If you have begun prepping you must have realized that rope is an essential piece of equipment you must bring with you in a bug out scenario, or to simply keep around if bugging in. One disadvantage to rope is the size and bulkiness, which could be a major disadvantage if trying to take as much gear possible. This is where para-cord comes in. Para-cord comes in many, strengths, lengths and colors. These days it is also commonly used for bracelets or key chains. Para-cord or Parachute Cord, is a lightweight rope used in suspension lines of U.S. parachutes in WWII. However despite its original purpose, it has been found useful for many other situations. It is constructed out of layers of braided nylon fibers that are woven into a sheath, in the center of this sheath finer fibers are contained. Para-cord also comes in two different grades, Mil-spec and commercial. Mil-spec is the most recommended because it is made to meet or surpass U.S. military specifications.
There are several different types from Type I-Type IV. Of course the higher the type, the more amount of weight it can hold. The most popular of these is Type III, also known as 550 cord. The 550 designates how much weight the cord is able to support. Besides the popular Type III, Type I can support 95lbs all the way up to Type IV supporting 750lbs. Now although para-cord can support that certain amount of weight, it is not recommended in using this as sole support for yourself, unless in a life or death situation. Another important point to note is that, quality commercial para-cord marked as certain types or classes are generally the same as Mil-spec.
Now remember how I just said quality commercial para-cord is generally the same strength as Mil-spec? That’s definitely something you need to remember when you purchase some. There are many products out there claiming to have true strength, when quite simply it is a substandard product. These products have great decreased strength and reliability, which is something you definitely don’t want in a bug out or survival situation. However these products are in fact quite easy to spot, based on simply looking it over in your hand and observing that this definitely is not good quality product. Another thing to look at is the store you are purchasing from. You should ask yourself is this is really the type of place that sells quality survival gear. Now my favorite to buy is made by Rothco, it is about $5 per 50ft and is available in many different color.