Paracords are more than just gloried lengths of cordage. These sturdy cords were initially used as suspension lines for parachutes, thus the term paracord, which is short for “parachute cord”.
Over time, people began to appreciate its strength and overall versatility, so its function went beyond the usual parachute use.
The paracord even made its way to outer space during the 82nd Space Shuttle mission back in ‘97, when astronauts set out to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. They used paracord, along with other materials, to fix several tears in the telescope’s insulation material.
Since then, the paracord has been indispensable to many preppers, especially for many outdoor tasks. For the uninitiated, paracords can be used to:
But these are not what makes them special.
The unique thing about a paracord is that it’s the only survival tool that you can transform into other useful (and even fashionable) items. Many of these items can be unraveled or deployed real quick, so you can use your paracord when the need arises.
Ready to get crafty? Here are 11 badass paracord projects (with tutorial videos!) that you definitely have to do:
The usual rule is you’d need one foot of paracord for every inch. For example, in this video they made a 40-inch belt, so they used 40 feet of tan and brown paracord. A shorter length of black core cord was thrown in the mix, too. These three cords were then woven into a wide solomon bar and a 1.5-inch buckle was used to complete it. The result is a pretty cool and sturdy camo belt that you can use for any occasion. Should the need arise, you can unravel or deploy at least 80 feet of cord (remember you’ve got 2 40-feet cords) and in a survival situation, that length can go a long way.
Mad Max Paracord Bracelet
When the action movie Mad Max: Fury Road came out in 2015, paracord junkies were quick to notice that the movie’s protagonist, Mad Max, was sporting a paracord bracelet. What’s cool is that it’s only a simple cobra weave done in dark green and anyone can make it. Instead of a fixed buckle, the bracelet uses a stopper knot at the very end. This feature makes the bracelet adjustable. Making this involves really tight knots towards the end so don’t forget to keep your fids nearby.
Quick Deploy Millipede Bracelet
Here’s another type of bracelet that you can do with paracord. It’s not as simple as the Mad Max bracelet (this one uses a slightly advanced millipede bar), but it does have a lot of upsides.
First off, it’s a quick deploy bracelet, meaning you can actually unravel it in a matter of seconds. Second, the sturdy millipede style uses at least 16 feet of paracord, which can really save your neck in a survival situation. Don’t forget to have a screw pin shackle handy to lock everything in place.
When they’re not woven into belts or bracelets, paracords are often turned to handle wraps for just about any tool. You’re hitting two birds with one stone when you make a paracord handle wrap: you save a lot of space in your bag and you can get a better grip on your tools. This type of handle wrap is also quick to deploy. Simply undo the bottom and the whole wrap unravels with a pull. You can shrink the wrap by submerging it in warm water for several seconds. You can also use wax for better grip.
Who doesn’t like a cool watchband? This project uses a single strand of paracord to come up with a trilobite weave. You’ll need approximately 10 feet of paracord and a buckle. Allow a couple of inches for comfort. The trilobite weave is comfy and flexible so it shouldn’t feel too rigid around your wrist. This style even allows you to change batteries, which is pretty convenient. Instead of buying a new watchband, try making your own as shown in this video.
This project is the very definition of “simple, but effective”. It’s more of a hack, really. It doesn’t require any knots all. To make a paracord fishing lure, you’ll need a short length of cord and a fish hook. Slide out the inner strands and make sure they all fan out. Singe one end closed with a lighter and you’re on your way to catch some dinner.
This project uses a simple in and out weave and should give you a pretty nifty, flexible wallet. You’d need at least 28 feet of cord if you want to do one color, or 14 feet each if you wish to do two colors. A little reminder, though: this wallet involves gutting the paracord, or taking out its inner strands. This significantly decreases the cord’s strength and it might not be able to do heavy-duty tasks. Still, it looks pretty cool so if you’re itching for an easy and functional paracord project, this might be the one for you.
If you like taking your dog to outdoor trips, you might as well make a paracord dog collar for them. The collar uses a simple bar and incorporates a buckle and a D-ring. The tutorial advises using a half-inch buckle for a small dog, ¾ inch for a medium-sized one and a one-inch buckle for bigger breeds. The number of cow hitches and designs can also vary depending on the size of the buckle. On your 3rd or 4th pass, add the D-ring so you can have somewhere to attach your dog’s leash. You can even try using glow-in-the-dark cords for a cool twist.
This project is by far the most complicated one in this list. The phone sleeve is rectangular shaped and involves a couple of weaves or stitches. The frame or the outer edge of the pouch is a basic cobra weave. Then you take another length of cord to weave across the frames. You’ll need fids for this project, so keep them handy.
This quick deploy key fob is the exact opposite of the phone sleeve project. Anybody can make this fob. This only involves a single strand, but it’s quite robust and sturdy. All you’ll need is around 5-6 feet of cord and…well, that’s all you’ll need. Seal one end with an overhand knot and from there all you’ll need to do is twist the cords over itself and lock it down towards the end. If you want to deploy it, just pull the end with the overhand knot free and the rest comes unraveling in a few seconds.
Well, we saved the best (and arguably, the biggest) for last. Your paracord can be woven into a super hammock that can carry even the heaviest loads. This project takes a bit of time (and a whole lot of paracord) but after, you can literally just hang out anywhere and relax with your handiwork. To make the construction easier, you’ll need a frame and some space to weave this all out. Make a rope border to prevent your hammock from unraveling then just weave away like how it’s done on the video.
Paracords, albeit their functionality, are often underrated. Some people just don’t realize their potential and importance as a survival tool. The truth is if you’ve got a paracord on you or somewhere in your pack, you can get out of any tough situation.
These projects demonstrate the versatility of paracords. You can weave them into bracelets, use them to catch dinner or make an entire hammock out of them. These projects are also a great way to unleash some of your creativity. Practice making these paracord projects at home, or better yet, innovate some projects of your own. Who knows, you might just come up with something cooler.
Got any favorite paracord project? Let us know in the comments below!