All 550 cord is not alike.

I wanted to lash a carabiner onto Tobie’s new leash this morning, so I pulled the stuffing out of some old 550 cord I’ve had laying around for – well, decades. And the tiny nylon cords I pulled out seemed wrong to me.


So out of curiosity I cut a little piece off that big spool of 550 MM gave me four years ago, to use as a comparison.

I’m not sure which of these is superior but I’ll make a strong guess that it’s the one on the right. Regularity of construction and a tendency to keep your shape and size when the pressure is removed is generally a sign of material quality.

And I’m reminded of a spool of (what appeared to be) real 550 cord I bought off a hardware store shelf many years ago in a big hurry, to do a job that needed strong cord – and the expensive disaster that resulted therefrom. And I say – make sure of your materials.

Speaking of that…


Here’s Tobie’s new walkie leash. I … may have overreacted. A bit.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to All 550 cord is not alike.

  1. Bigus Macus says:

    Whenever I used nylon cord in the past I would melt the ends. Even if I wasn’t going to use it right away.

  2. jed says:

    Good 550 cord should be plenty strong enough, but that doesn’t look as stout as what you did for Little Bear. I guess Tobie is either not that strong, or just more obedient.

  3. Armoured says:

    Can’t say I know either, but the stuff on the left looks a lot like climbing rope core while the stuff on the right looks more like line I could buy separately for light jobs. At least in it’s climbing rope form the fluffy white stuff is super strong. No need to compromise on a formulation that provides both strength and shape-holding when you’ve got the mantle for the latter.

    But I’ll bet you can also get low quality stuff that resembles either one…

  4. Terrapod says:

    Oh great, now instead of the leash breaking he can yank out your arm 😉

  5. Joel says:

    😀 He tried that this evening. But that’s part of what the carabiner is for. It attaches to my very stout belt.

  6. Ben says:

    “It attaches to my very stout belt.“. Que the mental image of Joel being dragged through the desert…by his “very stout belt”.

  7. Real paracord will be seven-strand on the inside and each strand is then comprised of 2-strand. The stuff on the right is legit.

To the stake with the heretic!