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How to Make a Survival Bracelet

In an emergency, you can use paracord for lashings, tourniquets, shoelaces, snares, tying splints, or, if you tease out the threads, even fishing lines and sewing threads. This bracelet lets you carry a useful amount at all times.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: scissors, a lighter, a tape measure, and 10 feet of 550 paracord. Text and photos by Bill Wachholder
  • Cut a two-foot of cord, melt the ends, and fold it in half. Wrap the doubled-up cord around your wrist. Pull the tag ends through the loop. Tie an overhand knot with the ends. Adjust the knot so you can slip a finger between the cord and your wrist.
  • Lay the remaining eight feet of cord in front of you horizontally. Note: In the rest of the photos, this cord is red, not brown. Now place the base cord, with the loop at the top, over the middle of the eight-foot cord, forming a T.
  • Make a cobra knot. To start, take the cord on the right and bring it over the top of the basecord to form a Z.
  • Take the left cord and thread it down through the loop on the left side of the base cord. Go under the base cord and up inside the loop on the right. Pull tight.
  • Make sure the overhand knot will fit through the small loop at the top of the base cord. Next, starting on the left, reverse the process. Begin by, this time, making an S.
  • To finish reversing the step, bring the right cord down through the loop right of the base cord. Go under the base cord and up inside the loop on the left. Pull tight.
  • You've now completed the first cobra knot. Continue making cobra knots until you are about one-quarter of an inch from the stopper knot.
  • Check the fit on your wrist by pushing the stopper knot through the loop at the apex. You can adjust the fit by moving the knot up or down. The bracelet should fit snugly without being too tight. When you're done, trim the tag ends and melt them.
  • To wear, push the stopper knot through the loop to hold the bracelet securely on your wrist. If desired, you can also add wooden toggles, buttons, buckles, and other fastening methods. To use the cord, simply unweave the bracelet.
Cut a two-foot of cord, melt the ends, and fold it in half. Wrap the doubled-up cord around your wrist. Pull the tag ends through the loop. Tie an overhand knot with the ends. Adjust the knot so you can slip a finger between the cord and your wrist.
Image 1 of 9

Cut a two-foot of cord, melt the ends, and fold it in half. Wrap the doubled-up cord around your wrist. Pull the tag ends through the loop. Tie an overhand knot with the ends. Adjust the knot so you can slip a finger between the cord and your wrist.

READERS COMMENTS

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While this "survival bracelet" looks cool (and I have made many in my day) it's not suitable to use as a true survival bracelet. The knot used (also called an alternating square knot) allows only 10ft or so of paracord to be used and the sharp bends created weaken the cord significantly over time.
— Chris Buck

Neat. Going to get some supplies and Flash and I can make them next weekend at PCT Trail Fest.
— pcthiker

I made these for all my friends...one for an 8" wrist has approx. 4m of paracord if you double the cord before knot tying and then double the knots into the King Cobra knot. I also made belts...one fit for a 34" waist has approx. 70m of paracord. As for the not being a true survial tool comment, I prefer to think that my brain, planning and common sense, are the only "true suvival" tool I need, but what hiker, camper, outdoor lover has never had a situation where a couple extra feet of rope wasn't useful?
— hi-linehiker

Chris, what are your suggestions to make a better bracelet?
Anyone got any thoughts on things to weave into the bracelet to increase its "survival" usefulness?
— Jonathan

There are different weaves you can do if you want a bracelet with more paracord. My wife made these with her Cub Scouts and they were a big hit.
— Scott

Sounds like a great project to do with my kids.
— Brandon

I use a variation of this with a sennet braid. It doesn't allow for as much cordage per inch of braid, but it unravels completely by untying just one knot. IMHO, if I need para-cord for something I'd rather not spend a half hour unraveling the other. I've mad one into a necklace which allows me to carry more at a time and keeps my wrists free.
— corwin

Chris Buck, do you have any links to a survival bracelet that is true? Please don't leave us hangin' after the Debbie Downer post, man.
— Beth

I am a U.S. Army Pilot, who has been to multiple survival schools, as well as an Infantryman before I was a pilot. I have worn one of these since '03, and it has come in handy. 10ft is better than no feet, and gear requires maintenance. If it gets weak and dirty, make another. Wear two if you want more.
— Brrendan

Heaven forbid you should need this for a tourniquet. It takes as long to undo as to tie. I think it is easier to use a double daisy chain (beaver tail) weave instead of the cobra. The beaver tail is a slip knot, so it comes undone as fast as it can be pulled. It looks good, too. It takes a long time to tie, but the process is easier than this one.
— Jim Tibensky


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