Samwise Gamgee ,from “The Lord of the Rings” said “No rope! And only last night you said to yourself: “Sam, what about a bit of rope? You'll want it, if you haven't got it: Well, I'll want it. I can't get it now.” Rope was a gift for him from the elves later on. Tom Hanks said “We need more rope!” to Wilson in Cast Away”. Connor, the Irish avenger in “The Boondock Saints” (excellent movie by the way) told his brother Murphy “You know what we need? Some rope.”
Even 5000 year old Otzi the Iceman had a stone knife, bow, quiver and some arrows, a very cool looking axe… and a 20-feet coil of rope.
Rope is just a practical thing to have during emergencies and outdoor activities, and it hardly gets more polyvalent than mil spec 550 Paracord, the one with the 7 strands in the core. These can be removed easily from the inside when you need thinner string.
Rothco 550Type III Paracord
Warning: 550 Paracord is rated to break at 550 pounds, that’s it breaking point not its practical use weight. This isn’t even close to climbing rope which has at least 10 times the resistance of Paracord. While it may hold your weight, as soon as you start moving the tension increases significantly and it will probably break. Other than a certain death, don’t try using these to climb down from any height.
Having said that, the uses for Paracord are countless:
Building shelters or rafts
Bow string, bolas and other primitive weapons
Shredding the fibers with a knife, it can be used as tinder
Fire bow drill string
Improvised gun sling or pants belt
Nice improvised knife handle
The inner strand can be used as a fishing line
You can build a fishing net or bird net for traps with enough patience
Some people make baskets and other containers with it
While the OD green and black colors are nice, Orange Paracord makes for more visible lanyards in case your tools fall in high grass. Its more visible to anyone trying to rescue you so that’s the color I’d go for emergency kits. Better yet, get some of each color. It’s cheap enough an terrific stuff. Remember to burn the tips when you cut it so it doesn't come appart.
Final tip. Get the good stuff made in USA, dont try to save 70 cents and end up with poor quality cord that willlet you down when you need it the most.