How to make a military lanyard

Coils of a cord image by Alexander Oshvintsev from

Military lanyards make thoughtful gifts not just for military veterans, but also for anyone that enjoys hiking, camping or wilderness activities. Woven paracord, or parachute cord, makes up these lanyards. Also called 550 cord, this thin, woven medium can hold 249 kg (550 lb) unwoven.

When woven into a military survival lanyard, it can hold quite a bit more. Plus, these lanyards allow the wearer to carry a significant amount of paracord on his key ring or belt, making them perfect for emergency situations.

Measure out about four times more cord than you want your finished lanyard to be. For an 20 cm (8 inch) long lanyard, you'll need at least 80 cm (32 inches) of paracord. This seems like a lot, but the more paracord you can pack into a lanyard, the better.

Fold the paracord in half. Measure your desired length up from the fold and tie a twist tie around the cords at that spot. In this case, measure 20 cm (8 inches) up from the fold and tie your twist tie.

Place the cords with the twist tie furthest away from you. Bring the excess cord above the twist tie down on either side of the central loop. These are cords 1 and 2 from left to right.

Bring cord 1 under the central loop and over cord 2. Bring cord 2 over the central loop and up through the loop created by cord 1. Pull both cords tight to complete your first half-hitch knot.

Continue tying half hitch knots down the central loop until you reach the last 6 mm (1/4 inch) of the loop. Slip the ends of the cord through the remaining loop and knot them tightly.

Hold the ends of the cord over a lighter to melt the nylon coating and prevent fraying; do not let them fuse together, or you won't be able to release the cord if you need it. Remove the twist tie, revealing two loops. Slide both loops over a carabineer belt hook.