Friday, May 3, 2013

INFORMATIVE - The many uses of ParaCord

So by now you've heard me mention ParaCord many, many times, but what is it?

ParaCord (often known as 550 cord) is a multi-strand-core rope that is, when made properly and not a cheap knockoff, rated to hold 550lbs (250kgs) of weight. It is very thin, very light and incredibly useful for a variety of purposes.

ParaCord is multi-stranded, and that's for a purpose. You can, in a pinch, break down ParaCord into its interal strands, making it much longer (albiet weaker) than it previously was.

ParaCord is constructed of a braided "sheath" of nylon that has a diameter of approximately 4mm, making VERY large amounts of ParaCord able to be easily carried in a small space. This sheath can be removed from the core very easily and used as its own cordage. It is braided from 32 strands of Nylon, making the texture of the sheath very soft and smooth compared to standard high weight threshold cordage.

Inside of the sheath is the core, which is made up of seven inter-woven yarns. Each of these yarns is a twisted pair, leaving you with 14 individual strands inside of every length of ParaCord. Each one of these individual strands can, alone, hold almost 20kgs of weight before snapping, which is very impressive for something roughly as thin as good cotton.

While fully assembled, having, say, a 10m length of ParaCord capable of holding 250kgs is quite handy, but in a pinch, you can break that down into 150m of usable cordage (including the use of the sheath) that is rated at just under 20kgs. That thin yarn can be used for all sorts of things, such as fishing line, stitches for clothing or wounds, binding poultices or kindling... The list goes on and on. Rope is, quite simply, one of the handiest things you can have in your pack.

When fully assembled, this rope is designed for keeping people inside parachutes, so it's super strong. You can use it - fully assembled - for improvised abseiling, flood rescue, restraining people/animals... Heaps of things. It's also slightly elastic, however, which you'll need to take into account when using it, as that can either be an advantage or a detriment, depending on what you're doing with it.

However, most people would feel uncomfortable lugging around a bundle of rope. Due to this, there are a couple of ways you can do it:

- Twisted bundle
Since ParaCord is quite thin (only 4mm wide) and extremely light, you can easily twist up large lengths of it to throw in a backpack if you carry a 72 hour bag with you everywhere. I, personally, carry 30 meters (100 feet) of ParaCord in my Hazard 4 bag and it takes up barely any space at all.

- Keychain
Many people don't want to carry quite so much, so they'll keep 5 or 6 feet of it braided into a little keychain fob, which is quite cool if you only want to carry a little.

- Accessories
If you want a long lenth, but would prefer to carry it in an easier fashion (though harder to access quickly) there are plenty of cool accessories you can get that are made with ParaCord, such as bracelets, belts, even necklaces!

So add some ParaCord to your kit! As you can see it's quite easy to carry some with you, and you wouldn't believe how many uses it has!

I'll do up a separate article soon on various quick and easy knots that you can tie in various situations. Many people are intimidated by knot tying and resort to the old, faithful over-under knot, which will slip and come loose when you really don't want it to, so some people may find the knot-tying post pretty handy!

Until then, go grab yourself some ParaCord!

- CumQuaT

1 comment:

  1. Any survivalist or outdoorsman knows that a piece of Paracord or parachute cord will always come in handy. This happens especially when you have nothing resourceful around to help you come out of an emergency situation. This is true mostly because there are a plethora of Paracord uses that can always pull you out of bad situations. See more