Tag Archives: tool

paracord

Survival Kit Component: Paracord

A paracord, or a parachute cord, is a kind of lightweight nylon that was first used by american paratroopers during World War 2. Out in the field, it was typically used to fasten equipment to a harness, tie knapsacks to roof racks, attach camouflage nets to trees, and as a lanyard for small items.

Early Usage of Paracord

Soon after the war, it was made available for civilians – as military surplus in the beginning, then as a retail product later on. Due to its durability and versatility, it didn’t take long for the paracord to hit the mainstream. Back in the 70s, and even to this day, it was the material of choice for whip making.

Paracord Usage in Recent Years

In the recent years, the paracord has gained widespread popularity for its countless survival uses and also as a fashion statement. In fact, it has become rare to find a hiker or an outdoor activity enthusiast who does not own a paracord bracelet or any other kind of paracord gear.

Since they are so cheap and easy to make, paracord projects have also become popular among handicraft hobbyists – in some cases, as a way to raise funds for a charity or a cause.

Different Types of Paracords

There are 6 types of paracord, namely: I, IA, II, IIA, III, and IV.

Their minimal breaking strengths range from 43 to 340 kilograms. The most commonly used type for bracelets and also in general is Type III, otherwise known as the 550 cord. With 7 to 9 core yarns or a total of 32 yarns, it has the minimum breaking strength of  249 kilograms.

However, not all paracords are made to U.S. military specification, even if the labels say so. A lot of brands that differ from the standard type in terms of construction, strength, and quality have recently come out in the market. Finding an authentic brand can be a little tricky, especially now that China has jumped on to the paracord bandwagon. These brands may not be very reliable in survival situations, so make sure that you pick a good brand when purchasing a paracord.

Personally, I buy paracord from The Bushcraft Store.

Various Uses for Paracord

If you’re wondering about paracord uses, well, there are probably countless. It can be used for virtually anything and everything – in outdoor activities, fishing, first aid, and a bunch of other practical, everyday situations. The paracord can be used for:

  • tying things down on the roof rack of a vehicle
  • mending torn or broken fabric or equipment
  • making a perimeter line
  • hanging objects
  • stringing up  a clothesline
  • replacing broken shoe laces
  • lowering yourself or an object  from a height
  • building a shelter
  • lashing logs together or other materials to build a raft and other things
  • making a fishing line and stringer
  • tying up an animal
  • securing your boat or raft
  • making a snare
  • making a splint or sling in case of a broken limb
  • sewing up a wound
  • making a stretcher

These are just some of the most common uses for paracord; the list goes on and on with your imagination as the only limit.

Aside from its utility functions, paracord can also be made into bracelets, key fobs, lanyards, belts, and dog collars, among a bunch of other things. Among these products, paracord bracelets are perhaps the most popular.

Paracord Bracelets with Side Release Buckles

Aside from looking cool, paracord bracelets can save your life in a survival situation. Once unraveled, the cord used in each bracelet typically range from 3 to 7.5 meters – that’s 3 to 7.5 meters of very useful cord!

Paracord bracelets come in various colors/color combinations and are made using various weaving techniques. A regular bracelet would take a couple of minutes to unravel, but there are also quick deployment types that would only take seconds.

Most are fastened using a simple knot, but for quick deployment in a survival situation, bracelets with a side release buckle or a stainless steel shackle would be more ideal to have. There are side release buckles that are equipped with a whistle, compass, and even a handcuff picker. Stainless steel shackles, on the other hand, are sturdy enough to support 1,180 kilograms of weight, and may also have the extra feature of being adjustable.

If you want an accessory that is both stylish and practical, you can’t go wrong with a paracord bracelet. With its remarkable durability and versatility, it is no surprise that paracord can be found in almost all survival kits nowadays.

 


 

The Importance of Fire for Survival

6 Reasons to Learn Fire Making Skills

Fire, what a magical thing. It pulled man out of the primordial mist, and it can keep your butt alive when things go south in the 21st century. Fire making is arguably the most important survival skill you can learn.

Warmth

Most people who die in a survival situation die from complications of hypothermia. Hypothermia is where you body temperature drops far enough that it can no longer keep itself warm. You then get all kinds of bad stuff happening to you, including hallucinations.

The famous rule of threes says you can live for three hours without shelter. Shelter keeps your body warm and fire can be your shelter. If you get a good fire going you can warm yourself back up and stay warm in just about any weather.

Cooking /Purification

Fire also lets you cook any critters you might be lucky enough to catch. Eating raw meat is no picnic. Fresh meat roasted on an open fire can have a calming effect on someone who is lost or misplaced.

Fire can also purify your water by boiling it. All kinds of little bugs live in wild water and getting one of them is bad news while you are trying to survive.

Protection

Wild animals do not like fire or smoke and will tend to avoid them. Many people are afraid of the woods, it is even worse at night. A fire gives a sense of security and protection that people can cling to when they are in a scary place. The peace of mind you get from having a fire going is worth a lot in a survival situation.

Signalling

Fires are also very good for signalling your position with smoke so searchers can find you. The old accepted practice was to start three fires in a triangular formation so searchers would know what to look for. This has proven to be a lot of extra work running between three fires not to mention having to collect three times the amount of wood.

Nowadays a single smoky fire should suffice to signal anyone who is looking for you.

Toolmaking

Assuming that you are without any tool (knife, hatchet), it is easy to use your fire as a tool or as a tool-maker. A few examples are listed here:

  • straighten arrow shafts
  • burning containers using coals
  • shaping wood, bone and even stone
  • hardening and densifying the points of wooden weapons and tools

Sense of well being

Have you ever sat by a fire and just stared at the flames? The sense of peace and tranquillity that usually come from this practice is a useful thing when you are lost and panicked. Fire has a calming nature to a panicked mind.

Staying calm and keeping your head is probably the most important thing to remember in a survival situation. Right behind that will be getting yourself a fire started. Learn and practice several ways to make a fire and you will have a good chance at keeping yourself alive in the woods.


 

esee izula

How to sharpen a knife


My main knife is small but tenacious as the ant which takes its name: the ESEE Izula. It’s quite comfortable to use and well-balanced for whittling and other delicate tasks for which a larger knife is less suited. I have used it even for more heavy-duty tasks as batoning wood (both cross grain and normal splitting) without any problem.

It’s a carbon-steel knife so it has a good edge retention but sometime it needs to be sharpened. A dull knife is perhaps the most dangerous tool: it slides when you want it to cut and it cuts when it stops sliding, usually when it hits your fingers.

Using a sharpening stone

There are several techniques and many more products to sharpen a knife blade but i like to use the less sophisticated ones. In the woods, simplicity is always the way and so i prefer not to use a liquid on the sharpening stone. Stones have different grits ranging from coarse to extra-fine, but if you keep a close eye on the sharpness of your knife, you’ll need to use only the fine stone to hone the edge and every once a while you should take it back to the medium grit.

  • place your stone on a horizontal surface in front of you.
  • lay the blade flat on the stone at a 45 degree angle with the edge of the blade facing you.
  • grasp the knife by the handle. Raise the blade off the surface of the stone  until the edge side, named bevel,  is at full contact with the stone (around 20 degree angle);
  • keeping the edge of the blade in contact with the stone, firmly and carefully draw the knife towards you. This action will grind the blade from hilt to point. Maintain the 45 degree angle, and the angle that you have raised the blade off the stone.
  • apply medium to light pressure as you’re drawing the edge across the stone. The amount of pressure depends on how old the knife is, how many times you’ve sharpened it, and the current condition of the edge. A very dull edge requires a lot of pressure.
  • turn the knife over, and repeat the process on the other side. If you keep the knife in the same hand, this time you have to push the blade away from you. It’s important to maintain the same angles on both sides of the blade.
  • go slowly and alternate strokes on the stone several times. A very dull knife needs more strokes than a better kept one.

At this point you should have a pretty sharp knife. You can test it by holding a piece of paper vertically, and drawing the blade across the edge and down. A sharp knife will cut the paper.

Stropping

Once you’ve sharpened your blade, the edge usually has tiny bits of metal still clinging to it. If you move your finger along the side of the edge, you’ll feel them like sand grains. Stropping is the technique used to clean off a blade’s edge after sharpening bending and twisting those clinging metal pieces until they fall off. It’s also done to realign the microscopic teeth created on the edge while sharpening.

Stropping is done by swiping the blade away from edge (the opposite of sharpening movement) on the inside of a leather belt, alternating side each stroke. If a leather belt is not available a smooth piece of wood can also be used.

Blade preserver

You can rub wood ash on a stained blade to remove the stains without scratching the blade. Leaving some ash on the blade, you can prevent future rusting (just remember to blow away the ash before using the knife).