These and other questions have mostly come to us from our thousands of Amazon customers.
– What is the diameter of TOUGH-GRID® paracord? –
We generally speak of the diameter running between 1/8″ and 5/32″ or 3.18mm and 3.97mm. There is no “exact” requirement by the US Military and since the cord will compress, it is difficult to pin-down an absolute diameter.
– How much stretch does TOUGH-GRID® paracord have? –
All mil-spec paracord has a “minimum stretch” of 30%. Paracord is designed for parachutes and must have some stretch built-in for the sudden loads it is expected to endure. Military Specifications [Require] that our cord stretch is “at least 30%”.
– How many inner strands are in your 550lb paracord and are they triple or double-ply? –
TOUGH-GRID® 550lb mil-spec paracord has (7) inner strands, all of which are triple-ply, 100% nylon threads. There is also a marker strand that is made of (2) black and (1) tan strand which is used by the military to identify the origin of the parachute cord.
– What are the results of the tensile strength test of TOUGH-GRID® paracord? –
There is a range at which our 550lb Type 3 Mil Spec cord fails/breaks. Generally speaking… that is somewhere between 560 and 620+ pounds. Why the range? Well, even though we ONLY sell Mil-Spec cord, there are still slight variations in the yarns. In reality… no two cords are ever identical due to variations in the nylon manufacturing process. That said; our cord always exceeds the 550lb minimum break strength.
– Can this cord be used for hammock hanging? –
It sure can and many of our customers use it for hammocks without any problems whatsoever. We use it for our hammocks as well. That said; the cord has 30% stretch built-in (required by the US Military) so you may need to re-tighten a time or two as you work-out the stretch over time. Another way to account for the stretch is to use more lines to slow the stretching process.
– Can I use this paracord for mountain or wall climbing? –
Only use paracord for climbing or descending in emergencies IF you have no other choice of a better climbing rope. While our cord is excellent and considered a great “emergency supply”, it is not intended to be a climbing rope… even though many have used paracord for such in emergencies. There are thousands of uses for paracord, but one should be prudent and cautious if life & limb are on the line.
– Could I use this cord as a replacement for the shoestrings in my boots/shoes? –
Sure, Our paracord makes excellent replacement laces and it’s a great way to keep some paracord on-hand at all times (just in case.)
– Are all of the colors you offer considered “Military Specification”? –
All of the 550lb Mil-Spec Paracord we sell meets the requirements of the Mil-C-5040H Type III specifications, however, not all colors are purchased and/or used by the United States Military.
– How are your different lengths of paracord packaged? –
Our 50, 100, and 150 foot lengths all come loosely coiled in sealed bags while the 200 footers come spooled on a tube and 500 and 1000 footers come coiled on a spool.
– Is TOUGH-GRID® paracord UV and Abrasion resistant… Good under harsh conditions? –
Yes, the Mil Spec REQUIRES that all our TYPE 3 Parachute Cord be UV and Abrasion Resistant (Mil-C-5040H). That said, all cordage will deteriorate over time in harsh sunlight, whipping winds, rubbing on tree bark, etc. Our cord will outlast any other paracord, but may need occasional replacement if subjected to very harsh conditions. You may also need to re-tighten it a time or two while working-out the built-in stretch.
– Is this cord suitable for making paracord bracelts and other projects? –
Absolutely. Many of our customers have spoken of their bracelet, rifle sling, or other projects they’ve made with our 550lb paracord. It’s a great upgrade from 550lb commercial paracord.
– Is TOUGH-GRID® parachute cord pre-shrunk? –
Yes, our paracord is pre-shrunk as required by the US Military to meet their standards. We have personally tried boiling sections of paracord and measuring the length before and after to see if there was any stretch or shrinkage. We couldn’t measure any difference between the cord before and after extensive boiling, which is a common method for shrinking paracord.
– Are the 1000 foot spools continuous (no splices, etc.)? –
We don’t splice our Paracord anywhere. That said; our 1000 Footers “May come in up-to two non-spliced sections.” It sometimes happens, but we avoid it the best we can. A high percentage of the time, it is a full 1000 feet continuous. That said; we never use more than two non-spliced lengths and don’t go below 300Ft. for the shortest length if two are used. The reason some spools have two sections is that they come from “master spools.” The master spools are only 3000 feet long themselves, but lets say a defect or a “temporary manufacturing splice” was found somewhere in the last 1000 feet of the master spool while winding a 1000 footer from it… rather than start over and rewind the (up to 700Ft.) on to some other spools or hanks (lots of time and money re-handling it) the manufacturing team just adds another 300Ft.+ to fill the remainder of the spool. We could guarantee 1000Ft. continuous but would incur a lot of machine downtime and expense in the process. Along with that… we find that 99%+ of our customers really don’t care if it is continuous as they just cut multiple sections out of it anyway. We try to keep the cord cost as low as we can and this is one of the ways we do it. Just so you know… the 50, 100, 200 and 500 footers are always guaranteed continuous.
