Paracord 550 – basic survival guide

Paracord 550 – basic survival guide

Very few items in your BOB, GHB or EDC (everyday carry) have as many uses as a parachute cord. It is hands down one of the most versatile things you could have on you. There are so many ways to use it whether as is or when you remove the outer layer and use only the inner cords.

Why Paracord?

Paracord is a lightweight nylon rope originally used in suspension lines of parachutes and is historically associated with military airborne units. However, today it has found its way from military to civilian use too, mostly due to its strength, elasticity and overall usefulness, which is limited only by one’s imagination.

There are 6 standard types of paracord regulated by U.S. Military specifications but the one most commonly used by civilians and preppers is type III or so-called Paracord 550. The number stands for a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds (around 250kg). Also it has 7 to 9 core yarns inside, and that is the best way to test whether you have the real deal cord or not.


First aid uses:

1. Make a tourniquet
2. Secure a splint
3. Make a sling for your arm
4. Suture a wound (use inner strands)
5. Make a stretcher
6. Emergency dental floss (use inner strands)


Self-defense uses:

7. Tripwire around a camp
8. Restraints for an attacker
9. Make a monkey fist for self-defense


Getting food uses:

10. Fishing (inner strands)
11. Making snares
12. Making nets


Tying and securing things:

13. Hang tools (belt, neck, backpack)
14. An emergency belt for your pants
15. Use as shoelaces
16. Secure a tent/tarp
17. Repair torn clothing, pack (use inner strands)
18. Tie up a person


Miscellaneous use:

19. Repair a zipper pull
20. Hang something up (food out of reach of animals)
21. Rig a pulley system
22. Make a rope
23. Tie things together
24. Trail markers
25. Make rope ladder
26. Pet collar/leash
27. String up a clothesline
28. Climb up or down (it is recommended to at least double the cord for such uses if possible)
29. Survival bracelets


I have come across sites with endless lists and ideas, videos with amazing and less amazing uses for paracord but have decided to keep my list basic and in my opinion more realistic. However, this list of Paracord uses is not and cannot be a final one. As I have already said, the sky is the limit when it comes to how it can be used. I made a list of what I believe to be the most common uses for it and would be very happy to hear your ideas as to how else it can be used.


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2 thoughts on “Paracord 550 – basic survival guide

  1. Good article, with good examples for the use of paracord.
    I’ve never been a fan of making or purchasing paracord belts, wrist bands, etc. Apart from the fact that the length of cord that comes from a belt is insufficient for hanging even the four corners of a tarp, much less what you get from a wrist band, the constant wear and tear will degrade the strength and overall durability. Moreover, I would never trust the quality of cord used in these products. My Bug Out Vehicle always has 100 yards of 550 paracord stored inside a survival container. All of my Bug Out and Get Home packs have a minimum of 100 feet of 550 paracord stowed inside. That is a sufficient quantity to meet most foreseeable requirements, provided that each member of the group is carrying the same. In short, it is impossible to have too much paracord. Its uses are virtually unlimited.


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