What is this parachute cord

I keep reading abou tpacking a kayak and it’s parachute cord all the time. What is it for? And where do you get it? Thanks.

Parachute cord is also known as 550 cord. The design is similar to most climbing ropes. I think 550 is the number of pounds it can handle before breaking. In the military it is used for connecting your parachute canopy to the harness assembly. It is also used as a general purpose cord. It is good stuff. You can buy it in shops that sell military related gear.

Depends on what you want it for
Military-spec parachute cord is nylon, woven sheath with a number of twisted filaments inside. Very useful, can be “gutted” for it’s parts in repair situations.

That said, for boating purposes nylon has the aggravating characteristic of absorbing moisture and stretching. Tie a nylon line taughtly between two anchors some evening and by morning it will be drooping.

I like 1/8" accessory line from West Marine or REI. Not as cheap as 550 cord, but we are talking pennies per foot here. Better UV resistanceand virtually non-droop.


polyester/dacron line
that’s the stuff. Nylon makes sense where you want stretch,not for securing things in a wet environment.

The parachute cord is what I connect
the parachute to my Kestrel. Sometimes I just can’t get stopped.

Paddlin’ on


guess I’m the odd guy out
I have NEVER read about “packing a kayak and its parachute cord”

must be reading the wrong stuff

you’re right,

Cheaper Than Dirt
I find almost as many uses for para cord as I do duct tape. Check out cheaperthandirt.com for good deals on spools of the stuff in black and camo colors.

If you are into Bushcraft
then para cord is one of those things you’ll never leave home without…some uses:

bow drill=fire

spring traps,snares=food


as mentioned above the para cord can be gutted and the inner strands used for:


fishing line

clothing repairs

The list of possibilities with 550 are almost enless.

So when I read the thread I thought the poster was saying keep some paracord in your kayak. I say keep 50 foot chunks everywhere.