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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paracord - Does brand matter?

Lately, I've been building my stockpile of mancrafting tools and materials. Paracord and lighters - what else does a man need to do a little arts and crafts. I kid... I kid...

I've amassed near 500 feet of paracord now, in subdued and 'saftey' colours. From various brands and manufacturers. I'm sure I'll catch hell for saying this but; I'm not really sure if brand matters.

Paracord - decent, but the best?
It all comes down to, you guessed it, philosophy of use. Are you using paracord for climbing or, dare I say, parachuting?

Then yes, I'd say brand is a major factor.

What about using it to make dongles, keychains, bracelets and other 'crafty' kinds of things. Well - if you ever find yourself in need of 15 feet of paracord, and you've got it all tangled up in some neat looking weave, then you'll probably need it to be decently strong and trustworthy. If you've got it wrapped around the handle of a knife or used as a dongle to identify your car keys, then I'd say dexterity dosn't matter as much as price.

I think that's what it all breaks down to; price. I've seen it as cheap as five to six dollars, shipped from china. I get mine from a surplus store in Oakville, ON at 16 bucks for 100 feet - usually made by GI Plus. I haven't encountered any problems with that brand yet. I'm not using it for any heavy duty lifting but I do make various things that also serve a practical purpose.

I know there will be a degree of fanboyism, as there is for every concievable product in the 'tactical' market but I honestly can't see a difference between the cheaper brands I've handled and more 'known' brands like GI Plus. That said, I don't have any machinery to test the breaking point of each brand - to argue based on numbers and not subjective experience.

Go ahead and buy the cheap stuff - if you're just tying knots and weaving new handles for your backpack. Be weary though, I think this falls under the 'you get what you pay for' umbrella. If you NEED paracord - don't cheap out. If it's for a rainy day, don't waste your money.


  1. Brand does matter if the brand is ripping you off. The local surplus store used to sell real para-cord and then they got in rolls of cord from Rothco marked "para-cord" but all that was inside was fuzzy junk and not 7 strands. Para-cord is an item that must be able to hold 550 and have 7 individual strands otherwise it is not para-cord but merely cord.

    It's like people who call ordinary cord, that was sold as ordinary cord, "para-cord"; why would you do that? Why would you call a Zippo a Bic and call a Bic a Zippo? They are both lighters but brand matters.

    So you may be new to the world of para-cord and may not know off all the fake knock off stuff out there.

  2. I was trying to find some comparisons, but i ran across this post that gave links to a couple good sites.

    the forum link:

    A site that says they sell true mil spec paracord:

    the price doesn't look bad compared to what i'm already buying it at. I'll have to buy some and try it out. I usually buy my paracord through amazon, and normally get the G.I. or Rothco brands, but i wouldn't mind paying a few extra bucks for shipping if it really is 550 strength.

  3. Dude you are getting ripped off so badly if you are paying $16 for Rothco cord, it is $7-8 on amazon per 100 ft. Also Rothco isn't really mil-spec paracord it is commercial grade so that is why it seems the same as the chinese stuff to you.