Best Survival Rope


550 Paracord was originally developed for use in US Military parachutes during Word War II and eventually became useful in both military and civilian applications.  Its official rated strength of 550 lbs is where it’s name comes from.

550 Paracord is constructed from lightweight nylon kernmantle rope. A kernmantle rope is a rope which has an interior core (kern) that’s protected with a woven exterior sheath (mantle). This design produces superior strength, flexibility, and resiliency attributes.


The official product the US Military uses is designated: MIL-C-5040 Type III. You can search that online or visit your local sporting/outdoors retailer and check it out. The 550 cord search can yield faulty results. Just because it’s sold under the 550 cord name or a similar name doesn’t mean it’s up to the same specifications as the military grade product (get the real deal here). Some websites advertise this item with a letter of authenticity, others sell it extremely cheap in bulk. No matter how you purchase this item, do 5 minutes of research and purchase 100 ft. Be advised that because this item is a low cost purchase, there’s a lot of competition for it’s sale. Not all sources sell the legitimate, military grade product. Some may advertise for it but exercise common sense when buying.

Authentic 550 cording is extremely versatile in it’s uses. It’s unique because the kern is composed of 7 strands which is actually 14 strands intertwined in pairs of 2. The mantle is composed of braided nylon. Keep in mind that this rope can easily be cut open and broken down into specific uses for each internal and exterior strands.

Kernmantle Design


For the little money it costs to purchases a useful amount of 550 paracord (around $5-$50 depending on bulk), there are an infinite number of uses limited only to the user and/or situation. There are other posts detailing various knots that will enhance the value of this rope. It can be crafted and worn as a bracelet, necklace, etc., making it an effective and practical survival item you can wear with a low profile at all times.

The various inner kern cording can be extracted and used for more specific purposes ranging from fishing, flossing, boot laces, traps/snares, to sewing thread, etc. The exterior mantle piece is generally utilized in mountain climbing, parachutes, commercial whips, field expedient tools and shelter bindings, etc.


For a minimal cost, you can obtain a large amount of 550 paracord. There are many additional resources online and in your community that teach skills specific to this item such as knot tying. This versatile item is highly recommended to be stocked in any survival kit, worn as a discreet clothing/fashion item, stashed at home, etc.

For some amazing examples of practical fashion, and everyday use items, created from 550 paracord, check out this resource.

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