– What is the shipping weight of each length of parachute cord? –
Our shipping weights (plus whatever additional packaging is used) are: 50Ft. (3.9 Oz.) – 100Ft. (7.3 Oz.) – 200Ft. (14.5 Oz.) – 500 Ft. (37.5 Oz.) – 1000Ft. (70.6 Oz.) and our 150Ft. “USA Tri-Pack” and “Camo Tri-Pack” weigh (11.7 Oz.).
– Will you be adding any other colors to your listing? –
We add colors based on the demand for each color. We are always looking into adding new colors as we want to have something for everyone. If there is a rise in demand for a certain color, we do our best to add that color to the listing. eMail or call us if there is a specific color you’d really like and we’ll see what we can do.
– Are some colors more pliable and flexible than others? –
Yes, some of our paracord colors actually start-out a little bit stiffer than others but become (pretty much) equally pliable with use and time. Our Red cord starts out a little stiffer than any other color but soon becomes very flexible. Our White cord, on the other hand, is very soft right off-the-bat. This leads us to believe that the dyes used in the sheathing must be responsible for the initial difference. Since the inner (7) “Triple-Strands” are never dyed, this seems to be the only logical conclusion.
– Can I use this paracord to suspend my bear bag or other gear? –
Yes, but keep in mind, mil spec paracord is required by the U.S. Military to have at least 30% stretch built-in. So, when hanging bear bags or hammocks etc., it helps to either double or triple the line OR re-tighten it after the stretch is pretty much worked-out from it. The cord is actually made for parachutes and has to be able to stretch so it doesn’t break under the sudden load of a parachute opening. Our 550 Mil Spec cord is actually used for military personnel parachutes.
– Can this cord be used as clothesline? –
Definitely. Clothesline is generally 3/16 – 1/4 of an inch and our 550lb paracord is anywhere between 1/8 and 5/32 of an inch. Our cord is much stronger than clothesline and if your clips will clamp tight, it will certainly work. Due to the Mil Spec stretch requirements, you may need to re-tighten a time or two to keep your clothesline taut, especially over a long stretch.
– Will this cord work as a backup rope for a tree swing? –
Because our cord is built for parachutes, it has 30%+ stretch built-in to it. If it suddenly had to take the full load of a person falling from a swing, it would stretch quite a bit first… maybe even more than you’d want it to. That may cause a problem or endanger people. I’d recommend a primary rope that had little or no stretch to it. (Consider TOUGH-GRID® Ultra-Cord with an amazingly-low 3% stretch and 5,000lb Avg. breaking strength.) If you want to use paracord for your backup rope, we would suggest braiding a multi-strand rope with 3 or more lengths of paracord.
– Is there a way to combine shipping charges for multiple rolls ordered at the same time? –
By default, our products will be packed together to minimize your shipping costs where possible. Where we run into issues is when some cord is in California, but we don’t have the other color(s) or length(s) you want at the same warehouse in California, but it is sitting in i.e. Pennsylvania. That actually happens quite often because we are doing our best to guarantee same day or second day shipping for so many orders. That is the reason our cord is housed in many different warehouses across the United States. If all the cord you order comes from the same warehouse, you will more than likely get combined shipping.
– What is the “Working Load” of your 550lb Mil-Spec paracord? –
Ropes, cords, cables, and chains, have a working load limit of somewhere between 15% and 25% of their maximum weight limit. You should not confuse the “Working Load Limit” with the “Breaking Strength” of the paracord. The “Breaking Strength” or “Tensile Strength” is the average force at which the cord would break if in new and unused conditions when a load is applied in direct line to the cord at a uniform rate of speed on a standard pull testing machine. This is a minimum of 550lbs all the way up to 620+lbs for our paracord.
– Is there any way to buy this cord in Canada? –
Unfortunately, we don’t sell our paracord internationally, but do hope to sell internationally someday.
– Does your 550 cord have a nylon sheath? –
Yes, the sheath is 100% nylon, as are the inner strands. We have a “Certificate of Compliance” to prove this cord meets the Mil-C-5040H Specs.
– Why are the inner cores and outer sheath not connected? –
This is the nature of all real parachute cord. Paracord is different from other ropes and has different qualities. The inner cores/strands are not supposed to be connected and can be taken out for many, many different uses. This is called a “kernmantle” construction. In all real paracord, only the ends are melted together. The 7 inner strands will slide freely inside the sheath except when/where the ends are melted together.
