Multi-use survival and preparedness items

by David Morris on September 1, 2011

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my new Fastest Way to Prepare survival course.

Even though Hurricane Irene “fizzled out” last week, it still managed to go down as one of the 10 most expensive disasters in US history. To add insult to injury, since the winds died down, but the rain didn’t, some estimates are that more than half of the damage was due to flooding…which isn’t covered by most insurance.

We’ve experienced flooding in an area that is above the 100 year flood line, “never floods”, and where we couldn’t get flood insurance when we tried to get it. Our damage was minimal compared to the total losses that I’ve seen, but I have an inkling of the feeling that these people had/have when they realized that the insurance they’d paid for wouldn’t cover them.

This week, we’re going to talk about a few items that have SEVERAL survival/emergency uses. I am not going to attempt to list every possible use for these items, or every possible item that has multiple uses, but I encourage you to add to the list by commenting below the article…

The first item is paracord/parachute cord/550 cord. Even though these labels are used interchangeably, they aren’t necessarily equivalent. 550 cord is cord that has a test weight of 550 pounds. Paracord and parachute cord can have test weights that are hundreds of pounds less to hundreds of pounds more.

Parachute cord is designed to exacting standards because they know that people’s life depends on the cord to have consistent qualities from inch to inch. Paracord may or may not be made to exacting standards or any standards at all. One section could be 700 pound test and the next section have 300 pound test. Why do I mention this? If you’re going to be using paracord at the edge of the performance envelope, make sure that you’re using new, rated paracord…not just paracord that happens to be the right “tactical” color that coordinates with your gear.

So, how can you use this stuff?

Here’s 20 of my favorite survival uses for 550/parachute/para cord:

  1. Shoe laces
  2. Making fire with a bow drill
  3. Traps/snares/fishing line
  4. Early warning devices
  5. Cordage for lashing sticks for shelters
  6. Creating a shelter out of a poncho
  7. Cutting restraints
  8. Holding game for field dressing
  9. Restraint (human) or leash for a pet
  10. Lashing/towing branches & lumber for fires
  11. Slings/belts/suspenders/clothing repair
  12. Making loops for gear
  13. Wrapping handles for easier handling
  14. Retention lanyards
  15. When tied to a weighted object, they make a nice weapon
  16. Zipper extensions and repair
  17. Strapping items to packs/load bearing vests
  18. Emergency improvised rappel (with the right setup and practice)
  19. Belay cord (not for climbing) to connect you to a known point or another person for no-light conditions, smoke obscured conditions, whiteouts, or sandstorms
  20. Improvised way to secure doors

Next, we’ve got survival uses for bandanas

  1. Sun shade
  2. When wet, an evaporation cooler
  3. Smoke/dust screen and filter
  4. Odor protection (morgue/spoiled food/etc.) when used with gas, essential oils, etc.
  5. Essential oil “diffuser” (wear it like a mask with a drop or two of essential oils by your nose)
  6. Medical Sling
  7. Pressure dressing for wounds
  8. Traction splint
  9. Pillow
  10. Weapon (soap, sinkers, rocks, etc. held in “pouch”)
  11. Sediment pre-filter for water
  12. Friend/foe identification
  13. Pot holder
  14. Light filter for flashlight
  15. Scalpel blade handle
  16. Head cover to insulate head
  17. Headband to catch sweat
  18. Signaling device
  19. Use to secure splinting material (sticks/boards/SAM splint)
  20. Shoulder sling repair/padding

All that, and I didn’t even use it to blow my nose, use it as a blindfold, or as a mask 🙂

And finally, survival uses for contractor (thick) garbage bags

  1. Improvised bag/pack
  2. Rain Poncho
  3. Rain/snow “kilt”
  4. Sleeping bag
  5. With cordage, use as a shelter
  6. Solar still
  7. Improvised boot liner/wader
  8. Rain cover for pack
  9. Bear bag
  10. Carrying water
  11. Solar water heater
  12. Sun shade
  13. Burns black for signal fires
  14. Sealing a tub drain before a storm
  15. Dig a hole under your gutter downspout, line with trash bag, and collect emergency rainwater
  16. Holding wet gear in an otherwise dry bag
  17. Collecting and transporting human waste
  18. Water/wind proofing for a debris shelter
  19. Solar heater to melt snow
  20. Emergency buoyancy device


Of course, I could go on…I’ve got a handfull of items in my kits that all have 20+ uses. And, I’m guessing there are at least 100 uses for each of these three items, and that’s why I carry them in all of my kits. Can you add to the lists? Do you have other favorite multi-use survival/every day items? If so, please share them by commenting below.

