P-cord in a Pinch
by PJ Delhomme
Like duct tape, parachute cord has risen to “never leave elk camp without it” status in recent years. And for good reason. As the name suggests, the cord was originally used to connect paratroopers to their parachutes during World War II. The job called for a lightweight but incredibly strong elastic cord. After the war, military surplus stores carried it, but it stayed relatively unknown except to hunters and hikers. Now, with the general public prepping “bug out” bags for natural disasters or the zombie apocalypse, p-cord, also known as 550 cord, has come into the spotlight, even being made into bracelets and necklaces.
Less than the diameter of a pencil, the cord gets its strength from the inside out because inside the nylon sheath are 7-10 inner yarns, which are also made up of many individual strands. Those strands can be used for everything from firestarter to boot laces to fishing line.