Sometimes even a well thought-out day hike into the backcountry doesn’t go as planned – the sun is setting, you didn’t bring a tent, and you’re not sure how far it is back to the trailhead. In all likelihood, you’re going to be spending a night in the forest without any gear.
But wearing a paracord survival bracelet would give you a few tools to remedy this situation. They’re essentially a length of paracord that has been woven into a fashionable bracelet and can be used to help solve a number of backcountry problems: finding shelter, obtaining food, and finding your way out. The bracelet is part of your everyday carry gear, something you have on you even when you don’t expect to need it. While unexpectedly needing to spend a night in the wilderness is never a desirable scenario, a little preparedness can go a long way toward making it a bit less frightening.
|X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet||Amazon||B|
|Hippo Survival Paracord Bracelet||Amazon||A|
|A2S Protection Paracord Bracelet||Amazon||B|
|TI-EDC Paracord Survival Bracelet||Amazon||A+|
|The Friendly Swede Bracelet||Amazon||A|
What is a Survival Bracelet?
They’re pretty simple items; they’re really just a length of paracord that’s been woven into a comfortable wristband that can be worn as an everyday fashion accessory. Should you find yourself in a survival scenario, it can quickly be unraveled to access the cord.
Parachute cord survival bracelets are usually constructed from 550 paracord, a lightweight nylon rope that was, as the name suggests, historically used for the suspension lines on a parachute. The cord is actually made from several twisted strands of very thin nylon rope, which is then covered in a nylon sheathing. The multi-strand design makes it very flexible and quite elastic, meaning it’ll lengthen when pulled taut. This type of paracord is designed to hold 550 pounds of tension before it breaks.
What Can a Survival Bracelet Be Used For?
Perhaps a better question is what can’t it be used for? A length of cord might not seem like it would have that many uses, but survival scenarios tend to bring out some creativity.
When disaster strikes and you need to make camp, paracord is great for tying branches together to create a lean-to structure. If you cut the cord down into smaller lengths, they can be used to mark a trail and help you find your way back to camp or a trailhead. You can also remove the outer sheathing that protects the inner nylon strands, which can then be used to make a fishing line. Those smaller strands also work as floss if you want to keep your teeth clean.
As many uses as it may have, a parachute cord survival bracelet should only be used in an actual survival situation. Once you unbraid to utilize the cord, there’s little chance of turning it back into a wristband. If you’re going on a camping trip and know you’ll need to do something like hang a food bag, bring a separate length of cord instead of planning to use it.
What Should I Look for in a Survival Bracelet
Most can be untied to reveal 7 to 20 feet of paracord. This may not sound like a lot of rope, but remember that it’s meant to be used in a survival scenario and you’ll be repurposing those few feet of cord for several different purposes.
The downside to having a longer cord is that the bracelet has to be wider to accommodate it, and this extra width can make it feel pretty clunky. If it is uncomfortable, you’re unlikely to wear it every day, which defeats the whole purpose. Only buy one that you can feel good wearing at all times.
Most use a plastic buckle that looks like a smaller version of the chest strap buckle on your backpack. This type of clasp is very easy to use, but it’s also rather brittle and prone to breakage.
Others have metal clasps that use either a lobster-claw design or a series of pins to hold it together. These closure mechanisms weigh more and can be more difficult to use, but will probably last longer. Consider how much abuse it might have to endure, and balance that against how comfortable it needs be for you to wear it every day.
A survival bracelet is something you’ll have on your wrist at all times, so it wouldn’t hurt for it to look good. Many companies make a variety of colors and braiding patterns, so you can choose one that suits your personal style.
Maybe you prefer to dress low-key; a bracelet that blends in with your skin tone might be best. If you’re a hunter, go with the camo option. Or perhaps you’re a fan of a particular football team and can choose their colors. Regardless, just get something you’ll enjoy wearing every day. After all, it’s only useful if you have it on you when emergency strikes.
The main purpose of carrying one is to always have a length of rope on hand, but many bracelets have a few extra functions as well. As these accessories need to fit, it should be noted that they’re not going to be as functional as their full-sized counterparts.
One of the most common additions is a tiny compass, which will only provide you with a vague concept of which direction is north. You won’t be doing any serious orienteering with it, but it can help prevent you from getting totally lost. Another common accessory is an emergency whistle, which isn’t very loud but could signal someone a few hundred yards away.
When choosing a bracelet, scrutinize any survival tools that might be included to see how useful they’ll really be. Their miniature size could limit their effectiveness and just make it feel clunkier.
X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet
Not only does X-Plore Gear’s survival bracelet come in several colors and cost about as much as a latte, but the clasp contains a compass, whistle, and fire-starter. Of course, they’re packed into a relatively inexpensive bracelet, so their value as survival tools should be looked at with some skepticism.
While the whistle is really loud when used correctly, the compass barely functions when it’s on your wrist, and the fire starting flint can be a pain to use. Granted, these items are for emergencies only, but I’d feel more comfortable with a backup version of them in my pack. The buckle is also made of plastic, so it’s not the best choice if you work with your hands and will have it bumping into things all the time.
