Paracord Bracelets are a hot fashion trend with reason. More importantly they were born out of the skill sets of survival enthusiasts who mimicked the original use of paracord. Paracord is also parachute cord or 550, when referring to type III paracord. Originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes, it is a lightweight nylon kern mantle rope. How did it become marked as a survival tool? During the 82nd Space Shuttle, our astronauts used it to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The paracord bracelet went into two directions: one, being fashion and looking absolutely cool on the arm, and in ways of key chains and koozies. The other, was survival and hiking niches digging into what they could do to make this bracelet an absolute lifesaver in times of outdoor struggles. They have exceeded all expectations on this concept, developing everything from paracord bracelets with hidden knives, hidden fire starters, hidden compartments…you name it, a paracord bracelet most likely has it included in it. You can store essential survival gear in these bracelets. Even medical alert paracord bracelets are being used now. Dog leashes and collars have joined this innovation too.
So What Is So Special About Paracord?
It is just a rope right? Not really, it is more than just a rope. When woven into a bracelet, they become a tool. When unwoven they will create more than 8 to 20 feet of rope which can be helpful in a wide variety of emergency situations. No wonder they are so cool to wear. It is now a sign on your arm that you are prepared.
Know Your Paracord
If you want true Paracord you must know how to identify the construction of the authentic sheath. The military uses a 550 parachute cord, but no doubt, you will not be able to purchase your paracord from their suppliers. The description for authentic paracord is Mil-C-5040H Type III. Don’t be fooled by a cheaper cord which might say something like Mil-spec, or Military grade.
If you want to buy an already made paracord bracelet or you are going to make your own paracord bracelet look for the paracord with the traditional 7 strands in a finely braided sheath. Each of these strands are made up of 3 small strands (knock-offs will only have 2, pass on these).
E.L. Wood makes their cord distinguishable with one of the seven strands made up of some black fibers (as some knock-offs do), but, they add some yellow fibers (none of the knock-offs)
If yours doesn’t look like this, it’s not what the military is currently using. However if you did get it at a surplus store it might be an older version of true paracord. Be cautious of Chinese knock-offs which have some kind of teased up white extruded filler.
This only applies to those people searching for true military-survival types of paracord bracelets. We will cover the ‘hobby’ side of these bracelets and their prism of uses later on in article.
It is a pretty common occurrence to see the true paracord bracelets in a bug-out bag (BOB). Basically this is a short term portable survival kit. Generally, people put together BOBs so they can survive and escape from catastrophic events such as natural disasters. They are stored in home and cars for when emergencies happen. Survival 550 has a pretty good BOB item list to get a better idea about where the survival type paracord bracelet fits in. In fact, there happens to be the world’s most extreme BOB all within one paracord bracelet at Wazoo Survival Gear. Be prepared to have your mind blown.
Brand is a major factor according to what your use is for the paracord. If you actually want to have an emergency paracord bracelet, then yes the brand is crucial. If you are into the craft side of paracord with key chains, dongles and other curious doings, you basically want strong and trustworthy paracord, not necessarily the Military 550 strength.
Brand does matter if that brand is ripping you off, trying to sell you fuzzy little junk instead of a 7 strand rope. If it does not have 7 strands, it is merely rope.
Learning the Weaves and Designs of Paracord Bracelets
The best way to understand paracord bracelets is to buy your first one. Try to get one which has the most popular pattern called the King Cobra. It looks like this:
Notice the intricate “V” pattern to the bracelet. Now take it apart. If you bought a good one you should be able to unravel it into rope. Once you have done this, check the measurement for the length and do a strength test. Remember, a 550 paracord bracelet will support 550lbs. For the more brave who wish to dig deeper into learning about paracord, cut open the end and see how many strands are in your paracord. Is there 3 strands? What do they look like? Now try to rebuild your bracelet.
How to Make a Pretty Awesome Paracord Bracelet
If you need help with this process, Instructables is where to go. You will notice the King Cobra paracord weave step by step. This site also includes a variety of different patterns like the Fishtail, Sidewinder and Mamba. Paracord Bracelet HQ offers some pretty unique designs and ideas for using your creations. They also include instructional videos to help you become a master at paracord items.
Once again, we want to differentiate between paracord ‘survival’ bracelets and simple ‘hobby’ bracelets. The two are on extremely different sides of the spectrum in every way.
There are plenty of paracord bracelet kits available if you are interested in paracord as a hobby. Paracord Planet carries oodles of different styles and patterns in kits, whether meant for kids or adults, they have this covered. Locally, any hobby store like Michaels will have some selection of paracord bracelet kits, but don’t expect aisles and aisles of these offerings. They tend to offer just a little bit of everything in all hobbies supplies.
