Paracord is a popular item for an emergency survival kit. There are lots of practical uses for cordage and it’s pretty much mandatory to have a length thereof in a preparedness kit.

The question is:

“How much?”
“How long?”
“What length of paracord should I have in my survival kit?”

Each time that I put together a kit or go through an existing kit, I ask myself the same question! So, what’ the answer??

You do have at least ‘some’ cordage right?



Before we can figure out how much paracord, or whatever cordage that you choose to include, we need to apply some logic as to what we might use it for.

Note: Paracord (cordage) is one of The 5 C’s Of Survivability

What might be the most likely uses, given the nature (purpose) of your specific survival kit?

Stringing up a Tarp
Tarp Tie Down
Tent and Pole support, building shelters
Clothes Line
Tow Line
Braiding for even more combined strength
Wrap handles for walking sticks
Equipment Guy-lines
Pack Strap, Fasten, lash and secure gear to backpack
Garden Lines
Shelter Making
Suspend a hammock
Replace broken shoelaces, boot laces
Fire Bow
Hang sunglasses around your neck
Knife Handle Wrap
Hang a water container (with spigot) from a tree branch
Lifeline – it will support the weight of a human
Livestock leads and dog leashes
Suspend a field communications antenna in a tree
Bundle wood together to haul back to camp

Inner strands: sewing, fishing, trapping-snares, dental floss, emergency stitches (boil first)

Rothco Paracord (100′)

The nice thing about paracord is it’s small diameter compared with it’s tensile breaking strength (typically 550 pounds). While the repetitive ‘working load’ is less, paracord makes an efficient use of size & weight versus usability for an emergency kit.



I’ve listed some uses (add your own below). So how much should we include in our kits?

Paracrod is pretty small and you can wrap up 20 feet into a fairly small coil. Even 100′ doesn’t take up too much space in a pack.

I would suggest 20 feet of paracord as a general minimum, and probably enough for most typical emergency related uses.

A 10 foot length would be enough for some of the uses mentioned above, but not all.

For general camping I would most definitely take more with me. How much would depend on if I’m hiking in or driving in. Available space with everything else in my pack.

(UPDATE) Having tallied up the comments below (so far) it is quite evident that a common length of 550 paracord that people tend to keep in their kit/bag/BOB is 100 feet.

I typically buy a 1,000 foot roll of paracord and feed off that until I need more. That’s the best price per foot compared to getting smaller quantities. In fact I need to order another roll soon.


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