Straps Survival Bracelet
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Location: Western West Virginia, U.S.A.
a long-time interest, I started backpacking
five years ago. In addition to
day-hiking and weekend backpacking trips I try to do one longer trip
year. A couple of years ago I began a
project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little
mi (400 km) so far. My backpacking style
always seems to be evolving somewhat, and I like trying different gear
techniques. I can probably best be
described as lightweight and minimalist; cutting as much pack weight as
without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety
Initial Report - June 2, 2009
Manufacturer: Survival Straps
Year of manufacture: 2009
Model: Regular Survival Bracelet
Bracelet material: 550 lb test military spec paracord
Size: X-Small (fits 6.5 in/16.5 cm wrist)
Manufacturer specified weight: not given
Measured weights ~
with plastic buckle: 30 g (1 oz)
with stainless steel shackle: 36 g (1.3 oz)
Advertised dimensions: not listed
Measured dimensions ~
1 in width (2.5 cm)
approx. 1/4 to 1/2 in (0.6 to 1.3 cm) thick
inside dimensions: 6.75 in (17 cm) circumference
outside dimensions: plastic buckle - 9.5 in (24 cm)
stainless shackle - 9.25 in (23.5 cm)
Measured length of cord in disassembled bracelet: 10.75 ft (3.3
(claimed length 1.75 ft/0.5 m per inch of wrist size)
MSRP: $18.95 with plastic buckle
$21.95 with stainless steel shackle
The Survival Straps bracelet is emergency paracord masquerading as
casual jewelry. Or is that casual jewelry masquerading as
emergency/survival gear? Either way, it is a unique piece of gear
that can be worn daily, making it handy to always have a length of
sturdy cord available.
The manufacturer sent me two different bracelets - one with a plastic
quick release buckle, and one with a stainless steel shackle. The
bracelets are each woven from a single piece of black paracord.
Each bracelet has a fairly similar weave, with the cord running in a
zig-zag fashion from one side to the other and the edges having an
interlocking pattern. They are neatly and tightly woven.
They fasten to the attachment piece (the buckle or shackle) in slightly
different manners due to the nature of the fasteners, as can be seen in
the photos above. Below is a detail view of the bracelet with the
stainless steel shackle with the fastener open. The only slight
irregularity I noticed in the bracelets can be seen in this photo,
which is that one of the fastening loops is slightly longer than the
The bracelets look like I expected they would, based on the
manufacturer website information and photos.
Trying them out:
I have had fun over the last few days trying to figure out which
bracelet I liked better, since part of our testing involves taking one
bracelet apart. As I've worn them, I've found the bracelet with
the quick release buckle is literally a snap to put on and take
As with any normal quick release buckle, I merely have to push the
pronged end into the slotted buckle to fasten the bracelet on my
arm. Taking it off is nearly as easy - I just squeeze the sides
of the buckle with my forefinger and thumb and it pops open. The
shackled bracelet requires a little more effort. It takes about
12 twists to unfasten the threaded pin. Then I slide the pin out
of the way, line up the two loops of paracord that the pin passes
through to keep the bracelet in place, then hold the two edges of the
bracelet in place while screwing the pin back in. While not
really difficult, it does require a little more dexterity and effort.
I noticed a very slight difference in the bracelets in that the one
with the stainless steel shackle seemed to lay a little better on my
arm, being slightly more flexible. I think this is due to the
plastic buckle assembly being slightly longer, and the way that the
cord attaches to it creating a firmer surface in the buckle area.
Still both bracelets were very comfortable overall. I did find it
was more comfortable to wear the grip section of the stainless steel
shackle toward my elbow rather than toward my hand, where it might poke
me when I flexed my wrist during tasks such as typing.
One slight disadvantage of the bracelet with the plastic buckle is that
if I didn't watch what I was doing I might end up pinching my arm in
the buckle. After a couple of times having to unfasten the
bracelet to release a pinched bit of skin, I learned to make sure the
buckle was well away from my arm BEFORE pushing it closed.