Some items, like these, make for great survival tools.  They allow people to survive in the isolated or urban wilderness with little more than what they have in a pocket or two.  Other times, it makes more sense to simply lay in a big larder of supplies to last you through a disaster.  Our ancestors did it every winter and in preparation for droughts, floods, insects, disease, and attack.

As refrigeration, electricity, supply chains, and grocery stores have become more and more efficient, we’ve developed the illusion that we don’t need to lay in supplies for bad times anymore.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Take a look at what happens leading up to EVERY hurricane.  Gas stations stop getting filled, stores have bare shelves and can’t get stocked fast enough, generators sell out, and people panic.

But if you’ve got basic supplies set aside and have prepared in advance, you don’t need to panic.  When you’ve got a plan and supplies in place, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that you’ll be able to take care of your family and won’t be dependant on the government or aid agencies…in fact, you’ll have the ability to be the one doing the aiding.

That’s why I created the course.  It’s a simplified course to get you prepared for a 40 day and 40 night disaster.  Why 40 days?  Besides the fact that it rolls off the tongue nicely and is easy to remember, having supplies for 40 days and 40 nights will buy you enough times for things to get back to normal or take action to improve your condition/location.

What I’ve done with it is taken the plan that I give my friends and relatives who call me up in a panic wanting to know the quickest and easiest way to get prepared for disasters.  This is the plan I give to people I care about when they don’t have time to search, research, and learn a bunch of new stuff and just want me to “aim the gun” so they can pull the trigger and sleep good at night.

To find out more, please head on over to:


Until next week, God bless and stay safe.


David Morris


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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Daryl Neergaard
September 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

I am surprised that contractor garbage bags can be used to carry/store water. I was under the impression that the plastic in these bags is permeated with poisons to discourage pests from getting into garbage.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
September 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

You’re right. During normal times, when I do things to add days to my life, I wouldn’t drink water out of a garbage bag.

In a survival situation, where I Know that my performance will start dropping off within hours of my last intake of water and that I’ll die within days of my last drink of water, I’m not as concerned about drinking from a trash can.

In any case, you want to purify water after you collect it if possible, which takes care of the problem.


Vote -1 Vote +1jim
September 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

And if you have a couple of food grade gallon ziplocks, it makes a great tote. At 8+ lbs a gallon, most people won’t carry more than two or three.


Vote -1 Vote +1Sharon
September 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

Where do we buy contractor grade garbage bags? Most garbage bags I buy at my local market would not be strong enought to perform the tasks you have listed.


Vote -1 Vote +1Keith_Indy
September 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Try your local big box home repair center, like Lowes, or Home Depot…

That’s where we’ve always picked them up.


Vote -1 Vote +1Sharon
September 2, 2011 at 10:07 am

I bought some used barrels for water storage. They previously had wine in them. We power washed to the best of our ability but they still smell like wine. Are they safe for long term water storage? I also have some that held vinegar and some that held soy sauce. Can these barrels be used for storage of drinking water?


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
September 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hello Sharon,

Depending upon if the barrels are wood or plastic, makes a difference.

If they’re plastic be sure to check to be sure they are food grade. There will be identifying numbers/letters on the bottom. You can google ‘food grade plastic codes’ to get the complete list. If the barrels are American made, most likely they are FDA approved for food storage. Always double check the code on the bottom to be sure.

If the barrels are wood they are safe to store water. The water will taste slightly like what ever was stored in the barrels. You’ll never be able to get the flavor out of the wood. If the barrels have been empty and dry for sometime, they might leak. Therefore, fill it with water from the hose so the wood will swell from the water and this will help seal any leaks. Dump the water, put fresh water n & you’re good to go.


Vote -1 Vote +1Stephen
September 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Do not forget to take all the usual precautions regarding killing bacteria in your water supply such as water pills, chlorine etc!


Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
September 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

In other words, when using a container which held foodstuffs, assume that the water is NOT potable and disinfect all water prior to use.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1JSB
April 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Remember when you start talking about storing water, the FDA recommends that you pre-treat water with a preservative like Chlorine Bleach before storing, to prevent the growth of microorganisms. When you start talking about Chlorine Bleach, you should make sure that it contains 5.25% Sodium Hypochlorite and NO soaps or NO scents. In a publication “Emergency Food and Water Supplies” FEMA-215 March 1992 . They also state that: you can disregard the warning “Not for Personal Use”. if the label states Sodium Hypochlorite is the ONLY active ingedient and you use ONLY in small amounts as listed in the publication.
I only point this out because, when disaster has hit in the past peope have used scented bleach, color safe bleach, or some really off brand bleaches and have gotten ill and/or had to be hospalized.
One other thing to remember is water filtration options. When you look at commercial filtration units, you should also look at the; availbility for your area, different levels of filtration available for each unit, supporting information/ recommndations accordig to your needs/area, the price for replacement filters and a secondary water treatment. (Ketadyne is a good brand and resource of inforation).
If you own your own well ,there are even opton to draw water fom your own well even without power.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Beveridge
September 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

I love your thoughts, thanks for sharing! One comment about the trash bags, my understanding is that the majority of trash bags now come with some type of insecticide added/integrated, which would not be the best option for some situations involving food and/or water. It might be worth it just to make sure that the bags we store are insecticide free!
Thanks –


Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 10:07 am

Sota, like-uh, Monsanto GMO foods that we ALL eat every day!



Vote -1 Vote +1Nathan
September 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

I live in the high desert of Arizona and Bugging out might include heading off into the hills with my smaller bag (I have a 3-7 day pack ready to go with everything, and a smaller one for 1-2 days.) I carry an old 1 man bivy/tent (weighs less than a pair of BDU bottoms) in my large pack but nothing for sleeping in my smaller pack. My concern is scorpions. Diatemacious earth will get rid of them and I stock it, but it takes time to work and a rather large space. Do you know of anything that could be added to my overnight pack that can be set out in a perimeter, say 5×10 and would repel them? The ones we have around here are not deadly to most, but I got stung once and my arm was numb for 3 days. That would be a bummer in a combat situation. Thanks in advance, Nathan


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Catherine Haugh
September 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

Plastic Trash Compactor bags are as heavy duty as Contractor bags. However, they are a lot smaller which makes them easer to handle.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr. Mike
September 2, 2011 at 10:45 am

Roll of Duct tape, waxed dental floss


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jack Mertz
September 2, 2011 at 10:52 am



+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Dean Chapman USN (ret)
September 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

Just an observation, something I found very useful, and have never read anyone commenting on any of the survival sites: Flashlights and batteries are a given. A must have during power outages. But, batteries go dead, and when we do check, its only momentarily. I have used those inexpensive ‘Solar Powered Walkway Lights’ a few times when the power went out. Those ones you stick in the ground, the sun charges them, and they turn on at night. Stick them out side during the day, and bring them in at night. Some come with an on/off switch. Many have one or two AA or AAA rechargeable batteries in them. Batteries that can be used for other things as well, like radios etc. I just found an 8 pac for $15 on sale at the local home improvement store. An economical way to always have a light ready when the power goes out. One or two in each room of the house is enough to navigate in total darkness. Just my input on a simple preparedness solution.


Vote -1 Vote +1Danette Zak
September 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Thanks Dean, never really thought of that one. We found a portable solar charger from Goal Zero at REI (best price so far @ $120) Your way seems more economical, but how well do you think it will charge the batteries?


Vote -1 Vote +1Rick Struchko
September 3, 2011 at 4:17 am

Dean, excellent idea about the solar lights. Keep switching batteries as they charge and you have a ready charger that can be used for other things. Good idea and thanks. I plan on using that.


Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

Is there a brand name to search for?



