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The Best Paracord Bracelets in 2023

May 30, 2023

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Upgrade your wrist fashion and your survival kit at the same time.

Sometimes, all you need to be prepared for survival in an emergency situation fits stylishly on your wrist. Whether you’re an avid camper or just a weekend outdoors enthusiast, paracord bracelets are a convenient and versatile survival tool you can wear as fashion.

Paracord bracelets are made from about 10 feet of strong paracord rope that you can unravel and put to use at a moment’s notice. This rope can hold several hundred pounds after it’s unbraided, but good survival wristbands also come with added features like compasses and fire starters.

If you want the extra security of a spare rope on your next big camping trip, buckle one of these paracord bracelets on your wrist before you set off.

Paracord is made of nylon or polyester, sometimes blended with other materials. Both nylon and polyester are reliable, strong materials that can serve you well in a range of survival situations.

Nylon is the traditional choice—it’s what the first paracord was made of—and remains a sturdy option with more resistance against hard snaps and shock from heavy weight than polyester. Polyester paracord excels when wet in comparison to nylon. The polyester fibers offer a higher level of water resistance and continue to hold strength when submerged in water or in rainy climates.

Most paracord is rated to hold up to 550 pounds. Some more affordable paracord bracelets are only rated for 250 pounds or less—we don’t recommend this for extreme situations, but this should be sufficient for uses like temporary tents, clotheslines, and carrying small tools.

Some thicker cords are rated for more than 550 pounds. This heavier duty paracord can come in handy for suspending heavy items in trees, belaying a person, or hauling something with your truck. If you need support for significantly more than 550 pounds, you may want to invest in standalone paracord.

Many paracord bracelets build on the usefulness of the rope itself by adding several other survival tools within the bracelet such as small knives, compasses, and fire starters. Some come with watches or are designed to hold smartwatch faces.

We made our final selections after researching and comparing dozens of paracord bracelets based on their weight capacity, additional survival tools, price, and, of course, verified user reviews. We also relied on our own experience here at Popular Mechanics, with many of us, including myself, having previous experience using or owning paracord bracelets and other survival gear. We made sure our list contains options across the spectrum of features and prices, so you can find a reliable bracelet that best fits your needs and taste.

Equipped with multiple survival tools and 10 feet of paracord, this bracelet from Atomic Bear is a true Jack of all trades. Each bracelet also comes with a built-in compass, emergency whistle, and fire starter.

The fire starter utilizes a magnesium rod inside the clip to create sparks while the whistle can make up to 100 decibels of noise, warding potential animal threats and alerting others to your presence.

The paracord itself is also reliably tough with a 550 pound weight capacity that holds up well under tension. Each purchase comes with two bracelets, so this is also a great deal.

A no-frills, basic paracord bracelet, this one is ready to fit onto your wrist and serve you in a bind for less than half the price of some other options. It comes with nothing besides the wrapped paracord and a classic plastic buckle to strap it securely to your wrist.

Fully unwrapped, the paracord measures out to 11.5 feet, longer than many more expensive bracelets on this list. Our only gripe with this option is the relatively low 250 pound weight capacity which may not be enough for many survival situations.

Unlike many of the other paracord bracelets we recommend, the option from BlueStraw comes with a fully functioning watch. This, combined with the thin wrist strap, makes this paracord bracelet one of the most fashionable choices.

While the fashion is enticing, the function is what brings it home. Each bracelet comes with a watch face, compass, thermometer, fire starter, whistle, and close to 10 feet of rope.

The only thing keeping this option from being a runaway top choice is its lack of a waterproof exterior. The watch may take on damage if submerged in water or left out in the rain.

This is another paracord bracelet with multiple survival tools built in. What makes this option shine above other choices is in the paracord. While the 12 feet of length and 550 pound weight capacity is nothing to scoff at, it’s the fine, inner strands that are special.

These strands are deliberately thinner so they can be used as fishing line, sewing string, or tinder for a fire. Each bracelet also comes with a whistle, compass, and fire starter, though some users found the compass to be a bit too shaky to rely on it when lost.

With a more basic style, this bracelet from Friendly Swede stands out due to its easy-to-adjust design. This adjustability ensures a secure fit on your wrist no matter its size.

While many companies offer different color options, Friendly Swede has this paracord bracelet in a reflective color designed to show up in the dark. With the bracelets in a set of two, you can mix and match choices that fit your taste.

However, with a 350 pound weight capacity, these bracelets fall a bit short in strength when compared to some other options available.

If you want to take your smart watch with you on adventures, consider this paracord watch band. Built with an open top, you can connect any Apple Watch you own to the bracelet.

This paracord band also comes with one of the most secure clasps. Using a metal pin, you screw the two ends together in place, ensuring that you don’t lose your smart watch during more physically demanding hikes.

The watch band is only compatible with Apple Products.

A wider, thicker option from Friendly Swede, this paracord bracelet has the added heft and style of a statement bracelet. This style is backed up by quality function between the sturdy 500 pound capacity and the 13 feet of paracord to use.

Each bracelet also has a sturdy metal clasp held together by a removable pin. While a bit tedious to screw on and off, it will hold in place better than most. If you lose the pin, fear not, as every purchase comes with an additional replacement pin.

You can buy this bracelet in three different sizes to best fit your wrist.

Tom Price is an Associate Editor of Commerce for Popular Mechanics, and also contributes to Runner's World, and Bicycling. He has previously covered product reviews, startup news, and even professional wrestling. In his free time, he enjoys watching pretentious TV, low-brow movies, and exercising for beauty, not health. If you are interested in exploring more of his work, check out his website.

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