What is a 550 Paracord? – Full Overview

On so many occasions, you may have seen paracords mentioned in the military or as outdoor gear; well, it is a survival tool. Paracords are designed to provide tactical needs when faced with emergencies. This cord’s history goes way back to World War II when used as parachutes for soldiers. Today, they are made into fine threads, which could sometimes be attached to bracelets for easy use.

Generally, there are different types of paracords on the market; each of these paracords differ based on quality, accessories, minimum strength, etc. Out of all these factors, the minimum breaking strength is the most important, as it describes the weight it could carry.

In this article, we are about to find out what a 550 Paracord means, how to identify it, and how it works using the FAQs section.

What is a 550 Paracord?

If you are asked, “what is a 550 paracord?” The only answer you will provide is a paracord with a minimum breaking strength of 550 pounds (lbs). It is also called a 550 Cord. They are lightweight ropes used in a parachute’s suspension lines for soldiers until they became commercially designed for outdoor survival. It is quite versatile, based on its outer and inner features.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 550 Paracord?

Below is a list of questions that will provide great enlightenment about what a 550 cord is.

How to Identify a 550 Paracord?

A 550 Paracord is often referred to as a Mil-Spec cord when in comparison with commercial paracords. It has a 30% minimum elongation, with 7 to 9 yarns. There are features on both the outside and inside that make the difference between general types.

On the Outside

550 Paracord comes in natural colors, like Black, White, Tan, Coyote Brown, Orange, and Camo. It was designed to blend in perfectly with nature/environment. Also, the sheath is made of nylon material to enhance rot and mildew resistance. Most commercial paracords often come in Polyester and various color options; hence, it is easy to identify them outside.

On the Inside

The inner part of a paracord is called the Kern. Generally, a commercial paracord has 7 to 9 yarns or strands, with either 2- or 3-ply twist; however, a 550 Paracord has a 3-ply twist. Also, one of the strands of a Mil-Spec cord is colored for easy identification. More importantly, they are thicker and measure up to 4mm.

Why is it Called a 550 Paracord?

According to its name, a 550 Paracord is a cord that can hold a minimum of 550 lbs. before it breaks or snaps. It is a common Type III paracord. It is indeed a strong rope since it was used in making soldiers’ parachutes during WWII.

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How Strong is a 550 Paracord?

Not everyone going outdoor has an idea about the kind of paracords they buy. However, it is a good thing that the purpose of this article is to enlighten people about how they work. For instance, a 550 Paracord is a popular military-grade cord that can be used to make tents, fishing lines, fire tinder, snare wire, or even climbing ropes. It could perform all these things because of its minimum breaking strength – 550 lbs. That means it can hold weights below 550 lbs. without losing its quality. When a weight gets above 550lbs., there are high chances that the cord would lose its strength and snap.

How Can a 550 Paracord Save Your Life?

With 550 Paracord being highly exceptional because of its strength and features, it is vital to mention its benefits. For people who have no idea of the unlimited options that this cord can provide, here is a list of how it can save your life as a survival tool.


One of the coolest things about a 550 paracord is that it is strong enough to build a shelter. It is perfect to use when you are stranded and there is no place to stay. All you have to do is use it to tie a tarp to trees and help yourself through the night.


Peradventure there is water around, and you feel hungry; a 550 paracord can serve as a good fishing line to use. It is quite old-fashioned, but it would do the trick to help you get something to eat.

First Aid

Not everyone can be too careful when outdoors; medical emergencies are quite possible. Unfortunately, you may not be accessible to a first aid kit, and you need to make do with what you have. A paracord bracelet can serve as a tourniquet to keep you stable until you find help.


Similar to fishing, you could use a 550 paracord to set traps when hunting for games. It is powerful to hold both big and small games, even though designing the snare or trap is essential.

Moving Objects

Do you have something to move that feels almost impossible? A 550 Cord is a great tool to use to move heavy objects from one location to another.

Other benefits of this type of cord include setting up a tripwire, making a stretcher, building a fire, making a raft, and so on.

What is the Best 550 Paracord?

Looking at how most people prefer to use 550 Paracord over most commercial cords, it is undeniable that there are many options on the market. Unfortunately, you may not be pleased with what you find without professional help. Based on customer reviews and its performance, 5col 550 Type 3 Nylon Parachute Paracord is the best available to use. It has a great texture and a solid structure to provide the required benefits.

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Before reading this article, you were asking questions about “what is a 550 Paracord?” Now, in the end, you have a good understanding of what it means, how it works, and how to identify the best types available. It doesn’t matter whether you need something heavy-duty or military-grade; it is one of the best choices of Type III cords and even paracords to pick.

If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

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  • Josh Klassen

    Josh Klassen was born in Malibu, California, and spent his childhood on the beach. When he was not spending time on the beach, he went to the country with his father to fish and hunt. Since Josh developed an interest in fishing, water, and marine life, he wanted to study marine biology and oceanography. Josh attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa at Honolulu, took the marine biology and oceanography program, and completed it. He studied in many regions, oceans, and polar regions, where he learned so much about survival, hunting, and fishing. Josh currently lives in Los Angeles, is married with two kids, and loves to swim in his spare time.