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45 Expert vetted paracord uses for survival

Last updated on December 15, 2020
Your bug out bag should contain a piece of paracord, but how many paracord uses do you know?

What is paracord?

Paracord is an abbreviation, and it is, in fact, a parachute cord. The number of paracord uses is endless. Paracord is made of a set of fibers interconnected with each other. Manufacturers managed to get a smooth surface for the threads. To give it its elasticity, manufacturers used nylon, making it more resistant too.

Vetted by survival experts

To get the best advice and tips, we researched the best survival experts like Shawn Kelly (Corporals Corner)Joshua Enyart (The Gray Bearded Green Beret), and other survival specialists. This way, we make sure that all the information we provide is vetted and tested.

What makes paracord better than other cords?

Paracord is made of nylon. This gives it superior strength to other ropes made of polyester or polypropylene. Although it is durable, you can use it in the harshest conditions. Strength, durability, and low weight are the reasons why it is used for parachutes.

The outer layer is weaved from a large number of threads. The internal strands made out of nylon give it its elasticity. Its lightweight and tensile strength make it perfect for survival kits and bug out bags.

According to the US military, there are six types of paracord. The classification is as follows: I, IA, II, IIA, III, IV.

The most used of these is “550 paracord”. It got its name due to the tensile strength of 550 pounds and is part of type III paracords. You can remove the outer layer of the 550 paracord and use the inner strands.

Now that you know what a paracord is and what it is made of let’s see what you can use it for. We have prepared a list of the most useful uses for paracord while in a survival situation organized by the following criteria:

  • First Aid and health
  • Hunting and Fishing
  • Shelter
  • Self-defense
  • On the move
  • Bushcraft

The best survival paracord uses

If you find yourself in a survival situation, you should know the potential of each item you carry. Paracord is a versatile item that can help you often. Here are the most important uses of a paracord.

Paracord uses: First aid

First Aid and health

If you want to make it in the wild, you have to stay healthy. These are some of the best paracord uses for survival situations.


When it comes to survival, the most important thing is to stay healthy and in good shape. The most common injuries are cuts and lacerations. If you can, you should always seek medical help. If you are on your own, a great way to prepare for such a situation is to carry a suture kit in your backpack. These kits contain everything you need to treat cuts and lacerations.

If you don’t have a suture kit, you can always use your paracord to suture any open wounds. This type of cord is because the inner lines are thin, strong, and durable.


Muscle and bone injuries can cause a lot of pain and, in some cases, leave you impaired. If the damage is severe, you will most likely need to immobilize the area. Making a splint is not difficult if you have the right tools.

To assemble a splint, you need a paracord, soft material for cushioning, and something hard (plank, piece of wood, walking stick, etc.). With these three items, you can immobilize a bone or muscle and stop it from getting worse.


Next on our list of paracord uses is the stretcher. If someone is in a severe condition and cannot walk, you should use a stretcher to move them. Besides being the safest way to carry someone who suffered an injury, it also makes it easier to handle the weight.

In survival scenarios, you can make a stretcher by weaving your paracord. If you have any long sticks or poles, you could use them to make the stretcher more stable.


There are specific injuries that cause heavy bleeding and can be life-threatening. If this happens, it is good to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. In survival situations, the most suitable tool is the quick application tourniquet (RATS Tourniquet). If you do not have a tourniquet at hand, you can make one from the paracord and a stick.

The first step is to tie the affected limb as tight as you can above the wound and make a knot. Then insert a stick through the knot and rotate until the bleeding slows down. You can tie the stick, so you don’t have to hold the pressure with your hand.


Certain types of injuries need to limit the movement of the affected area. Immobilizing the area can help you get rid of the pain and avoid aggravating the injury. With that in mind, it’s good to have a sling in your backpack. If you don’t have a sling, you can make one using a paracord and a piece of material from a garment.

Rescue line

Every time you cross a river, there is a risk of losing your balance. In this case, it is good to have a rescue line to get back to safety. There are other cases where you can save yourself with the help of a rescue line. These include crossing ice-covered waters or areas with quicksands. You can create a rescue line using a paracord and an eight-knot figure.

Dental floss

When it comes to health, you should never ignore oral hygiene. You don’t have a lot of space in your bug out bag. So, you will have to leave behind specific items like dental floss. But don’t worry. You can use the inner strands of the paracord to make dental floss.

