Some Emergency Uses for Plastic Bags in the Wilderness

By Doug Williams
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Some Emergency Uses for Plastic Bags in the Wilderness

Doug Williams
 
 
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The first line in the bible of wilderness survival should read ‘learn as many skills as possible; when it comes to being multi skilled the sky’s the limit’. As it is often the case in the wilderness, it seldom turns out the way you plan it to be. It is this unpredictable nature of the wild that forces one to be a jack of all trades and hopefully a master of them all as well.

There are things that we notice as we go about our daily lives, and there are plenty of things that we don’t. Some of these things often have a lot of potential as useful items.

One of such group of neglected items are the evil plastic bags. Despite mankind’s religious commitment to rid the world of this ‘menace’ that has the power to destroy the earth one day; you can find one stuck in the tree or simply half buried in the soil, pretty much everywhere you look on our planet there’s a plastic bag of some sort. Consider the following uses of plastic bags, some of which may one day contribute to your survival in the wilderness.

 

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  • By using a knife or sharp edge and a fairly big plastic bag, you can make a signal flag that can be visible from a considerable distance. Simply cut the bag as such that it opens like a sheet of cloth; if you have smaller bags cut them like this and then join them together using small strips of the plastic or any sort of cord you can find laying about.

 

  • A plastic bag can serve as a support to your first aid or even a makeshift first aid on itself. Especially in the case of a broken limb, a plastic bag wrapped around the limb will give it some support to stop any further damage. In a much more extreme scenario such as a ‘sucking chest’ wound; wherein a wound near the lungs is causing the air to suck in abruptly, you can use a bag to close the wound hence avoiding the potentially fatal condition of air being sucked in.

 

  • The damp grass and soil in the wilderness could soak through your shoes, causing coldness, blisters, soreness and other issues. Using a bag as a protection against the dampness is a good idea if you don’t have good waterproof boots or gaiters; in the case of trekking in the mountains you might tear the bags but you can always replace them or tape them up, and remember that something is always better than nothing.

 

  • When it comes to protecting yourself against moisture, plastic bags can not only keep your feet dry but they can also serve as a barrier between you and the ground, they can help to keep things dry and even keep people warm to ward off hypothermia.As you may know, plastic bags come in various shapes and sizes with varying degrees of strengths.

 

  • You can make string and cordage out of plastic bags, it’s light and strong, you could even use a small cord as a belt to keep your pants up, or to tie something to your pack, or into a bundle, if you think about it the applications of a plastic bag cord are limitless, what are some the ideas you have?

 

  • They’re also great for carrying things or as a container for foraging wild foods, you can even boil eggs in one if you need to.

 
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