The X-Plore Gear is suitable for people who just want a little extra peace of mind on their wrist. The extra gizmos on the bracelet aren’t super functional, but having some survival tools on hand should feel better than having none.
- Very loud whistle.
- Available in a variety of colors.
- Comes in a pack of two.
- Somewhat ineffective flint.
- Poorly functioning compass.
- Brittle plastic buckle.
Hippo Survival Paracord Bracelet
Hippo’s Survival Paracord Bracelet might be one of the toughest ones on the market. It’s made from Type III 550 paracord, which uses seven inner nylon strands, each of which is made up of three even smaller twisted strands. If you need a cord that will stand up to a lot of abuse, the Hippo is one of your best options. It also has a really strong metal clasp that’s held together with pins and can be used to adjust it for different wrist sizes.
One of it’s only issues comes when you try to adjust it. The metal pins in the clasp pretty much require a third hand to operate. All that metal can feel kind of clunky, too, so be prepared to wear a bracelet with some heft. It also costs about twice as much as some of the other options on this list and doesn’t have any extra survival tools.
Hippo’s bracelet will work perfectly for users who don’t mind a hefty clasp and won’t be taking it off and on very often. The strong cord and durable claps make it a great option for anyone who wants one that will last for years.
- Adjustable to different wrist sizes.
- Strong Type III cord.
- Very durable clasp.
- Difficult to adjust.
- No survival tools.
- Fairly expensive.
A2S Protection Paracord Bracelet
Having a survival bracelet is about getting some peace of mind. If you’re the worrying type and are always looking to be a little more prepared, the A2S might be for you. It’s made of an impressive 12 feet of paracord and has an ultra-strong clasp, and it comes with a firestarter, whistle, compass, and emergency knife for when disaster strikes.
The problems with it appears when you start to rely on any of those extras. The whistle is very small and doesn’t make enough sound to travel very far. The compass is fairly inaccurate and needs to be held in just the right spot (and not on your wrist) to function correctly. The emergency knife is so small and dull that at best it can be used with a fire steel (included), but don’t count on cutting anything with it.
Those extras aren’t that functional, but it’s not very expensive, and they’re better than nothing. If nothing else, they should make you feel a little less worried should you end up in a survival situation.
- Extra-long cord.
- Strong buckle.
- Very small whistle.
- Imprecise compass.
- Dull emergency knife.
TI-EDC Paracord Survival Bracelet
Sometimes you just need a piece of gear that does one thing really well; that thing is providing a length of cord that will be with you at all times. The TI-EDC Paracord Survival Bracelet serves that purpose quite well, with 8.7 feet of 550 paracord that can be adjusted to fit just about anyone. It has a minimalist look with no extra survival tools and a simple but incredibly tough aluminum clasp.
Some might say it’s lack of extra tools is a disadvantage, but I think it’s better to do one thing well than to do several things poorly. However, adjusting it can be hard to do by yourself, as requires setting a pin in the clasp, so you’ll need to get a friend to help. It also doesn’t come in very many colors (just black and gray), so look elsewhere if you were hoping to make a fashion statement.
The TI-EDC is a good choice for preppers who carry most of their survival tools elsewhere and just want a length of paracord on their wrist. It’s simple, functional, and doesn’t try to be something it’s not.
- Adjustable for different size wrists.
- Minimalist look.
- Very strong metal clasp.
- Doesn’t come with any extra survival tools.
- Not many colors to choose from.
- Difficult to adjust.
The Friendly Swede Bracelet
The Friendly Swede has made a name for themselves in the outdoor industry by offering a lifetime guarantee on most of their products, including this survival bracelet. It’s a great option for anyone worried that theirs will eventually wear out. The clasp on this is also easier to use than some of the metal ones on this list, but be aware that it won’t be as durable.
Unlike most, this one is made from polyester instead of nylon and is only rated to hold 350 pounds, rather than the usual 550. On the plus side, polyester holds its color better, so if you’re not doing anything too strenuous, it will still function and will look better for longer. However, it doesn’t come in very many different colors.
The best things about it is it’s pretty inexpensive and the polyester cord will look better for longer than nylon would. If you’re looking for something super durable and strong, though, it’s probably not the best choice.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Easy-to-use clasp.
- Doesn’t come in very many different colors.
- Only rated to 350 pounds.
- Brittle plastic clasp.
What is our favourite?
When it comes down to finding a useful paracord survival bracelet that you’ll be happy to wear every day, the TI-EDC is probably your best bet. It’s not trying to do anything fancy with a lot of gadgets in the buckle; it’s just a length of cord wrapped up and attached with a very solid clasp. Its only major drawbacks are that the clasp can be challenging to adjust and it only comes in black and grey. But for anyone who’s serious about finding an everyday carry survival bracelet, those seem like problems that can be dealt with.