Originally designed as lines for parachutes in World War II, parachute cord quickly became a very useful cordage for many battlefield uses. Somewhere along the way, parachute cord was shortened to paracord and the name stuck like gum to the bottom of your shoe. The tough nylon exterior and several inner strands of rope, make for a very strong yet lightweight rope. Unless you’ve been living on the dark side of the moon for the past couple of years, then I am sure you’ve seen the huge spike in popularity of the paracord bracelets. I personally like the idea of being prepared for everything (reference my “4 Pocket Essentials for Every Day Carry” post) but this cordage can be used for a million and one other uses besides being tightly woven around your wrist.
Put aside the fashion statement bracelets and think about where it would be beneficial to have a high strength, lightweight rope. You’d be surprised at all of the wacky ideas that you can come up with when you put your mind to it. I personally think that paracord makes the best shoe laces known to man. You don’t have to wear combat colors to enjoy all that this nylon wonder has to offer. Because of the popularity of the cord, you can get it in pretty much any color you want, you name the pigment and there’s probably a company out there that sells it. Along with being much stronger than traditional laces, the nicest thing about using paracord for shoelaces is that as long as you have those boots or shoes on you’ll always have a few yards of the stuff with you.
Just from sitting on the couch with a bundle of this cordage, you’ll come up with unique ways to use it. If there’s a will there’s a way, and after picking up a CRKT Minimalist knife I wanted to find a better way to carry it. By simply attaching a length of paracord through an eyelet on the knife’s kydex sheath and tying a simple loop to go around my belt, I now have a way to successfully conceal and deploy my new favorite little knife. With the sheathed knife tucked into the inside of my pants at the 3 o’clock position, a strategic upward pull of the knife handle brings the protected blade out. When it is far enough out, the uber strong paracord snaps the kydex cover off and reveals the blade. It’s the little gear ideas like this that make paracord your best friend. I didn’t reinvent the wheel or anything but without paracord, I just don’t think this method of deploying a knife would be possible.
For some odd reason, paracord and knives go together like chicken and waffles. You would think that a knife wrapped in cordage is something of a paradox, because you use a knife to cut rope and never in a million years would it feel right at home as a knife handle. Magically this combination works and surprisingly enough just about anybody with 10 fingers and half a brain can wrap the handle with paracord (maybe that’s why my knife handle doesn’t look perfect). With the help of a knife to cut the cordage and a lighter to finish off the cut ends, you’ll have an attractive looking handle that sticks to your hand like a magnet. Besides the ease of use, should you ever find yourself in a survival situation or in desperate need of a strong rope, you now have a few feet of paracord at your disposal neatly wrapped around the safe end of your knife.
The thing with this wonder rope is, you only fully appreciate it when you use it for something you never thought it’d excel at. Who ever thought that replacing the polymer belt attachments on knife sheaths with an unobtrusive loop of paracord would work? Sure it’s no TEK-LOK, but making some of these loops costs roughly $0.20. Price aside, paracord is much slimmer and lighter than any other option for attaching bladed weapons to you or your gear.
I am not the end all be all creator of everything paracord. I did however show you a few ways that you could use it other than storing it around your wrist as bracelet. If Martha Stewart ditched the flowers and ribbon for the tactical lifestyle, paracord would be her go-to material for getting crafty with gear. The stuff is literally like duct tape, you can use it for pretty much anything and a lot of the time I do. Pick up 100 feet of paracord so the next time you’re bored on the couch, you can grab your gear and see what you come up with.
What have you created out of paracord lately? Let me know in the comment box below. As always guys, shoot em straight and be safe!