59 Uses for Paracord

November 12, 2013 by | 16 Comments

Paracord, also known as 550 cord because of its 550 pound tensile strength, was originally used as the inner strands on military parachutes. Our troops (and before long, ordinary citizens) quickly realized its versatility to improvise solutions to a variety of challenges.

As the old saying goes, “adapt, improvise, and overcome;” I’ve put together a list of 59 uses for paracord to help get you out of or through just about any situation.

This list is just a start. I know my readers are a smart and creative bunch who can rattle off dozens of additional uses, so let’s hear it guys and gals; what are some of your favorite or most creative uses for paracord?

  1. Construct a bow drill
  2. Improvise pack straps
  3. Tie down equipment on a vehicle
  4. Climb/descend steep terrain
  5. Build a stretcher
  6. Clean out the hose on your CamelBak
  7. Tie plants to stakes
  8. Make a sling to launch stones for hunting or defense
  9. Improvise fishing line (inner strands)
  10. Shred it for tinder
  11. Mark straight lines for gardening or construction
  12. Tow a vehicle (requires several strands)
  13. Tie bolas for hunting
  14. Hang food out of reach of predators
  15. Make a headband/hair tie
  16. Construct snares (inner strands)
  17. Lash logs or reeds together to make a raft
  18. Rescue a person who fell through ice
  19. Melt it to seal small holes in water containers
  20. Follow it to find your way out of a cave
  21. Improvise boot laces
  22. Build a shelter with a tarp
  23. Create a makeshift sling
  24. Tie your boat/raft to shore or a dock
  25. Rig a guideline for crossing streams
  26. Construct snow shoes
  27. Rescue a person stuck in quicksand
  28. Make tent guy lines
  29. Wrap an axe handle to absorb shock
  30. String a bow
  31. Lash poles/logs together to build a teepee
  32. Improvise a fan belt
  33. Raise or lower gear on steep terrain
  34. Create a trellis for vines and climbing plants (like tomatoes)
  35. Tie an arrow or spear head to a shaft
  36. Hang an animal for butchering
  37. Make a fish stringer
  38. Dummy cord vital gear to prevent loss
  39. Wrap a knife handle
  40. Improvise a watch strap
  41. Climb with a prusik knot
  42. Sew your pack/clothing (inner strands)
  43. Construct a net
  44. Rescue a drowning person
  45. Tie up intruders
  46. Rig a splint
  47. Clean your rifle, pistol, or shotgun barrel
  48. Set a tripwire
  49. Improvise a belt
  50. Swing a mirror, chemlight, or flashlight for signaling
  51. Construct a rope ladder
  52. Hang a hammock
  53. Lash gear to your pack
  54. Emergency climbing/rappelling (requires several strands)
  55. Improvise a fuse
  56. As a guide line to keep partners together in the dark
  57. Construct a clothes line
  58. Improvise a rifle sling
  59. Replace a broken/missing anchor line

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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16 Comments

  • zapper45701 says:

    60. Control a three-year-old in the toy aisle…

  • Leanne says:

    This works GREAT to tie a horse halter or make a soft set of reins. Excellent to tie up other animals too but I love it for my horses. Braid a few strands together or other decorative knots just for fun.

  • Dirk Barron says:

    use it to make a turnicate.

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      Dirk, paracord should never be used as a tourniquet; a tourniquet should be at least 2″ wide to avoid nerve damage.

  • Dad always used it to improve the grip on large knives and machetes long before the “tactical” knives had them. He was a combat veteran in WW II. This is a very good list indeed. I have used some of them myself. Ted A Sames II, SISSTRAINING.COM

  • Bill Rose says:

    you can not only hang a hammock nut you can string a hammock to being 6ft2 and 245 the ones I buy at the store never are long enough or last so I learned to build one it has lasted for 15 years and still strong

  • danielc35 says:

    Better to ask what not to use it for, not to hold more than 550#, or lighter if falling a significant distance (how far/how many #s?). You can also use the internal strings if needed, or several strands for shorter rope.

  • Sandra M. Crennan says:

    Tie it to your belt loops and use to hold your pants up (like suspenders)….:)

  • Better Prepped says:

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  • Joe Smith IV says:

    If you want to make sure you are getting the REAL Military Specification (Mil-Spec) 550 Paracord, DEMAND that your supplier provide you with the Certificate of Compliance showing that they are getting the real stuff from their manufacturer or their supplier. Anyone who shies away from, or says they cannot get the Certificate of Compliance IS NOT SELLING REAL PARACORD. BestGlide.com and AdventureSurvivalEquipment.com are one of the only very few who will happily provide you with a Cert. of Compliance.

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      You are 100% correct, Joe. In fact, most paracord is not true paracord. For example, I noticed it for sale in Lowes but when I checked the specs, it only had a 150# test.

  • D. Griggs Terry says:

    I use it and caribiners to hold my purse in front of me while I used my manual wheelchair. I’m working on a back and seat since I really dislike vinyl. If it works for hammocks, it will work of me. If only you could accept pics to display. 🙂

  • Oz says:

    Internal Strings make a fishing net

  • STEPHEN GIBSON says:

    550 cord has 7 inner strands/ tru para-cord has 12 inner strands and is hard to find but well worth the search

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