Shock Cord vs Paracord What’s The Difference?


Is there really a difference between paracord and shock cord? They might look the same, but they’re used in completely different applications. So What’s the difference between paracord and shock cord?

Shock Cord vs Paracord: Paracord and Shock cord both look the same on the outside, but they’re completely different. Shock cord is filled with stretchy elastic (bungee cord) while paracord is filled non-stretch fibers. Use paracord for semi-permanent tie downs and shock cord whenever you need quick access.

Shock cord and paracord can often be used interchangeably, but some applications require one over the other. It all depends on what you’re doing and the acceptable level of give in the rope. So when should I use shock cord over paracord?

Paracord vs Shock Cord

There’s a million ways to use both paracord and shock cord in hiking and survival situations. It’s used for more than just tying down your gear. You would be amazed at some of the ingenious ways outdoors-man use paracord and shock cord.

Generally speaking I’ve found that paracord is more useful than shock cord. Check out this outdoorlife article on 10 ways to use paracord in a survival situation. With that being said I’m constantly using shock cord and bungee cords.

Buy a small roll of shock cord on Amazon and I guarantee you’ll find 100 uses for it. I have tie downs on my kayak, backpack, sleeping bag, tent and randomly scattered throughout my house.

Shock cord is more convenient for quick access, but sometimes you need the rigidity of paracord. Think about the difference between rope and bungee cord. They can both used to tie down gear, but bungee will give you easier access.

When Should I Use Paracord?

Name a survival item that has more uses than paracord? I can almost guarantee you won’t be able to think of something. Other than duct tape and maybe a multi-tool, paracord is the king of survival gear. Every single outdoorsman I know carries a small spool of paracord.

I can’t even begin to list all the times I use paracord on a typical camping trip. It’s sturdier than rope and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

I’ve obviously used it to tie down gear, but it can be used for so much more. I can’t even begin to list all the uses of paracord. Check out American Gun Association’s 80 uses of paracord.

Learn how to tie some basic knots and buy a 250 ft spool of paracord. At 550lb of tensile strength I guarantee you find a way to use it.

When Should I Use Shock Cord?

Do you ever wish your paracord line was a little bit more flexible. Paracord doesn’t offer enough give when tying down frequently used items. Alternatively, shock cord will give you easy access to your gear.

Shock cord is basically just a long spool of bungee cord. It’s great for providing tension in semi-permanent applications. I use it all over my boat and camping gear to secure loose gear.

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