Innovation is key when you find yourself in a survival situation. Whether it is a natural disaster, man-made catastrophe or for when you simply find yourself lost in the woods, it is important to know the multiple uses of the items you may have on hand.
There are many additional applications for the practical items we may carry around every day. Some can keep you warm, others may be used to treat wounds and more can get you that much-needed drink of water. Here are 15 surprising items that could potentially save your life in a disaster situation:
1. Lip Balm
If you happen to find yourself in freezing temperatures without a means of heat, lip balm may be able to come to the rescue. Surprisingly enough, a candle made from your favorite lip moisturizer can produce enough heat when used within some form of shelter to raise the temperature a few lifesaving degrees.
To make a lip balm candle you will need to take a piece of string and push it down through the chapstick using a paper clip to form a wick. After lighting the wick, your makeshift candle can burn up to 2 hours.
Your favorite cotton T is the perfect item to help you filter water. You can place your t-shirt over your clean water container and siphon murky water through to eliminate soil, soot or other debris.
To take the cleaning process a step further and increase the sanitation, you can try the following slower process. You will need to cut a clean portion of the t-shirt into strips. Take one strip and place it into the container of dirty water and the other end into an empty clean water container. Place the murky container at a slightly higher level than the clean water container and let nature do its job. The contaminated water will be pulled through the strip of t-shirt and drip into the clean water container.
It is important to note that this process does not eliminate the microbes present that can make you ill. You will still need to boil the filtered water.
3. Soda Can
A soda can actually be turned into a small fishing rod. Here is how it works. You will start by taking the top tab off and cutting one of the small rings to form into a barbed hook. Take any string-like material that you may have available and tie it to the fully attached ring.
Then, take the other end of the string and wrap it around the soda can. This little rod works surprisingly well for catching perch and other small fish and the bait can even be stored inside of the can.
When you find yourself exposed to the elements in icy weather, building a fire is pertinent to survival. The environment may actually provide a solution. A clear piece of ice can be used in the same way as a magnifying glass. Hold the ice above your kindling in direct sunlight and you will eventually start seeing the smoke rise. Besides patience, the other keys to making this work are bright sunshine and a clear piece of ice.
5. Plastic Bottle
A plastic bottle may have multiple uses if you find yourself in a survival situation. Probably its most lucrative purpose would be its ability to help you produce water. A human on average can only live 3 days without this life source, so it is important to know the many ways you can gather it from soil, plants or salt water when conventional means are unavailable.
To create a solar still from a water bottle, you will start by cutting off the bottom and forming its ridge inward creating a lip. You will then place the bottle over your moisture source. Then you simply let the sun do its job. Evaporated water will collect on the walls and drip down into the internal lip. Once full simply remove the cap and pour into your water container.
6. Chewing Gum Wrapper
A chewing gum wrapper can be your best option for starting a fire in certain situations. It should be noted that only wrappers with a metallic side can be used for this purpose. All you have to do is tear the wrapper into an hourglass shape. Touch the metal side of the wrapper to both the positive and negative ends of a AA battery. This will short circuit the batteries current creating a small flame in the middle. Be sure to have your kindling close as the flame won’t last more than a few seconds.
Toothpaste actually has quite a few medical uses outside of keeping your teeth clean. It can be used to treat everything from minor cuts to bug bites and blisters. Applying toothpaste over a blister before you go to bed at night can dehydrate the area, reducing the risk of the blister popping and the potential infection that could follow.
On bug bites, toothpaste can be used to relieve the itching that can drive a person crazy. Further, on top of minor cuts, this magical paste can reduce swelling and cool the pain.
8. Super Glue
You may have seen this scene in an action-packed thriller where the lead character avoided going to the hospital and fixes his wounds with super glue. The truth is it really does work. If you are unable to reach medical care and receive a deep gash that would otherwise need stitches super glue can help. This strong adhesive will bind the split sections together and supply a protective coating that will prevent bacteria and other contaminants inside. The sting of crazy glue sure beats a potentially deadly infection.
9. Sanitary Pads
Sanitary pads originated in a 19th-century battlefield hospital where they were used to treat the wounds of fallen soldiers. Made from cellucotton this state of the art dressing is still 5 times more absorbent than regular cotton dressings. This is what makes them so useful in a survival setting. The sticky sides adhere to the skin and the padded middle serves as the perfect pressure dressing.
It may seem amusing that condoms can be used in a survival setting, but it is true. In fact, they can serve multiple purposes depending on what you need. For starters, they are a great way to transport water if you do not have a standard water container. You can also place your water sensitive items like a cellphone or walkie talkie in case of rain or if you need to cross a river. When stretched, they can make an excellent tourniquet or when placed over the barrel of a gun can protect it from debris from getting trapped inside.
11. Bra Cup
Due to a bra’s unique shape and design, they can be made into the perfect respiratory mask. Most standard sizes fit perfectly over the nose and mouth preventing debris from entering and therefore potential respiratory issues. The strap can also be adjusted to fit around your head keeping your hands free for other tasks. This everyday item could be the one thing that keeps you from serious illness or even death if you find yourself in a sandstorm or in the presence of toxic ash.
12. Dental Floss
Dental floss is a strong and useful material in a variety of settings. It is lightweight and easy to carry which makes it the perfect addition to any outdoorsman’s kit. Dental floss should be thought of as a compact option with all of the same properties of string. It can help you build a teepee shelter, securing the sticks at the top. Floss can be made into fishing, or used to secure splints. You can even use it to make a stip wire alarm system. To make the floss a stronger sort of rope, simply braid it together.
13. Corn Chips
Sometimes sacrificing your valuable food stash can serve a greater purpose. These oily treats are perfect for building a strong signal fire when few to no other means are available. Human beings can go a long time without food, so if you need to signal for rescue utilizing this form of sustinance may just do the trick.
Besides the fire, the shiny mylar inside can be used to reflect the sun and provide an even stronger signal for rescue.
14. Cotton Balls
Cotton balls have been a staple in the American household for eons, but did you know they can also be a way to save your life? Combined with vaseline, these fibrous fluffs can be the perfect tinder for starting a fire in wet conditions, burning for up to 5 minutes. They are also perfect for creating candles and torches perfect for making your way through the stark black night. Not to mention, their formal use of sanitarily applying topical medicines and preventing bleeding.
15. Coffee Filters
Coffee filters are a handy tool that you likely already have on hand. If you need to pre-filter water prior to boiling, you can run it through the filter to get fresh water free of sediment. They can also be used as a disposable plate or bowl when other options are not available. Out of toilet paper? No problem! Coffee filters have you covered. They can be used for kindling, like a rag, as a place to store foraged items or even a disposable washcloth.