View Full Version : How much 'chute cord?

12-28-2002, 20:19
How much parachute cord do you carry on a hike? Include bear bagging cord plus any additional.

12-28-2002, 20:37
I had 50 thought it was to much, cut it to 25 and at times didn't have enough so i'd go with about 35'.

SGT Rock
12-28-2002, 21:18
I use about 40'. It's good for bagging and I still have some to cut off for other uses.

12-29-2002, 13:53
In bear country I bring 50', which provides me with sufficient options for hanging my food bag when that perfect branch doesn't materialize as the sun is going down. Otherwise, I get by with about 25'.

12-30-2002, 19:18
We brought thirty, and used about 5 feet to create extra guylines for the tent every now and then, but aside from 3 or 4 times, we never used it; a few times as a bear bag line and then once to strap 6 liters of water to our pack to get to a campsite with no water. Otherwise, even what we had was overkill, but it always felt good to have too much rather than not enough..........

12-30-2002, 21:12
I'm always 5' short. I need to find trees closer together.

12-31-2002, 09:50
50 feet is what I use. Longer lengths tend to be harder to manage and shorter lengths limit the available tree limbs. It is a personal choice with no right or wrong answers...unless you don't have enough to properly hang your food bag. If a bear isn't after your food, you don't have to hang it very high. How much does the cord weigh?


12-31-2002, 15:27
For awhile I was carrying a 60 ft piece of cord and a 50 ft piece of cord. I would use the longer cord to span 2 trees and then hang my food from a 'biner in the middle with the other cord. I could get really good high placements this way, and didn't scar the trees because the long horizontal span was tensioned without weight on it. Lately I've been using one 50 ft. piece and a bagging technique that involves throwing over only one branch (near the trunk for strength), then tying one end to a biner, clipping that over the middle of the rope, and hanging the food on the biner. This way the food bags lift higher as you pull on the rope, and are not near the tree trunk when you tie off to another tree as high as you can reach. I think I can cut the cord down to 40 feet with this technique. But I'll bring an extra 15 ft. for misc. uses (like pitching a tent on a platform, drying clothes, replacing broken shoelaces, etc.)

01-12-2004, 11:48
i carry approx. 50ft (purchased from my local outfitter store) & have "chopped off" a few feet here & there when needed.

still have approx 40 ft. i will carry on the 2004 section-hikes. ;)

see ya'll up the trail in 2004!

Brushy Sage
01-12-2004, 12:04
I carry about 40 feet. There have been a couple of times when I wished for more, but most of the time I have plenty.

01-12-2004, 15:43
I carry 45ft, with the guts taken out. Helps to reduce the bult somewhat, and allows me to carry 2 stoves, 2 bandanas, windscreen, and the cord in my gatorade mug.

Future Thru Hiker 2013

01-12-2004, 17:39
I usually carry a 30' peice of para cord but Im making a hiking staff out of a peice of bamboo and I used a 20' peice of cord to make a handle grip so now Ill be carrying 50' if I need it. The cord works great as a handle grip and its multipurpose to boot! Streamweaver

01-12-2004, 17:59
Actually ...chute cord is a little on the heavy side, unless you plan to hang several food bags on one line at night. You can get a 50 ft length of 1/8" nylon pretty cheaply and that will get you all the way from Springer to Katahdin.

Like some others have already said ...50 feet of any cord might be too much. I ended up cutting my 50 footer in half and put half of it in my bounce box.

03-03-2004, 23:08
I carry a few short pieces of 1/8 for tarp guy lines but use 1/4 parachute for food bags and to create a ridge line for the tarp. I can't imagine how hard it would be on my hand to hoist a food bag with the 1/8 line. The small line is especially difficult to untie if pulled super tight or frozen. The 1/4 inch line is generally easy to undo with the aid of the awl on my knife even if frozen hard, and the knots are easier to get your fingers on.

03-04-2004, 02:47
Replaced all my chute cord w/ 2mm hammer cord two years age. Did this initially to cut 5 oz to 1.5 for 50 feet. then the bonuses started. It is more flexible. It packs smaller by 2/3ds. It has better night vis (marginal, depending on color). Slip knot based tauntline and other hitches always pull out with a single tug. Cut my bear bag cord to 32 ft and a single piece secures both the bear bag and "rock" bag by tying bowlines around the common central running portion. Wears great. Only drawback is moderate cost.

03-04-2004, 07:06
. . . and where do you get it? Sounds like great stuff. Thanks for the tip, peter pan.

Rain Man
03-04-2004, 12:09
I carry a few short pieces of 1/8 for tarp guy lines but use 1/4 parachute for food bags and to create a ridge line for the tarp. I can't imagine how hard it would be on my hand to hoist a food bag with the 1/8 line. ...

Also, using small cord for bear bagging can have the unfortunate and unintended and unseen side effect of cutting through the bark of a tree limb, weakening or eventually killing the limb.

I suppose one could always pull the bag up very slowly to avoid that?

Rain Man


06-02-2004, 17:15
your right Rain man the very small diameter cord cuts into the tree bark and injures the limb..

06-03-2004, 13:31
Check out the latest article on www.backpackinglight.com (http://www.backpackinglight.com/) about bear bagging techniques. While methods discussed are probably a bit of an overkill in some areas along the AT. The "PCT Method" is quite interesting as you only 40' of cord to properly bear bag your food 15'-20' off of the ground.