Ouch! Pinched skin was never a problem with the bracelet with the
stainless steel shackle.
I was still having a very difficult time deciding which bracelet I
wanted to take apart, and which I wanted to keep together to wear for
the rest of the test period. Did I want comfort (the stainless
steel shackle) over convenience (the quick release buckle), or did I
want convenience over comfort? Finally, the gram weenie in me
came out, and I decided to weigh the two. The bracelet with the
quick release is a whole 6 g lighter! Woo-hoo! Decision
After measuring the two bracelets I began to take apart the one with
the stainless steel shackle. It was a very easy process. I
simply found the two short, loose ends of cord which were tucked under
the second set of stitches from the looped end of the bracelet (visible
in the photo in the above section), and tugged on the first pair of
side loops on the edges of the bracelet. Although the ends are
firmly set in place, with a little persistent tug they came loose and I
was on my way to a disassembled bracelet. It was very easy to
take the bracelet apart. While it is a fairly intricate looking
weave, it is basically just laced back and forth over two doubled
lengths of cord that form the core, with each side being tucked under a
loop in the other side to make the edge as the cord is woven back and
forth. I didn't time myself taking it apart, as I did it slowly
and carefully and took a few pictures as I went. I had the idea
that I might want to try reassembling the bracelet, so I took my time
observing how it was made. I think that if I needed to take it
apart quickly it would only take a minute or two. Below are a
series of photos of the disassembly process.
When I was finished taking the bracelet apart, I had 129 in (328 cm) or
10.75 ft (3.3 m) of paracord plus a stainless steel shackle. This
is slightly smaller than the manufacturer claim of 1.75 ft (0.5 m) per
inch of wrist size, but only about 7.5 in (19 cm) less.
Personally I wouldn't consider this a significant variance.
I next had a bit of fun (and frustration) trying to put the bracelet
back together. I can tell you that it is MUCH easier to take
apart than weave back together. After several false starts, I was
able to weave it back together in a manner fairly similar to the
original bracelet. I think I have the weave right, but
found it difficult to start and I don't believe it is fastened on the
shackle exactly as it was. My effort also ended up more loosely
woven and a bit shorter. This is likely due to one side ending up
with about 1.5 in (4 cm) more cord than the other. I tucked the
excess cord under an extra loop. Maybe someday when I am in camp
and bored I will take it apart again and see if I can get it closer to
the original. In the mean while, the bracelet is still wearable -
just not as neat as the original. And, oh yeah, a lot harder to
fasten because I ended up with shorter loops that were flat with the
bracelet rather than perpendicular like the original ones. Below
is a photo of the reassembled bracelet.
Survival Straps has a nice replacement policy - if the bracelet is
disassembled and used in an emergency situation, the left over bits can
be returned with $5 for shipping and the story of how it was used and
Straps will replace it with a new one. The owner's manual that
shipped with the bracelets also states "If the remnants of your
original SurvivalStrap have been destroyed, eaten, disintegrated, or
whatever, no problem! You can just give us your harrowing (true)
story of how it was used, and we'll get you a new one."
I think this is a very cool guarantee. Based on the hour and a
half or so I devoted to putting the bracelet back together, and the
less professional looking results shown above, $5 and a story for a new
one seems like a real bargain!
The Survival Straps Survival Bracelet is a well made piece of casual
jewelry that keeps a length of emergency cord literally at hand at all
times. The bracelet is neat in appearance. While it's a
little more casual than I would wear with formal clothing, it is well
suited for wearing with casual clothing such as jeans and T-shirts or
khakis and casual button-up shirts for every day use, and very well
suited to go with the nylon convertible pants and wool tops I normally
wear while hiking.
