Filtering water through fabric can help remove the more visible sediment and creepy-crawlies. Pour dirty water through the sock and into a container. (Ladies, you can also use your bra for this step.) Allow the water to settle so any remaining sediment can fall to the bottom of the container.
Pour the clearest settled water into a pan and boil it to make it safe to drink. For added safety, add a water purifying tablets if you have any with you.
Even water treated this way can taste pretty horrible because of the minute quantities of dissolved methane gas in the water.
To make it more palatable, make a small quantity of charcoal, crush it up and mix into the filtered water. Leave overnight, repeat the filtering and boiling process and the water will taste much better. Wash out the sock so you can use it again.
Fill a sock with damp sand to make a very effective cosh.
Cotton socks can also provide you with a source of fire-starting tinder. Rub or pick off as much lint as you can. The resulting pile of fuzz will quickly catch a spark when you’re trying to light a fire.
In cold weather, socks can make effective mittens. They are even more effective if placed inside plastic bags. There you are, warm windproof mittens made in seconds. You can usually even wear them over a pair of gloves for added protection.
A sock stretched over a wooden or wire frame can make an effective trawl net for catching small fish.
Cut the toe end off a pare of socks (works well with Smart Wool Socks) to make a pair of leg warmers or arm warmers.
Thanks to James Manderville for this survival tip. Jame is an ex-Army survival instructor and runs the popular survival website site Survival Expert. He has many years experience in difficult terrain, notably the Amazon, the African bush and climbing in various mountain regions including the Drakensburg Mountains and the Andes.