A couple of weeks ago, Don Leiser (the web manager from COBRABRAID) contacted me and told me that their new Zipbraid Paracord Bracelets were now available and asked me if I would like him to ship me 2 out for a review. What makes these bracelets so cool when compared to other paracord bracelets is that these Zipbraid bracelets are advertised to unwind in a mere 5 seconds! And I must admit, after using one of the regular COBRABRAID Paracord Bracelets for the last few months, I have come to like the whole concept of using these “survival” bracelets. So when Don asked me if I would like for him to send me some of these Zipbraid bracelets for a review, I said sure!
Don suggested that he send 2 of the bracelets, this way I could actually wear/use one bracelet and unwind the other one for demonstration purposes. (After all, the beauty of these bracelets are in how fast they will unwind, and lets face it, this is what we all want to see…not just me wearing it.) So this time when requesting the bracelets, I asked Don to send two different sizes, one that was 8 inches and one that was 7.5 inches, this way I could keep the one that was a little better fit. Also, I decided to go with a more earth-tone color with this bracelet, so I requested them both in the “Desert Camo” colored paracord.
Then just a couple of days ago, the bracelets showed up in the mail! :)
These bracelets are made using the same, real-deal, 550 paracord (featuring 7 inner woven strands surrounded by a tightly woven sheath) that is made in the USA by a military contractor and is used in the other COBRABRAID Paracord products. The only difference (as far as I can tell) is in the actual braid that is used to weave these bracelets (Cobrabraid vs Zipbraid). As well, all of the Zipbraid Paracord Bracelets come with a stainless steel shackle as the closure device (the other closure devices on the site are not an option for this particular bracelet due to the design).
When I opened the package that Don sent me containing the bracelets, my first thoughts were of how much bigger these looked than the original, Cobrabraid style bracelets. This is probably due in part to the different weave/braid method used on the Zipbraid bracelets as compared to the Cobrabraid bracelets. As well as to the fact that these Zipbraid bracelets contain “almost twice as much paracord as the traditional bracelets.” At first, this made me a bit nervous about how it would feel when wearing it…so I tried it on…
I have come to enjoy using these “survival” bracelets while on a hike for the simple fact that I was able to take the weight of extra cord out of my “pack” weight since I can now wear the cord on my wrist as a bracelet and call it worn weight (for those gram counters, that technically means a lighter “Base Pack Weight”). However, I will also admit, that the fit of the original COBRABRAID bracelet was a bit annoying being that it is so stiff. It is stiff enough to feel more like a hard plastic band around my wrist that will not conform to anything. This is really only a nuisance when sitting around, but when I am up and hiking, it has not been a problem.
Saying that, initially, the Zipbraid bracelet felt quite a bit less rigid and more flexible than the Cobrabraid bracelets. So, despite the larger bulk of the Zipbraid bracelet as opposed to the Cobrabraid bracelets, this one seemed like it would be a more comfortable fit. So, I tried it on…and I found my speculations to be accurate, at least initially!
However, I have found that the stainless steel shackle closure device has been a bit trickier to get closed than the other methods on the other bracelets. Lining up the 3 strands of paracord that loop around with the 2 ends on the shackle, and then getting the pin to slide through without getting caught up has proven to be a bit of a challenge, at least for me. Although, I will admit that after putting it on a few times it has gotten a bit easier, but I find it is still with a slight bit of difficulty. I have actually deemed that the few times I have gotten it on to be due to luck rather than skill… :)
I have asked Don if this particular bracelet has the option to use the other closure devices as an alternative, but he informed me that due to the design of this bracelet, this shackle is the only closure device offered for the Zipbraid bracelet. I will admit though, I like the shorter closure device as opposed to the longer, plastic buckle on the other bracelets as far as comfort is concerned. I feel like the plastic buckle on my other COBRABRAID bracelets play a large part in the hard, rigid, overall fit. So, I will be happy to give this shorter shackle method a go for a while…maybe I will get the hang of closing it better too…
So, as I said, Don sent me 2 of the bracelets, each a different size. I ended up deciding to hang onto the larger 8 inch bracelet and using the smaller 7.5 inch bracelet as a unwinding demonstration…
So as can be seen in the video, the Zipbraid video really does unbraid quite fast, and simple. As listed on the site, here are the directions to unwind the bracelet:
- Remove Pin
- Slide Black Cord Off
- Pull Black Cord
- Pull Black Cord & Exposed Loop
- And that’s it…
So, how about some specs on the 7.5 inch bracelet:
- Total weight: 1.3 oz
- Length of cord (after unwinding): 10 feet
- Cord Weight: 0.8 oz
- Stainless steel Shackle: 0.5 oz
The larger 8 inch bracelet that I opted to keep weighs in at 1.4 oz total, however, I cannot comment on how long the actual cord in the bracelet is since I have not unwound it. Although I can deduce that the length of cord used in the larger bracelet will weigh 0.9 oz since I know that the shackle weighs in at 0.5 oz. Also, when comparing the weights of the cord (0.8 oz vs 0.9 oz) I would assume that the larger bracelet may contain as much as a foot and a half more cordage, give or take a little…
Something interesting that I found when unwinding the bracelet is that the ends of the cords are actually melted together so that the cord actually forms a complete and continuous circle. So, after pulling the cord apart, one would still need to cut the cord to take advantage of the full length of cord. Being that the cord is melted together, I have tried to simply pull the cord apart at the melting point, however, I could not pull it apart with my bare hands. (Maybe I am just weak though…)
So, I know that I have not used this product yet in the field, but initially, I am happy with it. The cord is the real-deal 550 Paracord, and the buckle seems to be strong and of good quality. I feel that both of these items could be of some use when in the field if needed. As well, the bracelet is more comfortable for me to wear than the previous bracelet.
So, I would like to say thanks to Don Leiser and the rest of the guys & gals down at COBRABRAID for giving me the opportunity to check out these Zipbraid bracelets. I look forward to using it…one way or another.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: These bracelets were provided to me free of charge from COBRABRAID for reviewing purposes. However, the above post represents my personal opinion after handling these bracelets on my own.