 50 Shades of Grey reference here.)
 

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Paracord has, as has been mentioned, seven strands inside a sheath. Each of the seven strands is made of smaller strands that can be separated out as well. What makes this so good is that in a small package you have sewing thread, fishing line, string and the cord itself which will hold 600 pounds. It is a very versitile piece of equipment. I keep just 100 feet of it and 50 feet of 3/8 poly rope in my pack.
 

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It's got ton's of uses, the only thing that I have read about that's not really good for climbing, other than that it's got a million and one uses. I imagen if you had to use it to climb or desend in a last resort you could use it but it's not suggested.
 

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I'm x military and we called it 5/50 cord because there are 5 cords wrapped in a sheath made of 50 braided strands, each can be separated for several purposes and the inner cords can easily be pulled out of the sheath individuality. Others are saying there are 7 cords inside the sheath. Are we talking about the same thing?
 

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I'm x military and we called it 5/50 cord because there are 5 cords wrapped in a sheath made of 50 braided strands, each can be separated for several purposes and the inner cords can easily be pulled out of the sheath individuality. Others are saying there are 7 cords inside the sheath. Are we talking about the same thing?
I just got a couple hundred ft of paracord the other day and it said on the spool that it was 7 strand with braided sheath.But I would say yeah,it's the same stuff,just different sizes/number of cords depending on what the parachute's job is.Heavier loads (vehicles dropped from planes,etc.) vs lighter loads such as a single person parachute.What I found,listed as paracord,seems to be extremely strong,but i'm also a pretty big guy,so I don't think I would advise it either for climbing or desending. I did not see a pound rating on the spool I bought it off of,but then again,I didn't really look for a load rating.
 

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I have paracord in my pile of bug out gear because of the advantages already mentioned! However I also use dyneema Kite line for snaring big game and where extra strength is needed! It is 2500 lb test and only 1/8" wide. It does not tangle easy either. I discovered this stuff when kite surfing! It is also more commonly avail in smaller diameters and lesser strengths!

Big Bug Out Trucks bobbed deuce military surplus
 

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I'm x military and we called it 5/50 cord because there are 5 cords wrapped in a sheath made of 50 braided strands, each can be separated for several purposes and the inner cords can easily be pulled out of the sheath individuality. Others are saying there are 7 cords inside the sheath. Are we talking about the same thing?
Hello it's not 5/50 it is 550 which refers to the 550 lb tensile strength with 7 strands and is the standard civilian cord. The military in its infinite wisdom actually makes about 6 different types of paracord so you may have seen some 5 strand stuff around.

I have a couple spools of it and carry some in my bug out, hunting and EDC, it is the duct tape of rope.

Army specs, sorry lost the table in the paste.

Type Minimum strength Minimum elongation Minimum length per pound Core yarns Sheath structure
I 95 lb (43 kg) 30% 950 ft (290 m; max. 1.57 g/m) 4 to 7 32/1 or 16/2
IA 100 lb (45 kg) 30% 1050 ft (320 m; max. 1.42 g/m) <no core> 16/1
II 400 lb (181 kg) 30% 265 ft (81 m; max. 5.62 g/m) 4 to 7 32/1 or 36/1
IIA 225 lb (102 kg) 30% 495 ft (151 m; max. 3.00 g/m) <no core> 32/1 or 36/1
III 550 lb (249 kg) 30% 225 ft (69 m; max. 6.61 g/m) 7 to 9 32/1 or 36/1
IV 750 lb (340 kg) 30% 165 ft (50 m; max. 9.02 g/m) 11 32/1, 36/1, or 44/1
 

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It's cool because it comes in bright colors and you can make ***** little bracelets and call them "Survival Bracelets!" ;)
Now thats too funny as it seems to be the trendy thing these days. Just about lost it when I read that post! Seems like everyone and their brother has one of these bracelts now except for me.

You aint a looser if you dont have any in your collection of gear. I do think though as versitile as it is its hard to not justify at least a 100 foot roll or two in your gear. There are just so many uses for it and its pretty cheap too.
 

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About 5 years ago while at a farm auction I bought a 2,500 ft. spool of the best paracord I've ever seen. The spool was covered with mud and barn dust about 1/4" thick and nobody knew what it was. I used my pocket knife to scrape the label and saw what it was. I got it for $5. After unwinding the outer layer of cord the rest was like new. I have used it for many things around the farm in 5 years and I still have about 2,000 ft. of it left. I really like it because it's black and it's the highest quality I've seen anywhere. Maybe I'll start making bracelets. Yeah right!

