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While it can be fun to shop for a big family tent or take a look at reviewing the newest piece of wilderness survival gear to hit the market, sometimes it’s the less sexy things that are most important for an outdoorsman to be properly prepared. Good parachute cord (also commonly referred to as paracord) is an incredibly valuable material.
Whether you’re looking at a specific activity, wanting to create an excellent wearable bracelet that also has strong wilderness survival potential (see the video at the end of this blog post for a great example). That is a lot of potential benefit right there.
There are many times you can find some incredible uses for a good spool of paracord or a paracord survival bracelet. You need solid cord to use for Scouting projects, preparing for the worst case survival scenarios out in the wild, or just for another incredibly versatile and useful item to have around the house, having some exceptional parachute cord is a great way to take care of any and all of your likely needs. In fact, this really is one of the most useful and versatile pieces of equipment you can have when heading out into the wilderness or if you find yourself in a survival situation.
Read on to learn more about the best paracord options available to meet your needs so you can go out with confidence knowing that you have premium parachute cord on your side!
Top Paracord Options
While there are plenty of outstanding parachute cords out there, and it can be hard to really differentiate two different types when both are made well, there are some that we’ve just had tons of great experiences with and which consistently review more high ratings than other brands, so based on that collected knowledge and some advice/recommendations from trusted sporting goods specialists, here are our picks for the best parachute cord out there.
There are two types of paracord that really stand out above and beyond the others, and while one and two are more like 1A and 1B, but the light edge has to go to Tough Grid parachute cord. This is an exceptional heavy duty parachute cord that is military spec type 4 and rated for up to 750 lbs of pressure.
This is a heavy duty parachute cord that is military approved, and one of the few pieces of equipment that has literally many thousands of reviews online, and they are overwhelmingly positive.
This is paracord that is really remarkably versatile. Not only is it soft and comfortable, but it remains incredibly powerful and durable. That’s a rare combination to pull off. There are over 20 different colors to choose from, which is great when aesthetic considerations come into play.
This is the premium cord that even the military uses, and considering they need to know their equipment will work at all times, it’s hard to argue with this as the absolute top choice. There’s a reason this specific type of cord stands above almost all others and remain on the top of our list, as well!
There are over fourteen colors available, but even beyond the excellent array of aesthetic choices, the TITAN Mil-Spec 550 paracord is the only serious competition to the Tough-Grid for the top spot. This isn’t to denigrate the choices lower on the list – it is actually amazing how many truly great parachute cord providers there are, but it goes to show how the TITAN brand is living up to its name as it is easy to find thousands of reviews online and they are as overwhelmingly positive and close to perfect as even the top one on this list.
Rated with a 620 lb breaking strength this type 3 cord is considered military authentic and the heavy nylon is of premium quality to guarantee not only toughness & durability but also has a surprising softness that makes it great when it comes to skin contact. This cord is great for a wide variety of things like camping, hunting, wilderness survival practice, disaster kits, prepping practice, packed in bug out bags, general crafting, and more!
On top of all this, Titan parachute cord comes with an outstanding lifetime guarantee that shows the manufacturer really stands behind their product and you can rest easy knowing that replacement is easy if proven necessary.
Paracord Planet is a reliable brand name that appears three times on this list, and for good reason. They produce some extremely high quality parachute cord, and among the several outstanding options they create the Type III stands out as being the best even among multiple excellent styles of this strong and multi-functional cord.
This cord comes in seven sizes which even includes spools of 250 feet and 1000 feet if you need a lot of this on hand. There are dozens upon dozens of colors and color combinations to choose from, offering by far and away the most choices in this field.
While not a big consideration for me most of the time (though admittedly not a big fan of fluorescent pink out in the wild…though it does stick out, I guess), this is a nice additional benefit that is especially useful when it comes to artistic projects or crafting.
This quality parachute cord is resistant to mildew and rot, is designed to last for many years in fully functional position, and UV resistant, as well.
In other words, this is the type of parachute cord that is strong, looks good, and is designed to last over the course of time. A great budget-friendly option that will still offer really top notch quality for all of your needs.
Coming in just behind Paracord Planet when it comes to providing outstanding premium type III 550 parachute cord is the paracord provided by Paracord Hero.
