Paracord is a versatile and strong cord that has become popular for a wide variety of uses, including survival gear, camping, crafting, and more. But with so many different sizes of paracord available, it can be difficult to know which one to choose for your specific needs.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the various sizes of paracord, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to choose the right size for your project. Let’s get started!
What is Paracord?
Paracord, short for “parachute cord,” was originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes. However, its strength and versatility quickly made it popular for a wide range of other applications.
Today, paracord is made from nylon or polyester and is available in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. The most common type of paracord is 550 paracord, which has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds.
Sizes of Paracord
Paracord comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from the micro cord with a diameter of less than 1mm to 95 cords with a diameter of over 19mm.
The most commonly used sizes of paracord are:
Micro cord (Type 1)
This is the thinnest paracord available, with a diameter of less than 1mm. It is mainly used for crafting and as a decorative element.
95 cord (Type 4)
This is the thickest paracord available, with a diameter of over 19mm. It is primarily used for heavy-duty applications such as towing, lifting, and rescue operations.
550 cord (Type 3)
This is the most common and versatile size of paracord, with a diameter of approximately 4mm. It has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds and is ideal for a wide range of applications.
425 cord (Type 2)
This is a slightly thinner version of the 550 cord, with a diameter of approximately 3mm. It has a minimum breaking strength of 425 pounds and is suitable for lighter-duty applications.
275 cord (Type 1)
This is a thinner version of the 550 cord, with a diameter of approximately 2mm. It has a minimum breaking strength of 275 pounds and is suitable for lighter-duty applications.
Here’s a table summarizing the sizes of paracord:
|Paracord Size||Diameter||Common Uses||Minimum Breaking Strength|
|Micro cord (Type 1)||Less than 1mm||Crafting, decoration||N/A|
|95 cord (Type 4)||Over 19mm||Towing, lifting, and rescue operations||N/A|
|550 cord (Type 3)||Approximately 4mm||General-purpose, camping, survival, crafts||550 lbs|
|425 cord (Type 2)||Approximately 3mm||Light-duty applications||425 lbs|
|275 cord (Type 1)||Approximately 2mm||Light-duty applications||275 lbs|
Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Paracord Sizes
Each size of paracord has its own strengths and weaknesses, which make them suitable for different applications.
|Micro Cord||Very thin and lightweight, suitable for crafting and decorative purposes||Not suitable for heavy-duty applications due to its low strength|
|95 Cord||Thickest and strongest paracord available, ideal for heavy-duty applications||Difficult to handle and less suitable for crafting and other lightweight applications|
|550 Cord||Most versatile size with a good balance of strength and flexibility, suitable for a wide range of applications including camping, hiking, crafting, and survival gear||Not as strong as 95 cord for heavy-duty applications|
|425 Cord||Slightly thinner than 550 cord, suitable for lighter-duty applications such as securing gear and light towing||Less strong than 550 cord|
|275 Cord||The thinnest version of paracord, suitable for very lightweight applications such as securing tent poles and other small items||Not suitable for any heavy-duty applications|
Choosing the Right Size of Paracord
Choosing the right size of paracord depends on the intended use of the cord.
- For small projects and crafting, Type I paracord is the best option.
- For camping and survival situations, Type II or III paracord is recommended. Check this article to learn more about the survival paracord.
- If you need a heavy-duty cord, a Type IV paracord is the best choice.
It’s important to note that the breaking strength of the paracord is just a minimum. The actual breaking strength of the paracord can vary depending on the manufacturer and the quality of the cord.
Common Applications of Paracord
Paracord has a wide range of applications, and its versatility makes it an essential tool for outdoor enthusiasts and crafters.
Here are some common applications of paracord:
Securing Tarps and Tents
Paracord can also be used to secure tarps and tents. Whether you are camping, hiking, or simply need to keep a tarp in place, paracord is an excellent solution.
You can create loops at the ends of the cord to attach to stakes or other anchoring devices, and then use the cord to tie down the tarp or tent.
Check our detailed review article on the best bushcraft tarps.
Making Survival Bracelets
One of the most popular uses of paracord is for making survival bracelets. These bracelets are not only fashionable but also practical.
They are designed to be unraveled in an emergency situation, providing you with several feet of usable cordage.
You can use this cordage to build a shelter, start a fire, make a trap, or even fashion a makeshift sling for an injured limb.
Creating Lanyards and Keychains
Paracord can also be used to create lanyards and keychains. These items are not only practical but can also be used as a fashion accessories.
You can use different colors and knots to create unique designs, making them a great gift idea for friends and family.
Repairing Gear and Clothing
Another practical use for paracord is repairing gear and clothing. Whether you need to replace a zipper pull, fix a torn backpack strap, or repair a broken shoelace, paracord is a versatile and durable solution.
With a little creativity, you can use paracord to repair just about anything.
Must Read: Best Bushcraft Pants
Creating Pet Collars and Leashes
Paracord can also be used to create pet collars and leashes. These items are not only fashionable but also strong and durable.
You can use different colors and knots to create a unique design that reflects your pet’s personality.
Boating and Water Sports
Paracord is also a great solution for boating and water sports. You can use it to create tow ropes, anchor lines, and even a makeshift sail.
Because paracord is resistant to water and mildew, it is an ideal solution for these types of applications.
Building a Bow Drill
Finally, paracord can be used to build a bow drill, which is a primitive fire-starting method. You can use paracord to create the bow and spindle, as well as the cordage for the handhold.
By using paracord, you can create a bow drill that is not only functional but also lightweight and portable.
Overall, paracord is an incredibly versatile material that can be used for a wide range of applications.
From camping and survival to fashion and pet accessories, a paracord is an essential tool for anyone who loves the outdoors or wants to add a little creativity to their life.
With its durability and strength, paracord is sure to be a valuable addition to the essential gear list for bushcraft adventure.