Parachute cord has become a commonly carried item by outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are a backpacker or into emergency preparedness, parachute cord has a long track record for its versatility. While only adding minimal weight to our packs, its utility is mostly limited by our creativity. Some examples are; preparing a poncho / hammock with readily available attach points, securing items, parachute cord bracelets, water bottle slings, and even making parachute cord pace beads. At first it was just a matter of choosing the best quality cord available but now some manufacturers are raising the bar. Adding useful items inside the paracord add to our toolbox and capabilities. It is often preached we should carry items that provide multiple uses and preferably are lightweight. How many items in our bag can help us build a shelter, tether equipment, build a bow drill set, or lace your shoes? Hail paracord! In the middle of the paracord wave Titan (titanparacord.com) has come up with ways of making parachute cord more useful to the dirt squirrels. During our recent visit to Idaho for a Pacecount gathering, we had the opportunity to test this impressive new product.
What is inside?
550 paracord internals
Survivor cord and some of its uses
Whether backpacking or building a bug out / get home bag we are in continuous search of lightweight items that will give us an edge. Fire and tinder is one of those subjects that we as outdoor enthusiasts are always trying to find the latest and most effective techniques on. Fire is vital to keeping warm, water purification and cooking. It also adds a certain level of comfort and safety.
The waxed jute twine in Titan's Survivorcord does just that. It is just one of those things we had to test as soon as the package arrived. Like a kid waiting on the tooth fairy, the package was taken on a fishing trip and time in the bush. Cutting a 2 foot strand we easily pulled out the waxed jute and by twisting it counterwise began turning it into a tinder nest. Laid it down and quickly threw a spark on it from our ferrocerium firesteel rod. As expected the twine quickly caught on fire and held the flame and the wax extends the burn time.
Ok, so immediately you are thinking but is it waterproof. Best way to test that was to make a necklace and wear it for a few weeks. Yep, wear it during every day outdoor trips sweating and more importantly showering. If it can survive soap and water and daily wear, it should be ok. So what was the outcome. Sitting by the campfire with my bushcraft brothers Norseman, and Mikhail, I took the necklace off, handed it to Norseman and said, have at it. What followed brought a smile to our face. The jute twine performed just as it did on day one. Mikhail threw a spark it and poof, fire.
Don't feel like using the waxed jute? Use the survivorcord to make a bow drill kit.
Monofilament fishing line
Can we say enough about this particular addition to paracord? Put me near a body of water and chances are I will find a way to catch a fish. Fishing is hobbie for some, a passion for others and a way to feed the family for a few. Perhaps you forgot to bring monofilament during that special backpacking trip you have been planning or find yourself in an emergency. Fishing can provide fun and a tasty meal. Whether we configure it in a Trot line configuration or build a make shift fishing "pole". Monofilament can easily be wrapped around a round piece of wood or an abandoned can. If patient enough a fishing net could be built using the 7 strands in the cord.
Copper Allow / Brass wire
According to Titan the wire is 30 AWG copper alloy, similar to brass. This is more durable than pure copper. The first question asked when we posted the Titan's new paracord was "Can you build snares using the brass wire?". We first used the wire while attempting to cook some trout. Typically we would skewer the fish by making one skewer and simply passing the handle pole through the mouth of the fish (if properly cleaned/filleted). One of the fish did not turn out as planned so we quickly wrapped it with the wire and cooked it over the fire.
But getting back to the snaring. At first glance the wire seems a little thin for snaring larger prey. Admittedly we did not try to double up the wire and twist it although we plan on doing so soon. Often 25 AWG is the recommended gauge for snaring smaller game. When the timing is right we would like to test it with smaller prey. Starting with rodents and birds and working our way up. A really nice feature is that the wire inside the cord adds enough stiffness to the paracord. This is a great reason to use the survivorcord as a snare while leaving the internals intact. You can find several reviews saying the wire is perfect for snaring however none of which include pictures of snared game. We tried to snare some ground hogs but the weather was our enemy. Hopefully we can get back out soon, try snaring. If any of our readers catch a few critters, please contact us, we should be able to scrounge up a little price. But as we always say, No Cheating! The plan is to do further testing in this area.
7 inner yarns of 3 strand Nylon
It would be difficult to list all the uses for the internal strands. Each strand can hold enough weight that they can be used individually for camp chores. Secure a tarp, build a net, trap triggers, sewing materials, etc etc.
While many people opt to buy gear in earth tone colors, there are pieces of gear that should either be brightly colored or have a nice piece of brightly colored parachute cord attached to it. Small flashlights, pocket knives, compasses, and lets not forget your ferrocerium / firesteel rod. Nothing more frustrating that having a missing piece of gear ruin your backpacking trip or worse. Furthermore, under some circumstances we can unravel the cool knots and use the cord for one of the many uses mentioned above. Bright Orange parachute cord added to items such as axe handles, Ferrocerium / Firesteel rods tethered to a sheath, as a way to secure a mora knife around the neck are just a few examples. Hopefully Titan puts out SurvivorCord in other colors soon. In the meantime Titan's Warrior Cord is an excellent MilSpec paracord.
We often find ourselves using parachute cord to build different shelter configurations. Despite the extra items found in the internals of Titan's survivor cord, the paracord is flexible and can be easily tied into our frequently used knots. During our Pacecount Idaho gathering we used it to hold up a military hammock, makeshift hammocks made of parachute material and a poncho hammock. The cordage worked as expected.
We did find that sometimes under the high knot tension of holding a hammock, the brass wire inside the cordage would break. This is likely due to the tight angles of the knot while adding 200+ lbs of sleepy person weight. This does not affect the capabilities of the cordage and can still be used for other chores.
Weight difference between Titan SurvivorCord and regular MilSpec Parachute cord
For the die hard lightweight backpackers, 100 feet of your typical parachute cord will weigh around 7.5 ounces (212.6 grams) and the Titan Survivorcord weighs in at 11.8 ounces (334.5 grams). A round about 4 ounce difference in weight per 100 feet.
In closing, we found the SurvivorCord to be a nice addition to tool repertoire. There will be further testing and notes added to the article so please come back later.
Some would ask questions such as "Why not carry a spool of monofilament etc etc. Yes, we all understand that is an option. In our opinion carrying Titan's survivorcord is a nice addition to our lightweight tool box. Many more uses can be found for the cord, it is just a matter of carrying it and getting creative. Remember, as long as you sit in your living room spewing rants and opinions on the internet they are just that. Get out in the bush and see how many ways you can use a piece of gear. Become familiar with your equipment when your life does not depend on it. More importantly, use it to have fun.
Titan's Survivorcord and other items can be purchased Here: Titan's Survivorcord
Note that the first batch of survivor cord sold out quickly and Titan posted more should be available in October 2015.
Please shoot us an email with new ways to use the cord.
GYSGT Norseman Dave Williams of Survival Hardware designer of the HOG knife and the TOPS SNAP kit, Norseman also runs a survival blog on his page Survivology 101: http://survivology101.blogspot.com/
Mikhail Merkurieff of Merkwares & Emberlit designer of the Emberlit Stove and Sprongs
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