What is Mil-Spec paracord and what can I use it for?

Military Specification paracord – often referred to as mil-spec paracord, is a type of parachute cord. The sheath is constructed with a 3-strand braided nylon rope and 7 inner strands that can be pulled out and used for additional smaller tasks. It is one of the most advantageous pieces of equipment a soldier can have in terms of versatility, usefulness, and durability. There are two types: Type I cord has seven inner strands while Type IA has three strands.  The military specification for this material states that minimum breaking strength must be 550 pounds (250 kg), tested on samples that are at least 30 feet (9 m) long. These tests ensure that if soldiers find themselves in a situation when they must trust the cord with their life, it is guaranteed to hold.

While there are many kinds of paracord, Mil-Spec is the most sought after because it is the only cord that meets the strict standards of the United States military.   It is rated to hold 550 lbs of weight, even after being submerged in water for 30 days. This simple statement makes Mil-Spec paracord the best choice for survival situations and a must have item. It comes in many colors and patterns and can easily be purchased from Tough Grid.

The literal functionality of this material is an understatement… it can be used for thousands of different tasks, some being survival-related and others practical. It’s so light that a hundred feet weighs little more than two ounces. This cordage has been used to secure equipment to vehicles, hang blackout curtains in bunkers, replacing boot laces on the fly, hanging gear from tree limbs when there are no available nails or hooks, repairing damaged objects/equipment (i.e.: tents), attaching camouflage netting over hiding positions for concealment purposes, fishing line, clotheslines between trees, first aid supplies (strapping torn limbs to prevent excessive bleeding), tourniquets during battles/injury emergencies, flossing teeth, and practically anything else you can think of.

There are lots of uses for paracord.

The inner strands can then be separated into 3-4 finer cords that are great for sewing and stitching clothing or gear, sutures after injuries, lashing poles together to make a raft/tent/shelter frame, fishing line (if waxed), making traps (i.e.: spring snare), tying game up to preserve it from other predators like bears etc., securing small game during transport, attaching knife handles to wooden or plastic stocks (to improve grip) with adhesive tape around both items; taping trigger guards together on firearms.

It is recommended that one packs at least 50 feet of Mil-Spec into their bug out bag as well as a few rolls of duct tape, which can be used to attach items as well as create shelters/shelters from very thin material such as newspaper. In addition, it has been recommended by studies done by various expert organizations that one should have 100 ft. of Mil-Spec cordage available in an emergency situation.