Paracord and Knots for Camping, Bushcraft, Survival
An essential piece of kit for any camping, bushcraft or survival experience is good quality paracord.
Often one of the cheapest items in your pack it is one of the most valuable in terms of its multitude of uses.
The multi strand cord is so versatile that it should be on every kit list on the planet – simply because it does so much.
Now not all cord is equal. Military grade cord MIL-C-5040H for instance must be made from nylon and pass a list of stringent criteria to qualify.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to go for the best quality paracord on the market but for the money involved you are better off spending those extra few dollars and go for a decent brand. You don’t want it to let you down when you are in the field.
First lets look at the top four popular paracord options online and see if you can find one to suit your needs.
recommended paracord for bushcraft and camping
Paracord Planet Type III
Titan Military 550 Paracord
Military 550 Paracord
Most useful knots for bushcraft and camping
Half hitch. Both the half-hitch and double half-hitch are probably the most useful of any knots used in Bushcraft or Camping. There great for tying off the loose end of your paracord thats wrapped around a tree or tarp, plus you can set them to be very easily opened for quick release when its time to pack up.
Siberian / Evenk knot. This knot is great when you are setting up your hammock or tarp and is most commonly used when you are tying up your ridge line to a tree or post. A simple knot to master and once you are confident I’m sure you will use this every time you head out camping. A simple pull of the loose end releases this knot. If you want additional security with this knot tuck the loose end back through the loop to lock it in place.
Adjustable hitch. I use this knot all the time to add tension to tent guylines and to adjust the tension on my tar ridge line. Some people go for the common taut-line hitch but from years of use I prefer the adjustable hitch because it holds better and is easier to tie.
Clove hitch. The clove hitch knot is a knot also used to tie up guylines. This knot can be made adjustable as well so you can make slight adjustments to how your tent or tarp sits even after its tied off.
Bowline. The running bowline knot is a greta knot for tying paracord to trees or tying off branches. Easy to tie and easy to undue after a weight load this knot some be one of your more used knots on camp day.
Figure eight on a bight. If you are looking for reliable loop knot for the end of your paracord or somewhere up the line a bit then you should really know how to tie a figure eight knot. Simple to tie once you get the hang of it, this is a very handy knot for camping and bushcraft alike.
Stopper knots. The overhand and double overhand are great knots for tying off one end of a length of paracord when you want to lock the line in place.
Jam knot. The jam knot is a great knot it you want to tie off a bundle of branches or tree limbs when you are building your shelter. Popular in Bushcraft this knot is a simple knot but has many great uses.
Lark’s head or cow hitch. I use this knot frequently when I’m doing work with paracord. I use it to tie my knife lanyard onto my belt or to tie support lines to the end of my hammock.
Sheet bend. The sheet bend knot is used to tie cord or rope of different diameters together. If you need additional strength in the knot use the double sheet knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.
So why do you need paracord in you pack when you are out and about. Lets look into some of the many uses first and then check out the knot tying guide below to see how to put this into practice.
Tarp Shelter with Paracord
First up is slinging a tarp to make a basic camp or shelter. As you know keeping out of the elements in a survival situation is critical to well, your survival. Having a tarp and a length of paracord is enough to build a basic shelter to keep you and your kit dry.
The shelter can be put together in a matter of minutes but can really be a life saver. Sling a length of paracord between two trees, pull it taut, throw the tarp over the top, tie it down and thats it. A simple shelter that would do you for a night in the bush.
The taut-line hitch knot will be good enough to secure your paracord for the ridge line of your tarp and you can adjust it to remove any sagging.
You can find more information on Tarp shelters and the use of tarps when camping on this post.
How to tie a ridgeline for your tarp
One of the most common uses of paracord when bushcrafting or camping is when you need a ridegline for your tarp. Quite a simple setup and this video explains it all for you.
First thing we always do when we decide where to setup camp is to rig up our tarp. It gives you a focal point for the rest of your camp and keeps you gear dry in the event of a sudden rain shower.
