Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paracord, a Look Back



Image Source: Kiss 925
Paracord, a Look Back
Paracord has taken quite a journey to get to where it is today
            “What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound?” Sound familiar? This famous jingle belonged to the Slinky, one of the most beloved children’s toys of all time; the Slinky shares a very similar lineage with Paracord. Both the Slinky and Paracord began their life in service to the Military, but became immensely popular consumer products over time. The Slinky was born out of Richard James’ desire to develop a naval battleship horsepower meter using tension wire, when he dropped the wire he noticed how it kept bouncing and moving forward and the rest, as they say, is history. Similarly, Parachute Cord began its life in the Military well before it was popular worldwide and the famous sobriquet ‘Paracord’ was born.

            Originally used in Parachute suspension, the utilitarian ability of Paracord was quickly realized and spread throughout the entire military. Military units understood the litany of uses Paracord possessed and used it to greatly simplify their lives. Paracord was a workhorse, being used for everything from dummy cord to keep track of random equipment to pant fastener; in addition to tying down pretty much anything and everything. Once the cord was split open the fibers were also frequently used to stitch torn garments and the gutted Paracord was used as boot laces.

Image Source: Space Telescope
Following Paracord’s WWII genesis, Paracord swiftly became popular in the civilian world among outdoorsman. However, it was never really in the national spotlight until NASA brought it to the nation’s attention. In 1997, during STS-82 the Space Shuttle Discovery’s 22nd flight, Paracord was used in congruence with Teflon coated copper wire and Velcro to repair tears in the Hubble telescope’s insulation material. If nothing else, NASA’s incredible use of Paracord served to verify the cord’s prowess and establish it as preeminent survival gear.

Fast forward to today, Paracord represents a rapidly growing industry that is beginning to permeate the national conscience as an everyday product. As might be expected when a product as functional as Paracord becomes globally popular, an incredible number of uses have been realized. Uses range from your typical survivalist carrying daisy chains of the stuff to be ready to make a snare, lean-to, or splint at a moment’s notice to veritable fashion industry. Paracord can now be bought in every form from bracelet to belt and appeals to every demographic. Paracord’s home use has expanded to include dog collars, horse bridles and water bottle cozies.
Image Source: Customer Submissions

As a product, Paracord has diversified from the most popular 550 lb test Military designation MIL-C-5040 III to include 425 lb test, Polyester and Micro Paracord. All of these varying styles have different sizes and weight limits, however most are available in a variety of colors. Colors are perhaps the category in which Paracord has exhibited the greatest growth; originally being offered with minimal variation from olive drab, Paracord Planet offers over 300 colors ranging from solid colors to glow in the dark.
Image Source: Paracord Planet

It is evident Paracord has taken quite the journey to get to where it is today, but I for one am glad that it has. Paracord continues to grow in recognition and product diversity and will only gain popularity as more uses are discovered.

Thanks for reading, if you would like to share where you think Paracord is headed next or any of your thoughts on Paracord, please comment below. If you enjoyed this article please share it and as always be sure to check our Facebook page for the latest Paracord deals.