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550 Paracord

550 paracord is an all-purpose material with roots in the military service. The military used 550 paracord during training and deployment for all sorts of functions. Now, civilians and military personnel alike use paracord for functional and aesthetic purposes.

What is 550 paracord made of?

550 parachute cord has its name because it can handle up to 550 pounds at a time. Military regulations maintain that 550 parachute cords be made out of nylon. Nylon, as opposed to other fibers like cotton, does not decay in any sort of precipitation. It also does not decompose nearly as fast as natural fibers and stays intact through many hard uses.

What is the material used for?

Originally, 550 paracord was used as an option for the suspension lines of parachutes in the armed forces. Now, the material is a general purpose utility cord used by both armed forces personnel and civilians for various purposes. In the armed forces, it can attach equipment to harnesses, be used to keep track of valuable items, tie rucksacks to utility vehicles, secure nets, and function as a pace counter with the addition of beads. Aside from armed forces' purposes, people like to use shorter-length paracord in the creation of jewelry of various sorts. Bracelets, lanyards, and belts can all function as survival tools for hikers and rock climbers. All-weather whips and tourniquets are other items made from paracord due to its ability to stay intact through all sorts of weather.

What types are there?

Different types have more or less strands of yarn or nylon in the core, making it thicker or skinnier depending on purpose. Types with more strands in the core are stronger and able to hold more weight for longer while types with fewer strands in the center are not as capable under the same amount of pressure. Military-grade type III cord has at least three nylon fibers in the inner core. There are no diameter requirements, but armed forces grade paracord typically measures somewhere around 4mm in diameter.

What colors does it come in?

The armed forces only use standard army green or beige parachute cord, but the cord is available in just about every color of the rainbow, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, and pink. Different cord types are available in combinations of colors especially for jewelry making purposes. People have even created books of jewelry projects especially for parachute cord activities with different stitches, knots, and patterns for necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.