The cord that is offered from this particular company is extremely solid, highly rated, and comes in dozens of different colors as well as a number of lengths.
For individuals who are looking for large amounts of quality cord, spools are offered in 300 feet and 1000 feet, which are pretty remarkable amounts.
The tensile strength of this cord is solid at a powerful 550 lbs, which covers the far majority of regular needs you could think of and that’s even before you look at something like doubling up or the use of multiple knots and systems. Paracord Planet has put their wares to the test in real world situations, and they come back passing with flying colors.
The cord is approximately 1/8 of an inch in diameter and there is no question that quality is a major focus of this company when they produce each and every spool. This is another fine option for buyers looking for the perfect solution to their specific cord needs.
Coming in sizes of 10, 25, 50, or 100 feet, this commercial grade paracord produced by Paracord Planet has gained plenty of fans because of their focus on bright or unique colors, very strong cord, and solid manufacturing process. There are many hundreds of reviews online looking at how this product holds up and it has done very well in that regards.
Like many of the styles featured on this list, this is a type III nylon parachute cord that is tested and approved for up to 550 lbs. The bright colors stick out from this particular brand and the overall utility of this design has definitely caught the attention of many individuals.
The seven strand design means this cord is going to be at maximum strength and durability, while the diameter of each individual strand of cord is going to be 5/32 of an inch.
Manufactured in the United States, there is a whole lot to like about the full package here. While commercially approved as opposed to military, if it gets the job done and remains as reliable as other competitors, then why not take advantage?
Another great potential buy.
What’s better than a great spool of military grade Type III paracord? How about stepping it up to Type IV paracord? Available in 39 different colors as of this writing, as well as in the forms of bags, spools, and tubes; there is a lot to like about what Golberg brings to the table when it comes to paracord.
Relatively new on the scene, this made in America brand has quickly caught attention not only because they are made by a small business, but because of the quality of the cord that is being produced.
Made from 100% premium nylon, this mil-spec type of cord clearly falls under what is known as Type IV and offers an incredible 750 lbs of tensile strength. That is a remarkable amount of strength especially for a cord that is still designed to be relatively soft and comfortable. The picture above shows just how many variances are available and once again many customers are amazed at the length options that are available.
This really outstanding cord is only going to continue to gain fans as more and more people realize this is a very viable Type IV cord that can meet a wide array of needs whether at home or out in a survival or wilderness situation.
This is a little bit more than a simple cord purchase, because in this case Paracord Planet is looking to provide a working kit with the assumption that chances are you want to create survival bracelets, decorations to attach to key chains, and other similar practical crafts.
Because of this, this package comes with five different bundles of 550 lb rated paracord. Each bundle features 20 feet of cord and is a different color (colors shown are the ones that come with this kit setup), which offers crafters a versatile array of options.
In addition to those bundles of parachute cord, the kit also brings in 5 key rings as well as 10 black slide release buckles. When combined together this can help to create a number of bracelets, buckles, key chain attachments, or even a belt if you really want to go all out with it.
In other words if you want to play with a lot of paracord or help create your own paracord bracelets then this kit could be a great way to go. The quality of the cord is still excellent, you get some odds and ends to work with, and that combination means you can really sit down, go to town, and see what you can creatively produce with good parachute cord.
Common Paracord Uses
There are many ways that paracord can be used, and they have become especially popular as “survival bracelets” that allow an individual to wear a simple wrist band that allows them to carry an enormous amount of cord with them to any given place – which can be an amazing tool in a wilderness survival type of situation.
You can us a paracord in its original state as an extremely strong single-cord, yet you can also derive a number of other uses out of this cord when you use the inner-strands for the lighter tasks. The use of a paracord for bushcraft or wilderness survival is one of the more common uses.
For example, the inner strands can be used to make a small game trap, a fishing line, holding twigs and branches together to make a shelter. The outer casting of a paracord can also be used to secure a knife onto a stick to make your own spear, or for shoelaces for your boots.
From assembling straps onto making a net, you are offered with many bushcraft functions with only a couple of paracord feet on you.
What Is Paracord?
Paracord, which is also known as a 550 cord, type III cord, or parachute cord, derived its name from its original design of a suspension line in a parachute. Made from nylon, and its outstanding weight-to-strength ratio, along with outstanding versatility, the paracord has earned its place in the military units as well as civilian use. The typical polyester or nylon ropes does not offer the same versatility as the paracord has. In addition, when your life is at stake, you will notice that it is this distinction that is very important.
