Introduction: How to Make a Paracord Rescue Belt

Picture of How to Make a Paracord Rescue Belt

This is my first Instructable and i would appreciate your votes in the Paracord Contest!

I will be showing you how to create a Paracord Rescue Belt. While bracelets can be useful they simply do not contain enough cord for a real emergency. 8-12 feet can certainly be handy in some situations but think of what you can do with 50 feet!

The belt essentially has two main functions. 
1. The buckle is a high decibel whistle for attracting attention
2. The Belt section itself is a single length of 550 Paracord which can be unravelled literally in seconds for a whole manner of rescue techniques. 

In my opinion speed is what makes the difference in a survival situation. You can unravel the entire belt with one pull, there is no need to undo a whole series of knots or weaves.

Depending on the method you use to weave and the size of your waist, the belt can supply you with a length upwards of 70 feet of cord, This particular belt used 50 feet for my 32" waist  however i will explain how to increase or decrease the amount of cord you can carry while maintaining the same length of belt. 
Although the side release buckle means that the belt is not adjustable, there is about 15% elasticity in the belt so you need not worry if you put on a little holiday weght, your belt should be able to acommodate you.  The elasticity also means it will remain tight but flexible if you are wearing it during  outdoor pursuits.

Its worth noting that this same technique can also be used to make a bracelet which i have pictured at the end of the instructable.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

For best results use genuine 550 Paracord. I purchase mine from supplycaptain.
As with anything in life you get what you pay for, if you are intending on using this as a rescue belt you want to have the best cord available and with suplycaptain they guarantee the quality and authenticity of their cord. Many online retailers sell similar looking but poor quality cord with no guarantees on the breaking strains.

1. 550 Paracord 
    You can use any colour you like. You will need approximately 50 feet of cord for the belt shown.

2. Fastener
    Im using an emergency whistle side release buckle which can be picked up online or in any good outdoors store.

3. Scissors 
    To cut the cord

4. Lighter
    To seal the ends of the cord so they dont fray.

5. Forceps (optional)
    Depending on your dexterity you may benefit from using forceps or needle nose pliers to help pull through the cord, i managed the whole belt without.

Step 2: Threading Your Buckle

Picture of Threading Your Buckle

FIrst of all make sure youve sealed the end of your cord with the lighter so it doesnt fray.
You do not have to cut the length of cord to size beforehand as the weaving method used means the cord doesnt need to be cut from the reel until the desired length of belt is reached, this saves wasting cord.

Take your buckle and from left to right make 4 loops through the belt loop..
Ensure that the loops are loose enough to pass some cord through the centre.

Leave a tail of cord on the end a few inches long and secure this to the buckle to prevent the cord working loose during the next steps.  ( i passed it through the small hole on the orange section of the buckle to hold it in place)

Ive highlighted the 'working end' of the cord in the picture, This is the piece you will be using for all further knots.

Step 3: Your First Loop

Picture of Your First Loop

Take the working end and make a loop in your hand.

Now thread this through the centre of the 4 loops you made on the buckle.
Leave a couple of inches sticking out the end on the right.

Once you have fed this through then tighten up the 4 loops round the buckle. For consistency you should tighten them from RIGHT to LEFT.

Step 4: More Loops

Picture of More Loops

Gently ease apart the 4 loops you have around the buckle.

Using your fingers or your forceps,  pull through the running end of the cord to form a total of 4 loops.
This should consist of three that you pull through and the loop left from the end of the last step.

Twist the loops slightly in an ANTI-CLOCKWISE direction (so the left side of the loop is to the front)

Feed the running end of the cord through all 4 loops as before leaving a few inches sticking out the end again.

Step 5: Complete Your First Row

Picture of Complete Your First Row

To complete the first row simply lighten the loops from RIGHT to LEFT

Once you get to the left you pull on the loop sticking out of the end on the right to tighten completely.


Because of all the loops we are putting in the cord it naturally becomes twisted. You need to un-twist the cord as you are tightening each loop. If you dont do this the finished weave will look  very messy.

Also do not over tighten your loops. If you do, it will distort the final weave pattern and again your belt will look a mess. Over tightening will also make it harder to pull through the next row of loops.