Something you guys might look into is 20 to 50 pound test Spiderwire (there are other brands too) fishing line. Pound for pound it's the strongest cord readily available today. Sure there are some exotic cords out there that may be stronger but the price and availability is prohibitive. The diameter of Spiderwire is amazingly tiny for it's strength. When using it you must be careful as it will slice through your skin to the bone in an instant. A spool in your prep. equipment is advised. It takes up very little space and is light weight.
 

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If you ever go backpacking then you know how handy paracord is. It also creates more friction than most other ropes so it will "grab" onto whatever surface you're tying it to (like a tree) alot better and thus less chance of your loop or knot slipping.
 

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Now thats too funny as it seems to be the trendy thing these days. Just about lost it when I read that post! Seems like everyone and their brother has one of these bracelts now except for me.

You aint a looser if you dont have any in your collection of gear. I do think though as versitile as it is its hard to not justify at least a 100 foot roll or two in your gear. There are just so many uses for it and its pretty cheap too.
I couldn't resist beecause it seems everyone and their mother has one of these bracelets. I have a bunch of the stuff because it has a milion uses and for camping it can't be beat. I got belts and rifle slings that were made for me and they work great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Ok... So I got some at Home Depot. It was like $2.50 for a little bundle of 50 feet - camo. I thought I'd try this stuff out.
I've learned that one or more of the following is true...
A. Paracord sucks.
B. Home Depot has sucky paracord.
C. Paracord is WAY over rated (may also be in conjunction with A)
D. My rope and knotting skills suck (highly possible but I was white water certified at one point and knots were kind of a big deal)
E. I need more experience to use it right.

I used it to tie off a load in the back of my truck and I couldn't have been less happy. I couldn't get it tight (2 half hitches) and it didn't seem that strong. The package said it was rated to 100 lbs. Anything heavy in the back of a truck can hit 100 lbs of dynamic weight with wind load, cornering and emergency braking. I thought it was supposed to hold like 300 to 500 lbs?

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Crown-Bo...rs-Paracord-Hank-65675/202957479#.UblDOOfMCSo
 

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Ok... So I got some at Home Depot. It was like $2.50 for a little bundle of 50 feet - camo. I thought I'd try this stuff out.
I've learned that one or more of the following is true...
A. Paracord sucks.
B. Home Depot has sucky paracord.
C. Paracord is WAY over rated (may also be in conjunction with A)
D. My rope and knotting skills suck (highly possible but I was white water certified at one point and knots were kind of a big deal)
E. I need more experience to use it right.

I used it to tie off a load in the back of my truck and I couldn't have been less happy. I couldn't get it tight (2 half hitches) and it didn't seem that strong. The package said it was rated to 100 lbs. Anything heavy in the back of a truck can hit 100 lbs of dynamic weight with wind load, cornering and emergency braking. I thought it was supposed to hold like 300 to 500 lbs?

Crown Bolt 1/8 in. x 50 ft. Assorted Colors Paracord Hank-65675 at The Home Depot
There are a lot of different qualities, ANYTHING can be built cheaper and sold for less money.

The real deal has very little stretch, it does give some but not a lot. I carry 80 feet in my BOB for making a makeshift tent out of a camo poncho, it also works great for gutting an elk if you are alone by tying the legs to nearby trees and bushes.

For the most part it is overrated in most survival situations but worth the weight for those times you really do need to tie something up.
 

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Yeah, 550 cord is a fad. In WWII is was about the best you could get. If you find some with black flecks on the outside that is 375 cord with 5 internal cords. Like someone said, there is better stuff out there like Spiderwire.
 

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It's cool because it comes in bright colors and you can make ***** little bracelets and call them "Survival Bracelets!" ;)
That is hilarious! ::clapping::

Also, do not use it for roping alpacas. - Their heads pop off...
 

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It's not all the same. There's cheap line copies of it out on the market you often see in stores like Home Depot, Wally World, Sports Authority and others that is not true paracord. Even the stuff that is these days isn't what I used to get in the Army and around base. I've been having the hardest time finding top quality 550 in OD with OD inner strands. Everything out there is white strands these days and not as stiff as the older usgi I've got.

It has tons of uses though from making shelter, tieing supports, making traps, fishing rigs, using to tie off gear, hang game, tripwires, replacement boot laces, bow strings, tieing your knife to a branch as a spear, tieing off your tarp to trees and just about anything you can think of.
 

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I've been using spiderwire for years for fishing and other duties. Makes a nice foundation for some of the beadwork my wife does as well. I don't recommend it for tying off tarps and such. While decent in strength, it is far too thin and will cut stuff in half like a cheese slicer!
 
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