Paracord 550, or cord 550, has roots in World War II, when both flying and jumping out of airplanes were still relatively new. Paracord 550, so named because it has a breaking strength of 550 pounds, was used in the suspension lines of military parachutes. Service members would cut strands of the paracord off their parachutes to take with them for a variety of emergency survival and combat uses. What better place to keep these extra strands than neatly tied on the wrist?
Other Military and Aeronautic Uses
After 9/11/01, members deployed to the middle east would – and do – wear a military paracord bracelet as a symbol of remembrance for colleagues who were taken prisoner of war or missing in action. In 1997, astronauts on the 22nd flight of the space shuttle Discovery also used this type of paracord to repair parts of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Of course it still is used by the military, but survivalists and outdoor enthusiast also rely on this versatile cord. From first aid uses like making a tourniquet, tying a splint or sling, to hanging tools from your belt, neck or pack. You can make a towline, tie up a boat, canoe, or skiff, or unravel it and use the inner strands for fishing line. String it up to make a clothesline, or to haul your food stores off the ground away from bears. Make traps, or snares, securely tie a tarp between trees. Tie people together on a trail or mountain to make sure they stay together, and to help prevent dangerous falls. Use it for dental floss or sewing thread, and to fix or repair articles of clothing.
What Exactly is Paracord
The military-grade cord is Mil-C-504h type III. While there are other types of paracord commercially available, the Mil-C-504h is the only one military-approved. It is very lightweight, flexible and won’t rot or mildew. The outer layer is a braided sleeve that today comes in many colors. Inside that outer layer are 7 – 9 fine strands that are each made up of at 2-3 intertwined fibers.
Making the Bracelets
A standard military paracord bracelet is made by weaving a 10 – 12 foot single strand and using a uniform button for a clasp. The idea is that each service member wears a bracelet that has been made by someone else, and the bracelets are only removed when everyone is safely back to base.
Survival WatchTM uses the military paracord bracelet as the basis for their survival watches, “your best last resort”. Survival watches contain fire starting flint rod and steel scraper, compass, and an emergency whistle. Learn more at website.