So far I've found both styles to be very comfortable to wear, even
while sleeping. The bracelets are easy to take apart, and I feel
that I could quickly deploy the cord for use when necessary. The
length seems like it would be sufficient to use in a number of
ways. A few I've thought of - it could be a clothes line to dry
clothing if I fall in a cold, raging stream; it could be cut
and used to lash branches to a tree for an emergency shelter; it could
be used to tie something to the top of my Jeep (like if I find a kayak
or canoe at a yard sale and want to haul it home); it could tie my
parents Suburban door shut if the latch fails again. It could
even be used to tie my grandkids up when they are driving me
crazy! (I swear, officer, we were playing cowboys & Indians,
er, cops & robbers, - yeah, that's it.)
Final Report - August 24, 2009
Locations and Conditions:
In early June I wore the Survival Straps bracelet with the quick
release buckle on a car camping trip with an 8 mi/13 km day
hike on the AT in Shenandoah National Park. Weather conditions
were dry and relatively warm, with temperatures in
the 80 F (27 C) range during the day, cooling down into the 60 F (16 C)
range at night.
In late June I wore the bracelet with the stainless steel shackle on an
overnight car camping trip in
southeastern Ohio. Temperatures were around 80 F (27 C) during
and 65 F (18 C) at night, with a passing thunderstorm in the afternoon,
but otherwise dry conditions.
In late July I wore the bracelets during a 4-day Girl Scout encampment,
switching back and forth between the two.
Temperatures were in the 60-80 F range (16-27 C). The weather
varied from sunny to light rain to a heavy downpour. The bracelet
with the stainless steel shackle got a good soaking in an afternoon
In early August I wore the bracelet with the stainless steel shackle on
a 4 mi (6.5 km) hike in Prince William
Forest in eastern Virginia. The weather was hot and muggy, with
high humidity and temperatures in the mid 80 F (around 30 C) range.
I've also worn the bracelets on approximately 6 short day hikes in
Virginia. Each hike was about 3 mi (5 km). The locations
varied from old semi-maintained
county roads or gas well roads to wooded trail. Temperatures
ranged from about
60-80 F (16-27 C). Weather for these hikes was mostly dry, with
some days overcast and some bright and sunny.
In addition, I've worn one or the other of the bracelets nearly daily
for various activities, work, taking the grandkids to the playground,
running errands, and I even swam in them in the local pool a couple of
The bracelets have been a pleasure to test. I found I preferred
wearing the one with the stainless steel shackle, as it just felt more
comfortable. Sometimes when I wore the one with the quick release
buckle I would find that after several hours of wearing it, it would
begin to be noticeable and slightly uncomfortable, particularly when I
was keyboarding. Neither bracelet ever bothered me while I was
hiking (even when using trekking poles), or driving. A few times
the bracelet with the quick release buckle would feel uncomfortable
during the night, and I would wake up and take it off. I never
experienced this with the bracelet with the shackle. I think this
is due to the length and stiffness of the buckle assembly.
Neither bracelet ever caught on anything while I was wearing them,
which was somewhat of a surprise, especially for the one with the
stainless steel shackle with its protruding fastening pin. I did
find it was much more comfortable to wear it with the pin handle facing
away from my hand.
I wore the bracelets a couple of times each while I was bathing.
The bracelets dried relatively quickly (within 30 minutes or so) after
swimming or bathing. One thing I was impressed with was that the
bracelets did not collect a lot of dirt or debris. Neither have
they faded or become picked or loose. Both still look as good as
new (except for the less expert re-weaving job on the one with the
stainless steel shackle).
Thankfully I did not face a situation where I needed the paracord from
the Survival Straps bracelet, but I found that wearing the bracelet is
a fun and attractive way of always having a few feet of cord handy if
the need arises. The bracelets have been both comfortable and
durable, and I plan to continue wearing them for both my outdoor
activities and everyday use, with the one with the stainless steel
shackle likely to see the most use.
Quick release buckle a little uncomfortable at times
Thanks to Survival Straps and BackpackGearTest.org for the
test the Survival Bracelet.
Read more reviews of Survivial Straps gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant