Paracord is one resource that all preppers, campers, and outdoorsmen truly love.
Though there are all kinds of cordage in the world that you might make use of, from those made with traditional natural fibers to the latest and greatest synthetics, very few will stack up against paracord when it comes to strength, longevity, versatility, and price.
All of these factors together make paracord the cordage to beat when you are headed afield.
But every type of cordage, no matter what kind, is limited by the work that you can get done with it, and that will be limited by your knowledge of how to put the cordage to work.
To say that the applications for paracord are basically limited only by your imagination is an understatement.
Today we are bringing you a list of 13 great paracord projects that are easy and within the reach of every DIY’er. Grab your paracord, your lighter, and let’s get cracking.
1. Paracord Key Fob / Key Chain
One of the very simplest and still most useful projects that you can make with paracord alone is a key fob, or keychain. This is a great project for several reasons.
First, it is small, simple, and uses very little cordage making it a great first-time project or just a project to use up any scraps of cord you have lying around.
It is also a good way to practice new weaving and knotting techniques to produce a key fob of a different shape or style.
If you want a low-profile, slim fob you can make that. If you want something larger and intricate that is easy to hold on to and it shows off your skill with cordage, you can make one of those also.
Key fobs are not just decorative, they do have practical purposes. For most preppers, this is a good way to stash tiny emergency tools like clipper compasses, picks and shims, and similar items.
It also allows you to hold your keychain with your teeth when you need to go hands-free without putting your chompers at extreme risk by biting down on metal.
Lastly, it also makes your key ring easier to fish out of your pocket.
2. Paracord Bracelet
Certainly the most iconic paracord project, and the most popular by a huge margin, is the paracord bracelet.
Like key fobs, paracord bracelets are relatively easy to make with very little cordage required compared to some other more intricate projects on this list.
Also like fobs, there is a ton of room for personalization using different weaves of different widths, knot styles, closures, and more.
A paracord bracelet is even more versatile, giving you more cargo room for small survival items if you want a true survival bracelet.
You can also incorporate it into a watch band if you want to look sporty-stylish while also keeping plenty of paracord on your person at all times.
And that brings us to the single biggest advantage of the paracord bracelet: if you make wearing of one habitual you will always have durable, hard-use cordage ready when you need it in an emergency.
This could be constructing a shelter if you are trapped out in the wilderness, or just unraveling it to use it in conjunction with a magnet for fishing your keyring out of a storm drain.
Weave one for yourself today, and then don’t leave home without it!
3. Paracord Lanyard
Another super simple but great use for paracord is as a lanyard.
You can use a paracord to attach two pieces of gear together so they don’t become separated, to attach gear to yourself by way of your pack, belt, or harness, or use it as an over the head necklace style lanyard in the style of a badge holder.
This project is just about as simple as it gets, and the only real decision you’ll need to make is whether or not you want to incorporate a quick attachment closure or mechanism for the item it is carrying and also for taking the lanyard on and off. Easy!
However, be warned: paracord is extremely strong and even a single strand can hold a tremendous amount of weight.
This means that it is a potential snag or strangulation hazard if you don’t incorporate a breakaway buckle or other closure.
Even if you are just using it to attach gear to your pack or elsewhere on your body, not over the head, if the paracord gets snagged on something on land or under the water you’ll probably have to cut it free in order to free yourself.
Keep that in mind and you won’t have any problems.
4. Paracord Zipper Pull
Making a paracord zipper pull is another classic project, and it is another project that is just about as simple as it gets.
A zipper pull is exactly what it says: something that helps you pull a zipper.
This is a convenience option a lot of the time, but when you are in truly cold weather environments or you are doing anything that requires you to wear gloves, zipper pulls are entirely practical.
You might think there is not much more to it than looping up a simple girth hitch around your zipper eyelet, but you can use the power of paracord to enhance even this mundane project.
Incorporating a small bead or tab is a great way to improve usability even more, or paracord with integrated reflective glint fiber can make it easier to find a zipper pull in the dark, possibly an important consideration on certain packs and other gear.
If you really want to go crazy, this is another way you can show off your knowledge of various intricate knots and other techniques.
5. Paracord Tool / Knife Handle Wrap
This is one paracord project that has been around for a long time.
Wrapping knife and tool handles with cordage for increased grip and better purchase in inclement conditions is nothing new, and in recent decades paracord has been increasingly chosen even by manufacturers of knives and tools as a factory option for handle material.
You can do the same thing to virtually any tool or knife you own with a little bit of know-how.
This process works best with tools or knives that have skeletonized handles, to reduce bulk, but you can even do it on something like a hatchet or ax handle if you wanted to.
This has the added benefit of allowing you to keep paracord with your tool, increasing the supply you have on hand at any given time.
The process of wrapping a tool or knife handle with paracord is ultimately simple, but it is somewhat meticulous work that requires patience.
You’ll want to make sure that you don’t miss even a single step in the operation and learn how to finish it off with the correct knot so your handle does not loosen and begin to unravel. That can be a major safety hazard for obvious reasons!
6. Paracord Dog Collar
Making a paracord dog collar for your furry friend is a great way to help them look a little more stylish, give them a sturdy collar that can improve safety and also help you keep more paracord nearby and usable in a pinch.
Making a paracord dog collar is very much like making a paracord bracelet, discussed above, only it is going to be much larger and typically wider.
You also need to incorporate a D-ring for attaching a leash and preferably a quick-release, breakaway buckle for safety.
It is possible to make a paracord collar with a traditional buckle closure, but the strength of a thick, woven paracord collar means your pooch won’t have a chance of getting out of it if they get snagged.
