What is Mil-Spec Paracord?

What is Mil-Spec Paracord?

One of the most commonly asked questions when discussing paracord is what exactly constitutes mil-spec paracord. Typically, this term will refer to paracord that has been used by the military and as such meets their standards for use in survival kits and parachutes. At first glance, you would assume that all Para Cord was created equal but this is not necessarily the case. When shopping for Para Cord make sure it’s Mil-Spec/MIL-C-5040H type III paracord with a minimum breaking strength of 550 lbs.

The U.S Army parachute riggers are responsible for specifying the requirements for making military-grade or mil-spec paracords so if you are looking to buy mil-spec paracord be sure that your supplier is located in America and manufactures to army standards, Tough Grid is our personal recommendation.

Above you can see the range of parachute cords (paracord) available on the market, some are better quality than others.

100% commercial grade nylon fiber is a popular choice for camping and survival use due to its low cost but it falls short in strength when compared to mil-spec or army graded paracords which is why most camping stores carry them as well since they are the cheaper option for camping enthusiasts looking for an emergency supply.

What is paracord used for? Although popularly referred to as utility cord or 550 cord, paracord has many uses especially in camping and survival situations where one may need to improvise a solution outside of simply using it as rope. MIL-C-5040H specifications have set requirements that Mil-Spec paracord must meet.

Paracord is a lightweight nylon kernmantle rope originally designed for use in suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II. The cord was made to have a break strength of at least 400 lbs but the original specification could not be met so it had to be dropped down to 200 lbs. This standardization eventually saw paracord being manufactured and used by several military outfits all over the world which led it to become popular among civilian camping and survival enthusiasts as well.

The commercial utility-grade has a breaking strength of 550 lbs or more but this still falls short when compared with mil-spec no 7396 nylon parachute cord which has a minimum break strength rating of 750 lbs yet this type still uses only 12 strands instead of 100 making it a significantly more useful option when it comes to repurposing the cord in a survival situation.

The uses for paracord are virtually limitless but here are some of the most popular ones:

Securing camping gear – Campers love using paracord to secure their camping gear especially tents that come with stakes such as Y-shaped or triangulated pegs since they allow a lot of customization when it comes to how stretchy you want your guylines and guyline ropes. Making a hammock – Large amounts of paracord can be used to make extremely strong hammocks which are more comfortable than traditional rope counterparts but still lightweight enough for camping trips survival applications to carry around with them without much hassle.

Paracord can also be separated into individual strands which can be used for fishing and trapping. Stringing up traps camping protecting them from animals such as bears and cougars. Making a tarp – Paracord can also be used in making different types of tarps like the A-frame tarp or lean-to tarp

The uses for paracord (mil-spec paracord line) are truly endless! You could even fashion your own fishing with it by braiding multiple strands together. The 550 cord is extremely strong when compared to ropes made from other materials; its strength has even been put to use on parachutes which make camping trips more enjoyable because you don’t have to worry about having an extra rope that might come in handy if something goes wrong. It’s really important for fishing lures for example. I regularly carry paracord in the form of a bracelet when I fish to be able to replace the fishing line if need be. I’ve used it on camping trips and have even made gifts out of the stuff. I know people that have paracord in their toolboxes. You could use it to tie things onto your camping trailer or to hang your food up in a tree or hang tools from your belt loops while working around the house; you can even use it for lanyards, bracelets, watchbands, shoelaces, and much more!

Nicholas Jansen