Clean small tubes

If you want to clean the inside of the tubes, you can do it using a paracord. All you have to do is make a knot and pull the paracord through the tube. This way, the tubes will be easier to clean.


Hunting and fishing

The next section on our list of paracord uses focuses on obtaining food. You need to eat if you want to stay alive in the wild.

Fishing net

In survival situations, water and food are essential. For this reason, a fishing net might be what you need. The net will help you catch more fish with less effort. If you don’t have a fishing net, you can make one using the inner threads in the paracord. For best results, you should use between 5 and 15 feet of paracord.

Fishing line

In the wild, if you don’t have emergency food, you can have big problems. If you are near water, you can get your food by fishing. In survival situations, fishing can save your life.

Fishing is a great survival skill. You can carry the necessary items without adding extra weight to your backpack. All you need is a hook, thread, and bait. Don’t worry. You can make the fishing line out of paracord. For the fishing hook, you can use a piece of metal or even wood.

Trotline for fishing

An excellent way to get fish is by using trotlines. This way, you can focus on other tasks while the trotline catches fish for you. Crafting a trotline for fishing is as easy as preparing a fishing line. You can use paracord and some hooks to assemble a trotline. Like the fishing net, you can catch a lot of fish at the same time.

Fish stringer

If you manage to catch more fish, you should keep them fresh for as long as possible. There are several ways you can do this. The quickest and easiest way is to keep the fish alive.

What better way to do that than a fish stringer? You can use it to keep fish alive underwater. You can use a paracord to tie the rope to a stone and string the fish on it.

Hanging food

When you are in the wild, it is advisable not to store food where you sleep. The main reason is that the smell of food can attract predators. To avoid these inconveniences, you can use paracord to hang food in the trees. Try to choose a tree that is not too close to your shelter.

Snare traps

Survival experts recommend packing emergency food for survival situations. If you have not been able to do this, there is another way to get food in the wild. You can catch small and medium-sized animals using snare traps. To assemble a snare trap, you need a stone, a few sticks, and a paracord.



When it comes to shelter, using the right tools can make a difference. That is why we added the following entries to our list of paracord uses.

Set up a shelter or a tent

An important factor in survival is shelter. It protects you from the weather and wild animals. Besides protection, your refuge must be buildable in a short time. You never know when the weather will change. Once again, the paracord comes to your aid this time as well. If you don’t have a tent with you, you can build a shelter using only rope, wood, and a tarp.

Bow drill

A bow drill can save your life in certain situations. It is much easier to light a fire using a bow drill than with bare hands. To craft one, you only need an arched branch, a piece of paracord, and a straight piece of wood.

Dragging materials and gear

In the wild, you have to use whatever resources nature provides you. But in some situations, you can’t carry the materials to your shelter. This is where the paracord comes into play. With high tensile strength, it is perfect for hauling large materials.

Rope ladder

A high shelter can protect you from certain predators and insects on the ground. If you make your shelter off the ground, you might need a ladder. You can create one using pieces of wood and paracord. The wood will provide strength, and the paracord will add elasticity.

Pulley system

When you’re building a shelter, you want to work as effectively as possible. It is easier to work smart than to work hard. You can craft your own pulley system using paracord. This way, you can lift heavy objects easier.

Plan layouts

If you plan to build a bunker or a fort, you should plan your layout. To do this, you should mark the plan on the ground, using your paracord. It is easier to plan than to fix a mistake once the construction is complete.

Self defense


You never know who you might run into when SHTF. This is why you need to know the self-defense paracord uses.


Whenever you are out in the wild, you want to feel safe and protected. This is not always an easy task. In a survival situation, you need to stay alert. To do this, you can use your paracord to set up tripwires around your shelter. It will slow down any intruder as well as notify you of their presence.


If you are under attack, you have to protect yourself. Once you manage to disarm the intruders, make sure they cannot move. It would help if you used handcuffs to immobilize their hands. If you do not have handcuffs, you can use restraints made from paracord.


You can craft a slingshot to maintain the distance between yourself and intruders or animals. Elastic cords are great for crafting slingshots or catapults.

Monkey Fist

Another method of self-defense is Monkey Fist. This is a special type of knot that serves as a weight. You can craft it using only paracord and nothing else.

