It’s always a good idea to keep plenty of paracord on hand. You never know when it’s going to come in handy, from impromptu repairs to field expedient improvisations.
The problem is that carrying any quantity in your pocket is both bulky and prone to turning into a tangled mess.
You can avoid that entirely, and even show a little bit of fashion sense, by wearing a paracord bracelet. You can make all sorts of different practical designs to suit your style with basic hardware and a little bit of know-how.
Below is a step-by-step guide to tying the popular trilobite type, which combines good looks, flatness, and lots of cord storage in a tidy package.
You Will Need
First, you’ll need a long length of Paracord for this one, at least 10 feet and preferably more. Because of the nature of the design, you’ll need a long working end and multiple inner standing strands.
So grab a length of cord that is several feet long because you’ll be trimming it down.
You’ll also need a paracord bracelet buckle, scissors or a sharp knife, and a lighter along with a metal tool to seal and press your cut ends.
You can use the side of your scissors or your knife in a pinch, but I like to use a rounded paracord tool for this one.
Step 1: start by measuring off one working end of your paracord. This should be the circumference of your wrist plus about 5 inches.
So if you have a 7-inch wrist, you’ll need a 12-inch measurement on this working end. Once you have it measured out, make a bend and pinch it on the standing part.
Step 2: feed your loop you just made through one half of the buckle from the top.
Step 3: now pull the rest of your cord through the loop to form a cow’s hitch. Make sure that the free end is as long as I specified at the beginning before you fully tighten the hitch. When you have this length set, pull it snug, but not super tight.
Step 4: now take the opposite working end of the cord (not the length we set in the previous step) and pass it through the other part of the buckle from the top.
Step 5: now pull the end of the buckle you’re working on until you have a length of cord that’s comfortable around your wrist.
You might need to buckle and unbuckle it around your wrist a few times to get it just right. Once you have it set, keep control of it and don’t let it lengthen or shorten.
Step 6: now take the working end of the long part of your cord and pass it up through the part of the buckle you tied the hitch around from below.
It’s very important that you pass it through from below for the step.
Your bracelet should look like this at this point. Make sure everything is even, correctly routed and that the length of the bracelet is correct. There is no going back after this point, not easily!
Step 7: now take the working end from the long part of the cord, carefully open up the cow’s hitch on the one part of the buckle, and pass the end through from the side where the buckle connects.
Step 8: pull all of the slack through, then route the longest remainder of the cord away from your buckle to the side as shown.
So you should have the short working and that we set earlier pointing towards the opposite buckle, and the long remainder of your cord coming off to one side.
Step 9: now pull the short working end through the buckle it’s pointing at from below…
Step 10: continuing on, make a simple knot with that same working end, being sure to tie it around itself and not one of the other strands.
Step 11: ensure that all of these strands are of the same length when you apply tension to the buckles, and then fully tighten the knot you just tied.
We’re now ready to begin weaving the bracelet since we’ve established the three inner strands.
Step 12: taking care to keep all three inner strands parallel inside by side, start weaving the long working end of the cord through the inner strands.
Starting from the right, go over the rightmost strand, under the middle strand and then over the left strand. See the picture for details.
Step 13: pull all of the slack through, cinching it down snug and then pressing the weave you just made up towards the buckle.
Step 14: now start weaving again from the left, this time going under the left strand, over the middle strand and under the right strand.
Step 15: as before, pull all the slack through and then push the weave up towards the buckle so it is snug against the neighboring weave.
Step 16: repeat this process again and again, alternating whether you start over or under on each side as you go. Remember to keep everything cinched up and tight.
Step 17: once you have completed the weave and reached the opposite buckle, take the other working end of your cord…
Step 18: and bring it to the right beneath where you have the other strand anchored…
Step 19: …and then up and through the loop as shown here.
Step 20: now take the opposite working end that you made your weaves with and make a turn to the right…
Step 21: completing a full wrap…
Step 22: before pushing it through the center of the strands and out the other side.
Step 23: …pull all the slack through, then pull both working ends snug.
Step 24: grab your scissors or knife and cut off both free ends leaving about an ⅛ of an inch sticking out.
Step 25: using your lighter, carefully melt the ends you just cut before pressing them flat with your tool or the side of your scissors or knife to seal them and lock the bracelet.
Finished! Your trilobite paracord bracelet is ready to wear.
The trilobite is more involved to set up owing to its multi-core construction, but really quite easy to weave.
It also has some other natural advantages and then it looks quite stylish, is extremely flat and carries a lot of paracord in a compact package. This is another one of my personal favorites.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.