There is no doubt that paracord has infinite uses in the backcountry, but it seems like most of the time I pack the stuff around and never end up using it. Still, I always bring it. Here are three ways it really saved my butt on a recent sheep hunt.

Suspenders: This was the longest, and one of the roughest sheep hunts I’ve been on. We had to stretch 8 days of food to last 14 days, and we put more than 100 miles on our boots. After a few days, the weight was falling off fast. My belt wasn’t helping much, as my pants were still falling off my rear end. Trying to hike like that is pretty miserable, so using a couple pieces of paracord and some quick knots, I made a set of suspenders that got me through the rest of the trip.

Gaiter Straps: Over the past few years, I’ve come to swear by boot gaiters while hunting the high country. They not only keep rocks out of your boots, but they protect most of your boot’s surface and pant legs, and they help keep you dry when you’re wading creeks. Although they are made tough, on hunts like this the sharp rocks will tend to wear the under-boot straps in half, which is exactly what happened to one of mine on the sheep hunt. Although I had to replace it a couple of times, I was able to made a makeshift strap out of paracord.
Tent Pole Repair:** Finally, my buddy Tim and I discovered a use that I had never anticipated. One night, while climbing into my tent (which was pitched precariously) one of my tent poles broke. The female end of one of my main pole sections split, and of course having lost my pole repair piece, I was really in a pickle. Tape didn’t help at all, so we finally decided to tie 3 very tight knots of paracord around the undamaged portion of the rod. We then slid the knots over the cracked portion and melted them with my stove to shrink them. It wasn’t the best fix in the world, but my pole held up for the rest of the trip, even with heavy snow loads.