Step 6: Repeat Repeat Repeat.................

Picture of Repeat Repeat Repeat.................

To continue your belt simply repeat steps 3,4 and 5 over and over and over until you get your desired length.

This 6.5 inch length of belt used 10 feet of cord. So for an average 32inch waist you will use approximately 50 feet.

Step 7: Finishing Your Belt

Picture of Finishing Your Belt

Once you have reached the desired length of belt you can cut your cord from the main reel.  
Pull the working end all the way through so its sticking out from the right. 

Seperate your loops again slightly

Get the other half of the buckle (make sure its orientated the correct way for fastening)

Loop the working end through the buckle then back through the cord you exposed when seperating the loops. Once you have looped it through the buckle and belt 4 times you are ready to finish the belt. 

You have two options for finishing.

1. You can thread the end through any of the loops you like and using the lighter, melt it in place onto the belt.

2. Thread the end through any loop you like and tie an overhand knot in the end to stop it passing back through, 

The benefits of the second method are that you do not need scissors or any other item to release the end of the cord if you need to unravel it in a hurry, you simply untie the overhand knot.


Step 8: How to Use Your Belt in an Emergency

Picture of How to Use Your Belt in an Emergency

To utilise your cord in an emergency simply untie the overhand knot on the end of your cord. 

Undo the loops around the buckle ( keep the buckle for attracting attention)
Pull the length of cord back through the first 4 loops to release your working end

Pull hard on the working end and the whole belt will begin to unravel. From start to finish you can undo the entire belt in about 20 seconds (a painful thought when you realise how long it took to make)

Alternatively if you have a knife or a pair of scissors simply cut where shown, remove the end with the  buckle and pull on the cord you cut to unravel.

Dont forget to use your emergency whistle to attract help if you need it!
Paracord is fantastic stuff but its no substitute for another pair of helping hands!

Step 9: Bracelet and Knot Diagram,

Picture of Bracelet and Knot Diagram,

As i mentioned at the start of the instructable you can utilise more or less cord to make the belt.

If you would like a longer length of cord and more width in your belt simply use 5 or 6 loops in each row instead of the 4 i used. In theory you can use as many loops as you like as long as your buckle is wide enough.

Similarly, if you would like a thinner belt with less cord use 3 loops as demonstrated in the bracelet i made.

I made my belt after finding this diagram on the internet. I would recommend anyone interested in paracord crafts buy some of the many books on decorative and functional knots available.

Also if your interested in more of my paracord crafts check out my website. Its still under construction but it shows a lot of the custom items ive made for people in the past.


x_a_n (author)2017-07-13

Thank you for excellent instruction.

Spider Queen (author)2016-12-27

The instructions are so clear for a complete beginner. Well Done!!

Edison Layman (author)2016-05-09

This was very helpfull!

Ward_Nox (author)2016-02-28

you can also get a paracord cutter which actually melts the end as it cuts

severdhed made it! (author)2016-02-21

Thanks for the great instructions. This was my first paracord project, my old belt broke yesterday, so it seemed like a good time to try this. I ended up using a standard buckle from my old belt, so it remains adjustable. I finished the end with a D ring....Not sure why, I just liked it. It took many hours and I used about 86 feet of cord....I really hope I never have to unravel it.

Pumuggel made it! (author)2016-02-17

Great instructable! Really easy to understand.

If you are interested in two slight improvements, please see my instructable about "Slatts rescue belt V2.0", that is adaptable in length and does not tend to skew to one side.

As regards measurements: A belt with six loops in a row made of 100ft. paracord is about 4cm wide and 120cm long (but that depends much on how much you tighten the cord).

With respect to sources for paracord, buckles of any kind, paracord needles and all the other good stuff: Give a try, shipping take a while, but they sell reasonable quality for really low prices and you find easiely sellers who do not charge any shipping cost (meaning that they really sell you a 0.5$ buckle for only 0.5$ and send it to your home for free!).

