A paracord survival bracelet is an essential, incredibly versatile and easy-to-carry tool. Once unraveled, use the cordage to trap game, hunt, make tools and weapons, catch fish, make a shelter, when climbing and rappelling, for oral hygiene or to repair cuts in fabric and even skin.
In short, paracord should be an essential piece of your survival arsenal. If not, make it one. By making and consistently wearing a paracord survival bracelet, you’ll always have this life-saving survival asset at your fingertips.
Commercial-grade type III 550 costs about 12 cents a foot. If you want real paracord, the kind our troops actually use, expect to pay a bit more. (At the time of this writing, I've only found one retailer who sells real military-spec 550 - see resources below.)
I spent $12.69 with shipping for 50 feet. Assuming I can only get 4 bracelets out of it, that's $3.17 per bracelet. For greater savings, go in with some friends and buy in bulk.
The side release buckles cost about 12 - 25 cents each, depending on size and quantity per pack.
I bought a 25 pack of 3/8" buckles for $3.99, or 16 cents each.
Total Cost: $3.33 ($3.17 + $0.16)
NOTE: I chose side-release buckles, over the more durable U-shackles many other bracelet makers use, simply because they make taking the bracelet on and off really easy. (I do it many times a day - when I shower, wash dishes, go to bed, etc.) While a more durable clasp would absolutely be more useful in survival situations, the most important part for me is using a high-quality paracord. Weigh the pros and cons for yourself.
Step 1: Measure your wrist. Wrap a length of paracord around your wrist to determine the length of the bracelet. Make sure it is not too tight, nor too loose. Paracord bracelets can shrink over time, so add around half an inch extra for comfort.
Step 2: Mark where the ends over lap and stretch the length of paracord along the tape measure. In this case, the bracelet will be about 9 inches long. (Remember, this measurement will include the clasps.)
Step 3: From one end of the paracord, measure out 4 times the length of the finished bracelet length. In this case, 36 inches (9 X 4 = 36). Thread the female end of the side release buckle to that point. Then thread the male end of the side release buckle to create the rough length of the bracelet.
Step 4: Weave the remaining cordage back through the female end, the male end, then back through the female end one more time. (See below.) There should be a few inches left sticking out of the female end of the buckle. This will be tucked into the weave later.
Step 5: Double check your measurements. Measure from the top of the female end to the stop on the male end. (The two red arrows in the photo above.) Adjust the paracord weave as needed to equal the finished bracelet length.
Step 6: Begin the bracelet weave by threading the long strand back under itself, over the two middle strands and under the right strand. Remember to tuck the short end into the weave alongside the middle strands.
Step 7: Next, bring the long strand back over the right strand under the two middle strands (and short strand), then over the left strand. Push each weave against the previous one to ensure a tight weave. Repeat this process along the length of the bracelet, keeping the weave tight after each pass. Note: To keep the weave clean-looking, leave a little slack in the paracord.
Step 8: After a few passes, stop tucking the short strand into the weave and continue. (The excess will be trimmed later.)
Step 9: Once you’ve reached the end and there’s almost no room to add anymore weaves, make one final pass and wrap the long strand behind the weave.
Step 10: With a needle nose pliers, bend a small crook on one end of a straightened paperclip. Thread the crook of the paper clip through the last two or three middle strands on the bracelet.
Step 11: Hook the end of paracord with in the crook of the paperclip and gently pull it through. You may need to wiggle it back and forth to work it through the weave.
Step 12: Cut any excess paracord (from both ends) off close to the bracelet.
Step 13: Singe, then quickly press, the melted ends of paracord flat into the bracelet. This will keep them from working loose over time.
Done! You now have a paracord survival bracelet with around 11 usable feet of cordage with you at all times. Emergencies happen at any time. Always be prepared.