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Reviews > Health & Safety > Emergency and Survival Gear > Survivial Straps - Survival Bracelet > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

SurvivalStrapsParacord Survival Bracelet
Reviewed By Pat McNeilly

Survival Bracelet in PackageInitial Report: May 19, 2009
Long-Term Report: August 18, 2009

Name: Pat McNeilly
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Height: 5’ 8” (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: mcne4752 at yahoo dot com 
City, State, Country: Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Backpacking Background:
I have been hiking for at least 20 years but backpacking for only the last five years.  Most of my backpacking is done as overnight trips and occasional weekend and week long trips.  My typical pack weight is approximately 18 to 20 lb (8 to 9 kg) before food or water.  Most of my backpacking is the three season variety in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  In addition to backpacking, I also fish, hunt, and enjoy orienteering.  As a result, some of my backpacking equipment gets use in a number of different venues.

Product Information:

Product: Survival Bracelet
Size: 7 in (18 cm)
Color: Black
Manufacturer: Tough Gear, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Measured Weight: Plastic Buckle  1.1 oz (31 g)
                              Stainless Steel  1.3 oz (37 g) 
Length: Plastic Buckle  9.25 in  (24 cm)
             Stainless Steel 9 in (23 cm)
Width: Plastic Buckle 0.9 in (23 mm)
            Stainless Steel 0.8 in (20 mm)
MSRP: Regular  $18.95 USD

Initial Report
Report Date: May 19, 2009

Product Description (as described on the manufacturer’s website):
The SurvivalStraps Survival Bracelet is a simple bracelet style made up of woven 550 lb (249 kg) paracord.  Each bracelet contains approximately 1.75 ft (53 cm) of  paracord for every inch of wrist size. They are designed so that, in an emergency situation, you can unravel the bracelet and deploy the paracord for use.  The bracelets come with either a plastic side release buckle or a marine grade stainless steel shackle closure.  The manufacturer indicates that if you deploy the Survival Bracelet and return the remnants (along with the story), they will make you a new one at no charge.  The manufacturer can also make approximately 900 different color combinations, so individuality can rule here. 

Product Review:
Plastic Side Clip BuckleUpon initial inspection of the Survival Bracelets, I thought that they seemed very light and noticed that they are constructed by weaving the paracord on itself into a tight strip.  I am not sure that I can describe how exactly the weave is done but it uses a single piece of paracord.  Both styles of bracelet (i.e., plastic buckle and steel shackle) fit rather loosely and I initially thought they were too large.  I could fit my fingers underneath the bracelet.  I was a little disappointed because I tried to follow the manufacturer’s website instructions on measuring the fit as best I could.  Then my daughter said, “Duh dad, that’s how bracelets are supposed to fit.”  Not normally the bracelet wearing type, I went along with this and wore them around for a while.  After wearing them for just a short time, I hardly noticed they were there.

Stainless Steel ShackleI did have the opportunity to wear the bracelet while wearing both short and long sleeved shirts and underneath a rain shell.  I did not find it uncomfortable at all.  I initially thought that the bracelets might be uncomfortable due to the fact that they are actually quite stiff.  However the paracord has a smooth surface and is not rough on the skin.   I also did not have any problem slipping the rain jacket on while wearing the bracelet.  I have not noticed that the bracelet has been a problem while doing ordinary activities like driving. 

After wearing both bracelets, I chose to take apart the bracelet with the steel shackle for this Initial Review and wear the one with the plastic buckle for the remainder of the test.  This was a tough decision.  Both are comfortable and I actually feel that the steel shackle looks better.  The plastic buckle is easier to put on and I believe that I would be more likely to wear the bracelet if I can easily put it on and take it off.  The steel shackle has a small screw which must be tightened when putting it on which a little more difficult.  Out of curiosity, I actually timed myself to see how long it would take to remove the bracelets in the case of an emergency.  I found that I could remove the bracelet with the plastic buckle in under two seconds while it took me eight seconds to remove the bracelet with the steel shackle.  That is not a significant amount of time, particularly since it took a fair amount of time to actually unravel the cord from the bracelet.  I did not time this but it took several minutes to unravel it completely.  The bracelet is indeed made up of one continuous piece of paracord. 

Steel Shackle - Close-upThe bracelet with the plastic buckle was slightly longer and wider than that with the steel shackle.  The extra length stemmed from the extra material of the buckle.  So, when the buckle is clipped together, the two bracelets end up being the same wrist size.  The difference in width seems to be accounted for by the number of loops on the end of the bracelet.  The steel shackle appears to have only two loops while the plastic buckle has four and thus produces a slightly wider bracelet.