Marianne818 (author)2016-02-15

Great instructions, I've been wanting a belt for hiking, this will be great! Haven't seen the whistle buckle but I'll do some checking on that one. Also love the Leatherman pouch you made.. looks like I'm going to be busy with the paracord again!

elliemae61 (author)2014-02-16

Great instructions. Thinking of adapting to make a 4" wide guitar strap. I will need to have multiple colors (making for a friend). For survival purposes just fusing together the different colors would not be strong enough. What would you recommend?? Fusing and then stitching with micro cord?? Please advise. Thank you. and Thank you for the inspiration!!

mattb5 (author)elliemae612016-02-15

I had thought about making a guitar strap after I made two belts with this knot pattern. But I think it would be too heavy.

wlaraby (author)elliemae612014-03-19

You CAN splice paracord, though I have not found an easy way to do it.

1) Heat the edges of the cut outer shell so it doesn't fray. (don't over do it)
2) Fuse the inner cords and mash it into a tight cylinder.
3) Slide one side of the shell over the fuse (1/2 inch) then heat the shell slowly and compress it. (it needs to be tight and stiff about 1/2 inch long)
4)Now you can slide the other side over the first cord giving yourself at least 1 inch (this is the tough part)

You pinch the base of the stiff inner shell, push into the outer shell, pinch OS over the tip of the IS and slide the loose end of the OS over the cord of the IS (like a snake eating a rat, it's slow going and a little at a time) Now pinch the base of the IS again driving the OS onto it. Pinch the ON at the tip of the IS and... well you get it.

5) Once you have 1 inch heat the edge of the outer shell and crimp it onto the inner shell. When the two cords are pulled the outer shell works like a Chinese finger puzzle and wont let go.

It's not terribly flexible so it should be used in a straight area. I use this in the middle of my bracelets for multi color version.

BrianM208 (author)2016-02-10

If i am a 40 waiat how much do i need? Also how do i reattach two 50 foot to make my 100 foot i had

Joey John 9821 (author)BrianM2082016-02-14

I would use needle and thread

pskvorc (author)2016-02-14

Funny how "Everything old is new again." 50 years ago this was called "macrame'". Good idea and good instructable.

arthorn (author)2016-02-14

that was great. I did not like all the other methods because of the time to unravel it. This method works the way emergency gear should. Rapid deployment is the key factor.

YDandAss (author)2016-01-25

Very nice, Stu! This is the first set of belt instructions I've seen that doesn't assume I already know how.

WhittP (author)2015-12-28

Can you finish it without a buckle on the end?

tabbie17 (author)2015-09-15

Just wondering if anyone tried to do it with multi colors instead just one?

DanG19 (author)2015-07-30

Excellent tutorial!

G13 (author)2015-03-06

does anyone know what this weave is called?

usually referred to as "Slatt's Knot" or Slatt's Rescue Belt"

DBlaser made it! (author)2015-04-02

The instructions and pictures helped me a lot.

FabioS3 (author)2015-01-22

Thanks for this tutorial.
In this picture unfortunately I can't see the 'few inches tail' you mentioned, though. Where is it? Mamy thanks.

FabioS3 (author)FabioS32015-01-22

Nevermind. It shows a few pics later. Thanks

SERVOJO (author)2014-11-19

Used a standard belt buckle. Started with 6 loops. Buckle works great with the pattern. I get compliments every time I wear it.

ngriffin2 (author)2014-11-18

My son needed a belt.

JosephG1 (author)2014-10-30

Will this weave work with a standard belt buckle like a braided leather belt? Thanks.

TylerR1 (author)2014-09-16

Just an FYI this isn't genuine paracord. If it was it would have a colored tracable cord running through it meant for identifying the manufacturer.

ssokolow (author)2014-08-25

My camera is crap but the belt I made isn't. It's only a 4-loop weave and my waist is narrow, so I've only got roughly 40ft. of paracord on it, but I chose a buckle that's not only a whistle, it's also a flint and striker. I just need to decide on the best way to put a compass on it, given that I tried and failed to weave it on.

jrohr1 (author)2014-08-24

I just finished mine.


Waist Size: 33"

Belt Length: 48" or 4 ft not stretched.

