The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Secondary considerations when buying or making a paracord "survival" bracelet

I had previously discussed the two primary considerations when buying or making a paracord "survival" bracelet - whether the bracelet comes apart easily and is there a sufficent length of paracord to use in your emergency situation. But there are a few other things to consider.

How is the bracelet finished?

The way a bracelet is finished will decide the amount of useable paracord you'll have when your bracelet is unraveled. Are the ends tucked back into the design of the bracelet or are they melted and stuck to the underside? If melted, your total length of paracord will be less and may make chunks of paracord virtually unuseable.

Shackle or Buckle?

The two connectors you'll see online are the plastic, side-release buckle and the stainless-steel, anchor shackle - the shackle will be stronger, more durable and easier to use than the plastic buckle in your survival/emergency situation.

But I'll add this caution about the shackle: When I first tried making a bracelet, I looked for a side-release buckle locally and couldn't find any so I bought a 3/16" anchor shackle (from Lowes for about $2.50) to use instead. I made a "test" bracelet but found I couldn't attach it to my wrist when it was done. I couldn't slide the pin through the hole then through the looped paracord with my free hand. So I ordered some side release buckles and made some bracelets with those. Maybe it's me though (lots sell the shackle bracelets) but my fingers just won't work that way. (Try Creative Designworks for buckles.)

Should you make a bracelet or a watchband?

If you'd like to try to make one yourself, check out the tutorial by Stormdrane HERE. He shows you how to make either a bracelet or a watchband - or you might use a compass instead of a watch, or try to include both. See some watch-compass combos.

And this brings me to the last of the things you should consider.

How does your bracelet look? Is it comfortable?

These may be your most important considerations. An "ugly" uncomfortable bracelet may spend most of its life in the back of your sock drawer. A "cool lookin" comfortable bracelet however, (with half the paracord) is more likely to get worn and will be more likely on your wrist when you need it. And if you've made it as a watchband, you'll always be wearing it.

So really, there is no "best" survival bracelet - it'll come down to some trade-offs and whether you'll want to buy or make the one that's best for you.

Lastly - you've got an emergency, you take your bracelet apart and you've got a good-sized length of paracord. Now what?

Is your basic knowledge and experience with knots tying your shoelaces? Are you going to wrap cord around and around wasting a good portion of your length when a few inches with the right knot would have done the job?

Take a look through my knot-related site links, practice what you already know, experiment with some new ideas, and if there's one book you should get, it's The Ashley Book of Knots. My favorite chapter (and Ashley's largest) is Chapter 2: Occupational Knots - from The Archer to The Yachtsman, see the knots that are peculiar to each of these 80+ occupations.

And this just in - take a look at something new from Stormdrane - a Doubled Paracord Bracelet. If you're a DIYer, you'll want to experiment and try to duplicate this interesting style.

See ya. And have some fun with knots.

(This was expanded from a post I made on the Every Day Carry Forums.)


Kaiju Images said...

I also had the same problem you did when I made some bracelets using a shackle instead of a SR buckle.

The solution I found to this was when I put the bracelet on, I would rotate the shackle 90 degrees and the slip the one end through the loops. I would then screw in the pin and then rotate the shackle back to it's original position.

I also found it easier to do this if you leave the end loops a little longer than normal.

I also prefer the woven bracelet over the square knot style as it would be faster to deploy the cordage when needed. Using a shackle also helps with this as you only need to pull the bight end out if you haven't melted or glued it.

Kaiju Images said...

I also had the same problem with shackles on my bracelets when I tried them. My solution to this was to rotate the shackle 90 degrees and just slide one arm through the end loops. I then screw the pin in and rotate the shackle back to it's original position.

I also prefer the woven bracelet over the square knot type as the cord can be deployed quicker by just removing the working end of the cord. Using a shackle instead of a SR buckle also assist with this as you have attachment end open and do not have to cut anything to undo the cordage.

phgoujon said...

super !!

since 12/17/08