Essential Items required for bushcraft tarp setup
First up you need some reliable paracord to rig up your ridgeline and tie offs for your tarp.
There are any amount of brands and styles available online.
We use this one all the time that we picked up on Amazon. Great quality and a nice price as well. A 50 foot lenght will cost you about six dollars and thats it.
You are also going to need to invest in a good sturdy tarp. Again you have any amount to choose from.
Lightweight is best in our opinion because we like to travel light and they compact right down into a very small space inside your pack.
Remember when you are loading up your pack to keep the paracord and tarp right near the top as this is the first thing you are going to use when you hit the camp spot.
We recommend this one and found it on Amazon for about 70 dollars. Overall a great tarp and its treated so rain resistant.
Paracord Survival Bracelet
This one comes complete with a fire starter and about 17ft of paracord. Enough to do quite a few things in a survival situation.
It also has a small knife as part of the setup so its definitely not for kids.
It is made by The Friendly Swede and as always with this brand the quality is top notch. Makes a great gift for somebody – once you get yourself one first…
How to tie popular Paracord knots
How to tie an Overhand knot
The first knot we are going to look at is probably one of the most common knots used not just in camping and bushcraft but for everyday use. Its called the overhand knot and has a great array of uses.
How to tie a double Overhand knot
Quite similar to the basic overhand knot the double overhand knot is just an additional pass through of the loose end through the knot. A great stopper knot and can come in handy when out in the field.
How to tie a figure eight knot
If you are looking for reliable loop knot for the end of your paracord or somewhere up the line a bit then you should really know how to tie a figure eight knot. Simple to tie once you get the hang of it, this is a very handy knot for camping and bushcraft alike.
How to tie a running bowline knot
The running bowline knot is a greta knot for tying paracord to trees or tying off branches. Easy to tie and easy to undue after a weight load this knot some be one of your more used knots on camp day.
How to tie a granny knot
When you want to make a single loop out of a length of Paracord or join two different piece together you should use a granny knot. Straightforward enough to tie, strong and won’t let you down.
How to tie a sheepshank knot
I often use the sheepshank knot when I want to shorten a length of paracord without cutting it. Takes a bit of getting used to but will save you ending up with loads of short pieces of useless cord. Don’t use it this knot if you are going to be putting a lot of load on as it will slip and let go.
How to tie a square knot
Often confused with a granny knot the square knot is really easy to tie and has a multiple of uses. But use it with caution. If your cord or ropes are different diameters, are wet or will come under heavy load then this knot will slip.
How to tie a bowline knot
Are you looking for a knot you can trust not to slip? A knot that will easily come untied after use no matter how much weight is put on it. The bowline knot is the most common working knot around the world and is useful in every situation where a rope is required.
How to tie a double sheet bend knot
The double sheet bend knot is ideal for tying ropes or cord of different diameters together. Popular in sailing this is a really strong and useful knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.
How to tie a sheet bend knot
The sheet bend knot is used to tie cord or rope of different diameters together. If you need additional strength in the knot use the double sheet knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.
How to tie a double carrick bend knot
Also known as the pretzel knot the double carrick bend knot is a great way to tie two pieces of cord together. This knot is often used in the construction of paracord bracelets so you should definitely know how to tie it.
camping, bushcraft and survival knots using paracord
OK now that you have geared up with some paracord you will need to understand how to put it to good use. Below is a very handy infographic from http://www.blackpointoutdoor.com/ that shows you the main knots you are going to be using when out camping or in a survival situation
You have plenty of strength in the paracord itself especially if you went for the military grade cord so make sure the knots you use are up to scratch.
10 great paracord bracelet projects
We grabbed a few videos from youtube on paracord projects you can make today with just a length of paracord, a lighter and a few miscellaneous bits and pieces. If you are looking for a great paracord tutorial on weaving paracord braid to buckles or handles, making a strap for your watch out of paracord braid or just want to try something different then check out the videos below and have a go yourself.