KIT: Firecord

I saw Firecord on The Bushcraft Store website and was kinda curious about how good it was. I was ordering from them anyway, so ordered a 25ft hank of it thinking that it might be worth making some zip pulls and the like, so I could carry tinder, and cord, and have an actual useful item.

Normally I’m not one for paracord, I find it too heavy, and too stretchy for most of my uses. My tarps use 2mm Dyneema (more on that in another post at a later date), or 1.12mm micro-paracord on my siltarp 1. But the idea that this had multiple uses piqued my interest.

The stuff arrived in a hank of 25′ (that’s 7.625m in real money). It certainly felt like the genuine quality paracord, unlike a lot of the cheap stuff that is sold as paracord. You can tie knots in it, and play with Macramé1, as you would expect. But that’s not the important bit, that’s not why you buy Firecord.

Paracord is a nylon outer with 7 inner braids, that together gives you a rated strength of 550lb2. Firecord however is slightly different, it has an 8th core. It’s this 8th core that marks Firecord out.

Innards of Firecord.

The innards of firecord

Lop off a short length of Firecord, pull it apart, and you have at your disposal a useful piece of tinder.

While you can light the tinder from inside Firecord with a lighter, to get best performance, you want to attack it with a knife and fluff it up a bit.

Fluffing up the tinder braid of Firecord

Fluffing up the tinder braid of Firecord

Once you’ve fluffed it up with a knife, the Firecord takes a spark with relative ease.

Lighting Firecord with a ferro rod.

Lighting Firecord with a ferro rod.

Lit Firecord

Lit Firecord

Well it works. Now to make it more useful. It’s too heavy to replace all my tarp guys with, also a bit too expensive and gratuitous for that… No needs something smaller… Zip pulls. A Firecord zip pull for my PFD3. Now you can buy ready made Firecord zip pulls, but they don’t really give you much by way of actual cord, and they are rather expensive… There has to be a better way.

Enter the Square Sinnet Knot 4. Using 2 x 600mm lengths of Firecord & a split ring, I put together a chunky Zipper pull, to put on my PFD. Giving me some useful cordage, and some useful tinder if I happen to fall out, and lose my boat. All in a 10.3g package.

Firecord Zipper pull + Leatherman Juice CS4 for scale.

Firecord Zipper Pull – Leatherman Juice CS4 for scale

I posted about this on the BCUK Forum, and one of the questions I got back was how well does it work once it’s wet. Well in theory it works well… But lets try it just to be sure…

Firecord in water.

Soaking the Firecord…

I took the trimmed ends from my Zipper pull, and soaked them in water. Content they were nicely wet, I pulled one out and gutted it.

Gutted soaked Firecord

So now all I have to do is fluff the cord up a bit, and attack it with a ferro rod.

Lighting wet Firecord

Lighting the wet Firecord

It took more effort to light than the unsoaked cord. Tho using a bigger piece might have been easier. But after a few showers of sparks, it lit. It burned just as well as the non soaked bit.

Lit firecord

Lit firecord.

I think it’s fair to say it works. I’m now looking at the rest of my kit and wondering where I could make use of cord with integral tinder…

  1. The fancy name for the stuff people do with paracord when making bracelets and the like
  2. Which is where the name 550 cord comes from
  3. Personal Flotation Device aka life jacket aka buoyancy aid
  4. Ashley Book of Knots # 2912 and # 2915
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