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Paracord is an invaluable addition to any survival kit. Like anything else that is popular, many fakes storm the market and fake paracord to a prepper or survivalist can be incredibly dangerous. Due to the simplicity of paracord, it can become a little trickier to spot the fakes from the real deal than it would be for other items but once you know how, you will never be duped again.
During today’s survival guide, we are going to be covering how you can tell the difference between the genuine mil-spec paracord and the many fakes that are on the market.
C-5040H Type III
The military designation MIL-C-5040H Type III has a rated strength of 550 lbs and is the actual cord used in the construction of United States Military.
It is the ‘Type III‘ that shows that the paracord is rated to a strength of 550 lbs. Many of the fakes will use the words “Mil-Spec” or “Military Grade” in their descriptions but the items do not meet the C-5040H Type III standard, and as a result will not mention it.
If you pull down slightly on the end of the sleeve to show the internal strands, true C-5040H Type III will have between 7 and 9 strands to meet regulations. Other types such as ‘Type I’ will contain less inner strands as it is only rated to 95 lbs.
Each Strand Being Three
The next thing to look at is that each of the inner strands is braided from three smaller nylon fibers. These should be braided tightly which makes for an easy giveaway as most of the fakes out there are only loosely braided and in some cases the inner strands are only braided from two strands.
At least one of the internal yarn strands should have a colored marker thread if the cord is genuine. These marker threads are used to identify the cord’s manufacturer. If the cord is found to be defective, it can easily be traced back to its origin. Most commercial-grade paracord lacks these colored threads, and has only plain white nylon inside the sheath.
Genuine paracord is both water and mildew resistant. Any water that lands on the cord will dry up pretty quickly, and won’t cause any problems with the strength. Fake Paracord is affected by water, and in some cases this can lead to the cord becoming weaker.
It may look like genuine paracord, it may even say that it is genuine paracord in the description, but that doesn’t mean that it is. Real paracord will be advertised as “Mil-Spec” and should be tested for its strength and other properties. Only buy paracord from reputable sellers and if it sounds too cheap, it’s probably fake.
That being said, just because you might not have the real deal, it doesn’t mean that you should throw it out. There are many commercial, good quality 550 lb paracord out there, they are just not to full military specifications.