Better Braided Survival Belt With 550 Paracord

If you’ve read my previous post on making your own braided belt out of paracord, then you’ll be very happy to know it gets even better :)  I’ve since made a couple more belts, with increasing complexity, coolness, and amounts of rope.  My latest has worked pretty well, and stores close to 100 feet of cord.  In a pinch, it would be easy to separate two 25-foot pieces of rope and still have a working belt.

My finished paracord survival belt - very strong and comfortable!  I used two different colors of cord, a lighter accent color, and a darker main color.

My finished paracord survival belt - very strong and comfortable! I used two different colors of cord, a lighter accent color, and a darker main color.

Start with two 50-foot pieces of paracord.  If you get two different colors, it’ll create an interesting pattern.  I’ve used two shades of green.  Locally, Cabela’s seems to be a good place.  You can get 100 feet for $7 or 1,000 feet for $40.  With as much as I’ve been using, I plan to pick up a 1,000 foot spool soon.  That’s actually a better price than I’ve even been able to find online.  Without further ado, here’s how to create a sturdy paracord belt that should hold all the rope you need for an emergency.

Start with a 1-inch slide buckle.  I found this at Cabela's for $1.50.

Start with a 1-inch slide buckle. I found this at Cabela's for $1.50.

Loop the paracord through one side of the buckle.  It's not shown here, but you want the outer strands to be the longest, and the inner strands to only be about 6 feet long.

Loop the paracord through one side of the buckle. You should have both strands of the same rope on one side, and both strands of the other rope on the other side. Don't worry, it'll create a symmetrical pattern once we start.

Pull the outer paracord almost all the way, so that only about 6 feet remains on the inner strands.

Pull the outer paracord almost all the way, so that only about 6 feet remains on the inner strands.

We're going to start tying a knot called a portuguese sinnet.  It's the one knot we'll use over and over to "braid" the rope.  Pick which color paracord you want to be the accent (outer) color.  Loop that behind the inner strands, and in front of the other outer strand.

We're going to start tying a knot called a portuguese sinnet. It's the one knot we'll use over and over to "braid" the rope. Pick which color paracord you want to be the accent (outer) color. Loop that behind the inner strands, and in front of the other outer strand.

Second half of a portuguese sinnet with paracord

Take the other outer strand, and pull it through the loop we created.

Tighten the knot, and push it upward.  Now do this about a thousand times :)  You'll always loop the accent strand, and pull the main strand through it.  You only touch the outer strands, and the inner strands stay straight.  That's why they don't have to be very long.

Tighten the knot, and push it upward.

Caption.

Now repeat the knot about a thousand times! You'll always loop the accent strand, and pull the main strand through it. You only touch the outer strands, and the inner strands stay straight. That's why they don't have to be very long.

Measure your waste, and subtract a few inches.  Keep braiding the belt until you reach that length.

Measure your waist, and subtract a few inches. Keep braiding the belt until you reach that length.

Now flip the belt upside down, and tie another portuguese sinnet over top of your last knot.  We're going to add another layer, braiding over the top of our original layer.

Now flip the belt upside down, and tie another portuguese sinnet over top of your last knot. We're going to add another layer, braiding over the top of our original layer.

Continue braiding over top of the original layer.  This creates the width and thickness of the belt, and more than doubles the amount of paracord used.

Continue braiding over top of the original layer. This creates the width and thickness of the belt, and more than doubles the amount of paracord used.

Oops!  I didn't use enough rope.  That's because I didn't take pictures the first time, and this is a cheater belt, just a few inches long.  You should have plenty of paracord, not to worry.  When you get to the end, you can simply cut the extra cord, and melt the tips together with a lighter.

Oops! I didn't use enough rope. That's because I didn't take pictures the first time, and this is a cheater belt, just a few inches long. You should have plenty of paracord, not to worry. When you get to the end, you can simply cut the extra cord, and melt the tips together with a lighter.

You should have 2-3 feet of paracord left.  Previously, we stopped the braid a few inches short.  That's because this is your room to shrink!

You should have 2-3 feet of paracord left. Previously, we stopped the braid a few inches short. That's because this is your room to shrink!

Now braid back down the extra length.  If you lose weight you can unbraid these last few inches,  remove some of the extra, and rebraid.  If you gain weight, you can let it out, as well.  Now cut the extra paracord, and melt the tips together with a lighter.  Do this on the inner side of the belt that won't be seen.

Now braid back down the extra length. If you lose weight you can unbraid these last few inches, remove some of the extra, and rebraid. If you gain weight, you can let it out, as well. Now cut the extra paracord, and melt the tips together with a lighter. Do this on the inner side of the belt that won't be seen.

Congratulations!  This was a fun project, and a much better belt than my original.  There was also an in-between version where I only braided along the line once, not doubling over.  This looked more like a kid’s belt, and only uses about half the paracord.  This project took about three hours, but I just worked on it over a couple nights while I watched TV.

There are two tough parts.  The first is that you’ll be pulling a lot of cord through the loops each time, several arm lengths.  I folded the cord twice so it was only a quarter of the original length, and tied it off to shorten this.  Second, the knots will appear a little uneven until you’re practiced enough to tighten the knots the same each time.  The good news is, your first few hundred knots won’t be seen under the double braid.

Enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Better Braided Survival Belt With 550 Paracord”

  1. Survivalist 550 Paracord (Parachute Cord) Braided Belt « The Chubby Survivalist Says:

    [...] UPDATE: Please read about my new and improved paracord survival belt! [...]

  2. V. Haynes Says:

    Thank you for a great project with excellent graphics. My BSA unit will be able to use these on 50-milers and even regular camps. It also is a great project for them to create. At TAC Camp Freedom, someone introduced cobra bracelets in 2 colors of 550 which was very popular. I am taking this back to camp next summer to keep the older scouts busy during free time.

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