You have prepared your home for a power outage or a natural disaster, but what if a freak accident happens when you’re far away from home? Or what if you simply run out of supplies?
Do you know what items you can use to keep yourself alive in an emergency situation?
I reached out to 6 survival experts and asked them one question: What everyday items have you found useful in a survival scenario?
The responses I got from these established survivalists were nothing short of ingenious. Check out their answers below:
James Burnette, Survivalpunk.com
James at Survival Punk enjoys sharing his biggest passions: Survival, Punk Music and Paleo eating. Here is his straight forward but extremely useful answer:
I've found that key rings are extremely useful. You can connect two things with them. Hold up a zipper. Attach things to a pack. The uses are limitless.
Bob Rodgers, PreppersWill.com
Over the years, Bob has re-purposed a lot of items depending on the need and if he can figure out an alternative use for what’s available. He says he always tries to train his mind, even though sometimes he ends up ruining certain items.
I’ve used my socks for various purposes, other than keeping my feet warm. For example, when testing my ability to start a fire with wet and cold hands, I’ve used my socks to warm my hands. This stopped the shaking and I was able to use my ferro rod. On various occasion, I’ve used my socks as improvised pouches when foraging for berries and other wild edibles. I tie the socks to my belt and I’m able to carry whatever I need.
I have to admit that I love these small plastic string and I always have some in by bag. I remember using them more than once as improvised crampons during my trip to Canada. My luggage was lost and the pair of shoes I was wearing didn’t provide proper gripping for the icy sidewalk. I had to attach three cable ties around my boots just to be able and walk around town. I’ve used zip-ties to keep my pants up and I’m often using them in the wilderness to improvise shelters and tie things together.
Wire coat hanger
This is basically a strong and bendable metal string you can use however you want. On various trips I’ve improvised a barbecue grill from 4 cans of beers and a wire hanger. Is my party trick to impress my friends when they get bored when we go camping. J I’ve made hooks for my tarp from a wire hanger and all sorts of hooks to hang my gear and food. When you unfold a wire hanger it provides you with a decent length to can prove useful for many DIY projects.
Richard eats, sleeps, and breathes survival. He was kind enough to list down 3 everyday items he has used on survival situations. You can also check out his post on which everyday items that can be used to pick locks.
Dental floss is lightweight, tough, and makes great cordage. Plus it's usually a little sticky so it's easy to wrap around arrow heads. Apply a little sap and you're good to go.
Save those sheets you throw in the dryer. Stuff them in toilet paper tubes and staple them shut. They make great fire starters!
4" PVC pipe
Get a few 4" PVC pipes about 2-3 ft long and glue a screw off cap on each end. Put your survival gear, money, guns, food stores, etc, in zip-lock bags and store them inside the PVC. Bury them and no one will ever know you have them.
Damian Brindle, RethinkSurvival.com
Damian gave a single but versatile answer: Aluminum Foil. He mentioned that it’s something we all keep in our kitchens and there are many potential ways you can make use of it.
Since it's easily molded, aluminum foil can be fashioned into a bowl, plate, or even a cup for eating or drinking with. How about molding it into a funnel? In a survival situation water will be a precious resource and one not to waste. You can wrap food (such as fish) inside and toss that in your campfire coals to cook completely hands-free. You can wrap foil around some sticks and makeshift a windscreen or fire reflektor. Cut into strips, aluminum foil can be used to deter birds around your vegetable garden or possibly to attract fish on your line. If the ground is wet, you can use it as a fire base. And, if you're desperate, you could even mold it to take the place of a battery in your electronics. No doubt there are plenty of ways to utilize aluminum foil for your survival... you just need a little imagination to make them a reality.
Joe Alton, MD, DoomAndBloom.net
Joe provided me with a wealth of information on survival medicine. Their book, "The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way" is a bestseller on Amazon.
You can use a pillow to immobilize and protect an orthopedic injury. Consider wrapping the limb with a pillow and some duct tape. Add a board for strength, especially in fractures.
A bandanna and a stick can be re-purposed to help stop bleeding. Wrap the bandanna 2 inches or more above the wound, then tie a knot to hold it in place. Place a stick on top of the knot, then tie another knot on top. Twist the stick to apply more pressure to control the hemorrhage.
Duct tapes can be used to approximate wound edges of lacerations. Make two cuts on each side and fold over to make a non-adhesive area, then place tightly to close the skin. Make sure the non-adhesive area is over the cut itself.
When there's no antibiotic ointment, raw unprocessed honey's antibacterial action can be harnessed by spreading some over burns and other wounds, then cover with a dressing.
Don't throw away old sheets! Cut them up in strips to make bandages. You can also use sheets or blankets to make an improvised stretcher along with other commonly found items like ironing boards, chairs, and broomsticks.
Jay has written a lot of great product reviews and how-to guides on his blog, Preparing for SHTF. Here are his choice of 5 everyday items and their outdoor survival uses.
Plastic Shower Curtain
This can be used for shelter or rain collection
You can use this to make great tinder for a fire.
Dental floss can be used for snares and it's tough enough for cordage.
This has many uses including fish traps, cordage, water filter and water still.
Can be used to sharpen knife or strike matches.
Now that we’ve heard from the experts, it’s time for you to show your level of ingenuity. What everyday items have YOU used in a survival scenario?