Speaking of my wildly-popular DIY paracord creations, I have a few moments to describe my long-time watchband. It came about after the wonderful metal band broke and Citizen quoted a sum larger than the original price of the watch and band! Clearly some DIY joy was called for :-) (BTW, this might not be a bad time to mention I’ve got a thing about horology.)

A tightly-woven paracord armadillo band, made of a single strand of olive drab MIL-SPEC MIL-C-5040 Type III paracord (parachute cord), held together with a recycled Camelbak buckle, it’s been the source of many queries over the years. It was a quick project, but mindfully making a very tight weave has resulted in an eye-catching product.

The Fastex® 1/2-inch side-release acetal buckle holds the band together. The durability and longevity of polyoxymethylene buckles versus the flimsy, cheap generic offerings make the time it takes to find the genuine product well worth the time. Keeping an eye out for worn-out Jansport and Camelbak packs[1] is well worth it.

The single strand is woven in such a way that the five segments go under the watch’s spring bars. Not all watches have enough room for 550 (Type III) paracord, so you may have to opt for a smaller-diameter paracord.

Following is the best instruction on how to make an armadillo paracord bracelet that I could find today. Key points when weaving the bracelet:

  • Start with more paracord than you’ve calculated. Personal variations in weaving style, ways of tying off the buckle, and the exact size of your wrist (versus what you measured) mean that most likely you’ll have to tweak the last bit of the weave to get the fit exactly right.
  • Pull each weave stitch TIGHT! Cord naturally loosens a bit over time, becoming floppy, and a very tight weave makes for a firm, tight feel. You can’t tighten things later on in the process, so pull each stitch tight as you go along. You’ll thank me later.

That’s it! This is not a terribly complicated DIY paracord project, even though it does take a bit of tweaking to get the size and fit exactly right. Pick your favorite color, and appropriate width to fit under your watch’s spring bars, and get on it!

[1] While I’m doing a shout-out to amazing gear, the buckle I repurposed for the watchband came from the most amazing and versatile bag I’ve ever had the pleasure to wear, the original CamelBak BFM, back when they were made with 1000 denier DuPont Cordura and had the sewn-on MOLLE webbing. Huge cargo space — 42 liter (2600 cubic Inch) — and hydration load — 3 liter (100 ounce) — my go-to bag fits in many plane overhead compartments, is comfortable on my shoulders for a day of out-and-about travel, and was really spectacular during my multi-overnight search-and-rescue missions.

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