Civilians have been able to purchase military paracord since the end of World War II. There is literally an unlimited amount of uses for 550 paracord. From survival bracelets to dog collars to beer koozies to rifle slings. You name it—it has probably been made from paracord…or at least attempted.
During WWII, this nylon rope was used in suspension lines for parachutes. It didn’t take long for airborne units to discover its many uses. Today it is still used in the military as a general utility rope.
Mi-Spec Type-III 550 parachute cord is constructed of nylon with an inner core of 7 to 9 yarns with an outer woven sheath and is 4mm thick. Paracord is strong, durable and flexible. The guts (yarns) inside the paracord are easily separated from the woven shell outside and used when smaller cordage is needed, such as sewing and mending or used as fishing line during an emergency. One of the astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery even used paracord to repair the Hubble Space telescope in February 1997!
There are many manufacturers of civilian paracord. Quality, strength and materials vary. Some make their rope out of polyester. When shopping for paracord, take notice of what it’s made of. Nylon does not mildew or rot, so it is more durable and lasts longer than polyester. The 550 means how much strength it can hold before breaking. Paracord rope that says it is 550 will hold 550 pounds before breaking. Commercial Mil-Spec paracord will typically be rated for 550 lbs. and have 7 yarns inside.
Some of the most popular paracord products are made especially for survival and designed to be lightweight and easy to carry. These kits offer not only yards of cordage, but have essential survival gear tucked inside. To access, you must unravel your bracelet, pod or grenade. Many companies have found they can fit quite a bit of survival gear inside a small and lightweight package—fishing kits, fire starters, fire steel, blades, cutting saws and wires, whistles, matches, first aid supplies and more. You’d be surprised how much can fit in these paracord survival kits!
The following five paracord survival kits are top sellers on Amazon and come highly rated.
From the Friendly Swede comes a cool, multi-purpose camp stove packed into a convenient paracord carrying pouch. The included carabiner clip lets you attach the paracord bag to your pants or backpack. The stove folds and has two cooking positions. It is made of iron and measures 3.82 x 2.95 x 0.71 inches and weighs only 9.5 ounces. Included is a 21-piece survival kit.
Inside the kit:
- Plastic bag for gathering water
- Wire to use as a cooking grate
- Can opener
- Multi-tool with blade
- Fishing supplies
- Wire and more
One of the coolest things about Holtzman’s paracord survival grenade is that it actually looks like a grenade. Another unique thing about this paracord kit is that you can open it at the top and stuff your own gear inside, like a lighter or small knife. Most paracord survival kits on the market do not have this capability. This one is the most expensive on the list; however, it is heftier, larger and includes the most items. The 45-feet of 550 paracord includes 2-feet of safety orange and 48 survival essentials—compass, flashlight, multi tool, signal mirror, fire starter, fishing line and hooks, first aid supplies, matches, twine, wire, foil, water purification tablets, and more. It comes with a lifetime money-back guarantee.
We’re surprised how much gear they packed into this paracord survival bracelet! It even has an SOS LED light entwined! The LED flashlight has two modes—flashing or constant on. It is visible up to 10 meters and the batteries will last 72 hours. This 20-in-1 paracord bracelet frees up space in your pack for other essentials, but still has everything you need in an emergency. Included is 3.2 meters of paracord with a 7-yarn core that has a 500-pound strength rating. It is adjustable for different sized wrists from 4.3 to 9.8 inches.
The 12 Survivors Fish and Fire Emergency Kit is a more specialized kit than any other on this list. Instead of trying to pack a bunch of stuff in one, this one focuses on quality fishing gear to add to your B.O.B. It can be clipped to any pack with the integrated carabiner or slipped into a pocket. Considerably smaller than others on the list, it is compact and lightweight. It includes 7 feet of paracord, 32.8 feet of fishing line, hooks, floats, swivels, an alcohol pad, plus a fire starter, tinder and foil.
For any outdoor adventurer, any of these paracord survival kits will help you survive a night or two if you get lost or stuck in the wilderness. Because they are so easily packable, there is no reason why you shouldn’t add one to your EDC.