I do like me some good cord. Some people have a passion for tents, backpacks, stoves, or maybe even a running/hiking shoe fetish. I like some of those too, but cord and knot tying has been a part of my outdoor activities even as a kid.
I've been testing a sample of a custom made cord that has an amazing tensile strength of 1,505lbs yet looks just like regular 550 paracord. It's called SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) Cord Hybrid Kevlar and is exclusively produced by OscarDelta in the UK as part of their Special Project Division.
Mil-Spec 550 Paracord
Standard 550 paracord has been an incredibly popular choice for many outdoor and backpacking uses due to its versatility and the strength of the inner nylon strands and outer woven sheath. Kevlar and Spectra cord is nothing new and is also very popular for its strength to weight ratio; however the existing hybrid cords usually only contain a single or double inner braided cord. SERE Cord provides the best of both cords making it perfect for SERE.
Standard 550 paracord contains seven inner strands. Each strand has a tensile strength of 35lb (7 x 35 = 245lbs). The outer woven sheath of standard paracord has a tensile strength of 305lbs, making a total tensile strength of 550lbs.
SERE Cord Hybrid Kevlar has six inner strands. Each strand has a tensile strength of 200lb (6 x 200 = 1200lbs). The outer woven sheath has the same tensile strength of 305lbs, making a total tensile strength = 1505lbs. Furthermore, each inner Kevlar strand is a braid of 3 strands. If necessary they can be easily separated by twisting clockwise. Once separated you end up with 18 strands each with a tensile strength of 66.6lbs.
To mark the SERE Cord out from the other cords on the market, OsacrDelta will initially produce the SERE Cord in three distinctive outer sheath colors:
- Coyote Brown / Black Fleck
- Rescue Orange / Black Fleck
- Olive Green / Black Fleck
The inner Kevlar strands are inherently flame retardant and highly chemical resistant. In a pinch they could be used for all sorts of scenarios like making snares or escaping illegal restraint from zip ties (see ITS Tactical's great post on this).
I don't know that I'll ever really need a length of cord with a tensile strength of 1,505lbs, but if I had the option to carry SERE Cord or standard paracord I'd pick this any day of the week. I was also amazed to see that SERE cord has not lost the knot holding capabilities of regular 550 cord. The inner Kevlar strands have not made it stiffer or any less able to hold a tight knot. It's freaking amazing stuff.
SERE Cord 1505 is not available on the open market other than in the form of custom made SERE Cord Bracelets created by OscarDelta in the UK. I was very fortunate to be given the chance to test this cord for the past several months and carry it with me on various trips. As and when SERE Cord 1505 becomes available I'll post an update.
If you're interested in this type of cord but don't need the full 1,505lbs of tensile strength, then check out the SERE bracelet kits being sold over at the ITS Tactical store that contain 10-feet of SERE cord. Note: These kits contain SERE Cord that has just three internal Kevlar strands not six like the cord I've been using.
Related Posts You Might Like:
- Lawson Glowire | High-Viz Cordage
- 2mm Dyneema Guyline - Rated 1,000lbs
- Cord Weight/Strength/Cost Comparisons
Disclosure: OscarDelta.co.uk provided Brian's Backpacking Blog with a complementary sample of SERE Cord for the purpose of this review.