Cordage for Survival

Let's talk about cordage. Paracord is a staple among the outdoor and prepping communities. It's strong, in fact, it has a tensile breaking strength of 550lbs. It's durable and resistant to breakdown when exposed to elements like rain or direct sun contact. It's complex. It has 7 inner strands of nylon. Each strand can provide additional use options. What other cordage is available that has multiple extractable strings? These strings inside can be used as extra cords for other uses such as flossing or fishing line. Paracord packs light. It takes a small space in your backpack. You can stuff 50 feet in your pocket without adding much bulk. 

Cordage can be used tie down gear in the back of your truck or to lash together support poles to a bushcraft shelter. Below are a few examples of how paracord can be utilized.


  1. Rappelling - Being able to move quickly and efficiently is so important in any survival situations and sometimes this involves conquering a steep hill or cliff. A rope will allow you to safely rappel when needed using proper technique.
  2. Build a Shelter - You can use rope to secure bundles of sticks and make walls and roofing for shelter.
  3. Build a Raft - If you need to cross a river or travel down stream having rope will significantly increase the ease of constructing a useful flotation vessel.
  4. Carrying - Strap tools and items to your backpack or clothing to be able to carry more things and keep your hands free.
  5. Trip Wire - Making a trip wire with a can and rocks or bells can help ward off or alert you of animal threats like bears or wolves.
  6. Clothing Line - Dry your clothing on the line after a heavy rain or encounter with a body of water.
  7. Food Line - Hang your food up to avoid losing your meals to bears and other wild animals.
  8. Tourniquet - If cut or wounded a rope can help stop serious bleeding when needed.
  9. Fishing Line - You can use individual strands to use as fishing line if you have some type of bait and hook.
  10. Fishing Net - Use the thin strands to consruct a small fishing net to catch fish for food.
  11. Animal Trap or Snare - Catch prey by constructing a trap or snare of some type
  12. Bola - A bola is a type of weapon that can be used to catch large birds or other animals for food.
  13. Pulley System - Sometimes you may need to move large or heavy objects and rigging a type of pulley system may be the safest and most effective way to do so.
  14. Fire Starting - You can make a bow drill to start a friction fire.
  15. Tying Down - Secure your items, shelter, rafts, etc... by tying them down so they don't get blown away by strong winds or washed away by running water.
  16. Belt or Suspenders - Loose pants? Fix it by using a rope for a belt.
  17. Shoe Laces - You can pull out some strands if your rope is too thick to replace broken shoelaces.
  18. Zipper Pull - Tie a small knot through your zipper to help pull it.
  19. Animal Leash - If you have a pet along or want to keep an animal you find restrained, use a rope as a leash and/or collar.
  20. Ladder - You can use a rope as a ladder if you need to get up and down certain features like a large tree, rock face, or steep hillside.
  21. Human Leash - In areas subject to landslides, avalanches, or quicksand, it is sometimes a safe practice to stay connected with a buddy by loosely tying or holding each end of a rope.
  22. Hammock - A hammock is sometimes necessary bedding if you need to be elevated off the ground when sleeping to avoid dangerous threats such as insects, snakes, or wild animals.
  23. Arm Sling - Make a sling in case of arm injuries.
  24. Splint - Make a splint to secure broken bones.
  25. Repair - Use the threading to repair clothing, shelter, or storage packs when needed.
  26. Snow Shoes - Use a small branch or stick to create a makeshift shoe bottom for use in snow.
  27. Grip - Use to make a grip around a walking stick or makeshift knife or tool.
  28. Signaling - Tie signal devices like bright cloth to tops of trees as a rescue signal technique.
  29. Crochet - Use the threads to knit into a backet or washcloth.
  30. Dental Floss - The thin threads can be unwoven and used as a dental floss for hygiene purposes.

Here are a few projects to try out if they fit your needs. Plenty of how-to-guides available online for each. Just some ideas to get you thinking outside of the box.

  • Paracord Bow Sling
  • Paracord Bottle Harness
  • Paracord Bracelet: Fishing
  • Paracord Keychain: Key Fob
  • Paracord Knife Handle Wrap
  • Paracord Dog Collar
  • Paracord Belt For Survival
  • Paracord Bullwhip
  • Paracord Survival Lanyard
  • Paracord Rifle Sling
  • Paracord Grab Handles for Vehicles
  • Paracord Snow Shoes
  • Paracord Sheath For Altoids Tin
  • Paracord Hammock
  • Paracord Snare Trap Rig
A few companies have expanded on the concept of paracord as a multi-tool of sorts. Since paracord has a standard sheath which holds inner strands, it makes sense to think other cordage types could be inserted inside other than basic nylon strings.
Imagine if you could also use your paracord as fire tinder. We've been using 550 Firecord in our gear for 7 years now. Let's talk about FireCord. First, it's tensile strenght is 550lb like normal paracord, the difference is, it has an 8th inner strand that is designed to be tinder.
Fire is paramount to survival and being able to create fire is crucial. People have a tendency to overestimate their ability to create fire under adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, cold, windy locations or darkness. Humidity, time of year, and altitude are also conditions to consider as well. Likewise, material selection is a key prerequisite to successfully building a sustainable fire. Even then there is no guarantee it can be accomplished in a survival situation. The most vital component of fire is its ability to provide heat to dry wet clothes and to regulate the body’s core temperature as maintaining body temperature is vital for survival. The most common cause of death in the wild is hypothermia. Even in desert scenarios, freezing night temperatures have been known to claim lives. Aside from the above mentioned physical aspect, fire can offer mental comfort as the light and smoke can be used for signaling rescue and it can be used as a predator and insect deterrent. Fire will also contribute greatly to food and water preparation. The heat will kill the majority of parasites and bacteria when cooking game, fish, insects and wild edibles. The smoke will dry and preserve food for later. Having a hot meal can also boost the mental state giving you a psychological edge.

Simply deploy your 550 FireCord to meet all of your parachute cord needs. When you need the fire tinder remove the inner strands, light just like any fire tinder and build your fire. After the inner strands are used, the outer shell can be reused like before, for lanyards, keychains, zipper pulls, or emergency lashing.


Is paracord in your EDC or bugout bag? It should be. In fact it's on our wrists. If you know anything about Superesse, you know we got our start by making paracord survival bracelets. Superesse Straps are simply paracord bracelets (straps) that are outfitted to accommodate a variety of lifestyles and tasks.  Incorporated into each strap are carefully selected supplies to assist: military members serving behind enemy lines, those preparing for an urban SHTF event, outdoors enthusiasts looking for a compact collection of backup survival tools for a camping trip gone wrong, or those who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Paracord Survival Bracelet

Straps are constructed with frequency of use in mind.  The outer band holds accessible everyday carry (EDC) tools for use in daily tasks.  For example: a seat belt cutter or bottle opener may be attached to the outside band for reoccurring deployment. However, tucked into the inner core, under the paracord weave, are a collection of smaller emergency supplies.  Since they are carried as tools of last resort they are only accessible by unraveling the strap.

So morale of the story, get some paracord.