Craft a spear

Crafting a spear is not a difficult task. You only need a knife, a long stick, and some paracord. If you don’t have a knife, you can use a sharp stone.


On the move

While you’re on the move, the following paracord uses will come in handy. These will make your hike easier and more manageable.


If you are bugging out during the winter in snowy conditions, you need snowshoes. But some situations might catch you off guard. If this happens, you can rely on your paracord to make snowshoes. These will allow you to move easier in the snow and help you save precious calories.

Fix clothing or tarps

In the wild, unexpected things happen all the time. You have to adapt to any situation. You can fix torn tarps and clothing by using your paracord. Remove the outer layer to expose the inner strands. Use the thinner strands to sew any tears in the material.

Emergency bracelet or belt

To preserve space in your bug out bag, you can carry a paracord at your wrist or waist. It is easy to weave a paracord bracelet or a belt made out of paracord. Since it is lightweight, it will not cause any inconvenience or movement restrictions. Once you need a piece of paracord, take the bracelet or belt apart, and you are good to go.


Wearing the right pair of shoes is essential when hiking. You need comfortable and durable shoes. But another critical factor is shoelaces. It might not seem so at first, but you don’t want to run around with loose shoes. So, if your shoelaces break, use the paracord to keep your shoes tight on your feet.

Hang items

When you are bugging out, any available space in your bag or on yourself is crucial. You want to carry as much as possible with minimal effort. This is why you should plan where you hold each item. A great way to optimize your carry capacity is by using a paracord to hang things from your belt.

Trail tags and markers

Woods and jungles can be scary places. Besides the dangerous animals and insects, the surroundings can be very confusing. You might end up walking in circles for hours. To avoid this, you can use trail markers. Use your paracord to leave tags on trees or bushes. This way, you make sure you don’t get lost.

River guides

You have to keep in mind that rivers might seem shallow, but they are still dangerous. You can get swept off your feet and get in trouble fast. Paracord can be beneficial in situations like these. If you are not alone, tie the paracord around the first person crossing. It will be easier for the rest to cross the river. If you are alone, you should make a lasso and grab a stable object across the river. Once you secure the line, it will help you get across the stream safe and sound.

Secure your bag

Your bug out bag is crucial for your survival. This is why you should do whatever you can to keep it safe. A great way to do that is to secure the bag onto your body using a paracord. With the bag secured, you can rest assured that no one will take it from you or you won’t lose it by accident.

Make a raft and secure it

Traveling by water is faster and easier than traveling by land. If you find a river, you should make a raft. You will cover more ground with less effort. Crafting the raft only requires wood and some paracord to tie everything together. Once you reach the shore, you can use the cord to secure the raft from drifting away.

Tie items together

If you are traveling, you should always make your baggage easier to carry. You can tie items together with your paracord to stop them from rolling or falling.

Make a human chain

When you’re in a group and hiking, you can get lost. If visibility is low, the risk of getting split from the group is higher. You can form a human chain by tying each one to the same cord. This way, no one gets lost or left behind.


In survival scenarios, bartering can be a lifesaver. You can trade some of your items for things that you need. Paracord is a complex and versatile item. You can trade extra pieces of paracord for food or medicine.



If things don’t get better, you’ll have to build a comfortable living in the wild. Here are some paracord uses that will help you improve your bushcraft skills.

Bundle plants

If you are drying herbs and other plants, you should bundle them together. You can tie together the plants with different colored paracord. This way, you can organize your bundles and know which one is which.

Tie plants to sticks

You can start a garden in the wild. Once you decide what plants you want to grow, you can use the paracord to tie them to stakes. The stakes will ensure that the plants are upright and do not fall on the sides.

Craft bags

When you need extra space, you can weave a bag from the paracord. You need some paracord and a piece of fabric, and you are good to go.

Organize items

Once you settled and have everything in place, you should start putting things in order. You can use different colored paracords to organize your items. Sort them as you please and use a different color for each bundle. You can recognize each bundle by its color.

Create non-slip handles for knives

Paracord is a strong material, and it is perfect for making handles. You can weave a piece of paracord to get a non-slip handle for your knife or machete.

Measure distance

A survival method to measure distance is by using sticks or rope. If you have prepared your bug out bag, you know how much paracord you have. This way, you can measure distances by using your paracord.