How a paracord survival bracelet can save your life
In a survival situation, there are oh so many ways this can work out. They provide plenty of cord length to tie knots and lashings, allowing for the building of shelters. This cord can be tightly wound as a good handle to turn a sharp rock or metal into a knife or cutting instrument, and in the right situations can be used by itself around the hand or fingers to improve grip.
Many survival bracelets made mostly from parachute cord are designed with a clip that can include inside it a fire starter or a sharp blade, those tools can then be used even further to help you in any given wilderness or emergency situation.
Paracords are incredibly versatile and can work for you in a wide variety of situations.
Why Is Paracord So Special?
The primary differences between a paracord and standard nylon, despite the fact that paracord is three times as strong, is the way in which a paracord can easily be changed to match up to a variety of different situations. For example, the golden standard known as the type III or the 550 paracord, which measures a length of 30cm or 1 foot and you require more length.
You are able to extend the paracord to about 8 feet of a usable cord, just by pulling the cord’s inner-strands apart. The multi-tiered construction happens to be what gives the paracord such superior strength, because each independent strand already features 2 in some cases 3-yarn strands themselves. This will keep your cord intact even when a few of the strands break caused from friction or being nicked.
However, it is important to keep in mind that even the paracords with a rating of 550lbs in strength are still not a replacement for climbing ropes. The rating is optimal when using a base-case environment and scenario. If the weight happens to be held static, lateral stress will be a lot lower when dropped suddenly.
What this will mean is that if you are carrying something that weighs about 540lbs using a 550 paracord, and the line starts to shake, or the object suddenly drops, the paracord will snap, due to the additional weight caused from a movement that was not accounted for. For this reason, it is always important that you are using the correct cords, according to the right applications, and always rather use conservative estimates and numbers.
Testing The Quality Of Your Paracord
The best way to determine the quality of an original military paracord compared to commercial products that in some cases label their products as “mil spec”, is to find out what makes a true military-paracord special. To begin with, these cords are 100% nylon, in the inner strands and the outer shell, with the inner strands made up of three 100% nylon-yarns each. Cheaper commercial products often use polyester instead of nylon, and each strand usually only features two yarns opposed to three.
Performing the following tasks is usually the only way to determine whether you paracord is a military spec or not. The first task is to examine the yarn numbers of the inner-core strands. If there are 3 then you are one step closer to a mil-spec. The second task is to find out whether your inner strands are made from polyester or nylon. You can do this by joining your inner yarns by burning each tip and trying to fuse them together.
If it is nylon the two ends will bond. Polyester on the other hand will not fuse to nylon but will fuse with polyester. If the inner-strands are polyester and the outer shell is made from nylon, this causes a problem if you needed to create one long line from all the stands. This is because your inner yarn is not able to fuse with the outer layer made from nylon.
If you want to test the quality of your paracord, conduct a field test. This is possible by experimenting with the cord. Try making a shelter or setting up a trap. You should also apply a stress to the cord to determine the average weight that it can handle. Take the cord apart and try to use your outer shell to attach a stick to a knife and then try practice using your stick in the form of a spear.
In this way you can be sure of the quality of your paracord when you really need it, and you can brush up on your bushcraft skills.
I also recommend that you repeat these tests to make certain you have invested in the right cord. If you feel the paracord is matching up to your needs, then you can feel confident that you have made the right purchase. It is also advisable to do your own research and read up on a few reviews before you decide on a product that you can feel confident in.
Whenever you need a strong rope that is thin, powerful, and versatile, it’s hard to argue with what paracord has to offer. The top rated paracord options out there are made to be powerful, to take a beatin, and to hold up even under high duress. Creating a survival bracelet from paracord is a fantastic way to make sure you always have a really useful material on you at all times, and doing just a little bit of research like this article can help you make sure you make a reliable choice so you have only the best materials out with you if you’re ever stranded out in the wild.
How to Make Survival Bracelet with Paracord Video
Other great resources of note
- 10 ways a survival bracelet can save your life
- Common everyday uses for paracord
- 100 uses for paracord (blog)