And naturally, Amazon is going to assist you once again with a pretty helpful drawer of unique kits. When shopping at Amazon take a moment to check out the section below of what customers bought along with the item. There is much learning and new avenues to explore by doing so.
A survival paracord bracelet is going to use the absolute authentic paracord with some high standard brands, and weaves. These bracelets are used for actual emergency type scenarios, like if you get into a bad situation hiking. Survival gear is evolving rapidly to make the most out of items which can be carried easily and on the person. This is not a fad, but for a baseline population who believes survival preparation is a necessity in today’s world. This forward thinking is growing exponentially as are the many new ‘useful’ creations of paracord bracelets.
The other type of paracord bracelet also has its place in the marketplace. It is used as a monetary hobby such as for fundraising with friendship bracelets, or watchbands; even dog toys and koozies. If you would like some fun and interesting ideas for paracord hobbies AND some survival paracord ideas, Survival life will keep you on their website for awhile.
Buckles and No Buckles
The ingenious design of paracord bracelets warrant a second look, some have pretty clever open/close methods. There is the typical buckle clasp system and with this there is an endless variety of different kinds of buckles you can use. Whether you want a side clasp or a metal shackle or the traditional 3 prong plastic clasp, you are going to find the perfect buckle for your bracelet. The advantage of using a buckle, a great buckle on your military style paracord bracelet is so the lifesaver stays on your wrist and not lost in deep woods or water. Now, if it is the other kind of ‘fun’ bracelets then learning the hoop knot and loop method is going to be easier, especially for kids. The functionality and purpose are the main considerations when deciding to buckle or not buckle. The avid paracord bracelet enthusiast most likely will learn to do both, and everything else you possibly can make with paracord.
So You Would Rather Buy the Bracelet
If you are not intrigued by the grand work of building your own paracord bracelet, you can easily find a pretty nice one either in Army Surplus stores, or a survival website online. There are some stores which advertise authentic paracord bracelets, and if you did the above test with unraveling a bracelet, now you can probably identify easy what is real and what a knock –off is. The craziest thing about paracord bracelets, the prices are typically pretty good and can be around the same price as the knock-offs. Even the hobbyist ‘friendship’ bracelets can come it at the same price range. What you end up buying will strictly depend on its use.
With that being said, there is always the trusted Amazon to deliver some pretty amazing paracord bracelets. What is great about getting one from Amazon (other than fast delivery) is you have all the information you need right before your eyes. The product specs are listed, as are, importantly, customer reviews. Always read the reviews. Reviews are always going to be split, but an informed decision can still be made wisely.
To give you an idea of the wide variety of ideas that have gone into the progression of paracord items, Survival Straps definitely will open the imagination up for what people are doing with paracord and it also offers ideas for perhaps gift giving or medical alerts.
There are plenty of paracord bracelet kits available if you are interested in paracord as a hobby. Paracord Planet carries oodles of different styles and patterns in kits, whether meant for kids or adults, they have this covered. Locally, any hobby store like Michaels will have some selection of paracord bracelet kits, but don’t expect aisles and aisles of these offerings. They tend to offer just a little bit of everything in all hobbies supplies. And naturally, Amazon is going to assist you once again with a pretty helpful drawer of unique kits. When shopping at Amazon take a moment to check out the section below of what customers bought along with the item. There is much learning and new avenues to explore by doing so.
The Endless Uses of Paracord Bracelets
Paracord bracelets are practical, functional, and becoming a necessary item to own. First and foremost, the main use of a true paracord bracelet is emergency preparedness, whether it is to help you or someone else in time of need. Wearing the bracelet brings a stronger sense of self in survival situations. No one wants bad things to happen, but they do especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast who pushes the limits. What type of bracelet you will need to wear depends entirely how committed you are to the mindset of survival.
Survival comes in other ways as well with paracord bracelets. You will discover quickly emergency services like firefighters, EMT’s, and law enforcement wearing paracord bracelets. You will also witness those with serious medical conditions or allergies using these bracelets as an alert should something with their health go wrong. This is another reason paracord bracelets are a necessity.
On the lighter side of these awe-inspiring bracelets is the secret other things they do. As mentioned, they can be used in fundraisers, marathons, and other charity events as a token of the cause. This is pretty cool. On top of that, nothing says ‘friends’ more than exchanging one of these little bracelets with your best buddy.