Whether you’re planning to go camping or are preparing a bug out bag for when those big emergencies hit, you want to make sure you’re ready for anything that comes your way. What you may not realize is that one of the most helpful tools is so small, that you won’t have to worry about it taking up any extra space in your bag.
In fact, you can wear it on your wrist as both as a fashion statement and a means of survival. We’re talking about the famous paracord bracelets. Knowing all the paracord bracelet uses could make a huge difference in your camping experience, especially if you’re vying for space in your bag and don’t want to burden any unnecessary weight.
So, to make sure you will be prepared in any circumstance, today we’ll discuss the handy little accessories and some of the most important uses of a paracord bracelet.
The Birth of The Paracord Bracelet
Paracord is a light, nylon rope that was originally used in parachutes during World War II. They were the ropes used to suspend people using parachutes, and this means they had to withstand carrying a lot of weight over long distances, for quite some time.
Fun fact: paracord has a breaking strength of about 550 pounds!
The nylon rope itself wouldn’t rot or mildew even when it was wet, making it an invaluable asset to the soldiers in the field when they needed the rope for other purposes. So, in the end, it’s understandable why it has withstood the test of time. That’s why it didn’t take long after the war that people started to discover that there were more uses for this handy rope than just parachutes.
In military stores, they’re usually provided in lengths of 50 to 100 feet but this is a lot more than a layman would use or even need. So, more and more companies decided to shrink this down into a handy version that people could use without having to shove spools of rope into their backpacks, and that’s where bracelets came in.
Several feet of paracord are woven into these compact bracelets, and can then be unraveled for whatever purpose is needed at the time. Even the cord itself can be unraveled into individual strands to use as fishing line or sewing patches in clothing. The uses for this handy rope are seemingly limitless.
What’s even more fantastic about paracord is that it comes in so many different colors that you won’t have a hard time finding one that fits your style. You can pick your favorite color, accessorize with what you’re wearing, and have a different one for each member of your family. And because many of these colrs are on the bright end of the spectrum, they make it easier for other people to spot you in the event of an emergency. Check out our earlier article on how to make a paracord bracelet for your survival needs.
Lastly, they’re affordable. Depending on the manufacturer, they can cost as little as $5 to as much as $500, so the price range is really dependent on how much you need and how much you’re willing to spend. With this kind of cost, these useful bracelets are available to just about everyone.
Reasons Why You Should Carry Paracord with You
Other than the helpful benefits listed above, there are many other reasons you should consider these handy bracelets when you’re planning a camping trip or are going on a long road trip away from home.
- Emergency situations: they’re absolutely invaluable to have because of their versatility in the field. Need to make a split or string up a shelter? Paracord can take care of those needs very easily. Need to suspend your bag of food above the ground in a tree? Paracord can do that too, and without breaking. Having a paracord bracelet on your side will grant you usually about twelve feet of rope, and that’s more than enough for anyone to work with. For easy instructions on how to make a DIY survival belt, check our earlier article for more information.
- Texture: paracord has a good grip that you can hold onto without chafing your palms to the point of blisters. It does have some elasticity to it as well, allowing you to use as much as you need to wrap around your gear to keep it in place. The way the threads are woven provides a smooth enough texture to the hand that you won’t have to suffer from rope burns.
- Personalization: as mentioned above, paracord comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns that allows you to personalize your gear and identify yours from the rest if you’re traveling in groups.
- Easy carry: many of the tools that you’ll be bringing on your camping trip include lanyard holes, and paracord is the best thing that you can use to fashion a lanyard. It’s flexible, bright, light, and won’t break easily, so you can always have your tools on hand for when you need them. With a bit of knotwork, you can create a multitude of different lanyards in various shapes and patterns so that you can have even more paracord with you while still reducing the bulk of the weight you’re carrying.
- Increased visibility: you can make your important accessories and tools easier to find with a bright and colorful paracord bracelet. You’ll have a hard time losing your stuff with one of these clipped on around a handle.
Many experienced hiker have come to rely on the various paracord bracelet uses and there are always more and more being developed and created through a little exercise of ingenuity.
You’ll look forward to all the creative ways you can put your paracord bracelet to use once your get your hands on your first one.
Various Paracord Bracelet Uses You Didn’t Even Know About
It’s important when you get to make your purchase that you know how to use a paracord bracelet as manufacturers make the unraveling different from one model to another. For instance, some only require you to undo one end from the plastic or metal that clips the bracelet together while others require you to cut one end in order to undo the length of paracord.
Be sure to read the instruction manual first so that you know how to undo your bracelet without ruining it altogether.
There are many applications that use paracord, but we’re only going to cover the most important ones. Even so, many of these uses are so simple that many of you didn’t even know about them.
For first aid
When you’re out camping, accidents do happen. For instance, how would you react if one of your friends would break a bone while camping with you? The first response is to call for help and wait, but instead of waiting it out, hoping that someone will find you, you can create a makeshift gurney with just some paracord and some material you may have, like a tarp.
All you have you do is place the injured person on the gurney and create a toe loop that runs through both corners of the gurney. This way, the rope won’t favor one side over the other, causing the person to roll off.
Now, all you have to do is pull them back to your campsite. It would be best if you had some kind of padding on the paracord where you’re going to do the pulling, or else your hands are going to get the raw end of the deal after carrying your friend back.
Building a bow
Some parks may allow you to carry firearms, in case you may want to hunt something. But, for those that don’t, you can always build your own way of catching a meal with a makeshift bow.
