What is Paracord ?

From www.wikipedia.com

Parachute cord (also paracord or 550 cord)

is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. Once in the field, paratroopers found this cord useful for many other tasks. It is now used as a general purpose utility cord by both military personnel and civilians. This versatile cord was even used by astronauts during STS-82, the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

It was first used in the suspension lines of parachutes around WW II.

Once in the field, paratroopers found other uses for paracord such as: securing cargo, tarps, tent lines, replacing boot laces,

Paracord was also used to secure small items to prevent them from loss.

The paracord is useful in out door applications because it will not rot away or mildew adding to its reliability.
Hikers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts sometimes use “survival bracelets” made of several feet of paracord which is woven into a compact and wearable form. Such bracelets are meant to be unraveled when one needs rope for whatever purpose –securing cargo, lashing together poles, fixing broken straps or belts, assisting with water rescues, controlling bleeding with a tourniquet, etc.

Paracordis light weight and compact making it easy to carry.

The 550 cord was used in several ways.
The inner strands of the cord could be removed to be used is sewing applications and used as fishing line in a survival situation.


The sheath of this commercial parachute cord is made from 32 strands and the core made up of seven two ply yarns.

Types of paracord

Just like everything from food to cars there are many types, styles and catagories of paracord. Lets take a look at this chart.

Type Minimum strength Minimum elongation Minimum length per pound Core yarns Sheath structure
I 95 lb (43 kg) 30% 950 ft (290 m; max. 1.57 g/m) 4 to 7 32/1 or 16/2
IA 100 lb (45 kg) 30% 1050 ft (320 m; max. 1.42 g/m) <no core> 16/1
II 400 lb (181 kg) 30% 265 ft (81 m; max. 5.62 g/m) 4 to 7 32/1 or 36/1
IIA 225 lb (102 kg) 30% 495 ft (151 m; max. 3.00 g/m) <no core> 32/1 or 36/1
III 550 lb (249 kg) 30% 225 ft (69 m; max. 6.61 g/m) 7 to 9 32/1 or 36/1
IV 750 lb (340 kg) 30% 165 ft (50 m; max. 9.02 g/m) 11 32/1, 36/1, or 44/1

The most common used Paracord today is the the type lll commercial cord that has the 7 innerstrands and a minimum break strength of 550lbs
That is why you hear people call it 550 cord or paracord 550
After WWll parachute cord became available to civillans first as military surplus items.
Then later through retail and later web sites.
People are innovative and I have not been able to find who came up with the idea of ParacordBracelet but someone found that braiding the paracord into a bracelet was a great way to carry a large amount of cord that could be used later If needed.
If 9 feet of paracord in a bracelet is good to have why not make a belt and carry 100ft or more.
These two popular methods of carringparacord do not interfere with every day movement and a belt is also needed anyway and the bracelets look great so its serving dual purpose.

Survivals as well as outdoor sports enthusiests began to carry the cord. People who hike, backpack and camp all found uses for paracord.

Colors were added to the cord. Now It could be personalized to match the life styles and hobbies of the user.
Now people can be seen wearing a survival bracelet in the colors of the New York Yankees or a paracord bracelet that has the colors of the NFL New York Giants.