Safety is a concept commonly preached about that we should all make it a point to practice. Even though you might want to disappear in the woods and remain unseen, you need to consider the possibility of something happening to you. If you fall into dense foliage or off the beaten path and are dressed in colors the same as that foliage, you will be hard to spot by potential rescuers. Even hunters who dress in camouflage from head to toe don some bright orange for the purpose of being seen. If you hike during hunting season, it is all the more important to be properly outfitted and highly visible. It is nice to believe that hunters are all responsible, but that is simply not the case. There have been a multitude of news stories over the years that tell of hunters shooting at movement or rustling foliage without seeing the source of that movement to confirm what caused it. Lots of people have died because of this; they were the source of movement and thus they were shot by an irresponsible hunter. To better your chances of staying safe in the woods, stay bright and colorful with a paracord safety vest.
To make a paracord safety vest, you will need a bright color that is easy to see and will stand out against the terrain you commonly travel. Once you have selected that color, start by making a section to go around your neck that will hang over your shoulders. You can cut this to length and tie the ends together with an overhand knot or seal with a burn, whichever you prefer. Once you have this section in place, measure the length of your body you wish to cover with this vest, such as from shoulder to waist. Take this length measurement and double it, then cut several pieces of paracord in that length. Take each piece and fold it in half, then create a girth hitch with it over the portion you have designated to be your neck hole.
The number of girth hitches you use depends on how much paracord you want to have in your vest. Ideally you will have enough to make it visible, but not so much that it becomes heavy and cumbersome. Use your own judgment on this as you will be the one wearing it. With your girth hitches in place, pick two that are side by side to get started. Taking the cord from the left side of the girth hitch on the left and from the right side of the girth hitch on the right, combine the two in an overhand knot several inches down from the neck hole. Repeat this process all the way around the vest. Once the first level is complete, move down to the next and tie cords together in the same way, always making sure to combine two cords from different origination points. For the first level, it was pulling from the left and right of neighboring girth hitches, but from the levels below that you will pull from the left and right of neighboring overhand knots. This will create a pattern of diamonds all the way down. As your vest reaches the appropriate length for your stature, be sure to leave comfortably sized holes for your arms.
It is not necessary to add a ring around the waist of your vest, but you can if you wish. Just tie your last level of knots around it to hold it in place. Otherwise, just tie your final knot and cut any excess, sealing the strands with a burn so they do not fray. The end result should be a loose fitting vest of paracord that will keep you visible while still keeping you cool. Although the primary purpose is to be seen, this vest can serve a secondary purpose as well in that it is another way to have a good it of paracord handy and accessible to you at all times. Stay safe in your travels, but most importantly: be seen.