We have all seen the survival bracelets- made from paracord and have all types of “survival” gear stored inside. Some models even have a whistle or compass mounted to the clip and I have even seen them containing a hidden knife. While they are very popular and advertise their ability to let you carry a wide of gear within arms reach at all times the question remains “Are they really worth it?”
There are dozens of different survival bracelets available, as well as other similar designs including watch bands & survival grenades (so named because they resemble a grenade, but are also made of paracord with survival gear in core). Most include the same basic equipment- fire starter, signal device, fishing line/tackle, maybe a compass or knife. Exactly what you get depends on how much money you spend, and that can range from $15-89.00.
So let me start by looking at one of the available models from the higher end of the price range. After all, if the more expensive model doesn’t cut it how will the cheaper models stack up any better?
The model I looked at includes the following:
- Firestarter buckle
- Liquid-filled compass
- Ceramic knife
- Ranger bands
- Tinder packets
- Surgical tubing
- Fishing line, split sinkers
- Safety pins
- Signal mirror
- Glow light
- Plastic handcuff key
Sounds like everything you need to survive almost any situation, right? No, not really. Let me explain the problems I see.
1. Access to Gear
Almost all the gear is housed inside the paracord bracelet. This means that to use anything you need to unwrap (destroy) the bracelet. Not only is this time consuming, taking approximately 5 minutes to achieve, it leaves you without a means of storing or carrying the now exposed items.
2. Poor Quality Gear
Most of the gear is low quality, that is necessary for the manufactures to make any money when selling premade packages.
3. No Ability to Personalize
Yes, you can pick the color paracord used in your bracelet, but you cannot pick the equipment it contains. Not only do you need different equipment for different scenarios, you also need to personalize survival kit based on your strengths/weaknesses.
Everything is micro size. Sure, the liquid filled compass works well and the signal mirror is a good idea, but both are so small they are almost impossible to employ in a real-life situation. Add cold hands, operating on the move or even stress and these tiny items become even harder to handle.
If you are looking for some modern wrist wear that says “I’m tactical” go ahead and spend your money. It will look good when peaking out of your suit coat at the office, maybe even make the girls in the office wonder if you are an operator in your off time. But, if your goal is survival build your own kit and pack it with what you will actually need, in a manner that allows ease of access and contains quality items that will work when needed.
But don’t take my word for it, check out this YouTube video from a real life survival instructor and get his take on survival bracelets.