A bow and arrows is a great way to take out small game when traps just aren’t working, and it can be used over and over again in a pinch.
If you’re building your bow from scratch, you should use a dry hardwood to create your stave and use some paracord to serve as your bow string. You can also use a cut piece of paracord to fletch your arrows and help them to fly straighter. Paracord can also be used if your existing bow string broke and you need a quick way to replace it.
When you just don’t have the energy to go hunting, building traps can be a useful way of getting those small game for a quick meal. Paracord can be used in making snare nooses and triggers, while the inner cords can be used for smaller trap parts on deadfall traps. You’ll never have to worry about your snares breaking, even after it’s rained, as paracord was built to last regardless of the weather.
In building a snare noose, first look for signs of animals being in the area (remnants of their meal, tracks in the dirt, droppings). Look for a small sapling nearby that is bendy, or you can also use a large tree and a rock. Using two sticks, carve a notch in the middle of one, and a hook in the other (roughly like the end of a crochet hook. These pieces should fit together easily.
Using your paracord, tie it to the end of a branch on the bendy sapling, and the other end to the hooked stick. Drive the stick with the wedge into the ground, and then afix the hook to the base stick so that the hook fits into the notch.
The branch should be roughly at a 90-degree angle when bent. Then use another piece of paracord to create a noose and use some bait to attract an animal. Sufficient contact with the noose should jostle the hooked stick loose and catch your animal unaware.
Making a fire
Stuck without matches or a lighter? Paracord can help you start a fire the old-fashion way, with two sticks. It can be used as a bow in the bow-and-drill friction method of building a fire.
Use two strands of core and wrap it around a length of dead softwood, such as cedar or willow. Your board should also be dead softwood, and you can use dry moss as kindling. If you’re not familiar with the bow-and-drill method, then here’s a helpful video that teaches you how to employ it:
Be aware that it takes a lot of energy and practice to get a fire started in this method, so it’s essential that you practice in the comfort of your backyard beforehand so that you’ll know exactly what you’re doing once you’re out in the field.
Creating a tourniquet
In the event that you’ve accidentally cut yourself and it’s bleeding heavily, you can use your paracord as a tourniquet so that you can stop yourself from bleeding out. Its elasticity is very beneficial in this situation, as it won’t slip or go slack after you’ve tied your knots.
To create a tourniquet, determine where your wound is and wrap the paracord higher up on the limb, closer to where your heart is. By doing this, you’re keeping more of your blood trapped in your body so that you can stay conscious longer to find help, as well as minimize the need for a blood transfusion once you receive medical attention.
Making a splint
Whether you sprained your ankle or broken a bone, paracord can be used to make an easy split that will help you get back to camp and seek medical assistance.
Using a large stick or branch, you can fashion it to the side of the broken bone using your paracord to keep the broken bones lined up. This way, you won’t risk severing blood vessels or making the bones worse when you finally receive some medical attention.
Shoelaces, belts, or suspenders
Outside of medical accidents, fashion mishaps can happen as well, and nothing’s more embarrassing than having to walk around with your pants down. Boot laces can break sometimes after a lot of wear and tear, and paracord is a useful alternative that will last throughout your journey so you don’t have to hike with only one shoe on.
Alternatively, it can be tied through the loops of your pants as a belt or serve as suspenders in order to keep your pants up.
Using the inner cords can be beneficial at catching fish in a pinch, especially in murky water where the fish can’t see the line as clearly. Hook some fresh bait you’ve found to a sharp hook, and drop in a line.
You may just be lucky enough to catch a catfish for a tasty meal. Simply remove the outer covering of your paracord and remove one of the inner cords. Remove as many threads as you need to serve as your fishing line, and you’re good to go. And if it happens to break, you have plenty more to use as replacement, allowing you to fish for as long as you need to.
If you don’t have the resources or the energy to lug a huge tent around with you, you can make your own easily with some paracord and a tarp. Using the inner cords will provide you with enough length to tie up each of the corners so that you won’t have to endure the elements, especially if they’re against you during your trip.
Most tarps already have reinforced holes in each corner, so all you need is to tie the paracord through the holes and to some nearby trees in order to shelter you from the rain.
And when you’re done, you can take down the whole thing, bundle it up with your nylon rope and go, and it will be like you were never there.
Repairing your gear
If the strap on your backpack breaks or a buckle gives out, the paracord is ready to serve with a multitude of ways or you to repair your stuff. It may involve tying a few knots, or using the inner cords to weave through holes and “stitch” everything back up together.
As you can see, paracord is close to a miracle tool, but these are just a few uses. Other handy uses for this wonderful material include:
- hanging tools from your belt
- securing your kayak/canoe to a tree
- stringing up a clothesline
- rigging a pulley system
- securing rolled-up items to maximize space
- tie objects together for easier transport
- tying up a hammock
- emergency pet least/collar
- tying a garbage-bag poncho to your person
- makeshift handcuffs
- emergency dental floss
- suturing material for serious wounds
Now that you’ve read for yourself what a paracord bracelet is capable of, it’s easy to see why more and more people are interested in keeping one on their person at all times. For useful tips and tricks on different paracord uses, see our must-read article on this topic to learn more.
They serve so many different functions that it can be difficult to think of camping without imagining one of these handy tools on your wrist. You’ve read where they originally came from, and seen their many uses. Is there a unique way you could come up with to make these functional accessories even more versatile?