+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Lois (okiewife)
September 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

Being prepared is the best way to live. 2 winters ago we had a severe ice storm with power out 7 days. Because we had prepared for different emergencies we were safe, warm, well fed, had light and emergency power for the freezer and refrigerator. Needless to say we slept without worry. No trips to the store needed.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Harold
September 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

A small solar panel, to charge batteries, there is also a small 2 cell flashlight that is charged by sunlight. Powdered milk, instant potatoes, canned goods, and a small emergency medical kit, and if you take medications, you should always have a 30 day supply. I still have supplies from Y-2K., Last but not least, at least 1 rifle, and one hand gun, that you are familiar using.


+4 Vote -1 Vote +1gregory
September 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Hi. You can make any “garbage bag” stronger in an emergency. You take a pillowcase, and insert another pillocase in it. That makes a double-layered pillowcase. Then you line that with a double-layer of plastic bag. The pillowcases won’t allow the plastic bags inside to rupture. So even those cheap, thin-gauge plastic bags become capable of carrying quite a lot of water without bursting.

Another terrific use for garbage bags is shelter. I once stayed an unplanned very-cold night in the woods. I filled a garbage bag with leaves, and got inside. It wasn’t the most comfortable sleeping bag, but it did raise my body temp to bearable levels.

A third use is as a “vapor-barrier” – you lose heat when water evaporates from your body. As stupid as it looks, a plastic bag from any store underneath your socks will keep the sweat on your feet from evaporating, and you’ll have warm feet. Yes, ideally, a 2-gallon zip-lock bag is far “nicer”, but I never seem to have one when I really need it, so its field-expedient time. Most of the time.

The principles work, as long as you stop, and think… and say: hmmm… How can I make this situation suck a little bit less?”


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1captain mike
September 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Sounds like a recipe for trenchfoot. Make sure you get your feet out and dry every 24 hours no matter how cold it is. Macerated skin is even more succeptable to frostbite.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick Struchko
September 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

I can’t totally agree with you on the plastic bag inside the socks because the sweat can freeze in the extremes and hasten frostbite. The idea is to stay dry. A dbl layer of cotton socks will do the trick by wicking away the sweat without the affects of evaporation.


Vote -1 Vote +1.M.
September 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Plastic bags between socks and shoes does work. My brother and I did it all the time when we went door-to-door, shoveling snow for money as kids. The sweat doesn’t freeze, and it is almost as good as boots (if you don’t own any). Of course, we did take them off on a daily basis.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
September 8, 2011 at 4:20 am

Cotton kills…wool socks are much better, merino wool if you can’t stand the itching.
Or, first put on silk socks then the wool ones. Silk will wick away the sweat, and wool keeps you warm even when wet.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Christian
September 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

The contractor bags can be purchased at Lowe’s, home depot, ace hardware, or stores similar. Look for the 3 mil strength bags. Being a general contractor I use these all the time. Very strong and worth having a few. Box of 24 is about 12-15 dollars depending on where u are. Great article!!!


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Lucy Stern
September 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm

David, I have just ordered 2 packages of 100 feet of 550 paracord in two colors to make survival bracelets… I also order the clips and found instructions on the internet on how to make them… I have seen them for sale for around $25.00 each on different websites and I will now be able to make them for around $1.50 each… I will be giving these to my family as Christmas gifts and will start wearing one myself…These are great for emergency needs…. I am surprised you didn’t mention them on your list… Thanks for your lists….


Vote -1 Vote +1Danette Zak
September 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Lucy, when you put the 550 cord in any configuration for a long period of time it weekens the strength of the cord. It’s a nice thought, and a nice gift, but you might want to give some that is normally packaged also.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1jim
September 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I’m retired and have a 17 yr.old that Mama can’t tell him no. I’m allowed to work 10 hrs’ a week for $7.50ph and from that I’m allowed 40 for gas Dodge Ram and 40 for pocket every 2 weeks. From that I’ve been trying to get us ready for when TSHTF. I’m viewed as a bit of a nut case and get no help even kind of laughed at when i brought home a larg bag of rice instead of the $5.00 box of ammo I had been going to get. So you see I can’t buy books – survival or not and can’t subscribe to things as important as they might be. I’m not wanting anyone to feel sorry for me or any of that kind of crap. I partied and never saved a dime so my situation is my fault and I’ll live with it. I just want you all to teach your children while they’re young enough to pay attention. May God bless you all – hope to see ya in Heaven someday. JRS


