Paracord, or parachute cord as it was originally called, has been used since World War II when it was used as the suspension lines for parachutes.
Once paratroopers entered the field they developed and discovered plenty of new uses for their paracord. Excellent for attaching equipment to harnesses, typing rucksacks to vehicle racks, securing camouflage and so on.
It can be used for many things, and if you are a hiking enthusiast, rock climbing enthusiast, or just like being a bit of an adventurer, you have probably used or even just come across paracord.
There are many different ways to braid paracord (and different paracord weave options) to increase its strength and durability, lets find out what these are and how to do them.
What is paracord?
Before we jump into how to braid paracord, lets find out exactly what it is.
Since its use in the world wars, paracord has had many uses, the most common type of paracord we talk about is the one used as a parachute suspension line, which is known as type III paracord.
It was known as the strongest, and sometimes called the 550 cord, a fairly obvious name as it was able to hold 550 lbs of static weight!
Paracord is very strong and can be braided to increase strength and is very versatile in its uses, so, what are these uses?
What can it be used for?
As we say, it was originally used in the war for parachutes, but it's not got that use quite so much anymore. So, what do we use it for now?
Well, one of its uses is craft, it is often used to make bracelets, lanyards, rifle slings, belts, carriers, and even keychains. It can also be used in hammocks, or chairs. It has many creative uses.
Furthermore, it is often used for survival, our primary focus. It has earned a reputation for being a very important tool for camping and hiking.
Hikers will often use paracord to tie gear to their packs, replace broken shoelaces, and even construct shelters! Inner strands of paracord can also be removed to create survival tools such as fishing line, lures, traps, slings and sutures.
One of the more usual uses of paracord is in fashion, it has even been in Vogue. The colors and strength of this material has made it a loved fashion accessory, especially when it comes to jewelry.
Types of paracord braid
There are so many ways you can braid paracord, there are the basic ways that have ties into different variations. There is always a plethora of options within different styles.
There is also flat braiding. Which is not used as much with paracord as it should be. Flat braiding is pretty much the same as braiding hair, putting the left cord into the center, the right and over and over again, much like when you are braiding hair.
You can do this with three strands, or four strands. Obviously four strands is a little more complex; placing the third cord from the left over the second, the second over the fourth, the fourth over the first and the first over the third.
However, we want to focus on basic braiding, this is more likely to be something you will use in survival situations and knowing this will be very useful.
The Basic Paracord Braid
The basic way to braid your paracord is to take the top cord, split the cord on the opposing side from the back and place the same cord to the bottom of the side you took it from. Alternative right and left cords and a braid will worm.
Let's go through this in steps, a good way to do this when you learn is to attach your two pieces of braid to a ring, so each strand is split into two. (Attach the cord to the ring at the middle of the cord)
- Once your paracord is on the ring and your two strands are separated into four, take the top right-hand cord and pass it behind, through the two cords on the left-hand side.
- Then, take this cord and return it to the right-hand side.
- Now take the top left-hand cord and pass it behind, splitting the cords on the right, then returning it to the left.
- Repeat this process over and over until you have a completely tightened braided rope structure.
This can even work with 6 strands, if you are looking for something a bit tougher and thicker. This is how:
- Take the top right-hand cord and pass it through the split cords of the left as before, keeping the middle two cords above it.
- Return this cord back to the left.
- Take the top left cord and pass it behind the split cords on the right and back to the left.
- Continue this process until you have your braid. You can do this with as many cords as you want!
Variations of Braiding
There are many variations of braiding paracord, the most common go by color or by braid sequence. Time to see what these mean.
Variations by color
With variations dictated by color, the colors could dictate left and right, for example, blue is on the right and green is on the left. With 6 or more strands you can increase the color variations even more. Making a really colorful braid.
You could also have two colors, with one of each on each side, with one green and one blue on the left and on the right.
Variations by sequence
If you were to use sequencing to vary your braid, you could split the top two cords, or you could split the bottom two into a six cord braid.
Another variation by sequence is to go over the second cord, as we have said about, but instead of going to the other side right away, going under the third cord and then back. This is best for a six cord braid technique.
You can try any and all of these techniques to find your favorite braid. Won’t know until you try after all!