I think we can all agree that paracord is a must have piece of gear for anyone that spends a lot of time on the trail; however if you’re anything like I was you probably have 100 feet paracord sitting at the bottom of your bag without much of an idea of how to put it to practical use. In this article I highlight some of the countless uses I have found over the years for this now essential item that I’ll never go on a hike without again.
1. Keeping bags away from pests
Hanging food in trees for overnight camping. If you are in an area where bears or other campsite pests may be a concern use your paracord to hang your pack in a tree away from your camp to keep it safely out of there reach.
2. Setting up shelter
Whether you’re using paracord to hang a hammock or tent or fashioning a make shift shelter to keep you dry from an unexpected rain storm, para cord is incredibly useful when it comes to setting up a sound shelter.
3. Setting up a clothes line
This comes in handy whether your camping or just taking a break from your trek and have some gear you need dried. A makeshift clothesline can be crafted in a matter of moments using two sturdy trees and 20 or so feet of paracord.
4. Anchoring a small boat to land
Many of us like to explore the forests via water ways using Canoes. Kayaks or other small boats. Whether your charting an adventure down a creek or river system or simply hanging out for a day at the lake, if your having trouble getting your small boat to stay put paracord should do the trick.
5. Spare laces for hiking boots
Breaking a lace on the trail can quickly ruin a good day of hiking. If you have a little paracord in your pack there shouldn’t be anything to fear though. Simply cut off a shoe lace length’s worth of cord and use it to re string those boots and get back to it.
6. A belt
This one has happened to me before. You get out on the trail and realize you left your belt at home and you’re stuck pulling your pants up every 2 minutes. Use your paracord to either make a belt or set of suspenders to keep your pants at the right height.
7. Tie extra gear to your pack
I typically use this in tandem with hiking clips to secure gear that i want quick access to to the outside of my bag (a water bottle for example). Simply tie the paracord around your gear, tie a knot at the end and clip it to your bag for easy access.
8. Emergency tourniquet
In the unlucky event that you sustain an injury on the trail paracord can be used as a first aid item to assist in making a makeshift tourniquet. Note I would for sure still recommend packing a first aid kit if at all possible.
9. Hang a pot over a fire
Paracord can have great applications when it comes to camping. Among one camping use is to hold a pot steady over a fire. This makes it easy to do things like boil water or cook a meal at your site.
10. Zipper pull repair
Don’t let a broken zipper pull get in the way of your good time. With just a few inches of extra paracord you can easily create a makeshift zipper pull to attach to any bag or jacket.
11. Improvising a stretcher
Lets hope this is never a situation you find yourself in but god for bid you or someone your with gets hurt on the trail. Typically when people find themselves in this position they don’t have the slightest idea of what to do. With a few sturdy sticks and a decent length of paracord you have a decent chance at creating a stretcher that can actually carry someone to safety.
12. Making rain gear
If you spend a lot of time hiking you absolutely will come across unexpected rain at some point. rather than let mother nature do her thing and just get drenched, if you have a tarp or fire blanket and a few feet of paracord you have everything you need for some makeshift rain gear.
13. Fishing line
Now I wouldn’t suggest entering any angler competitions with this one but if you do find yourself in a jam or simply just want to try something creative, fishing with paracord is certainly within the realm of possibility.
There are 100’s of different ways paracord can be utilized on the trail. These are just some examples that I have found useful of just simply entertaining in my travels over the years. If you don’t already have paracord in your bag now is a great time to invest. This is an incredibly useful resource to carry on you and probably one of my favorite overall hiking gadgets.