16 March, 2013

Playing With Paracord

I have paracord on my mind right now. Ok paracord is a type of nylon cord with a breaking strength of around 550 pounds. It comes in hundreds of colours and varieties, including reflective and glow in the dark. It's mainly used by military and outdoors type people. Because it contains around 7 strands inside which bear the load, these can be separated for a source of thinner string, and paracord can be used for additional purposes like dental floss and fishing line.

One popular way to carry it around with you is to weave it into a bracelet. I got one such bracelet from eBay for about $3.
These bracelets contain about 3-4 m of paracord. Unfortunately, the ends of this bracelet are just melted and stuck to the surrounding cord, so if I take it apart I won't be able to put it back together without tools. At least it looks like I can pick it apart with just my hands. I thought another way to carry some around with you would be to use it as shoelaces. I tried, but the holes in my shoes are not cleanly cut so it's hard to thread the cord. To make it easier, I'm considering just using the sheath (removing the insides) or using heat shrink tubing to make aglets (the stiff tips of laces).

I also got some loose paracord of the same colour. I don't know if it's just mine or all reflective paracord is like that, but handling it leaves this grey powder on your hands. It's like if you use your hands to rub one of those scratch-and-win surfaces. Maybe it's the reflective coating coming off. Doesn't seem to affect the reflectivity though. If you're going to handle it a lot, I recommend not getting a reflective colour.

I think any method of carrying paracord should have these properties:
  • Compact
  • Quick to deploy (most methods do not have this, most notably cobra weave, which is used in all the articles shown here)
  • Deploy from only one end (I haven't seen anyone mention this. If you need 1 m of cord, you should only have to unravel 1 m, not 1 m from each side for a total of 2 m.)

I also bought this aluminium water bottle clip. It came with a nylon strap and compass, but the compass had a strange smell. Maybe it was made of PVC that wasn't properly cured or had too much plasticisers. So I made a replacement with paracord, the advantage being this has a loop you can hold.

Other things to try: I'm thinking of redoing the bracelet, because right now it's a bit too big, and maybe replacing the plastic clip with something more useful.

1 comment: