Top 10 Most Overlooked Survival Items

A critical element of any good survival plan is being able to take the everyday random items you have around your house and repurposing items into a variety of crucial survival uses. Many of these random household items often times go overlooked… until now.



Here are the top ten most overlooked survival items:

Aluminum Foil


Aluminum foil is something that we should all have in our kitchens right now. It’s also something that we can all apply for survival purposes if need be as well. Examples of how you can use aluminum foil in a survival situation include the following:


  • Fishing Lure
  • Signaling Device (reflect the sunlight)
  • Heat Reflection (tie behind a fire to reflect the heat back to you)
  • Bedding (place underneath a sleeping bag to warm you at night)
  • Solar Cooker (tape to the inside of a cardboard box and then face towards the sun)

Baking Soda

Baking soda is, without question, one of the most versatile cleaning agents known to man. And what’s better, is that it’s commonplace in virtually every home and is readily available in any grocery or convenience store.



In a survival situation, you’ll be able to reapply baking soda into the following uses:

  • Deodorant
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Floor Cleaner
  • Hand Soap
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste 

Cotton Balls


If you need to get a fire going when it’s cold, windy, and raining outside, then cotton balls could just be what save your life (literally).

Take a cotton ball and then soak it in Vaseline, and it will light up the moment you bring a spark or flame to it regardless of the conditions.

As an alternative to Vaseline, you can also use something highly flammable such as Chap Stick or Hand Sanitizer, but Vaseline still works best. In addition, as an alternative to cotton balls, you can use Q-Tips as well.


Take note, cotton balls will be quite sticky and messy when soaked in Vaseline, so be sure to store them either in a Ziploc bag or in a container of some kind.

Dental Floss


Next, we come to dental floss, which has a myriad of different survival uses. Besides the obvious application of using dental floss to help improve your dental hygiene, you can use dental floss for the following purposes:

  • Tripwire
  • Fishing Line
  • Makeshift Clothesline (wrap multiple strands together)
  • Shelter Building
  • Wrap Around Matches To Make Them Burn Longer
  • Shoelaces Replacement
  • Setting Snares
  • Sewing 

Duct Tape

Each of us probably has a roll of duct tape in our garage (or somewhere), and there’s good reason why: you can use duct tape to repair just about anything.



Despite this, duct tape is rarely mentioned among survival or prepping circles as being a necessary survival or disaster preparedness item. However, these reasons beg to differ:

  • Shelter Building
  • Clothing Repairs
  • Resealing Packages of Food
  • Wrapping a Sprained Ankle
  • Tying Medical Splints
  • Makeshift Bandage
  • Knife Spear (wrap the hilt of the knife to the pole)

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a very common item that if often marketed as being able to kill over 99.99% of harmful germs. For this reason alone, it will be a very useful item to have in a survival or disaster preparedness situation where personal hygiene is going to be a major concern.



Besides that, you can also use hand sanitizer for the following applications:

  • Fire Starter (the alcohol content of hand sanitizer is highly flammable)
  • Sanitize Literally Anything
  • Removing Stains
  • Treating Mosquito Bite (hand sanitizer helps the itchiness to go away)

Paper Clips

Paper clips are easily one of the most commonplace pieces of office supplies in the entire world. Just dig around among your desk drawers for a little bit, and you’ll probably find a forgotten paper clip or two.



While we normally use paper clips in our everyday lives to hold pieces of paper together, in a survival situation, you can reapply them into the following purposes:

  • Makeshift Fishing Hook
  • Replace Zipper Tabs (on a backpack or jacket)
  • Finger or Toe Splint
  • Fingernail Cleaner
  • Key Ring Replacement
  • Sewing Needle Replacement 

Toilet Paper


Here’s something that everybody fully understands the value in. Toilet paper is going to be a luxury in any survival or disaster scenario, and it’s certainly preferable to using it over the variety of alternatives (be creative here).

At the very least, toilet paper will be a very valuable trading or commodity item in a survival scenario, and that should be good enough reason to stockpile it alone.

Trash Bags


There can be little doubt that ordinary trash bags are among the most multipurpose and versatile inventions of man on the planet. They are something that you will want to have plenty of in a disaster preparedness scenario, for the following reasons:

  • Garbage Disposal (obviously)
  • Signaling Device (if brightly colored such as orange)
  • Shelter Building
  • Emergency Poncho (cut a hole in the sides and on top)
  • Makeshift Mattress (simply stuff with leaves)
  • Clothes Washer (fill with warm water, soap, and clothes, and shake around)
  • Rain Catchment
  • Makeshift Camping Shower (simply fill up with water and puncture holes)

Zip Ties

Last but certainly not least, we come to zip ties. Zip ties are incredibly handy dandy items, and it’s surprising that they are not recommended as an important survival tool more often.


Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Here are just a handful of uses for zip ties in a survival or disaster scenario:

  • Backpack Handle Replacement
  • Lash Gear To Your Backpack
  • Shoelaces Replacement
  • Tie To Your Boots For Ice/Snow Traction
  • Trail Marker (brightly colored ones work best)
  • Restraining A Prisoner
  • Shelter Building (as an alternative to cord, vine, or rope)
  • Tying A Tying
  • A TourniquetSplint 



Hopefully, these tips will help you on your next adventure in the wilderness. Have in mind that anything can be turned into a survival item. All you need to do is to be creative and resourceful.


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nick-oetken is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival