The thing about being thrust into a life-or-death survival situation is that you seldom see it coming. If you did, you’d have no problem assembling all your favorite survival gear and being ready to roll. And of course, you’d have no need to wear something like a survival bracelet.
Of course, it doesn’t really work that way. Survival bracelets are for those moments when you’re caught off guard. When you need to fashion a shelter, start a fire or defend yourself, a survival bracelet is a trusted friend and ally.
And the really great thing about a survival bracelet is that it’s unlikely to get lost in when you’re in a tight spot. Just strap it on your wrist or buckle it to your backpack, and it’ll be there when you need it.
We researched and tested a lot of survival bracelets to arrive at this list. And to be honest, in the process of separating the wheat from the proverbial chaff, we found out that a lot of survival bracelets are junk. These seven are not.
1. Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet
With a fire starter, compass, emergency whistle, emergency knife and 12 feet of military-grade paracord, the Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet fits five of the greatest survival gear essentials into one compact package.
Many of these features are cleverly integrated into the design. The bracelet’s secure buckle doubles as a loud (seriously, so loud) emergency whistle, and unbuckles to reveal a flint and steel fire starter.
The paracord itself is tough and durable, though one does have to cut the bracelet in order to use it (we guess that’s what the emergency knife is for). Overall, this bracelet gets top marks for incorporating several effective tools into a simple design.
The compass is reliable, though you do have to unclip it to get a true reading, otherwise the metal fire striker messes with the magnetism. One of the best things about this bracelet is that you don’t have to worry too much about your wrist size.
The Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet is easily adjustable from as small as 7 inches up to 9.5 inches. It’ll fit just about any wrist, and the paracord is comfortable no matter the size. Best yet, the bracelet comes in a two-pack, which makes it a great value as well as an excellent all-around survival tool.
2. Outdoor Edge ParaClaw Paracord Survival Bracelet
The Outdoor Edge ParaClaw Paracord Survival Bracelet is a top pick for its simple design and durable construction. The heavy duty paracord is rated 550 lbs., and the knife blade is safe and easy to deploy.
The bracelet comes in small, medium and large sizes to fit wrists ranging from 5.75 inches to 8 inches. And while this bracelet doesn’t offer the Swiss Army knife-like array of tools that many survival bracelets do, it’s simply and effectively designed.
The knife is essentially the only feature other than the paracord itself, but there’s something to be said for the simplicity of a tool that does one thing, and does it well.
What really makes the Outdoor Edge ParaClaw Paracord Survival Bracelet stand out is that its knife blade is vastly more effective that what you’ll often find on a survival bracelet. The 1.5-inch stainless steel hawksbill blade is razor sharp, and locks into a secure nylon guard.
It does take a bit of practice to be able to unlock and deploy the knife quickly, but it’s simple and straightforward once you get the hang of it. The paracord itself acts as a knife handle so you can wield it effectively, and the jimping grooves on the nylon guard offer a solid grip.
3. A2S Protection PSK Paracord Bracelet
In addition to being one of the most budget friendly survival bracelets we’ve seen in 2020, the A2S Protection PSK Paracord Bracelet offers a commendable variety of features. The 550-lb. paracord is soft and comfy on the wrist, and the buckle is secure. It stretches out to 12 feet when unspooled.
The compass, mounted on the buckle, doubles as a lock/unlock knob, which is a clever use of space. The compass reliably points due north, and you love to see it. The knife, although small, is quite sharp right out of the box, and is a handy thing to have in a survival situation.
The bracelet is adjustable enough that it would fit most wrist sizes, but it might be a little loose on kids and adults of very slight build. A fish hook and a length of fishing line is hidden inside the buckle, along with a signal mirror.
The mirror is so small that it can be challenging to really use for signaling purposes, but that’s a small strike against a great overall product. Other features include an emergency whistle (it’s very loud), a glass breaker (it does the job it’s made to do) and a fire striker (it sparks, but can be challenging because of its small size).
4. The Friendly Swede Fish Tail Paracord Survival Bracelet
Nobody really wears a survival bracelet to earn style points, but the Friendly Swede Fish Tail Paracord Survival Bracelet is honestly pretty stylish in a rugged kind of way. It’s definitely one of the best-looking survival bracelets we’ve seen this year, and at a glance one might not even spot it for what it is.
Part of the reason for that is its simplicity. This is essentially a 5.35-foot length of paracord braided into bracelet form. That’s it! No compass, no fire striker, no tiny knife. And to be honest, we’re okay with that.