– Is this paracord good for hammocks? –
When done properly, our cord is excellent for hanging hammocks. Part of the US Military’s Mil-C-5040H requirements is that the paracord has at least 30% stretch. This is crucial when they are using it for parachutes since the cord needs to endure a very sudden load without damaging the cargo. Because of that, this cord can be used for suspending hammocks but will need to be re-tightened over time. One way to slow the stretch is to double or triple the number or cord sections hanging your hammock. Also, when suspending a hammock with paracord, you’ll want to span the shortest distance you can to reach the trees (or other item) you’re tying off to. The more paracord, the more stretch distance. The less paracord, the less stretch distance. For every 10 feet of paracord, you will get ~3.33 feet of stretch. Paracord can be great for suspending hammocks but it helps to know how parachute cord works and how to use it.
– Does this paracord fit a standard spool tool? –
YES, our 550lb Mil-Spec Type III Paracord fits a standard Spool Tool.
– Why is your red paracord such a deep red color? –
Our red paracord is dyed to the color that the United States Military purchases. It is a fairly “deep red” which a lot of people really like. It is impossible to show “exact” colors online. People are visiting via PC, Mac, Tablet, Phones, etc. and no two screens display colors the same way… as far as that goes, no two eyeballs see them the same way either. 😉 If you really “must have” a certain color, we recommend you buy a small section of it first and see if it meets your needs, then buy the quantity you want.
– Is this paracord pre-shrunk? –
Absolutely. We have a certificate of compliance that our cord is made to Mil-C-5040H specifications and while some colors are not purchased by the Military, all colors are pre-shrunk, even colors like Neon Green or Pink.
– Why would anybody ever rate this cord less than 5-stars? –
The truth is, most of the time we get anything under 5-stars, the review poster hasn’t had a chance to test the cord yet. We would prefer to have people leave reviews who have given our paracord a fair test instead of giving it a lower rating because they don’t know how well it works. We, however, have no control over that. Most of these folks forget to come back and review and rate it again after they have used it. Kind of a bummer, but we understand how busy people get. Most of our 4-Star reviews are from good people who just haven’t had the chance to test it yet, so they don’t want to overstate anything. We always hope they’ll come back and update things even so.
Thank you very much for reading our FAQ’s. We hope you found them helpful. If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout. We will be updating this FAQ periodically as we see more great questions from customers.
All the Best to You and Yours,
& Son Adam Hanover
Understanding Mil Spec Type 3 & 4 Paracord:
1. “Mil Spec” is the abbreviated term for “Military Specifications.”
2. To classify 550lb (Type 3,) and 750lb (Type 4,) Parachute Cord (a.k.a. Paracord,) as “Mil Spec”, it must be certified to meet or exceed the standards required by the “Mil-C-5040H” guidelines published by the US Government.
3. The Mil-C-5040H standards are very specific as to the types of materials to be used, characteristics like: Tensile Strength, UV and Abrasion Resistance, Elongation, Number of Carriers (Strands,) Twisting of Strands, Inclusion of a Manufacturer Marker Strand, and how the paracord is to be constructed etc.
4. Only (2) two colors are called-out or mentioned in the Mil-C-5040H document: “Natural” (meaning White,) and “Camouflage Green,” which replaced “O.D. Green” (Olive Drab,) in 1994. The US Government (Military) routinely purchases these as well as other colors of Mil Spec Parachute Cord not mentioned in the Mil-C-5040H guidelines.
5. All Genuine Mil Spec Paracord is tested (per batch) and can only be certified if it passes all tests and meets or exceeds all other requirements of the Mil-C-5040H specifications by a US Government authorized testing lab. Records are kept that validate the successful passing of the certification tests and can be requested as a “C.O.C.” or “Certificate of Compliance.”
6. When shipping Mil Spec Parachute Cord to the US Government, it must have a very specific type of informational label affixed to the spools of cord, at lengths specified in the Mil-C-5040H document. These labeling, packaging and length requirements do not apply when shipping Mil Spec Parachute Cord to the consumer market.
*If you’d like to know more, you may download the MIL-C-5040H specifications document (PDF) using the ASSIST-QuickSearch tool (found here: https://quicksearch.dla.mil/qsSearch.aspx) as follows:
1) Search for “MIL-C-5040H” in the “Document ID:” box.
2) Click the “MIL-C-5040H NOT 2” link in the “Document ID” column.
3) Click the PDF icon next to “Revision H”.