Friday, February 18, 2011

550 Paracord for EDC

Cordage is incredibly useful on outdoor adventures, but it is something that is often overlooked in one's everyday carry loadout. Granted it's not as useful as a knife, or even a flashlight, it can, every once in a while, come in handy, particularly if in a location where finding a suitable alternative isn't possible or easy to do.

550 Paracord has 7 strands and comes in many cool colors.
One of the most versatile types of cordage is 500 parachute cord (AKA paracord or 550 cord). It is a very useful cordage, with uses beyond what you might think at first glance. Looking at 550 cord, it looks very much like a shoelace. You wouldn't think that it has a tensile strength of 550 pounds. Although it is not meant as climbing rope, I have held my body weight with a single strand of 550 cord. I should also add that when bouncing on it, it has snapped. Again, it is not meant for climbing, but it is strong.

Standard 550 paracord also has 7 white inner strands, which can be used for smaller tasks: sewing, fishing, even flossing. With 550 cord, you effectively have 8 times the length of cord: 7 inner strands + the outer sheath.

Here is the tensile strength breakdown of 550 Paracord:
Outside Sheath - 305 lbs
Inner Strand - 35 lbs each x 7 strands
Total Strength - 550 lbs

Paracord Fun

Paracord also comes in many great colors. It comes in practically any color that you can think of. Whether you want high-visibility orange, or olive drab, it's all there.

Paracord Bracelets are fun to wear and are gaining in popularity.
Going along with the popularity of paracord, there is a growing trend of people wearing paracord bracelets. Although not really having a practical purpose other than fashion, these bracelets can be made in any color and look really nice. I often wear one myself. 550 paracord lanyards are also gaining popularity.

If you haven't seen 550 paracord by now, you are missing out. It's got a lot of great utility as well as being fun to play with. It's definitely worth buying a hank of cord and seeing what uses you can come up with.