When you are camping or hiking, or certainly if you are ever in an emergency situation in which you are fighting for your survival, you will need to make do with what you’ve got. So you always need to be sure that you have versatile, adaptable tools with you. One of the most versatile — and therefore most helpful — tools you can have on hand is paracord.
Paracord, or parachute cord, is a nylon rope that was developed during World War II for use as suspension lines for parachutes. It’s lightweight, but strong. In fact, 550 cord can hold 550 pounds. It can be used in dozens, even hundreds of ways. Whenever you need to tie something up, tie something down, or tie something together, paracord may be your answer.
Paracord comes in different colors, which can be helpful for color coding things or people. And the color of the paracord will of course be crucial if you are using it for crafts instead of survival.
The real genius of paracord is that you can improvise with it to solve the problem you’ve got. But just to stimulate your imagination, here are some uses for paracord:
Carrying, Toting, Dragging, Hanging
- Make a lanyard to carry your keys, whistle, knife, binoculars, or other items around your neck.
- Tie those same things to your belt.
- Tie bulky items to your backpack.
- Tie your food or other items to a tree to keep it off the ground and out of reach of animals
- Tether your dog or use the paracord as a lead. You might want to braid it to make it more comfortable to hold in your hand. It’s not inconceivable to use the same technique on small children, but please be prudent.
- Hang a cooking pot over a fire.
- Tie a length around firewood or other items that you need to carry.
- Tie your equipment or backpack to a length of paracord and lower them down the side of a cliff.
- Tie your stuff down when a storm is threatening.
- Hack a backpack by weaving a net and stringing a drawstring around it.
- Use it as a tow cord.
- Use it to tie your boat to the dock.
- Just in general, use paracord to fix anything broken that can be repaired by stitching it up using the inner threads or by lashing it back together again using the inner threads or the entire cord.
Makeshift Shelter and Furniture
- String paracord between two trees and drape a tarp, emergency blanket or poncho over it.
- Lash poles together and cover it with a tarp, emergency blanket or poncho as a small makeshift tent.
- Secure a tent.
- Weave the paracord into a net and tie it between two trees. Voila — a hammock!
- Tie a log between two trees and you’ve got a bench.
- Make a rope ladder or bridge.
- String up a clothes line.
- Replace broken cords on things that use cords — lights with pull strings, pull cords for lawn mowers, chain saws or other types of motors.
Clothing Fixes and Personal Care Uses
- Use a length of paracord as a makeshift belt or suspenders, or a chin strap for your hat.
- Use inner threads to sew up tears. (Don’t forget to bring a needle in your first aid kit.)
- Replace broken shoe or boot laces.
- Replace drawstrings in hoodies, sweat pants, and backpacks.
- Replace a broken zipper pull.
- Use inner threads as dental floss.
- Replace a broken watch strap.
- Use it to tie back your hair. Paracord comes in many colors so you can match your outfit!
First Aid Uses
- Use it as a tourniquet.
- Secure splints to keep a broken limb straight.
- Use the inner threads as makeshift sutures.
- Lash two poles together to make a stretcher.
- Make a sling for a wounded arm or shoulder.
Self-Defense and Personal Safety
- Create a tripwire around the perimeter of your campsite. Tie cans or other objects to it to make noise to alert you to someone crossing it.
- Tie someone to a chair with it.
- While you’re at it, tie his wrists together if you don’t have handcuffs.
- If that doesn’t work, create a whip, tying knots at the end of several cords and tying the cords together at the other end.
Hunting and Fishing
- Use the inner threads for fishing line.
- Make a snare or trap.
- Make a fishing net.
- Create a jump rope. Tie some sort of small weight to the center so that the rope will swing around.
- Make a tire swing or tie a flat board to a tree branch to create a swing.
- Crafty folks can make key fobs, belts, dog collars, necklaces, bracelets and all sorts of things. If you are bored, just think something up, design a plan for it and create something.
So there are tons of uses for paracord. And, really, the best approach is just to be creative when you have a problem or difficulty.
Now, when you are carrying a tool with you, it’s always a good idea to use a multi-purpose tool if one exists. And I’d like to recommend a tool that is a paracord bracelet combined with an emergency whistle and a fire-starter. As I right this, it’s also free. You just pay for postage. It’s called FireKable. Go ahead — have a look!
What are your favorite uses of paracord? Let us know in the comments.
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