If you’ve read through any recommended checklists of survival items so far, one item that you will see on virtually every list is paracord, which is short for 550 Parachute cord. Paracord has been in use for decades, and during this time it has certainly proven its worth in a variety of outdoor survival situation.
Paracord is simply anywhere from seven to ten strands of nylon that are tightly woven together. The strands can either stay together for added strength, or they can be unraveled for different uses.
As the name suggests, paracord was originally made for parachutes. It has since been utilized by military and law enforcement units all over the world, in addition to hunters, hikers, backpackers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Here are the top ten uses for paracord in a survival situation:
If there’s one item that will make your shelter building process easier, it’s paracord. You can use it to lash tarps and tents to trees or to tie poles together. You can get very creative with how you use paracord for building a shelter.
Set up a rain catchment
By tying a tarp between four trees, you’ll be setting up a very effective rain catchment system. And what will you be using to tie the tarp to the trees? Well, you can use practically anything you can think of, but paracord will easily be the most effective option.
Build a fire
Yes, you can even use paracord to get a fire going. Specifically, you’ll be using the bow drill method that consists of you using a bow to drive a spindle into a fireboard to create heat and smoke from friction. Paracord will be one of the best choices you have available to use as the bow string, and you can unravel it into a thinner piece to make it even more effective.
If you ever lose your belt or just don’t have one, use paracord as an alternative by simply tying it around your waist. You could also use paracord to lash items to your existing belt, such as a knife, hatchet, or a handsaw.
Wrap items around your neck
Keeping certain items such as a GPS or a water filter wrapped around your neck will be very convenient. Unravel paracord into thinner strands and then tie them to whatever you want before wrapping it around your neck. Be sure that you make your noose as loose as possible for safety reasons.
When building traps and snares to catch game, paracord will be one of your best choices for making the nooses because of how durable it is. A captured animal will not be able to escape it or chew their way out of it very easily.
Lash items to your backpack
If your backpack begins to run out of space on the inside but you have more items you need or want to carry, simply lash them to the outside of your backpack. This is what many backpackers will do with a sleeping pad, tarp, blanket, or coat. Of course, you can use paracord for the actual lashing.
Fashion a tourniquet
If you sustain an open wound on a limb, fashioning a tourniquet above the site of that open wound is imperative to prevent the loss of more blood. Paracord is very strong and will serve this purpose will.
Secure a splint
Instead of using paracord to fashion a tourniquet, you could also use it to secure a splint to a broken limb. Take two sticks and place them on both sides of the affected limb, and then tie it down with the paracord. Specifically, you’ll want to tie at the wrist/ankle, knee/elbow, and hip/shoulder.
Fashion a sling
As yet another first/aid medical use for paracord, use it to fashion a sling to hold up and elevate a broken or injured arm. Tie the two ends of the paracord together and then place it over your neck. Run your injured limb through the loop, and you’re set.
What’s even better about paracord is how easy it is to carry. For example, you can easily find paracord bracelets in most sporting goods stores or online for just a few dollars. These paracord bracelets wrap around your wrist just like any other bracelet, and they can be unraveled into strands as you see fit.
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