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick Struchko
September 3, 2011 at 4:28 am

I fully understand how you feel. My wife and daughter think that I’m certifiable. I’m accused of being paranoid because I carry and have weapons stashed around the house. I live in the mountains of NC where there are a lot of copperheads and rattlesnakes. I sometimes see cottonmouths but not often. There are also coyotes, bears, wolves and mountain lions locally. As a Vietvet, I learned survival the hard way and do have to contend with hyper vigilance, yet I’m not paranoid. They are just in denial. Back in ’93 there was a snow storm here that knocked out power and locked folks in for 2-3 weeks.
Hang in there, when, not if, the time comes that your preparing pays off, they’ll thank you and even admire you.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mac
September 3, 2011 at 7:48 am

Hey Jim,
Over the past 10 years or more I have been the family “Nutcase” except when Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of my family’s homes and they were forced to stay with me and my family. Don’t pay attention to the naysayers even if they are your family, and keep working your plan.You don’t have to spend a fortune on preparing just keep reading articles like this one and you will do fine.
You will see the naysayers of your family and friends change their tune when TSHTF!
That’s how it went with me and now I am CHARGING the naysayers to help them to plan and prepare. Hang in there brother. God Bless and Good Luck !


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

There is an abundance of FREE info on the web. Where you’re at (with this site) is a great start. Just follow the links & tune in daily. It all comes together. Don’t freak out! TEOTWAWKI will not happen over nite, IMHO, at worst over a period 10+ days, at best 6 mos- 1yr. either way with signs to be observed.,, or contact me personally

May God bless you all – hope to see ya in Heaven someday. Look for TP at the golden
12 Gates Give & Take symbol when you get there :-}



Vote -1 Vote +1catchesthewind
September 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Para/550 cord is made from nylon and as such is very friction resistant.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1catchesthewind
September 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Let me correct myself. I meant to say that it is subject to melt and burn if subjected to friction. My apologies.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1captain mike
September 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Seen the “duct tape’ comments – I agree in theory, but true duct tape is an imperfect tool. It’s good, but is intended for applications which place no stress on the joint – that’s why you see it fail so often when pressed into service. Don’t mean to push a brand here, but Gorilla Tape is the thing to use. It is duct tape on steroids and you will never go back, unless you are an HVAC guy on a budget.


Vote -1 Vote +1cynical
September 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm



+2 Vote -1 Vote +1MizDixie9
September 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Since I’m in a rural, not urban area I can only offer a couple of suggestions: a hand pump for your water well, getting a ham radio license & a car battery powered ham radio.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Brian
September 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm

the 550 cord can also b used as a fishing line a net for catching small birds lashing a knife on a stick for a spear


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Pat
September 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Irene “fizzled out”? I just got my power turned on yesterday afternoon! Lost 3 trees, a little siding and a patch of shingles. This is my 4th Hurricane (Dennis, Floyd, Isabel & Irene). Sure, it was a category 1 when it hit, but it still wrecks havoc. You have to prepare for a Category 1, just like it’s going to be a 2, 3, or 4. I learn something new each time. Thanks for all the information you provide me with.


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
September 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm

It’s kind of humbling to me to think about how bad it would have been if it hadn’t fizzled out.


Vote -1 Vote +1Pat
September 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Yep. Floyd and Isabel were humdingers. One thing is for sure. Off the east coast of Virginia, you can rest assured there will be another one. Preparation is everything. Take care David.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ed
September 2, 2011 at 7:06 pm

according to boy scout handbook, bandana in bright orange or red color can be used for signaling


+3 Vote -1 Vote +1walter davis
September 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

The top of my list, always have one with me , is a decent pocket knife. I had one that my unckle gave me and I carried it till is was beyond junk and then I really needed it and it let me down. Allways carrie a good pocket knife. Replace as nessisary.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1SLHaynes
September 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Large and small safety pins can also make fairly good fish hooks to tie to the 550 cord. Large paper clips also make good fish hooks plus spear/gig tips for a stick. Paper clips can also be used to secure items if you use them like a super twist tie.