Here is the direct link. (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/bear_bag_hanging_technique.html)

swamp dawg
01-17-2005, 22:30
I started out with 50 feet a long time ago but now I am down to 40 feet. The missing 10 feet has been used for all types of emergency repair and trail use so do not leave home without it.
Life is good on the trail...Swamp Dawg

01-18-2005, 06:19
i carried 50 ft for several years....never needed that much....i cut it in half....still have a few feet left over....

:D unless youre toting for the whole gang.... hehehehehe

25 ft is PLENTY!

01-18-2005, 13:11

I switched over to "Triptease" I think it's called...made by Kelty.
It has a reflective band embedded into it and glows when a light shines on it.
Really lightweight stuff and from what I've seen is as strong as para cord.
I've never found any need for anything over 50 feet.

01-18-2005, 15:30

I switched over to "Triptease" I think it's called...made by Kelty.
It has a reflective band embedded into it and glows when a light shines on it.
Really lightweight stuff and from what I've seen is as strong as para cord.
I've never found any need for anything over 50 feet.
Triptease is recommended for guyline use only, have you been using it for your bearbag?


01-18-2005, 18:55
Triptease is recommended for guyline use only, have you been using it for your bearbag?

That's weird I thought I just posted a reply and it didn't show.

No, I've never tried it for bearbag line.
A while ago I made my own foodbag and attached a rock pocket..I didn't use cord at all. I used thin tubular webbing. My food bags usually are on the heavy side :) and the para-cord I used to use got pretty beat up. It looks like it stretched and having used a pine tree at some point got pine sap all over it.
A bonus for the webbing is that I haven't gotten it all tangled up which always seemed to happen with the para-cord.

The diameter of Triptease would make it pretty hard to use as bearbag line.
It would be murder on the hands to hoist. I imagine though that it could handle the weight.

03-18-2005, 19:21
I carry 25 feet of 4mm cord. (weight 3 oz.) Never needed to cut any off for anything else. I've seen 3mm cord but didn't like it as much as the 4mm. The knots are easyer to tie and untie with the 4mm, I think, but that's only me.


03-18-2005, 20:45
I used to carry a 50' length of rope, but most of it went unused so I cut back to a 35' piece. When I started staying out longer, I wanted a clothes line, etc. so I started packing a second 20' length of rope. So 55' total, 3mm line, weigh 3.7 ozs.:banana

05-05-2005, 16:04
I carry a 25 for clothes line, about 40 for bagging. I have 6 feet "disassembled" where I pulled the threads from the core out of the sheath and I use them cut up for tying clothes to the line. I keep the sheath for spare shoelaces. I de-core it (sheath only) for tent guylines, It's more than strong enough and I like the way the flat core goes around stakes and ties better.

Incidently the sheath makes a nice croakie for glasses, slip it over the earpieces and whip the ends with threads from the core.

05-05-2005, 17:08
I usually take about 40 ft of parachute cord for hanging a food bag.

There were some comments made regarding not damaging the tree branch; if this is a concern try using the "Marrison" method (see link below). I've used this when hanging food for a group (i.e. very heavy bags) and the bag glides up smooth as glass because it rubs on a carabiner, not the tree branch. The downside is that you need to double your cord length, it works like a primitive block-and-tackle. TRy it for fun once, it really works!


07-13-2007, 21:38
Tree limbs won't be damaged, in that the limb dies, unless you cut the bark to the total circumference of the limb.
-I have a clothes line cuz I use a Hammock! :-) -SunnyWalker

Jack Tarlin
07-14-2007, 11:31
Kinda funny that this thread is full of comments from folks who brought 25-40
feet of rope and wished they'd brought a little extra......and VERY few comments from people who brought fifty feet and said they brought too much.

And this is also instructive for you guys who are obsessing about pack weight: Ever thought about how much an extra 10 or 15 feet of parachute cord weighs? The word "negligible" comes to mind. I mean we're talking about the weight of a candy bar....probably, less.

I can think of all sorts of times I was glad to have the extra rope.....there were many occasions after a storm when I've had to string a line between two trees and dry out EVERYTHING I had, i.e. tent, fly, sleeping bag, most of my clothes, etc. 25 feet of rope won't do the job, unless you want to kill an hour or more and dry your stuff out in batches. I've also used the "extra" inches for field repairs of various things, and just about every year, have used the rope at platform campsites so I can pitch my tent (Yeah, it's entirely possible to pitch a NON free-standing tent on a tent platform, but you need rope to do it, and you need more than 25 feet!).

Rope is not just for bear-bagging. It comes in handy for all sorts of things. It's also the perfect example of something you won't be using every day, or every three days.....but is still VERY useful in your pack.

I think 50' is just about right. It's primary use is as a laundry line or for bear bagging, and many times, I use a lot less than the whole length of rope. But on the occasions when I need the extra rope, I'm glad to have it.

07-14-2007, 12:53
I carry 50' . It always seems to serve the purpose with some to spare. I also carry about 12' of "contractor's string" 150+ lbs tinsel strength. This I use as spare guy line or to wrap around a tree to provide a hanging spot for my pack. hanging the pack off the ground helps to discourage intruders, and is pretty handy in locating stuff. the string is strong enough to use in bear bagging but very light to carry. (It was mentioned in one of the WB forums a few years ago)

07-24-2007, 07:23
Most of the time I don't carry any cord. The exception is if I'm in an area where I know I will be hanging my food. The majority of the time I either hang it in a shelter or leave it on the ground in my vestibule. I do take my trash bag out and put it under a rock about 100 feet away.

This has worked for me the entire trail.

Exceptions where I hang my food.


07-24-2007, 15:59
I just carry the parachute......

jk.....I carry about 50'.