A lot of people are selling ‘survival’ bracelets, that is, one woven out of paracord. And yes, having some paracord in a survival situation is often of importance. But 10 to 20 feet of paracord does not make it a ‘survival’ bracelet by itself. At best, it is IN ADDITION to a small survival kit which has the ‘more important’ items in it.
By the way, many of these bracelets use the ‘cobra’ braid, which is quite attractive. But it takes forever to deploy, since it is, in effect, a series of knots which need to be unknotted, one by one. If you need the rope NOW, this is not going to meet that need.
Of course, it is possible to address these problems. There are weaves which can be rapidly deployed. And you can add items to and inside the bracelet to more closely approach being a true ‘survival’ bracelet.
On the outside, you can use a buckle which includes a whistle. And adding a compass is usually fairly easy, and if you are going to have a compass, on your wrist is about the best place for it, both from a use standpoint, and a not dropping or losing it standpoint.
Another critical survival need (which it is practical to include in a bracelet) is a source of fire. A lighter would be too bulky and you couldn’t fit in enough matches to be worthwhile, so a ferrocerium rod is probably the best choice. A short, fat one crosswise seems the most practical, although a skinny one lengthwise might be possible if you can find one short enough to match the curvature of your wrist. And there are a couple of buckles, including whistle buckles, which have a built in rod. On the other hand, it is remotely possible that the spark wheel from http://www.countycomm.com might fit; I’m experimenting with it. If this will fit, it would probably be the ‘best’ option since it can be used with one hand.
Of course, with a spark source, you will need a good tinder as well. Tinder-Quik fits nicely; three or four is a good target. Jute is also a possibility, although it might pose a problem if it gets wet. Both can be included.
With a ferrocerium rod, you will need a scraper/striker. Of course a regular pocket knife will do, but it would not be ‘part’ of the bracelet. You could attach a striker to the outside, choosing one which is a bit ‘ornamental’ so the bracelet does not look TOO clunky. At least one of the buckles which have the ferrocerium rod in it also has the striker built in. Another option is a scalpel blade inside the bracelet, which also provides some cutting ability. A wire saw can be fit in as well for cutting wood for fire and shelter.
This covers the critical stuff which is practical in a bracelet. Other things can be put in which would have some use. For instance, on the outside, you could put a small signal mirror. If it was metal, it could also serve as your scraper/striker. Behind it could be a cut-down Fresnel lens. Alternatively you could have a P51 can opener which could act as striker and has other uses. Additions on the inside could include fishing line/thread, needles, safety pins, fish hooks and flys, sinkers, swivels and/or snare wire. Electrical tape not only can keep things together and protected, but has survival uses as well.
Although they can be fit in, water purification tabs should be avoided. On the one hand, they are of limited use if you don’t have an appropriately sized water container to use them in, and on the other hand, they have an expiration date and you don’t want to have to re-build your bracelet every few years.
Don’t want to wear a bracelet? Some of these modifications can be built into a paracord watch band.
When I get mine the way I want it, I’ll post ‘how to’ instructions.