A flare gun is a pistol-like device that fires flares for signaling or illumination in emergencies. This article will help you decide what the “right” flare gun is for preppers!
Paracord has become a survivalist sensation owing to its superior physical properties. It is strong, elastic and lightweight – perfect for carrying on a wilderness trip or even around the town.
It can be used in emergency situations to bandage wounds, hunt for food or rescue others.
There are a huge number of neat projects you can do with paracord: from fashioning bracelets and belts, to making snow shoes, rock slings and shelters.
Once you have read just how many uses paracord has – you’ll never leave the house without it.
In this article, we cover:
The name “paracord” comes from parachute cord, first introduced by the US military as the suspension lines of a parachute.
The most common type of paracord is the 550, which essentially means it can withstand a load up to 550lbs (or about 250kg if you prefer it that way).
It is exceptionally lightweight: at just under seven grams per meter length it is the perfect accompaniment to outdoor adventures and daily life.
If you're interested in our paracord brand recommendations, check out our guide for the best paracord for survival.
Its exceptional tensile strength is primarily due to its construction.
There are typically seven to nine inner strands of three core yarns, twisted evenly.
These are then encased in an outer sheath of up to 36 interwoven strands.
The best material is nylon, which can resist rot or the growth of mildew, and can be used in all types of weather.
It is an elastic material, capable of stretching up to 30% of its initial length before breaking.
In recent years, due to the rising popularity of paracord, manufacturers have started using plastics such as polyester as a replacement to nylon.
Whilst this is more cost-effective from a manufacturing point of view, it cannot offer the same quality and versatility as nylon. Something to think about when making a purchase.
There are a number of things you can use paracord for in emergency situations, from medical to hunting to survival situations.
Here are some of the most useful things you can do with paracord.
Tourniquets are only to be used as a last resort, in the case of extreme and uncontrollable bleeding. Often, applying a tourniquet means saying goodbye to the bleeding limb as you will cut off circulation completely.
Follow these steps:
If you are out in the wilderness and you break a bone, or injure a muscle or joint, you may well find yourself immobilized.
This type of injury may seem less severe than an open wound, but if you cannot move yourself then you may eventually face life-threatening problems such as dehydration, hypothermia or heat exhaustion; depending on where you are.
Splints help to ease the pain and increase your mobility so that you can seek help. Here’s how to use your paracord accordingly:
If you are out in the woods and have forgotten your matches or lighter (or they have been lost or dampened), then you can use sticks and paracord to make a fire.
This technique – often referred to as the “bow drill” technique – can be a little tricky so should ideally be practised in advance.
Nets are an efficient way to catch fish if you are near a river or stream. Using the currents to your advantage you can catch a quick and easy meal by using your paracord:
Watch this video for the best way to successfully gut your paracord.
Due to their strength and elasticity, paracords make excellent rescue lines should someone fall into water or enter quicksand, and need immediate assistance.
To exploit the full range of uses for paracords, it is essential to know a few simple knots and hitches to be used in a range of scenarios. To practice these, you will need a length of paracord or string, and an eyelet or key chain ring.
For all knots, we recommend heading to Animated Knots for more examples of useful knots and how to tie them.
This knot is an excellent stopper not, yet is non-binding so easily undone. It is very quick, simple and should be known by anyone carrying paracord.
Ideal for: Stopping any line running through a holding. It is commonly used in climbing and sailing.
Arguably the easiest knot there is, this one uses two half-hitches and is a great quick-fastening knot. It is only to be used in situations where you don’t need to quickly release your knot, as it pulls very tight and secure.
Ideal for: Hanging goods from a tree, for instance as bear-proof storage for your food.
This is an ideal knot for situations where you’ll need to untie your hitch fast. While it is secured to your post, loop or other item: this hitch is amazingly strong.
However, as soon as you remove your item, just a single pull on the paracord will loosen it.
Ideal for: Making a spare tent line. Place the loop around the hooked end of your tent pole.
This is an ideal temporary hitch for suspending or tying-off lines, such as at a boat morning. It is a quick, convenient hitch but is non-binding so do not rely on this hitch for heavy loads – it can easily slip.
Ideal for: Temporary attachments to pole or ring.
If you are out in the wild, you may find yourself having to tow a log or a raft over land or afloat on the water. This is a secure hitch which performs well so long as the knot is kept under tension.
Ideal for: Floating a log or supplies across water, or dragging wood to your camp.
Transporting big bundles of paracord around with you is not ideal, especially if out in the wilderness where your pack weight really matters.
Instead, there are all sorts of ways that you can fashion your paracord into useful, everyday items that won’t look out of place.
This means you can easily have a lot of paracord on your person when you go into town, into the wilderness or even in the house – always ready for an emergency situation.
Some popular paracord items include: bracelets, belts, straps, key chains and more.
Braiding is a great way of packing a lot of length into a short area, plus it looks more stylish than just a single cord. Here are a few simple paracord braiding techniques:
If you’re someone who has spent a long time braiding hair, then you may already be familiar with this braid. It’s a very popular style and easy to achieve with a little practice.
This is another simple, popular style of braid for belts, bracelets or key chains. For this, you’ll need just a single length of cord.
Check out this instructional video by Weekend Gunners for an easy cobra weave bracelet.
Arguably the most important fashion accessory you’ll ever have – this one could save your life!
Most people make them with a simple buckle or clasp, and the weaves are quick-releasing should you need to unravel it in an emergency.
There are a whole host of neat tricks, designs and colors you can use to make the perfect survival bracelet.
Here are step-by-step easy paracord bracelet instructions.
You will need:
- 10ft of 550 paracord (nylon)
- A buckle (choose the size that is right for you)
- Lighter or matches
There you have it, your first paracord bracelet!
Check out Paracord Planet for more variations on the cobra weave paracord bracelet.
In extreme survival situations, a longer length of paracord will be much more useful.
Bracelets are a neat way of carrying 8-10ft of cord, but with a belt you can carry over 50ft and even up to 100ft, depending on the weave you use.
You can use the weaves we have already mentioned to make a decent paracord belt, but to make a survival belt you will want to use a method that enables a quick-release, should you need it.
We recommend using Slatt’s rescue weave. This can unravel 100ft of paracord in just a few seconds and can be made with or without a buckle.
You will need:
- 50-100ft 550 Paracord (nylon)
- Strong belt buckle
- Knitting needle or skewer
- Lighter or matches
Watch this video tutorial of a slatt’s rescue weave belt using paracord, done by Paracord Weaver.
Attach a small length of paracord to your keys with an in-built secret compartment.
This is perfect for stashing extra cash, emergency matches and other small essentials you can think of. Learn how to make it with DIY Projects.
Paracord is an excellent material for making emergency snow shoes.
Thanks to its elasticity, it makes the perfect webbing for the net which will provide you with the right surface area for waking on snow.
Check out this tutorial from Indestructables.
Make an emergency shelter with just a tarp, trees and some paracord.
It is strong and elastic enough to keep your “tent” standing through heavy winds.
Learn how to position and tie your lines with this step-by-step tutorial.
Ever been out on the trail and snapped a shoelace? Keep your boots firmly on your feet by replacing the broken lace with paracord.
If the original cord is too thick to fit through the eyelets on your shoes, then gut the cord and use the inner strands instead.
If you are running low on food or have forgotten or lost your fishing line, the inner threads of paracord can be the perfect width for catching fish.
You could also fashion it into a simple fishing jig.
Check out this video tutorial on making a lure from paracord, from IntenseAngler.
If you’re out on the trail and slip, or come into thick undegrowth, you may easily tear your protective layers of gear.
This can quickly lead to you becoming cold and even hypothermic, if you are in extreme rain or cold.
Find a small, strong stick to fashion into a needle and use the inner strands of paracord to sew up the tear.
After days of prolonged rain in wild backcountry, you may not be able to cut your way back along the trail you came.
Areas may be flooded, or rivers wider and much faster-flowing than they were before.
Using just a few survival knots and buoyant logs, you can quickly craft a raft to float your belongings – and even yourself – across the water to safety.
Perhaps you encounter a dangerous animal, or need to hunt for food in an emergency.
Using a small length of paracord, such as that from a bracelet, you can fashion a simple yet effective rock sling to use as a weapon.
Paracord is the perfect material due to its combination of strength and elasticity.
Check out this video tutorial and how to make a paracord sling, done by TryingItAllTogether.
When choosing paracord for survival situations, it is important to make sure that you choose the right material, number of strands and loading weight for your needs.
Paracord is an exceptionally versatile material with a seemingly limitless repertoire of uses.
Whether at home, in town or out in wild country; paracord should be carried with you wherever you go.
So, practice your knots and fashion a belt or bracelet as you never know when you will need it - and it might just save your life one day!