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Paracord, short for parachute cord, is a versatile tool that every outdoor enthusiast should keep handy, especially when venturing into the backcountry. This lightweight nylon rope was initially used in the suspension lines of parachutes during World War II, but has since become a staple in survival and outdoor communities. With a core made of several yarns and a woven exterior sheath, it’s not just strong; it’s also durable and flexible.

The real beauty of paracord lies in its versatility and the sheer number of uses it offers to anyone in the wild. Here are 25 uses to help meet a diverse set of outdoor needs.

25 Ways to Use Paracord

1) Bushcraft Wood Vice

Using paracord as a vice
A paracord vice. Jennifer Caudill

This simple vice can be a game-changer for carving or holding items still, making it easier to work on detailed projects in nature. Couple your paracord, a toggle, and a split stump to form a great vice.

2) Tripod Assembly

A tripod made using paracord
The author lashed this tripod with p-cord. Jennifer Caudill

This DIY tripod can be a central part of your campsite, serving multiple purposes and simplifying your setup. Wrap your paracord around the three legs and then between them to make them more secure.

3) Adjustable Pot Hang

cooking over a campfire
Use paracord to hang pots over a fire. Jennifer Caudill

This method allows for precise cooking temperatures, making your wilderness meals tastier and safer to prepare. Using a slip knot, you can lower or raise your pots quickly. 

4) Woodsman’s Seat

A camping seat made from sticks and parachute cord
Have a seat. Jennifer Caudill

This homemade seat adds comfort to your campsite and keeps you clean and dry from the damp forest floor. Parcord keeps the three legs together.  Just cut three strong branches to about thigh height and wrap with paracord about 1/3 the way down from the top.

5) Knife Handle Wrap

A knife handle with parachute cord wrapped around the handle
That’s a wrap. Jennifer Caudill

This addition secures your grip and personalizes your knife, making it uniquely yours.

6) Survival Trapping

logs wrapped around parachute cord
It’s a trap! Jennifer Caudill

Mastering this technique could be vital for food procurement in prolonged survival situations, making it an essential skill. The paracord serves well as a connector to the branch, serving as an engine for the trap. It can also work as the slip knot, although wired “grabbers” are better.

7) Prusik Knots for Gear

Prussik knots tied with parachute cord
The Prusik is an essential knot to know. Jennifer Caudill

These knots add a layer of safety and reliability for securing gear, especially in challenging environments.  Prusik knots slide easily and hold fast with pressure. 

Various survival tools with parachute cord on a wooden surface
You can use paracord to make lanyards, survival bracelts, key chains, or as a wrapped handle on a knife. Jennifer Caudill

8) Compass Lanyard Replacement

This bright lanyard ensures you won’t lose your compass, a crucial navigation tool when needed. 

9) Survival Bracelets

This wearable kit ensures you always have essential survival tools, regardless of your adventures. Woven with a cobra stitch, you can include micro survival supplies like a jutte, a button compass, a ferro rod, and more.

10) Key Fob

This practical and stylish paracord key fob ensures you can easily find your keys in a backpack or deep pocket. It can also be woven to include extra supplies.

11) Gear Customization

his not only strengthens your gear but also allows you to customize the look and feel of your equipment.  You can add S hooks, clips, and more to attach gear wherever and whenever, and also have paracord for its multi-use capabilities. 

12) Visibility for Gear

This tactic reduces the chance of losing essential tools, saving time and frustration during outdoor activities. In the photo, I have included an orange paracord, which I have seen numerous people lay down after starting a fire. The added visibility makes it easier to keep up with.

13) Wood Carrier

Carrying logs with paracord
Work smarter, not harder. Jennifer Caudill

This method makes transporting firewood back to camp less of a chore and more of a quick, simple task. Tie to end together with your favorite knot to create a large loop. Wrap around your firewood and stick one end through the other for a quick grab handle.