Using a 6 loop weave its about 8-10" per weave.

This results in 96-120 ft of paracord being used in the on belt.

Thanks for the great 'ible!

thehumanaut (author)2013-10-18

You know? I've tried to hang myself with many different kinds of belts at "low points" in my life. However, now that I've seen and learned to weave my own belts and other things I have a new sense of hope. I would like to thank you so very much for this post it is a breath of fresh air to me. Now, I can rest assured knowing that when I wrap that belt around my neck I'll truly appreciate the strength, durability, and craftsmanship that's gone into it.

I'm struggeling to tell weather this is sarcastic or not...

kz1 (author)skyparrot19992014-08-20

If we never hear back from him again I guess we'll know. :-)

cyrus.worthington (author)2014-08-11

Thanks you for the info. well done.. :)

nomooremr.niceguy (author)2012-06-17

The method of the loops used in this belt are very similar to the way knitting works, except that you are starting on the left for each row, whereas for knitting you would start on alternating sides for each row. If someone knows how to knit, it might be a little faster for them, once they figure a way to anchor the weave to the buckle. I like the idea. I just made a strap for a messenger bag, using 50 feet of 8mm paracord. Good job on the instruct able.


I keep thinking that it looks like Tunisian Crochet.

The first time I heard of this kind of belt, I thought it was
awesome and tried to track back the source. The earliest I could find
was referred to as the "Slatts Rescue Belt", using a knot apparently
developed by Philip Slattery. At one point, I saw a reference, I
believe from Slattery, that the knot was based on a modified crochet

The first time I heard of this kind of belt, I thought it was awesome and tried to track back the source. The earliest I could find was referred to as the "Slatts Rescue Belt", using a knot apparently developed by Philip Slattery. At one point, I saw a reference, I believe from Slattery, that the knot was based on a modified crochet stitch.

That would definitely explain the the similarity to knitting, too.

searp2 (author)nomooremr.niceguy2013-03-21

I thought that myself and will be trying a knitted one next.

aliengolf50 (author)2014-02-12

Beautiful work!!!! I'm gonna give it a try.

Bongmaster (author)2014-01-30

ooh nice :)

Here is a pic of a belt I made a few months ago as my EDC belt. My finished length belt was 42" and I utilized 88' of Black 550 paracord. You explain this very well for those new to the knot! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to create this instructable, as these belts can save lives!

kemcolleen (author)2013-11-30

do you know how to finish if you use a regular buckle ?

jryan27 (author)2013-11-21

Explain the begging better

debschell (author)2013-11-08

I love it!!!! You Know I'm gonna try this one. Thanks. Looks easy you did a great job describing each step.

Lotsa Bad Luck (author)2013-09-16

Awesome! It's easy to make and use! I'm going to make a gun sling this way.

ChaosMarine (author)2013-08-15

What size buckle did you use?

pendragon1104 (author)2013-04-15

How well do you think this would work for using a standard belt buckle? I'd think that if you made it over length, in the same style as a normal belt, it could function quite well, but I'm not sure how well the weave would hold up to being tugged at by the pin. Any clues?

chadr77 (author)2013-04-06

This is by far my favorite belt weave! I have only been working with paracord for a couple months but I picked this one up in no time. Idk if anyone has put thought into a two color version, but i think i figured it out.

I stopped here due to lack of paracord, and well i don't like these colors together. The process doesn't really change, but I do think that it is more tedious. This is the back side; on the front the colors are more balanced.

gbmaster137 (author)2011-09-29

where can i buy good paracord on the internet that ships worldwide, and where can i buy that buckle?

searp2 (author)gbmaster1372013-03-21

I found mine on Amazon, £5.95 plus £2.70 postage UK for 100ft of 550 paracord type III 7 strand camo, also bought 5 clips (22mm x 57mm) £1.25 plus £2.70 postage UK. Both sold by wild elk. Seems like good quality and great delivery and service.

About This Instructable




Bio: Im a firefighter living and working in Edinburgh.
More by stuwegie:Paracord Dog Collar, Halti CollarHow to make a Paracord Leatherman PouchHow to make a Paracord Rescue Belt
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