There are lots of good buckle options out there that are ready-made for use with paracord, so you won’t have to worry about that and most only cost a few dollars.
A little time (and plenty of paracord) and your loyal pooch will have a caller to be proud of.
7. Paracord Leash
If you’re going to make a dog collar out of paracord you might as well make a paracord leash to go with it.
It isn’t ideal, but even a single strand of paracord with a loop for your hand can make a totally functional leash in a pinch, so remember that.
That being said, you’ll get better results if you take the time to make a wide, comfortable handle then top the length of the leash with an attachment mechanism compatible with your dog’s collar.
Once again, the sky’s the only limit on your creativity. You can incorporate fancy braids and knots to show off or keep things simple and strictly practical.
One of the best things about paracord for use as a leash is that it is incredibly flexible and strong, and that can make it ideal if you need help restraining a strong but unruly dog.
Paracord is also mold, rot, and UV resistant, all good qualities for an item that is going to spend a ton of time outside, getting wet and getting dirty.
And of course, if you are in the middle of a survival situation and no longer need the leash it can be easily broken down and repurposed as cordage for literally anything else you can think of.
8. Paracord Mesh Bag
Bar none one of my very favorite paracord projects is also one of the most fundamental uses of cordage.
Using basic, easy-to-learn net-making skills with your paracord, you can make a mesh bag suitable for carrying, hanging and stowing all sorts of items, from the small and delicate to the large and bulky.
You can even equip them with drawstring closures for added security.
Looking at the completed item, it is easy to feel intimidated especially if you are not already fluent at working with cordage.
However, the basic principles, along with the knots, are quite simple and anyone can learn to do them.
The trick is that you need to pay attention, precise attention, to spacing between the knots. If you can do that, you’ll find this project pretty simple indeed.
This is another great multi-purpose project that will have plenty of use in your day-to-day life as well as in a survival situation.
Having some extra cargo carrying capacity, for necessity or convenience, that is extremely lightweight and will stow in a tiny space when you don’t need it is always great.
9. Paracord Bottle Hanger
If you are carrying extra water, or just a large water bottle that won’t fit in a tiny little pouch built into your backpack, you can easily and quickly weave your own bottle hanger using paracord.
In a way, you can think of this like a simpler, leaner version of the mesh bag above with one important difference: the bottle hanger is designed to be quickly detached from your pack so you can drink normally before being clipped back on.
All you need to do is loop the paracord around the neck of your bottle beneath the cap or lid before fashioning another loop and bottom on the opposite end.
Figure out a way to hook up a carabiner or other attachment system near the top and you can clip the bottle onto your pack wherever it’s convenient.
10. Paracord Rifle Sling
By now your head should be swimming with ideas on a project you can make with paracord, but here is one you probably didn’t think about.
A sling is a vital accessory for a rifle, analogous to the importance of having a holster for a handgun.
Now you can enhance your sling using nothing more than paracord and a little bit of patience.
If you are correct in thinking you will probably use the same techniques you used to make a dog collar or paracord bracelet, you are quite right, the only difference with the sling is that you need to size it to be appropriate not only to your rifle but also for yourself and your chosen mode of carry.
Don’t forget to incorporate the required attachments fore and aft, if needed, so you can actually connect it to your rifle.
You can loop it around built-in swivels or eyelets on some rifles, but most modern guns depend on QD swivels and similar hardware that you’ll need to acquire yourself if you don’t already have them.
11. Paracord Mat
A basic item, but still a useful one. Mats are useful for all sorts of purposes.
You can use them to protect a delicate surface from tools and spills, as coasters, or even for covering up those one or two treacherous boards on your front porch that are always tripping people.
Paracord is absolutely ideal for this purpose from a durability perspective.
But, most mat designs are fairly intricate, and though they are easy enough to execute this should be considered one of the more challenging, yet still simple, projects on this list.
The great thing about it, though, is how adaptable it is: you can make a tiny mat that can serve as a protective pad on an end table, or a larger one to cover a workbench or porch.
Do be warned, though, that larger versions will eat up a lot of paracord!
12. Paracord Monkey Fist
You’ve probably seen a monkey fist before even if you don’t know what it was called. If you’ve ever seen a ball of paracord, all woven together and dangling from the end of a lanyard, that’s a monkey fist.
Monkey fists are multi-purpose and can be used for all sorts of different things.
Supposedly, the historical use of such a knot was for weighting a line for casting or as a convenient but light-duty stopper knot.
Today, they are employed as quick and certain lanyards or fobs to increase the purchase of knives or other tools and also as self-defense implements when they are woven around or “loaded” with a ball bearing or glass sphere. They work just like a flail of old!
Weaving your own monkey fist is fundamentally simple, but it can be challenging procedurally.
The hard part is not actually weaving it, but sequentially tightening it down to form that dense, hard ball at the end.
Even so, following along with a good, clear tutorial makes this a project that every paracord aficionado can handle. Follow the instructions in our article and learn to tie your own monkey fist knot.
13. Paracord Snow Shoes
Another great use for paracord that might just save your life is in weaving up snowshoes.
Snowshoes function by greatly increasing the surface area of your feet, in essence, and that distributes the load of your body weight and allows you to walk over the surface of snow without sinking.
As you might expect, paracord is great for this project because it is so resistant to moisture and so durable, generally.
To start, you’ll need to find suitable branches or staves for use as the frame of the snowshoe and then modify them so you can set the paracord to begin the interlocking runs of knots that will eventually form the sole, of sorts, of the snowshoe.
When you are finished, you should have an evenly spaced grid or sort of waffle pattern made from knots and runs of paracord.
This is definitely a great project for anyone who’s living in a colder climate, or one that just gets a lot of snowfall.
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.