Paracord Basics


Introduction: Paracord Basics

Paracord (also parachute cord, P-cord or 550 cord) is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope. It has a core of 7 white inner strands wrapped in braided colored outer layer.

Because it's made of nylon, it needs to have its ends melted in order to keep from unravelling.

Step 1: History

It was originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Once in the field, paratroopers found this cord useful for many other tasks. It is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during STS-82, the 82nd Space Shuttle mission, to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The same properties which soldiers appreciate in paracord are also useful in civilian applications. After World War II parachute cord became available to civilians, first as military surplus and then as a common retail product from various surplus stores and websites. While some commercially available paracord is made to specification, even when labeled as such a given product may not correspond exactly to a specific military type and can be of differing construction, quality, color, or strength. Particularly poor quality examples may have significantly fewer strands in the sheath or core, cores constructed of bulk fiber rather than individual yarns, or include materials other than nylon.

Step 2: Uses

Military applications

"Despite the historic association of pararopes with airborne units and divisions, virtually all US units have access to the cord. It is used in almost any situation where light cordage is needed. Typical uses include attaching equipment to harnesses, as dummy cords to avoid losing small or important items, tying rucksacks to vehicle racks, securing camouflage nets to trees or vehicles, and so forth. When threaded with beads, paracord may be used as a pace counter to estimate ground covered by foot. The yarns of the core (commonly referred to as "the guts") can also be removed when finer string is needed, for instance as sewing thread to repair gear, or to be used as fishing line in a survival situation. The nylon sheath is often used alone, the yarn in the core removed, when a thinner or less elastic cord is needed such as when used as a boot lace. Ends of the cord are almost always melted and crimped to prevent fraying."

Civilian use

In addition to purely utility functions, paracord can be used to fashion knotted or braided bracelets, lanyards, belts, and other decorative items.This is becoming more popular as crafters are discovering this material. These are sometimes tied in a fashion that can easily be unraveled for use in a survival situation. Some companies use paracord in conjunction with other survival components to create everyday wearable survival kits.

Hikers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts sometimes use "survival bracelets" made of several feet of paracord which is woven into a compact and wearable form. Such bracelets are meant to be unraveled when one needs rope for whatever purpose — securing cargo, lashing together poles, fixing broken straps or belts, assisting with water rescues, controlling bleeding with a tourniquet, etc.

Another use of parachute cord is in the stringing of mallet percussion instruments, such the xylophone, marimba, or vibraphone.

A very similar usage niche is nylon webbing, a strong, economical fabric woven as a flat strip or tube, also often used in place of rope.

Step 3: Summery

I will be making lots instructables of things to make out of paracord. In my opinion it is more useful then duct tape.

I hope you found this informative and maybe you will add paracord to your list of things to have.

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    I wish i could like this comment


    I'm sorry, but it does go against our Terms of Service to post content that isn't yours :(

    Your options are to post this in the forums, saying you got it from wiki, or edit this Instructable with photos and text that are your own.

    Let me know what you decide!

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    A bit of it, but I also changed the wording in it to make it shorter. You know Wikipedia can get wordy.

    1 reply

    You should also know that there are rules about posting your own work.

    It's OK to quote a bit of Wikipedia, and give the source of your material, but it is not OK to use Wikipedia to create the whole text if your project, and not own up to the fact.