There are many clever ways of carrying paracord in your kit and on your person.
But don’t forget the basics.
Why do we want to carry paracord?
Under what circumstances might we need to use it?
Cordage from Natural Materials:
There are a variety of natural materials we can utilise for making cordage and bindings – plant fibres, tree bark, withies, roots, sinews or rawhide, for example. Most of these methods require some skill or time for processing.
Some types of natural cordage are not suitable for certain applications. Some sources are seasonal. Others are only available in certain geographic regions. In some environments, in some seasons (typically winter), it can be impossible to improvise cordage from natural materials.
Hence, it is normally at least useful, and sometimes critical, to carry some cordage with us. This can of course be natural cordage if it is well made and suited to the potential uses.
String is a Very Important Thing
There is a multitude of uses for cordage. From fishing lines to bow-drilling, from traps to shelter-building, the list is almost endless.
As Spike Milligan pointed out, “String is a very important thing.”
Cordage for Emergencies
Many who include some random cord in their daypack or rucksack do so for some ill-defined sense of “just in case”.
On a trip, having some strong nylon cord to replace a bootlace or fix a rucksack can certainly make life easier.
For more serious situations, having decent nylon cordage can mean the difference between lighting a fire with bow-drill and not.
In fact, there are many potential uses for strong cord in an wilderness emergency or survival situation.
Thinking about what you might need to use cordage for, and under which circumstances, will make sure you have the right type. It will also make sure you have enough.
The Power of Paracord
Genuine parachute cord has a breaking strain of 550lb. It has a tough outer and multiple inner cords. This makes it a durable and versatile cordage to have with you in the great outdoors.
Paracord Survival Bracelets
Popularised by proponents of every day carry (or EDC) survival kit and adopted more widely by outdoor enthusiasts, it seems that paracord survival bracelets have become something of a badge.
I have yet to see anyone willingly take one off their wrist and use the cord.
I’ve even had someone on a bushcraft course ask me if I had any spare cord they could use. When I pointed out they had a paracord bracelet on their wrist, they said “yeah but it’s a hassle to undo…”
One of the more popular ways of constructing these bracelets from paracord is to employ Solomon’s Knot.
Visually attractive, they are indeed a bit fiddly to undo. Particularly if you have cold hands.
While I think it’s worth having extra cord with you, especially on your person, you shouldn’t overlook other, more easily accessible means of carrying extra paracord.
How to Carry Paracord Without Noticing
Replace Your Bootlaces with Paracord
People often say about bow-drill “you can always use your bootlace”. Yes, possibly. But not all bootlaces are made equal. Paracord is probably better quality than your bootlaces. Add a little more length than you need for your laces (you can always wrap the extra around your ankle).
Replace Drawcords with Paracord
Much of your camping and outdoor kit has drawcords: Stuff sacs, rucksacks, jackets, etc. Replace these cords with paracord and you’ll have metres and metres of it amongst your kit.
Keep a Hank of Paracord in your Pocket
The most easily accessible means of having a useful length of paracord on your person is in your trouser pocket. You can hank up 5-10 metres and not know it is there. It is instantly deployable (unlike the paracord bracelet which needs unpicking) and does not disrupt the function of other equipment (such as stuff sacs). It is also actually on your person, whereas other equipment might not be.
Melt The Ends
Melt the ends of your cord to stop it fraying, which it will otherwise do alarmingly quickly.
String is Good for the Soul
Even if you don’t put much store in having some cord in your pocket for physical emergencies, it can be good for the soul.
As John Hegley wrote in ‘Can I Come Down Now Dad’,
“If you’re depressed
and your life don’t mean a thing
pop into a hardware shop
and cop hold of some string.”
Hardware shops are few and far between out in the wilderness, so best have some in your pocket for this reason too….
Let Us Know What You Do…
What methods do you use to make sure you have cordage with you? What extra tips & tricks can you offer? Let us know in the comments below…
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