Wear It, Unravel It, Survive It

I stopped wearing a watch some time ago, but I miss having something on my left wrist. I’ve looked at various cuffs and wristbands, but leather just gets sweaty and not much else has caught my eye.

Then I read a little blurb about Survival Straps in a magazine. Something that looks pretty cool and is functional? Sold.

Survival Strap

Your standard close-up shot

Survival Straps is one of those cool, home-grown concepts that suddenly gained a lot of traction. Each strap is woven from military spec 550 paracord, making 10-25′ of it always available in an emergency, depending on style and wrist size. Think you’ll need more cord than that? They also make belts and rifle slings.

Customer usage examples range from simple tasks like tying up camp coolers or making a dog leash to mission-critical jobs like saving lives or fixing emergency gear. Whatever the use, the customer just takes a photo and sends it and the story to Survival Straps and they will replace the bracelet for free (plus $5.00 shipping & handling according to the brochure that came with mine).

Even better? A portion of their profits go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Works for me.

In my case, I felt a Survival Strap would be good to have on hand while riding my motorcycle. If I need to lash something to the bike, I can do it. If I take a spill and need a tourniquet, I can do that, too. I already carry a knife, so between the two there probably isn’t a whole lot I wouldn’t be ready for. I ordered my bracelet on a Sunday night, selected the free shipping, and my bracelet arrived on Friday.

Shureido Self Portrait

What the Survival Strap looks like as an accessory

I went with straight black so the bracelet would be woven out of one continuous piece of cord and because black will match just about anything. The wide version also gave me 21′ of cord versus the regular version’s 12′ or so. I paid extra for the stainless steel shackle versus the plastic closure, mostly because it offered more utility than the plastic, side-release clip. I like the Survival Straps logo on there, too.

When I first opened the package, I thought my Survival Strap looked a little like a girl’s hair scrunchy. After I put it on, though, I warmed up to it quickly. The steel shackle’s three adjustment holes allowed me to find a comfortable fit. For the first day or two I wore it on the tightest fitting, but since then I’ve been comfortable with the pin in the second hole. It never felt heavy, but now I hardly notice it at all.

The package ships with both a sturdy, stainless steel pin and a black plastic break-away pin. I selected the stainless pin, which proved to be a good choice as I’ve snagged the bracelet a few times while wrestling with my kids. I’m betting the breakaway pin may have been toast by now.

The bracelet has become quite a conversation piece, too. More people than I expected were already familiar with the brand, and two of my friends are talking about getting their own. My sons agreed it looked cool, and my five-year-old daughter’s only complaint is it’s not pink. The most important approval? The Wife’s. Fortunately she gave it a thumbs up. I still debate whether I should have ordered one with OD green or another color on the edging, but the black is simple and clean and it works.

My only complaint so far is the fit inside my leather jacket. It gets caught in the cuffs of my sleeve and is uncomfortable at times, and I haven’t quite gotten used to it yet. This is something buyers will want to consider when making a purchase, especially during winter months when long sleeves are going to be more common in the colder states. Again, though, I purchased the wide bracelet, so the regular or light-duty bracelets may not have the same issue.

In general, I dig my Survival Strap so far. I’ve been wearing it to work and around town. I like the look and feel of it, and I’m not in a huge hurry to use it to justify the cost. It looks like it will be easy to unravel when I need it, yet it’s held up to the stresses of my kids hanging on it. If I ever do find myself using it an emergency, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

As well as notify the Survival Straps folks, of course.

Update 12/16/11

The Survival Strap I ordered for a friend as a Christmas gift arrived today, and I put it on for a moment to compare it to mine. He asked for a regular-size strap, also black, and I got him the stainless steel shackle as well.

At first glance, it seems a lot smaller than the wide strap. Here’s a photo shot similar to the one above for size comparison:

Survival Strap - Regular

The regular-size Survival Strap

I worried it might be too small for my arm, but it doesn’t look half bad. Also, while I have finally gotten used to wearing the wide strap with my leather jacket, it can still be uncomfortable at times. With the regular strap, I don’t even realize it’s there. It’s no more obtrusive than a watchband, perhaps.

I may just order another regular for myself sometime in the future. I may go ahead and get something with color, maybe black on the inside and OD green on the edges. Not quite sure yet. Then I can wear the wide strap with the extra cord when I go for a hike or on a long ride, and I can use the regular strap for day-to-day wear.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

One comment

  1. They wear those in Wolf Country, don’t they? {wicked grin}