As indicated above, the manufacturer indicated that the Survival Bracelets should contain 1.75 ft (53 cm) of paracord for every inch of wrist size.  That would calculate to 147 in (373 cm) for the 7 in (18 cm) wrist size bracelet I am testing.  After taking the bracelet apart, I found that the length of the paracord was 138 in (351 cm).  That is somewhat shorter than expected but is still a very usable length of cord.

The bracelets did come with an information sheet which describes how to take the bracelet apart to deploy the paracord.  It also provides some tips on how to easily put on the bracelet with the steel shackle.  The packaging also came with two “brag tags” which describe the manufacturer’s support (a portion of their products proceeds) for the Wounded Warrior Project which helps seriously wounded soldiers with their return home.  In my opinion, a very worthy cause.

Long-Term Report

Report Date: August 18, 2009

Field Conditions:
The Survival Bracelet have seen quite a bit of use over the past few months.  I have worn it on every hiking and backpacking trip I have taken since the start of the test, as well as on one rafting trip.  This includes trips in my normal stomping grounds in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as some hiking in the Tongass National Forest of Alaska.  The weather conditions in the mid-Atlantic included temperatures ranging from 45-95 F (7-35 C) with varying levels of humidity, often upwards of 90%.  I did wear the bracelet in various rainy conditions, including some serious thunderstorms while backpacking in West Virginia.  The weather in Alaska was fairly cool [temperatures 40-75 F (4-24 C)] and overcast with rain showers thrown in.

Product Review:
I can honestly say that I like this product.  I like the idea of having the cord on my person (as opposed to inside my pack) so, if I am ever separated from the pack, I have it available.  This is similar to other things I carry in my pockets and never in my pack, such as a knife and a whistle.  I have found that the bracelet is one of those things that I am looking for when I am putting my pack together for a hike.  It clips easily onto a strap, so that when it is time to hike, I can quickly remove it and put it on my wrist. 

While wearing the bracelet, I hardly know it is there.  I thought that the bracelet would move around too much but that never seemed to happen or I simply did not notice it.  Only while hiking on the most humid days did it feel at all uncomfortable.  Even on these days, it didn’t bother me enough to take the bracelet off. 

Bracelet with trekking poleInitially, I had some fears that the bracelet would interfere with clothing or other items while hiking but that hasn’t been a problem.  I have been able to put clothing on without much difficulty.  Even when I was putting on close-fitting layers on cool evenings, the bracelet didn’t seem to get in the way or snag.  I found that the bracelet could be worn under most long sleeves unless they were very tight fitting like some base layers.  I thought that the bracelet might be a problem while using trekking poles but I never found it to be a problem.

I did wear the bracelet while on my flight to Alaska.  I wondered whether this would be a problem but I didn’t encounter any problems going though security in the airport.  I am using the bracelet with the plastic clip and can’t say whether one with a steel shackle would be an issue.

I brought the paracord from my bracelet with the steel shackle along on some of my trips.  I wanted to see what I may be able to do with that length of cord.  In one case, I did use it as the center support for a tent.  I found that it is a little short for the center ridge line of a tarp but did use it as a guy line.  I guess it could be used for a ridge line but that would depend on the size of the tarp and the distance between supporting poles.  In any event, I felt that I would prefer a longer length for that.  I found that there is enough line to tie a Swiss seat.  Because of the diameter of the line, I may not want to be suspended using it but if I were desperate enough, I could.

The SurvivalStraps Survival Bracelet is a woven bracelet made from 550 paracord.  The bracelet contains approximately 1.75 ft (53 cm) of paracord for every inch of wrist size.  The bracelet is designed so that the cord can be unwoven and used when needed.  The paracord is smooth, comfortable against the skin, and keeps the bracelet from snagging on clothing.  The bracelet does not interfere with other items while hiking, such as trekking poles.  The amount of cord in the bracelet is enough to use as a tarp guy line or an emergency harness.

The good:
1. Comfortable
2. Doesn’t interfere with clothing
Useful amount of paracord

The not-so-good:
I got nothing

This concludes my testing of the SurvivalStaps Survival Bracelet.  I would like to thank Tough Gear and for the opportunity to test this item.

Read more reviews of Survivial Straps gear
Read more gear reviews by Patrick McNeilly

Reviews > Health & Safety > Emergency and Survival Gear > Survivial Straps - Survival Bracelet > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

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