We are literally surrounded by plastic water bottles. Take a walk down your local shopping mall or park and you will find countless plastic water and soft drink bottles in all shapes and sizes discarded by thoughtless litterers all over the place. Thanks to the curve of the bottle and the refraction from the water you can use a filled plastic water bottle focus sunlight into a beam capable of igniting tinder to start a fire. Sure it won’t be anywhere near as intense as the beam you’ll get from a magnifying glass or Fresnel lens but hey it’s better than nothing. Water bottles can also be used to boil water when nothing else is suitable to boil water in. To find out how to do this, read my short article here.
Run out of AA batteries? No problem! You can use AAA batteries in place of AAs by simply balling up some aluminum foil to fill in the gap in the battery compartment. The foil will act as an electrical conductor and power your device like normal. Both types of batteries have an output of 1.5 volts and differ in amperage (AA batteries produce a little more than double that of AAA’s) but in a device such as radio or torch, this should be fine.
Need to cross a river or lake without being eaten by man-eating crocodiles or swept away by the current and drowned but don’t have a boat? Simply lay out a tarp or have duty rain poncho and pile small lightweight branches in the center then wrap the ends up then bind the entire makeshift raft with paracord or rope. Be sure to test the raft in shallow water first to ensure that it can actually take your weight.
Crayola crayons make excellent emergency candles and have a burn time of around 10 minutes.
A can of Crisco can save the day if you’ve run out of candles. Simply stick a wick (such as a strand from a natural fibers mop head) into a can of Crisco and you have a candle that will burn continuously for 30 days plus the same brightness of a normal candle. How good is that?!
Horizontally cut a side out of beer or soda can and stick a votive candle inside the bottom. The shiny interior of the can will reflect the candle’s light making it brighter.
Reading glasses are essentially a pair of magnifying glasses and can be used to focus and concentrate a beam of sunlight to easily ignite tinder in order to get a fire going. A lens from a binocular or camera can do the same thing.
Larger coffee or Milo tin cans can be converted into hobo stoves by punching holes in the sides and bottom, filling with tinder and placing a mess tin or small pot on top to cook a meal.
Simple fishhooks can be made by simply cutting the metal on a soda can pull tab with a pair of scissors or pliers.
Dental floss can be used for sewing thread and also cordage.
Cotton balls, dryer lint, and tampons can be soaked with Petroleum Jelly and used as surefire emergency tinder. Heaps of these can be easily stored in a Ziplock bag and weigh virtually next to nothing. You can also use other products such as natural beeswax, melted paraffin wax or triple antibiotic ointment as accelerants.
Large contractor grade garbage bags can be used as tarps, flotation devices, and rain ponchos. See my article here on 7 Survival Uses for a Garbage Bag
Have problems with keeping your toilet paper (TP) dry? You can make a convenient TP dispenser by placing the TP inside a coffee can and dispensing it via a slit down the side of the can.
Duct tape, duct tape, duct tape. What would we do without duct tape? There are literally thousands of uses for Duct Tape … so many it would be impossible to list them all here. But next time something’s broken, grab the duct tape!
Super glue can be used to close small wounds requiring stitches. Just be sure not to get the glue inside the wound.
Cable ties are another no-brainer and like duct tape has heaps of uses.
Convert your headlamp into a pattern by turning it inward and using the band to hold it in place around a 5-gallon jug filled with water. Like the water bottle magnification trick the curvature of the bottle and the refraction of the water, light is distributed all over the place instead of in one concentrated beam.
An improvised and super effective spearhead can be fashioned from an old circuit board and lashed to the end of a sturdy pole.
Replace your boot or shoelaces with 550 FireCord. This will give you cordage and fire making capabilities.
Empty Tic-Tac containers make great spice containers for bug out bag mess kits.
An Altoid style tin can be filled with corrugated cardboard and lit as a heat source.
Have a flat tire? Fill the hole with grass until you reach your destination.
Did you know that Doritos and other kinds of chips are highly flammable? These can be used as kindling in an emergency situation.
Duct tape a mini Ferro rod to the inside of your wallet. You can use your chosen EDC bade to strike this to start a fire.
Keep an extra $50 note in the credit card slip of your smartphone case. Next time you run out of cash or forget your wallet at least you have some on hand.
Rice, beans, and lentils can be stored in large plastic soft drink bottles instead of bags to keep them dry and reduce the risk of spillage.
A couple of party poppers and jute twine make a great campsite security warning system.
Need to open a can but don’t have a can opener available? Simply rub it back and forth on a smooth rock slab, concrete or pavers and voila it will open up.
An emergency water filter can be created with just a knife, a plastic water bottle, coarse stone, fine stone, coarse sand, charcoal, rubber bands and a couple of pieces of cloth. Check out David from Ultimate Survival Tips tutorial on how to do this.
If stranded out in the wilderness with your vehicle you can use one of your car mirrors to signal for help.
Wrap a good length of duct tape around your EDC Bic lighter and survival tin. You can do the same with an old credit card and keep it inside your survival tin.
Polish the lid of your Altoids survival tin to use it as an effective signaling mirror.
There are certain circumstances when knowing how much daylight you have left is critical. Knowing how many hours of sunlight you have remaining will let you know when you should stop walking and start focusing your attention on finding a safe place to make a shelter. This method can accurately help you to determine how many hours of daylight remaining. The method below is for an average size adult. Each finger equals 15 minutes of daylight time remaining, so one hand would equal an hour. Here is how you do it.. 1) Stretch your arm out in front of you towards the sun. Next, bend your wrist so that your palm is facing you and your hand is horizontal with your thumb on top. The bottom of the sun should rest on the top of your pointer finger. 2) Next, outstretch your other hand and place it below the first. 3) Continue walking your hands down towards the imaginary horizon line, counting the hands as you go.
To determine which way is North, in the Southern Hemisphere you can use your watch. To do this point 12 at the sun and bi-sect that and the hour hand. The imaginary line between 12 and the hour hand is directional north. To use this technique in the Northern Hemisphere do the opposite and point the hour hand at the sun.
For maximum covertness, replace the metal zipper pulls on your emergency bags with paracord zipper pulls.
To extract a splinter, fill a wide-mouthed bottle to the brim and press affected part of hand tightly against the mouth of the bottle. The suction will pull down the splinter and the steam will soon draw out the splinter.
To waterproof standard matches, heat up some paraffin wax and pour into a matchbox. When you need a match simply scrape off the paraffin from the tip and strike away!