Paracord has been touted as a survivalist's dream, and we don't disagree—militaries around the world depend on paracord in extreme and unexpected situations, and it can be useful in a variety of more everyday camping situations.
Part of what makes paracord such a useful tool in the military, though, is that it's already there. If you've dropped into unfriendly and/or uninhabited areas, you can make your parachute pull double-duty and use the paracord as rope, twine, or line without needing to pack anything extra. If you have the luxury of choosing your line ahead of time, tarred twine or bank line actually outperforms paracord in several ways.
1. Tarred Twine's Strength is Comparable to Paracord
Real US 550 paracord (like the kind sold by SgtKnots.com) can take 550 pounds of static tension before breaking. #36 tarred twine is a touch weaker, it's true, but its 320-pound breaking point is plenty strong for almost all survival and camping applications. Unless you're trying to carry a bear up a mountain with a single strand, bank line will do just fine.
2. The Right Tarring Gives Twine Better Grip
When twine is tarred and then rolled for a complete and even coating along every inch, it grips better to itself and to other objects far better than the smooth surface of paracord strands. Knots of all kinds and impromptu tools, like a knife tied to a stick for an effective spear, are more secure when made with tarred bank line rather than paracord.
3. Cut Down on Paracord's Bulk with Bank Line
Lighter weight and more compact than paracord, bank line/tarred twine leaves you room for more gear with less heft. Again, if you parachuted into your campsite or survival situation, then the paracord is already on hand, but when you're filling your pack for a wilderness trek you'll save space and save your back with tarred twine.
4. Tarred Twine Won't Absorb Water
With proper tarring, twine repels rather than absorbs liquid. This makes it more ideal than paracord for many specific applications, and also means it can be used for general purposes in any kind of weather without worrying about changes in its strength, taking on extra water weight, or other problems moisture can cause in paracord and other types of line.
5. Tarred Twine/Bank Line is More Affordable than Paracord
While SgtKnots.com is proud to offer top-quality bulk paracord at the best prices around, the numbers don't lie: paracord is more expensive to manufacture than tarred twine, and that means it's more expensive for you, too. There are some uses that paracord is still better for, and more convenient ways to package and carry paracord than tar-coated bank line, but tarred twine outshines paracord in many ways and at a lower price, to boot.