Over the last few months I've been slowly pulling together a spreadsheet of specifications about different types of cordage that are commonly use by backpackers and hikers with the intent of being able to slice and dice the information in several different ways, by weight, strength, diameter, etc. I've recently completed the comparison table using what I consider to be the most commonly used "cord contenders".
Before you get all up in arms about all of the cords I have not included let me say that this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. If you feel strongly about a type of cord that I have not included and are able to provide me with the same specifications that I have used in my table, I will happily add the cord to these tables and keep this blog post updated - but you must provide a complete row of data!
Here is an alphabetical list of the cords that I have included in my brief analysis. Some of them may already be very familiar to you, but one or two, such as Zing-It, may be new. I have hyper-linked each type of cord for information if you wish to purchase some or read more.
- 550 Mil-Spec Paracord Type III
- Aircore 1 Spectra Cord
- Aircore 2 Spectra Cord
- Aircore Plus Spectra Cord
- Braided Dacron Kite Cord
- EZC2 Guyline
- Kelty Triptease Guyline
- Spectra #725
- Spectra Thread
- Tether Cord 3/32 (aka Type I Paracord)
- Zing-It Arborist Throw Line
The following four data tables show the above list of cords sorted by particular attributes for comparison purposes.
Weight per Foot (Ounces)
Sorted by heaviest to lightest
Tensile Strength (Pounds)
Sorted by strongest to weakest
Sorted by thickest to thinest
Price per Foot
Sorted by most expensive to least expensive
I have been gathering this data on and off for some time for my own purposes and thought that it might be interesting information to share. Also, don't forget that some of these cords, such as Kelty Triptease and EZC2, have additional characteristics like being highly reflective, in their favor. So it really depends on what your intended use for the cord might be and not just the weight per foot or tensile strength.
Take it for what it is and if it's useful to you in some small way, let me know in the comments below. I'd also be very interested to hear what your experiences, good or bad, have been with any of these types of cord?
Gear Links: Eastern Mountain Sports | REI | CampSaver | Patagonia | Altrec