This is a great survival bracelet for somebody who has a lot of that other stuff covered. Maybe you have a multi-tool or pocket survival kit that already includes most of those other features. But you never know when you’ll need a length of sturdy, heavy duty paracord, and this bracelet provides that with minimal bells and whistles.
It’s comfortable, adjustable, simply designed and comes in a wide variety of colors. We like it. Plus, the Friendly Swede Fish Tail Paracord Survival Bracelet comes in a pack of two, so it’s also a great value. Give one to a hiking partner and you’ll both be ready for an emergency.
5. Werewolves Paracord Knife Bracelet
With a simple and easy-to-use design, the Werewolves Paracord Knife Bracelet is a great tool for survival situations or self defense. The knife fits securely into the stainless-steel buckle, and the paracord bracelet doubles as a knife handle.
The knife can easily be detached from the bracelet and added to a keychain instead if you prefer to carry it that way (or if, let’s say, you’ve used the paracord but want to keep the knife).
It might just save your life, but even if all you ever do with the blade is open packages, it’s a handy tool to have on you at all times. It also weighs just 65 grams, so you might forget it’s even there.
The band of the Werewolves Paracord Knife Bracelet is woven from tough seven-core parachute rope that stretches out to about 12 feet when unwound. In a survival situation, it’s also possible to take apart the individual strands of rope to get approximately 78 feet of thinner cord.
The standard version of this bracelet fits a 6.8 to 8.5-inch wrist, but the manufacturers offer custom sizes as well as an adjustable version if you happen to be outside that range. Several color options are available too.
6. X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet
The X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet offers four survival essentials in one. With a paracord, compass, fire starter/fire scraper and emergency whistle, you have a lot of your bases covered in one simple package.
The flint and steel fire starter/fire scraper produce a nice spark, and the scraper is also effective for creating tinder. The whistle is loud enough to he heard miles away, and the paracord is strong and durable. The bracelet comes in three sizes (regular, medium and kids’ size) to fit most wrists.
We’ve heard that some users had a hard time with the compass. In truth, it works, but there’s a trick to it. Like some other survival bracelets we’ve tried, the metal fire scraper can interfere with the compass if you’re trying to navigate while wearing the bracelet.
To use the compass, take the bracelet off and hold it so the compass is at the opposite end as the fire scraper, and it should easily point to true north. The X-Plore Gear Emergency Paracord Bracelet comes in a pack of two, and you have numerous color combinations to choose from.
7. A2S Protection LEDway Paracord Bracelet
Of all the survival bracelets we tried on this year, the A2S Protection LEDway Paracord Bracelet has one of the most impressive arrays of features. The inclusion of an LED light is a really nice touch, and the security whistle, compass and magnesia rod fire starter are all welcome inclusions.
The fire starter comes with an accompanying removable scraper that makes a good spark. The scraper allegedly doubles as an emergency knife, and while you’ll find it effective at shredding tinder, it’ll be an uphill battle trying to cut anything thicker than the paracord the bracelet is made of.
But overall, most of this bracelet’s features perform as promised. The whistle is piercingly loud, and the LED light is reliable and has an easy-to-change battery.
Don’t expect it to replace a flashlight or headlamp if on a nighttime hike, but it’s great for blinking out an SOS signal or illuminating something close-up. The 550-lb. paracord unspools to 12 feet, and can also be separated into many more feet of thinner strands.
The A2S Protection LEDway Paracord Bracelet is easily adjustable, so it’ll fit just about any wrist size down to 7.5 inches.
Survival Bracelet FAQs
What are survival bracelets for?
Survival bracelets have a wide variety of uses, and have differing features that makes each bracelet unique. You can unwind a paracord bracelet and use the cord to do anything from tying up your gear and fashioning a shelter to hanging game up to dry and making a tourniquet for an injured limb.
Many survival bracelets also have features like a compass for navigation, striker for starting fires, and a small blade that can be used for shaving tinder, cutting small branches, self defense and a host of other purposes.
How long is a survival bracelet?
Wrist sizes of survival bracelets are often adjustable—some models come in a variety of sizes—but typically range from 6 inches to 9 inches. Women’s children’s sizes tend to be in the 7-inch range, while a big guy (your average NFL player, for example) might measure in closer to a 9-inch wrist.
Paracord bracelets, when unraveled, will measure anywhere from 5 feet on the low end to over 12 feet on the high end. Be sure to check the specs of any survival bracelet you purchase, as the length of the cord can vary greatly.
How much weight can a paracord bracelet hold?
Paracord varies in the weight that it’s meant to hold, but each bracelet should have a rating that lets you know its intended weight limit. For example, 550 paracord is considered fairly standard, and is meant to hold up to 550 static pounds.