Why Do Campers Need “Survival Bracelets?”

September 6, 2013

 By Mike Gast

 Who needs a clunky woven bracelet hanging from their arm when they go camping, hiking, RVing or doing just about anything else in the Greater Outdoors? The answer to that is “everyone needs one of these.”

The fact is, these rather simple paracord “survival bracelets” are the cheapest insurance policy you can get against all of those serious problems that can occur that could be easily solved with 10 to 12 feet of strong cord.

The simplicity of these bracelets is ingenious. Using a visually pleasing woven design, the makers found a way to include several feet of ultra strong parachute cord (yep, that’s the stuff that folks dangle under after leaping from airplanes) into a compact, easily wearable bracelet.

You may go years without ever needing it, but when you suddenly find yourself miles from help in a serious situation, it could literally be a lifesaver.

While we field tested the Bison Designs version of the bracelet (available at Cabela’s Outdoor Outfitters stores), there are many manufacturers, and even more gripping stories about how the bracelets have bailed many an outdoor enthusiast out of a jam. Check out some of these harrowing tales from the “Survival Straps” website at

The mechanics of the bracelets are simple. When you find yourself in need, just unravel the ends of the braided bracelet, and you’re left with 9– to 22-feet of super strong cord that can be used to provide a safety line, secure a car top cargo, fix a bootlace, make a tourniquet or leash a pet. The uses are endless, and the cords are nearly indestructible.

Kurt Walchle, the president and founder of the Survival Straps company and self-proclaimed inventor of the woven straps, loves that fact that his invention is both stylish and beyond practical.

“It’s like having a roll of duct tape in your pocket,” he said.

While the Survival Straps version sells for up to $45 per unit, Bison’s bracelets at Cabela’s stores sell in the $10 range. An advantage of the more expensive Survival Gear strap is that, in the event you’re forced to unravel the bracelet and put it to use, just let the company know and they’ll replace the unit for free. Check out that brand at

We unraveled our Bison brand bracelet and decided to do a weight test. Hanging just about everything we could imagine from a nearby tree branch (including my 180-pound self), we still couldn’t get the cord to break.

The bracelets come in every imaginable color and clasp style. There are even bracelets boasting sports team logos and other personalization.

If you want to see the Survival Strap in action, go to

For a quick tutorial on how to unravel one of the bracelets and put it to use, go to




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