What is paracord (also known as 550 cord)? It's only the go to cord/rope for wilderness and survival enthusiasts. It's a key component of any go bag. Paracord is absolutely indispensable.

Paracord was first used by US paratroopers in WWII. Once they reached the ground, they found the paracord was the ideal for a variety of uses. Nowadays, it is still in use by every branch of the US military. It is commonly used for: tying off rucksacks to humvees, used as dummy cord for tying small items to your packs, stringing camo net, and any other task where rope might be needed.

Because of it construction it is strong, durable, and versatile. It is constructed of nylon and thus it will never rot or mildew, a vital attribute of any piece of survival equipment. Paracords unique design not only makes incredibly strong for its size (rated to bear 550 pounds), it also increase the amount of uses that paracord can be put to. The guts or the interior is composed of 7 strands rated at 35 pounds apiece that are then made up of two strings each rated at 17.5 pounds apiece. These can be removed and used to fashion fishing line, sew rips you might have gotten clothing, rig animal traps, etc. The nylon sheath itself is rated to bear 300 lbs and can be used even after the guts are removed. Because Paracord is composed of nylon it easy to prevent fraying. You simply burn and crimp the end as you cut it.

The 550 paracord come in a variety of colors: red, black, grey, blue, and olive. It typically costs roughly $10 for a 100ft of 550 paracord, and you can get a spool of 1200ft for about $50.

A relatively new development is the use of 450 paracord to make necklaces and other decorative items. Though 450 paracord is not as strong as 550 it is more flexible and comes in 32 different colors. Items made from paracord are not simply decorative. The 5 feet of paracord used to make your stylish new bracelet can easily save your life. You just have to take it apart. Many survival enthusiasts wear paracord necklaces, bracelets, and belts. It's an easy way to carry an extra length of cord without taking up any extra space in your bag.

There are many online sources for paracord. Make sure you are getting exactly what you want. Check and make sure it is up to military standards and is rated for at least 450 lbs.

Some suppliers are:,,, and