Hide tanning

Preparing the hides for tanning requires good stretching. You stretch the hides by using a strong cord. Paracord allows you to adjust it as the hides dry and shrink.
Types of paracord

Types of paracord

If you are not familiar with the paracord types, we have prepared a section dedicated to this. If you are thinking of buying a paracord, you should know that there are many types. Each type of paracord has different properties, which come with advantages and disadvantages.

When you say paracord, people think of the 550 lb. paracord used for parachutes. If you are new to survival techniques, you should know that there are several types of paracord. In survival situations, it is advisable to carry with you several types of paracord. In this case, you will be able to adapt to any scenario you encounter.

The table below shows the most popular types of paracord and their specifications.

Type Diameter Inner strands
1/4 Shock Cord 1/4 inch 48 strands
1/4 Para-max Cord 1/4 inch 3 strands
5/16 Para-max Cord 5/16 inch 6 strands
750 Cord 5 mm 11 strands
550 Cord 4 mm 7 strands
Mil-Spec Cord 4 mm 7 strands
Tinder Cord 5/32 inch 7 strands
Mono Cord 5/32 inch 7 strands
Survival Cord 5/32 inch 7 strands
1/8 Shock Cord 1/8 inch 12 strands
425 Cord 3 mm 3 strands
325 Cord 2 mm 3 strands
275 Cord 2 mm 5 strands
95 Cord 1.75 mm 1 strand
Micro Cord 1.18 mm 0 strands
Nano Cord 0.75 mm 0 strands
1/16 Elastic Cord 1/16 inch 6 strands
1/32 Elastic Cord 1/32 inch 3 strands
Technical details provided by ParacordPlanet

550 Paracord

550 Paracord offers high strength and flexibility and tensile strength of 550 pounds. As you can see above, it has countless uses and is perfect for survival in the wild

1/4 inch and 1/8 Shock Cords

1/4″ Shock Cord is ideal for its elasticity. It is a very durable cord in the elongated state. It has many uses, such as bungee ropes, tents, hammocks, or transport. The difference between the two is the diameter and the number of inner strands.

1/4 Para-Max Cord and 5/16 Para-Max Cord

Para-Max is the most robust and most powerful paracord available on the market. It should be the centerpiece of any survival kit. It is perfect for climbing, towing, and lifting heavyweights. The only difference between the two strings is the thickness, the 5/16 being thicker than the 1/4.

750 Paracord

Among the tactical paracords, 750 is the most resistant. It is 26% thicker than 550. You can use it for belts, straps, and emergencies.

Micro Paracord

This paracord is very strong considering its size. Being small, it allows you to use it in many scenarios where details are important. You can carry the Micro Paracord by crafting a necklace or a bracelet out of it.

Nano Paracord

Like the Micro, the Nano Paracord is one of the thinnest cord you can buy. But don’t let this fool you. This small cord is still resistant. Considering its size, you can carry a large amount. It can help you craft small-sized items.

650, 425, 325, 275 and 95 Paracords

If you are looking for a paracord bigger than Micro but smaller than 275, then 95 is for you. It offers increased flexibility and good tensile strength, with a single inner strand.

A very tough paracord is 275 with five inner strands and a cover of only 2 mm, and a standout of 7 inches. It is the perfect rope for various types of repairs.

If you aim for a medium paracord, then 325 is the one for you. It’s a medium-strength, and it is perfect for projects that need durable and thin materials.

If 550 Paracord is too thick for your project, then you should go for the 425. It is strong as the 550 but a little thinner.

1/16 and 1/32 inch Elastic Cords

When you need a stretchy Paracord, you should go for the Elastic Cord. You can choose the 1/16 inch or the 1/32 inch. The differences between the two are the diameter and the number of inner strands.

Battle Cord

If you are looking for a strong cord, then you are looking for the Battle Cord. It has a tensile strength of 2650 pounds and seven inner strands. That is an enormous strength on each strand.

What's next after learning about paracord uses?

In survival situations, things may seem overwhelming. The most important thing is to stay calm and maintain a positive attitude. You will face challenges, but your knowledge will get you out of any situation you encounter.

Now you know that paracord is crucial in survival scenarios, and you can use it in various ways. This means you are ready to move to the next lesson.

Now that you’re done with our list of paracord uses, let’s find out how you can build the best survival shelters using paracord.

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