I get contacted by SurvivalBlog readers daily, and I take the time to answer each e-mail, and I have to keep my replies short, because my time is limited. I’m often asked, “what should I carry in my BOB?” and I can’t really give a definitive answer to that. It depends on where you live, you age, your own personal requirements, when do you plan to bug out to, and other factors. Many readers send me a list of all the things they have packed in their BOB, and most are pretty well equipped for many different emergencies. One item that is often missing, is Paracord – and I’m using this in a generic term.
There are many different types of Paracord, some better than others, and some really cheaply made – so to be clear, not all Paracord is the same in quality. And, if you don’t have a good 25 or 50 foot hank of Paracord in your BOB, shame on you! This is one of the handiest items you can pack in your BOB, and it doesn’t take up much room, either.
I received some different types of Paracord from 5Col Survival Supply for testing, and to put it bluntly, they aren’t making junk – like you might find at the big box stores. As I said, not all Paracord is the same. First of all, 5Col Survival Supply sells only military grade Paracord, conforming to Mil-C5040H and the newer pia-c-5040 specifications. Now, while this might not mean anything to you, but if your about to make a jump from a plane, you want to know that, your parachute has the best Paracord you can get attached to the canopy. Additionally, all their Paracord is manufactured in the USA!
The folks at 5Col Survival Supply, are a family run business, and I like to send business the way of small companies like this, for some reason. They keep extremely busy, and I understand they are growing, too. They sent me Type IV 750 and Type III 550 Paracord samples for testing, along with hanks of different colored Paracord – and they have a nice selection, so you don’t have to settle for OD green or black when you place an order. Needless to say, the Type IV 750 Paracord is thicker and capable of holding more weight than the Type III 550 Paracord – so you have to decide which one you want to carry – personally, I’d just go with the Type IV 750 for my needs. The Type IV has 11 core strands, and all core strands are 3-ply – heavy duty! And, as the name suggests, it has a minimum breaking strength of 750 pounds. The outside diameter is 3/16th of an inch, and a pound of it is about 165 feet in length, so it doesn’t weigh much at all.
So, what are the uses for Paracord? Well, there are many, and this is just a partial list of suggestions. You can use it to help build a shelter, traps for small game, snares, rigging, trot lines, gill nets, wraps, braids and many other survival purposes. I’ve tried Paracord in the past as fishing line – you have to take it apart, and use the thin inner strands, but it works quite well – very strong. It’s great for lashing gear to your body or your pack, too. I have a friend, who is a former US Army Ranger, and he said whenever he went on a jump, he took inner strands of the Paracord and used them to lash down his gear, so it wouldn’t go flying off his body – and hit him in the face, good idea if you ask me. You can also use it to fasten a knife to a pole, for an improvised weapon or for spearing fish. The uses are almost unlimited when it comes to Paracord. I’ve used Paracord on more than one occasion when a shoe lace broke – and there is no better substitute for a shoe or boot lace, than Paracord.
I used some of the Paracord samples sent to me, and tied the ends together, and let my big ol’ German Shepherds play tug-o-war with it, and it never broke – and my dogs are very strong, to say the least. I even let my dogs chew on the Paracord, until the outer cover was chewed through, and then let them play tug-o-war some more and the cord still didn’t break. I keep some in my e-box in my car, and on more than one occasion I’ve used it for some sort of emergency. Recently, I went to the dog groomer, and forgot a leash, well, I used a piece of Paracord for an improvised leash – my main male German Shepherd hates having his nails done and won’t get out of the car – so a leash is needed to “motivate” him at times.
5Col Survival Supply 750 and 550 Paracord is certified, and that’s why it is rated for military use – and if you’ve ever done any business with any government agency, you know what a hassle it is, meeting specifications, especially military specs! I know I wouldn’t want our troops using anything but the best of the best. And, if I were jumping out of a plane, I’d want to be assured that the Paracord holding my chute on, wasn’t going to break because it was some cheap commercial grade stuff – that hasn’t been tested and certified.
If you’re serious about Prepping, or you’re in the military, you honestly have to have some Paracord in your kit or BOB. And, it doesn’t take-up much room at all – heck you can even lash it to the outside of your pack, if you don’t have room inside the pack. And, as an aside, make sure you have matches or some way of burning the ends of your Paracord when you cut it to the length you need it – you don’t want it coming apart – so burning the ends is a must do.
So, go through your kit or BOB, and if you don’t have some Paracord in there, give the nice folks at 5Col Survival Supply a call and order-up some genuine mil-spec certified Paracord, and it’s not that expensive, so there’s no excuse for not having some in your emergency supplies. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio