Paracord Types, Sizes, and Ratings – All You Need to Know

Paracord Types, Sizes, and Ratings – All You Need to Know

Paracord Types, Sizes, and Ratings – All You Need To Know


Paracord, short for parachute cord, is a versatile and essential tool that has gained popularity among preppers, outdoor enthusiasts, and survivalists. It is a nylon rope that was originally used in parachutes during World War II, but its usefulness extends far beyond jumping out of a plane. In this article, we will explore the different types, sizes, and ratings of paracord, giving you all the information you need to choose the right one for your needs.

Types of Paracord

Type I Paracord

Type I paracord, also known as commercial paracord, is the most basic type available. It consists of a single strand of nylon with a minimum breaking strength of 95 pounds. While it may not have the same strength as other types, it still has a variety of uses and is suitable for lighter tasks such as tying around gear or making small crafts.

Type II Paracord

Type II paracord is the most commonly used and recognized type. It consists of a braided sheath and seven inner strands, with a minimum breaking strength of 400 pounds. This type is ideal for a wide range of applications, including camping, hiking, and general survival needs. It can be used for shelter building, securing items, as a clothesline, and much more.

Type III Paracord

Type III paracord, also known as 550 cord, is considered the gold standard of paracord. It has a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds, making it incredibly durable and reliable. Type III paracord has the same construction as Type II but is thicker and stronger. It is suitable for almost any situation and is widely used by military personnel, emergency services, and outdoor enthusiasts. From building shelters to creating fishing lines, Type III paracord is an essential tool for survival.

Type IV Paracord

Type IV paracord, also known as 750 cord, is even stronger than Type III. With a minimum breaking strength of 750 pounds, it is the go-to choice for heavy-duty applications. This type is often used in demanding tasks such as towing, rigging, and securing heavy loads. If you anticipate needing a high-strength rope, Type IV paracord is the way to go.

Sizes of Paracord

Paracord comes in various sizes, measured by the number of nylon strands inside the sheath. The most common sizes are 275, 425, 550, and 750. The numbers correspond to the minimum breaking strength in pounds, with the exception of 275. Here is a breakdown of each size:

275 Paracord

275 paracord is a smaller and lighter version of the regular 550 cord. Although it has a minimum breaking strength of 275 pounds, it is still robust enough for most outdoor and survival tasks. This size is ideal for those who want a more compact and lightweight option.

425 Paracord

425 paracord is a mid-range option that offers a balance between strength and size. This size is great for general-purpose use and is suitable for a wide range of applications.

550 Paracord

550 paracord is the most popular size and the one you are most likely to encounter. It offers exceptional strength and versatility, making it suitable for virtually any task you throw at it. Whether you need to build a shelter, create a trap, or secure equipment, 550 paracord can handle it all.

750 Paracord

750 paracord is the largest size available and provides the ultimate strength and durability. It is perfect for heavy-duty applications where a stronger rope is required. If you are facing extreme conditions or need to secure heavy loads, 750 paracord is your best bet.

Paracord Ratings

When purchasing paracord, you may come across various ratings, such as Mil-Spec (military specification) and Tactical. These ratings provide additional information about the quality and performance of the paracord.

Mil-Spec Paracord

Mil-Spec paracord is manufactured to meet the strict standards set by the military. It undergoes rigorous testing to ensure its strength, abrasion resistance, and overall durability. If you want the best quality paracord, look for Mil-Spec rated options.

Tactical Paracord

Tactical paracord is a term often used to describe paracord that has additional features or enhancements specifically designed for tactical situations. These enhancements may include added reflective strands, fire-starting capabilities, or integrated survival tools. While tactical paracord can be useful in certain situations, it is important to prioritize the strength and quality of the rope first.


Choosing the right paracord for your needs requires considering the type, size, and rating of the rope. Whether you opt for Type I, II, III, or IV, always ensure you choose a size suitable for your intended applications. When possible, choose Mil-Spec rated paracord for optimal strength and durability.

No matter which paracord you choose, it is always helpful to remember a few tips and tricks:

– Always have extra paracord on hand. It’s a valuable resource, and you never know when you might need it.
– Learn different paracord knots and braiding techniques to maximize its functionality.
– Use a paracord bracelet or keychain to have a portable and accessible length of paracord at all times.
– Store your paracord properly to prevent tangling and prolong its lifespan.

My 2 Cents: Paracord is one of those must-have items for anyone interested in outdoor activities, survival, or emergency preparedness. Its versatility and strength make it an essential tool for a wide range of tasks. Whether you are camping, hiking, or faced with a survival situation, having the right type, size, and rating of paracord can make all the difference. Remember to always choose quality paracord and have extra on hand – you never know when it might come in handy!