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7/02/2022 3:33 pm  #1

Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

For many years now, I've used a tight-woven 1/8", wear-resistant cord for everything from tarp-tie-downs to food-hanging-ropes. I recollect buying a very large amount of it at a local camping store that has been out of business for ages now, and I can't recall what it was made of or called. Dugh!

A couple of years ago I went to local hardware stores in an effort to get more of the same. No luck! Soft cores and easily frayed outer layers everywhere! And the audacity of labelling them 'ripcord' and 'parachute cord'!

An online search wasn't exactly successful. So this morning I grabbed some of my remaining 'good' cord and headed to the local hardware store. I explained my situation to a senior gentleman. He looked at my cord and said, "Good luck! All we have is soft stuff .. wear out in no time!" Then he told me to try a custom window blind outfit in Newmarket as my stuff looked like what they use. Come Monday I may call them. But in the meantime I'm asking here .. what are you all using these days, what's its proper name and where do you get it?

Here's a shot of one of my ancient tarp cords for reference.



7/03/2022 7:17 am  #2

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

I use stuff from the local surplus store made by Atwood Rope in the US, it's hard-laid, cored , uv resistant, and low stretch. The utility cord is 1/32 or 1/8" and the 1/8" stuff is proofed to 50kg/ 110lb. If you want ridiculously strong rope get the 1/8" DynaX 12 strand it floats and is proofed to 1725 Lbs / 782kg, But... it's as slippery as SYR.


7/03/2022 7:43 am  #3

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

I have moved everything except my throw bags and painters to

Strong, light weight, low stretch and durable.

Last edited by MartinG (7/03/2022 9:59 am)


7/04/2022 2:08 pm  #4

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

I've been a paracord fiend for the past 10 years.  Probably got better part of 500m of the stuff.  I tend to buy longer lengths and then cut them to 50m or shorter length.  I've bought most of it at places like "The Outdoor Show" or from outfitters like Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co. or Hiker's Haven in Oakville.

Basically, I want 7 cores in it and a tensile strength of around 500-600lbs.  I've found that the higher quality paracord doesn't fray or noticeably wear with frequent use, and I like the amount of stretch it has.  Not too much, not too little.  Even with high winds, I've never had a tarp break free or tear a proper grommet, while still maintaining a solid hold/structure.  I've had my ropes for about a decade and never had an issue with "the good stuff."

When I need something with absolutely no stretch I use plain-jane "utility rope" from uHaul.
Stuff is dirt cheap and surprisingly durable.  Over the past 7-odd years with 2 lengths of this stuff I've got a couple frays in the line, but just tie it in a knot off to the side.  Still good for hanging a food bag or rigging a drying line.

-Buy what is available and treat it well
-Don't overpay for rope, but try to stay away from cheap stuff (which is different from inexpensive rope)
-Buy bright colors so you don't accidently garrote yourself 10x a day


7/05/2022 12:43 pm  #5

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

I have never read or thought about cordage so much in my life! I do like the newer stuff with the reflective bits in it, so I might upgrade some of my ropes to this (currently use bright orange and black **no idea why I chose that* paracord for bear hang and tarps).
Painter ropes on the canoes are just some cheap rope that is thick and soft, maybe TSC back in the day.

I am getting tired of pulling old cordage from other campers down from trees and burning in the fire pit though. The reflective cordage is very easy to spot in this regard.
Lately this has been my biggest grievance at most campsites. That and worn out Thunder boxes.


7/06/2022 7:39 am  #6

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

It’s not too cheap but is incredibly durable- thin diameter cord for climbing applications. Most outdoor recreation stores (MEC, Bushtukah, Wild Rock, etc) should have it, usually on a spool and about $1-$1.50/m if I recall. It’s very slow stretch. For cheaper, lower stress, stretchier applications I’ve also been happy with quality paracord. I doubt major hardware stores have anything that’s really worthwhile.


7/11/2022 6:42 pm  #7

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

Hi Barry,

Been looking for that type of cord myself. Acquired the cordage after buying a canoe from Swift off of highway 11 in 2019. Swift provided the same "ancient tarp cord" so I could tie down my canoe. Still have all the cords. It's great stuff, but I too haven't been able to find and buy... I've been looking for quite sometime. If I ever find a retailer I'll let you know. 

Good luck!

Last edited by Dwight (7/11/2022 7:23 pm)


7/29/2022 4:20 pm  #8

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

You could look into Amsteel, blue stuff is the real stuff. it has a very high tensile strength  


7/31/2022 7:38 am  #9

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

I use the 3/16" Amsteel for my tarp Ridgeline. It's durable, light and even floats. Low stretch. 5000lb tensile strength. But it is a bit slippery and expensive, so it's only for the ridgeline. I got mine from Binnacle:

The 1/8" stuff would likely be good for most things (even the ridgeline tbh) and seems a lot cheaper.

The slipperiness is my only complaint, but it does the trucker hitch just fine, and I use prussiks to keep the tarp tight on the ridgeline - these bite just fine

But if anyone found good 1/8-3/16" cord, I'd be verrrry interested



8/05/2022 12:56 am  #10

Re: Where to acquire durable long-wearing cord/rope?

Random Google searches. Something for everybody I'm sure: rope1.jpg, rope2.jpg, rope3.jpg


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