a skydiving tandem

Features of a Paracord: Survival and Practical Use


A paracord, or a parachute cord, is a lightweight nylon rope that was originally used for parachute line suspension. Today, it is used by military personnel, survivalists, and regular individuals for their versatility and range of uses. This resourceful tool helps you gain emergency readiness and better engage with everyday tasks.

When deciding where to buy paracord, keep in mind that it usually comes in many different forms. This includes the fire starter buckle of a bracelet, a handle for drinkware, and for wrapping around knives. You may find it works better for you to get a bundle of paracord and repurpose it to fit varying needs and purposes.

Characteristics of a Paracord

Paracord is elastic, lightweight, and made from nylon. These features, and its large strength-to-weight ratio, allow its inclusion into survival gear kits. While paracord is similar in diameter and weight to plain nylon cords, paracord offers many more advantages. One of the main differences is paracord allows you more opportunities to improvise when in a survival situation.


The type III paracord, or the 550 cord, is most commonly used. It is called the 550 cord because it has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds, meaning they can carry that much weight at maximum capacity. Standard nylon cords, on the other hand, typically only have a 150-pound breaking strength. In terms of load-bearing strength, paracord is nearly three times superior. However, this type of paracord is still not suitable for more demanding applications like climbing.

Damage Resistance

Each paracord is designed with an outer casing that opens to several internal yarns and individual strands within those yarns. These additional yarns and strands provide damage resistance. The cord will not break apart completely after it is nicked or slightly damaged. The independent strands continue to hold the cord together.


Yarn components can be pulled apart and removed from a paracord when finer strings are necessary. Essentially, you get several strands of usable cordage from a single paracord. These individual pieces remain versatile and lightweight.

A paracord’s rugged outer casing can be used to make shoe laces. There are also about seven pieces of yarn inside. Thinner strings can be used for sewing or making nets, fishing lines, and snares and traps. These rope applications can help you while camping or if you need to improvise with limited supplies.

wearing a paracord

Emergency Uses

There are several ways in which paracord can be used to promote survival in nature. You can use them to create a rescue line, to build a shelter (with tree branches), as a fire starter or tourniquet, or to make a sling for injuries or to carry survival gear.

Additional Applications

The uses of a paracord extend beyond survival and emergency situations. A paracord’s inner yarns and strands can be used for sewing and repairing damaged fabric. You can even use them to create a dog leash, waist belt, or key chain. Having a ready supply of paracord and learning their techniques and uses mean you are prepared before the need even arises.

Paracord is an important survival tool for its versatility. Depending on its application, it can be taken apart for finer applications and doubled to provide extra strength.

Villa Hope Content Team

Villa Hope Content Team

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