Elastic Shock Cord Specs

Updated March 28, 2017

Shock cord, sometimes referred to as bungee cord, is a dynamic nylon cord that has stretching and recoil abilities. These cords serve many purposes in backcountry and camping pursuits. Tent poles, rescue slings, backpack attachment loops and rack attachments may use these stretchy pieces of rope. Determining the specifications of the shock cord is to find the diameter and if it is rated as dry or standard.


A shock cord's diameter is the indicator of how wide it is. Small shock cord diameters, like those used in tent poles or for backpack lashing systems, are typically between 1/4 and 3/4 inch in diameter.

Larger diameter shock cords are used for stretcher transport, professional search and rescue operations, or to lash gear and equipment to sports racks. Diameters of these cords typically are measured in metric increments--in this case millimetres--and are between 6.5mm to 12mm.

Dry or Standard

Dry shock cords are treated with a special detergent and sheath that sheds water, snow, ice and other elements. Standard shock cords do not have this treatment and may become waterlogged in heavy downpours or wet snow storms.

Tensile Strength

The shock cord tensile strength is the indicator of how much weight the shock cord will support under load. Smaller shock cords have a tensile strength rating to 45.4kg.; this means the cord will snap under pressures over 45.4kg. Larger shock cords may have tensile strength ratings up to 454kg. Cords with these ratings are used for mountain search and rescue and in recreational bungee jumping.

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About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.