Technora®: One of the Strongest Ropes in the Solar System & Why We Use It

Close up image of yarns of black Technora in hand

If you’ve gotten a Cache Kit™ from Wazoo, you’ve gotten Technora® cord in it. If you haven’t bought a Cache Kit™ maybe you’ve noticed the small twine of rope on our Kit Refills page or maybe you’ve never noticed it at all. But now we want to tell you all about this handy little spool of rope and why we choose one of the strongest and well, more expensive cordages to carry in our kits.

Technora Holding Kettlebells

Why the Most Expensive Rope & Why It’s the Best

Well…the short answer is that we chose it because…

We can!

The longer answer is that the assemblage of the specific components that make up our Cache Kits™ has been our life’s work. We take a lot of pride in making the most capable, compact, tool kits and kit carriers, ever created. Not only that, but we built our Cache Kits™ for ourselves: what would we take outdoors, rely on daily as part of our EDC (Everyday Carry), and want to travel with all over the world.

I’ve found myself hanging by a string my whole life and if we were going to make a kit to stake my own life on, it’s going to be the best.

Technora in a well

Dustin exploring abandoned well

From day one, Nick and I have opted to take a no-compromise approach to source the best components appropriate for the specific application, irrespective of the cost.

Ultimately, this made the final price for our Cache Kit™ products much higher than other products considered in the same category.

People would say, “No one will pay X for that!”

Honestly, we didn’t know if anyone would. We just knew we were going to stick to our guns and sleep well at night knowing we were providing people with the highest quality survival and EDC kit components, that they could rely on day after day.

We Built It & They Came

The fact was, our Cache Kit™ products ended up in their own category of EDC Kits due to their unprecedented quality of components. Fortunately, folks recognized it, and were happy to pay a higher price for tougher, stronger, more functional, or more reliable, pieces of gear.

However, until now, we haven’t taken the opportunity to explain why we chose to use this particular material named Technora® that has superior characteristics than other carry-able cordages out there.

Technora Cord in hand

This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s String

So why we chose this fancy cord, with the fancy name of Technora®, that most people have never heard of, and that at first glance it looks like standard off-the-shelf cordage? Let’s dive into why it’s anything but.

As with everything we do at Wazoo…there’s more than meets the eye with Technora®.

Wazoo Cache Kit with Technora

When people see the little hank of black cord in our Cache Kits™, there’s a chance they think it is just standard disposable nylon or polyester rope, the kind that can be found in any hardware aisle.

Little do they know that it is made of a para-aramid fiber, much like Kevlar®, which is used in bulletproof vests, making it one of the strongest fibers in the world…nay the Solar System! (more on that later).

When we started designing the Cache Kits™ we selected and tested components that would have the highest capability within any environment, as well be compact enough so they could be stowed in our Cache Wear™.

Having a background in rock climbing, high-angle rescue, canyoneering, zipline canopy tour building/maintenance, caving, technical SCUBA diving, and sailing, I had a pretty good range of knowledge and direct personal experience with various literal lifelines (aka cordage). So, like with every component in our kits, I became obsessed with finding the best multi-environmental, multifunctional, most perfect cord we could get our hands on, to include in our kits.

Wazoo Testing Technora

Dustin at Technical Wilderness Rope Rescue Course by Randall’s Adventure and Training

We sampled, tested, consulted with experts, and nerd-ed out on the material sciences of all things cordage. In the world of super-fibers, we found the high strength, high abrasion, and chemical resistance of Technora® meet the specifications that we were looking for.

After that, we dialed in the length, diameter, and specialized treatments (there are more than 3) we wanted for our custom hank and the rest is history.

Wazoo Technora® Hank Specs

  • 25’ Length .067” / 1.7mm Diameter
  • 4.5” x .5” Hank
  • 12-strand Hollow Braid
  • 410 Pound Tensile Strength
  • Black, Solution Dyed
  • 500ºC / 932ºF Thermal Decomposition Threshold AKA “Heat Resistance”
  • Electrically Non-Conductive
  • 1% Creep (Extremely Low Stretch)
  • Treated with
    • Bonding agent to keep fibers together
    • Bioside to resist mold
    • PTFE coating to make smooth and abrasion-resistant

Big Things Can Come in Small Packages

The Technora® we chose for our Cache Kits™ is 1.7mm. By comparison, Paracord, the utility cord that Wazoo used to make bracelets that put us on the map, is 4mm. Paracord is almost 2.5x the diameter of our Technora®. Even more when you consider that our Technora® is hollow braided meaning it can be compressed much thinner.

