Parachute cord, called paracord, army craft cord or 550 cord, is a nylon cord that is strong, lightweight and durable. It also dries quickly and is resistant to mildew and rot, making it an ideal material for outdoor activities. When you make a lanyard out of parachute cord, you not only have a tool for holding and attaching items, you also have access to a length of strong cord to help you out in an emergency.
Buying Parachute Cord
You can find numerous colors of parachute cord at army surplus stores, camping stores and survival stores, as well as online. The most common type of parachute cord is 550 cord, which can hold a load of 550 pounds. However, you can also buy 450 cord and 350 cord, which hold loads of 450 and 350 pounds respectively. Each foot of parachute cord equals about 1 inch of a finished lanyard, so for a 5-inch lanyard to hang from your belt, you will need 5 feet of parachute cord. For a 20 inch lanyard to hang around your neck, you will need 20 feet of parachute cord.
Making a Parachute Cord Lanyard
A parachute cord lanyard consists of a series of loops and knots attached to a key chain, hook or other such item. A tight weave uses more cord, which can be useful if you want access to as much cord as possible in case of an emergency. However, if you plan to loop the lanyard around your wrist or wear it around your neck, a tight weave can be uncomfortable.
Knots for Making Parachute Cord Lanyards
You can use a variety of knots for making your parachute cord lanyard, from simple overhand knots to more complex sailors knots, snake knots and Chinese knots. Many of the knots are similar to those used in macrame handcrafting.
Using a Lanyard in an Emergency
If you have an emergency and need your parachute cord, you can just undo the knots and cut off what you need. If you need thinner pieces of cord, you can even slit open the outer layer of the parachute cord and access the seven thin cords of nylon inside.