One of my biggest fears is getting stranded somewhere and not having the means to survive. Having done my fair share of travelling, hiking, camping and just traversing across the city, I’ve had my fair share of “what ifs” and near misses.
Lucky for me, I was a boy scout and carry a pocketknife in my go-to bag, just because. But that little doodad from Swiss Army, can’t do everything.
Sometimes, you’ve got to improvise with what you got. MacGuyver would be proud.
Use your spit to catch fish
It’s so basic that you think it wouldn’t work, but you’d be surprised. All you need to do is stand in a stream and hold the bottom of your t-shirt out from your body to act as a net. Then, spit in the water collected there.
Minnows and other tiny fish will get confused and think it’s food, and then you use your shirt to trap them. After that, it’s up to you; eat the minnows or use them as bait for bigger fish.
Tampons can help you catch fish too
When you open a tampon, a small amount of air can get caught in the wrapper, and allows it to float. You can use it as a bobber by attaching it to your fishing line. Extra points if it’s a bright colour to attract the fish.
You can also pull the cotton apart to use as tinder to start a fire, or as a filter for water.
Bubble wrap can save your life
While it’s fun to pop all those bubbles, it’s best to leave them intact in case you need to save a life. For someone with hypothermia, bubble wrap can be used as an insulating blanket to help them bring their body heat back up. Plus, being made of plastic, means you don’t have to worry about wind, rain and water, as you would with a blanket.
Condoms are the best tool for wilderness survival
Think about it. Not only will they prevent unwanted pregnancy, they can stretch to insane lengths. You can fill them with water, keep tinder from getting wet, can burn it as a form of kindling, and even use them as a catapult/slingshot if you’re savvy enough.
Plus, have you heard the one about camping sex? It’s fucking in-tents.
Use a bra as a breathing mask
When it comes to something that’ll save a life, a bra’s pretty low on the list for me to consider. And that’s why I’d probably be the first to die.
If you’re in a dusty/smoky environment, you can use a bra as a face mask. In fact, there is a company out there that actually manufactures a brassiere that will filter out harmful particles of a biological, radiological or dusty nature.
Ring pulls can be modified into fish hooks
Finding a discarded can in the wilderness (as sad as it is to admit), isn’t all that hard. What’s even better, is that you can modify it to catch your dinner. It just takes a few strategic cuts and bends to make them work for you.
Water bottles as lights
If you’re building a shelter and you need some light diffused throughout, you can use a water bottle. A half filled water bottle that’s inserted into a ceiling, will help the sunlight shine through and brighten up the place.
Sadly, it’ll only work during the day, but it’s a neat trick.
You can close wounds with superglue
This isn’t highly recommended, but when you have no other choice, it’s the only option you’ve got. By forcing the two parts of your skin together and glueing it, you’re preventing further injury and infection and it’ll allow you to find help, unhindered.
Pants can be used as a floatation device
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. If stuck in a body of water, tie the ankles of the pants together and catch air in the pants and get them underwater, ensuring that the air doesn’t escape. Then slip your head through the legs and you’ve got a life preserver.
Gum wrapper and batteries can start a fire
One of the most important things to have in a survival situation is a fire. So if you’re lucky enough to have a stick of juicy fruit, or some other foil, and a battery, you can get some heat going.
Just need to hold the foil to the positive and negative sides of the battery, and electricity will shoot through the aluminum and light it on fire.
Create fire with ice
If you’re suck in an icy situation, and hyperthermia is looming, you can use ice to start a fire. Sounds like a fantasy, but it’s true.
If you grab a chunk of ice and rub it against something until it’s clear and rounded, you can form it into a lens. Then create fire by focusing the light onto some kindling.
You can get water from the air in a dry climate
If you’re in a place that has no obvious source of water, you can use a tarp and a cup to get water from the air. If you dig a hole in the ground, and place a cup in it. Cover with a tarp and secure it. Then put a stone in the middle of the tarp, right above the cup.
As the air within the tarp cools, the moisture in the air will evaporate and collect on the underside of the tarp, and drip into your cup.
Use plastic wrap to help a punctured lung or broken ribs
If you’re in an accident, and far away from help, broken ribs and a punctured lung can be fatal, especially if there’s a sucking wound involved. In a push, you can place Saran wrap over the wound to prevent air from escaping from your chest cavity and it’ll also stabilize your ribs.
It might make the difference between life and death.
Use your watch as a compass
If you’re lost and can’t figure out your directions, you can at least hope you’re wearing a traditional watch. If you hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand towards the sun, and note where the centre point is between the hour hand and the 12. This will be your North/South line; north facing away from the sun.
Bear in mind, this only works in the Northern Hemisphere.
A Dakota Fire Hole can save your life
If you’re ever in a survival situation and you need a fire, but don’t want to let anyone know where you are, this’ll help. If you dig a tunnel and start a fire in one of the entrances, the other entrance will provide oxygen for the flames. This’ll protect you and the fire from bad guys and the wind.
Crayons make fantastic candles
Unless you’ve got kids, odds are you don’t carry crayons around on the regular. If you do, heed this tip. A full crayon will burn for 15 minutes, and is perfect for an emergency light source.