It's pretty clear to me that without parachute cord and its flat cousin, Duct tape, we'd all be vegetarians, unable to make it in the modern wilds. On a two-week Field & Stream expedition up Alaskan's Dalton Highway, we were shipped a roof rack with no connecting bolts. The solution was close at hand: We lashed the rack to the Jeep with parachute cord. During hundreds of miles with a quarter ton of gear, gas, and spare tires in the rack, it never budged. That is the wonder of P-cord. Don't be fooled by cheap imitations: Real parachute cord—a.k.a. 550 cord—has a military specification that requires a braided nylon sheath inside of which resides seven to nine interwoven strands of separate cord. Together, it has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds, and at least 10 times that number of uses. One neat trick: Those white cords inside the p-cord outer sheath make great field-repair thread (rothco.com).