Maybe surprisingly to some, our Technora® hank is also much stronger. It is twice the strength of another popular outdoor cordage, #21 “Bank Line” AKA Trotline AKA “Tarred Nylon Seine Twine”, which is only 200-pound tensile strength, even though it’s the same outside diameter.

By being stronger in weight-bearing capacity and thinner in diameter, it allows us to pack more cordage punch into a smaller area. Meaning we can cache 25-feet of 400-pound cord in a small space like the hidden pocket of our Cache Belt™. The same volume of Paracord would only equal about 5-feet of cord and equal about half the length and half the strength in bank line!

25-ft of Technora vs. Paracord

25 feet of Technora® vs. 5 feet of Paracord

Why 25 Feet?

It’s a common survivalist notion that carrying 25-feet of high-strength cord on your person compounds a person’s capability, anytime and anywhere. Not only can be it used for tasks like securing cargo in the back of a truck, but it’s incredibly useful while out in the backcountry or completely out of the country.

Like when my dad and I returned to a hotel from a survival class in the Brazilian Amazon Jungle and needed a way to dry out our clothes. Tada! Technora® clothesline!

Technora Used as a Clothesline

Later, the clothesline became parcel wrap to securely tie together a package of indigenous goods (bow, arrows, blowgun) to travel back with.

Technora securing goods

Why High-Strength and Tough?

From pulling and hanging to securing and strapping, it's important to be able to rely on a cord that you can really crank down on and be confident it won’t break, cut, or stretch (called “creep”).

Just how strong and reliable is Technora®?

Technora® is 8x stronger than steel!

Technora holding kettlebells

In 2021, NASA used Technora® on the parachute for the Perseverance Mars Rover.

Mars Rover using Technora

It’s also used in other aerospace applications like the retrieval line for drilling samples on the moon, in deep sea exploration, and it is even a replacement for steel cables on boats.

Carrying a strong, wear-resistant, chemical-resistant (like sea water), low-to-no-stretch cordage, that is relied on in some of the most extreme environments on Earth AND in the Solar System means you can lean on its unique properties in a worst-case situation, like a ridge-line on an emergency shelter.

It’s also really cool use it on a fun project, like when I made this quickie bow, using Technora® as a bowstring.

Technora used as a bowstring

Technora’s high-strength and low-stretch properties make a perfect bowstring.

Why Fire Resistant?

An easy-to-overlook characteristic of Technora® is its high heat resistance, or thermal decomposition threshold of 500ºC / 932ºF. This allows it to shine in applications where traditional cords like nylon or polyester would melt, such as when you’re boiling water in an Emergency Reservoir™ with your buddy Jason Salyer on a 72 Hour Wazoo Gear-only wilderness trip challenge.

Wazoo 72-hour survival challenge

Since Technora® can get pretty hot and not degrade, it can be used against other materials as “friction saw,” like the commonly taught escape and evasion tactic to cut through plastic cable ties. Any material with a lower heat resistance can be cut also, like PVC or leather.

Why Black?

There’s a very good reason and it’s not because “it goes with everything!”

Technora Strands

Coloring the cord increases its ability to resist UV damage, which is really the only trait that Technora® doesn’t excel at. So in applications where it will be exposed to the sun, the black coloring of the cord allows it retain its strength.

The yarns of Technora® are naturally pale yellow. There are two types of coloring options, dip dye and solution dye. Dip dye is the most common as it is a simple and cost-effective process of dipping the product in the dye. However, using this method, the dye is only adhered to the surface and doesn’t penetrate throughout, so it can easily rub off. On the other hand, solution dye, is a more complex and costly process but it penetrates the fibers thoroughly and makes the dye an inherent part of the final product.

Can you guess which process we opted for?

Yep, solution dyeing. The better quality one. Did I mention it’s more expensive? 😂😂😂

Still Here?

If you read this far, thank you! I hope you enjoyed a deeper dive into why we do what we do, and particularly why we chose Technora® as our solution to incorporating 1 of the 5 C’s of Survivability into our kit.

If you dug this product deep dive, please leave a comment to let us know and we’ll keep on digging in on our gear with ya!

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