Not enough can be said for the importance of having cordage/rope in an emergency, and it is best if it is modern cordage and not the primitive equivalent.
I'll give some general information here in this section, and provide some links so that you can further your knowledge on the subject.
There are different kinds of materials each with their own properties. Nylon as as example will not rot, but will be slippery when wet and can melt with heat caused by friction between the rope and another surface.
In the photo above, you see Orange, White and Green Parachute Cord (Note the Colored Strand). Bank line cordage is becoming increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts. To learn more click here to watch a video and here for more information.
As I'd mentioned about matches that you need to be wise with your limited supply of them, and to use other methods at your disposal to get a fire going before turning to your match supply. The same goes for any modern rope that you have, but use the rope whenever you really need it.
The decision will be based on your supply at hand, the local resources, time at hand to get the job done and what condition you are in physically and mentally. Making natural cordage or digging up roots will take time and energy.
Never unnecessarily cut a rope, and be aware that knots can weaken the rope by 50% of the rated strength, up to 80% with other ropes and knots.
550 Parachute Cord is a great choice. Always have modern rope in your kits. The length that is suggested in various sources is either 50' or 100'.
If you can, bring 100' of 550 parachute cord also known as paracord, which was formerly used in parachutes as the name implies.
The cord consists of an outer nylon sheath with 7 inner strands within.
There are many colors to choose from as well. Choose a color that will be seen the woods. Avoid earth tone colors that blend in the environment because if you misplace your cord it'll be more difficult to find it. There is white parachute cord and you can see the problem of using that in the winter time. Use a color that's best for the environment you expect to be in.
Many like the camouflage and earth tone colors for their survival gear including ropes. In principle that is good for the military but if you are equipping yourself to have a good survival kit then you will want to avoid these colors. You want to be as visible as possible in order to be seen so that you may be rescued. Building a natural shelter will naturally camouflage it in the environment so you don't need any more camouflaged materials in your setup, because it will make it that more difficult for search and rescue to find you. It is also because if you drop or misplace something it'll be easier to find in dim light or on forest floors which are at times darker colored. With a light you have a chance to find something, especially if you taped brightly colored tape or reflective material on it. If you will be using a tarp and if you had packed an orange one wouldn't that be great in order to be seen. If you have a blue or green one, you'll need to improvise a little more. This will mean that you will expend more time and energy by needing to improve your signals.
Not to offend anyone who uses these hard to see camouflage or earth tone colors, but it isn't time to play Rambo in the woods. Survival is a serious matter and I believe in teaching responsible practices. Survival preparations begins at the pre-trip planning stage, in the case of a planned excursion out in the woods. If you have a personal survival kit and unexpectedly wound up in an emergency somewhere, be certain your small kit will do the job. Not everything needs to be brightly colored, but don't go all out in camouflage or earth tone either. For essential items such as a knife, firestarter etc. you can use a brightly colored lanyard attached to them if they are not brightly colored to begin with. Use common sense.
This cord is a favorite for a many outdoors people because of its durability, strength, small size, weight and multifunction capabilities provided by the design of the rope itself. You can remove any or all of the 7 inner strands for smaller jobs, or use the rope as-is for tougher jobs.
However despite its rating of 550 pounds, do not use this rope for climbing. Climbing rope is another thing altogether.
Here is a small list of the things that you can do with paracord, and there are many others.
1. Lashings for shelters.
2. Boot laces.
3. Useful for traps and snares.
4. Fishing line and fishing net.
5. Sowing thread for clothing repair and the like.
6. Dental floss.
8. Bow drill string.
Prepare your rope by cutting it is manageable lengths to make hanks. You can have a 30' hank, then several 10' hanks as an example.
Also beware of false paracord. Some manufacturers have used the term paracord but it isn't the real thing. It is a single cord with no inner strands. The cord may still be good quality but it is not parachute cord. Have a look at the Links page and do a search in the suppliers of equipment and other products section. The cord must be manufactured according to government guidelines. You'll notice in the photo above that among the 7 inner strands that there is one that is colored. This is a mark of true parachute cord.
Here are some links to help you learn more about modern cordage.
3. Cancord Inc.