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View Full Version : Bugout Bag Tools #4 - Cordage



Paladine71
05-22-2012, 03:25 PM
Strong, flexible cordage has so many potential uses in an emergency, or daily life, that I always carry some in my HUMMER and bugout bag. It is possible to craft some from natural sources in the wild (in a true emergency) but you have to be in the right area, know what you're doing, and you'll expend a lot of time and calories doing it. Why not just carry some? It has little weight in small amounts and is reusable most of the time. There are a number of options here depending on quality and size.

I carry three types:

Parachute Cord (550). Be aware that parachute cord and paracord can be different. Sometimes paracord is a knock-off brand. Real, military-strength, parachute cord is very strong and has internal strings that can be used for smaller tasks. It's like carrying many cords in one small package. I carry at least 100 feet of it, cut in 25 feet lengths, and only cut it beyond that when absolutely necessary.

Catfish Bank Line. This is tarred twine in various test strengths. I usually carry light (#12) and heavy (#36) versions of this line. It doesn't smell the best but is great in wet conditions.

Small rope. Size is up to you, but I usually carry about 50 feet of 3/8 inch. Lot's of uses here.

Some of the possible uses of cordage:

Hanging pots over a fire
Boot laces
Making fire with a bow drill
Traps / snares
Fishing line
Early warning devices
Building shelters
Restraints
Field dressing an animal
Lashing branches together (carrying wood or building a raft)
Rifle Sling
Preventing gear loss (tie it to yourself)
Belts
Making a net
Hygiene
Measuring time and distance
First Aid
Clothing repair
Tool repair
Loops for carrying gear
Wrapping tool handles
Retention lanyards
Improvised weapon construction
Rappelling and climbing
Belay cord for low visibility conditions
Securing doors

abearden
05-22-2012, 04:30 PM
As a former climber, I will STRONGLY caution AGAINST using cordage for climbing, rappelling, or any sort of belay. 550 pounds is the static load rating for the good cordage, and that's woefully low for anything like that. If you've got no choice, it can be used as long as you don't shock-load it (go slow, don't bounce). You CAN get small-diameter "cord" (dyneema) that is rated higher, but it's much more expensive.

With that said, I've got about 50 ft of cord in my BOB, and if I'm out in the truck I usually take one of my old climbing ropes with me (originally rated at 22kN ~ 4900 lbs, still trust it to half that without blinking). Between having cordage and knowing knots, you can vastly expand your skillset and construction abilities.

Paladine71
05-22-2012, 04:42 PM
As a former climber, I will STRONGLY caution AGAINST using cordage for climbing, rappelling, or any sort of belay. 550 pounds is the static load rating for the good cordage, and that's woefully low for anything like that. If you've got no choice, it can be used as long as you don't shock-load it (go slow, don't bounce). You CAN get small-diameter "cord" (dyneema) that is rated higher, but it's much more expensive.

With that said, I've got about 50 ft of cord in my BOB, and if I'm out in the truck I usually take one of my old climbing ropes with me (originally rated at 22kN ~ 4900 lbs, still trust it to half that without blinking). Between having cordage and knowing knots, you can vastly expand your skillset and construction abilities.

Agree, that's what the rope is for, as well as river crossings, etc. Guess I should have clarified that.

3Hummers
05-22-2012, 04:50 PM
I carry a couple of the cord bracelets in my BOB. I think that is 50' if I remember correctly.

Flash
05-23-2012, 08:00 AM
Typically I have elastic straps, electrical ties (aka zip ties), paracord, rope, braid fishing line and 1.25" wide nylon straps with security buckles - along with a couple rolls of black eletrical tape and a large roll of Duct tape. Not preparred for reppelling and hope I never need to be.

Trekker
07-08-2012, 11:39 PM
I've started making paracord donuts in various lengths.

5349

It's a little time consuming making them, but it is a really easy and convenient way to carry paracord without it getting tangled. It's a series of daisy-chained loops similar to how contractors daisy-chain electrical extension cords. When you need some cordage, just undo one half hitch and start pulling. You can easily unravel about 50' of paracord from the donut in a mater of seconds. Here's a video on how to make a paracord donut:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoQT_GUGbqQ