14) Knife Tether

A parachute cord used as a knife tether
A knife tether increased grip strength. Jennifer Caudill

Use a paracord through the lanyard hole to increase grip strength and efficiency. I prefer to slip my thumb through rather than my hand so that if I drop a knife, it does not swing back and cut me. 

15) Zipper Pulls

Parachute cord on a zipper
Tie p-cord to a zipper for a handy pull. Jennifer Caudill

This minor modification makes zippers easier to use in cold weather or when wearing gloves, a simple but significant improvement.

16) Tool Roll Cinch

TK
It’s a cinch. Jennifer Caudill

This keeps your tools neatly organized and accessible, making any task or repair in the field quicker and easier.  I typically use a timber hitch and a quick slip knot for easy access. 

17) Tent Stake Upgrade

parachute cord as a sunglasses lanyard.
Strengthen a tent stake with parachute cord. Jennifer Caudill

This increases the reliability and functionality of your tent stakes, ensuring your shelter stays secure in all conditions. Paracord also comes in reflective and glow-in-the-dark versions.

18) Animal-Proofing Supplies

A duffle bag hanging from parachute cord
Hang time. Jennifer Caudill

This practice protects your food and gear from curious wildlife, protecting you and the animals. If you hang it from animals that climb trees, put it on a branch away from the primary stem. 

19) Versatile Fastener

A bird house on a tree connected with parachute cord.
Parachute cord lasts a long time in the elements. Jennifer Caudill

This method of attaching items is solid and secure and prevents damage to the natural surroundings. I used it here to fasten a bird feeder hanger to a tree. Since paracord is pliable yet durable, it lasts long and does not cut into the tree.

20) Mapping Distances

Using parachute cord inner strands on a map
Measure a route on a map with an inner strand of parachute cord. Jennifer Caudill

This practical use of paracord helps you plan your travels accurately, ensuring you can gauge distances and plan accordingly. Lay a piece of cordage along a curvy road, river, or trail. Mark the ends and transfer that to your map scale to get an approximate distance.

21) Gear Organization

A pack hangs from parachute cord attached to a carabiner
High and dry. Jennifer Caudill

Keeping your gear off the ground protects it from dampness and critters and helps maintain a tidy campsite. Paracord and carabiners are great for hanging nearly anything up and out of the way for easy access.

22) Fire Tinder

Sparking a fire with a knife and parachute cord
In an emergency, you can use p-cord as fuel for a fire. Jennifer Caudill

An alternative tinder source can make starting a fire much more accessible and crucial for warmth and cooking in the wilderness. Jutte twine is better cordage for this purpose, but since you will have paracord with you, it is an emergency fuel.

23) Emergency Belt

Using parachute cord as a belt for a knife
The survivor’s utility belt. Jennifer Caudill

if your belt is lost or forgotten, you can use a paracord to hold your pants up or gear to you for easy access.

24) Hat Tether

a hat tethered to a pack with parachute cord.
Never lose your lid again. Jennifer Caudill

This simple solution can prevent you from losing your hat and protect you from the sun or cold. It is convenient for paddling, biking, or anytime winds can be an issue.

25) Dental Floss

A person uses parachute cord to floss
Dental hygiene matters—even in the woods. Jennifer Caudill

This innovative use of paracord’s inner strands highlights its versatility, proving useful even for outdoor personal hygiene.

Conclusion

Each use demonstrates Paracord’s adaptability and essential nature in outdoor situations. Whether crafting, repairing gear, or setting up camp, paracord is a reliable resource that enhances safety, convenience, and effectiveness in the wilderness. Its lightweight design, strength, and flexibility make the paracord a must-have item in any adventurer’s pack, proving its value repeatedly across a wide range of applications. Paracord comes in many different lengths, colors, and even strands. Some paracord companies include strands of fishing line, jute, fire cord and more inside of the outer sheath as well.  Whether you wear it, store is, or leave it in the toolbox, paracord can help in numerous situations.