Vote -1 Vote +1Andy
September 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

What is a survival bracelet?


Vote -1 Vote +1Brian
September 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Andy, it’s a length of paracord (around 10′ or so) that is woven (basically, doubled and redoubled back onto itself) into a bracelet form. The ends can be fitted with a plastic locking fastener like you see on backpacks. You can Google “paracord survival bracelet” and will find sites that sell them as well as sites that tell you how to make them.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ron G
September 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I enjoyed you article on various uses for 550 cord and bandanas. I am glad your readers were mentioning contractor bags instead of regular garbage bags. This is a great tip. Is
the 550/parachute/para cord the same as made by Colman and sold in camping stores?


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick Struchko
September 3, 2011 at 4:39 am

All of these comments are useful. Thanks David for giving this chance for folks to exchange ideas. I have a few that might be helpful:
Seek out a TV/electronic repair shop and ask for one of the old wide screen projection TVs. The screen is in fact a parabolic lens that can be made into a solar oven.
An old dish antenna can be used as a solar still.
LED flashlights use less power than regular flashlights and are only $2-3 at discount auto parts places. Also, buy crank (magneto) radios and flashlights.
If you’re in the forest and need warmth for sleeping, dig a trench about a foot wide, 6′ long and 1-2′ deep. Burn wood in it until it is full of coals up to about 4″ from the top. When going to sleep, fill remainder of hole with dirt, pack hard and put your sleeping bag on top. It will keep you warm all night. Also, keep golf ball sized rocks in the fire and wrap them in your wet socks, throw them into the bottom of the sleeping bag and not only will your feet stay warm and toasty, but the socks will dry out too.
One tool I have fortunately been given as a gift, is a tactical pen made by UZI, $14 on the web. Google “Tactical Pen” and “Tactical Pen Fighting” for full information. It is even cleared for carrying on commercial aircraft when a bottle of perfume isn’t. Go figure.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
September 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

A bottle of perfume has alcohol in it and can probably be used for a bomb making thing. Also, a bottle of perfume can be a weapon when thrown into eyes, which is something we should remember.


Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

add a lit match just for good measure!



+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Auntie Kanni
September 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Love everyone’s comments — I’m learning more every day. As a single woman, senior citizen & with both limited sight & mobility, I’m pretty much planning on staying put. Thanks for the idea on melting snow with contractor bags — I had them last winter when I was snowed in for 6 days but didn’t think to use them that way. I’ve used solar lights indoors for years — began with a power outage. I’m now buying them in numbers as I’ve found even the $1 to $2 ones will last all night as a night light & it’s comforting to have any light when power is out. I bought a couple of spotlight solars thinking I’d be able to read by them. The dollar stores are a good source of many helpful items from canned food, rice & shelf stable milk (check expiration dates but they’re usually at least 6 months to 1 year way) to solar lights & “book” lights. The book light can be attached to clothing or book to read & since it can be shined very close to book I find I can read some with them. For $1 I bought a dozen & sent several to missionaries in Dominican Republic where they have power outages all the time. Garage sales have yielded some good camping equipment for a friend of mine & backpacks that can be used for grab & go or packed & left in the trunk of a car. Dollar stores also have an abundance of first aid items, paper goods so you don’t have to wash dishes, plastic containers to keep insects & animals out of food supply & even cards & games to pass the time when there is no electric service. Did you know that many spices can be used for health reasons? Salt can be used for a salt/water gargle for sore throat, mouthwash for oral problems, used as a saline solution up a stuffy nose. I’ve read that black pepper will stop a spurting wound & that it can be used to stop a radiator leak (never tried it but a man I know said he had used it). A friend from Mexico said her mother always made them cinnamon tea when they had upset stomachs (it’s antibacterial & antiviral). Both white sugar & honey can be used on wounds & honey works well on bedsores. Our family has used turpentine & sugar on deep cuts for about a 100 years. My mother once slit her palm open with a serrated knife & pushed her hand into the sugar canister & then had me pour turpentine on it, she then plunged her hand into the sugar again & got a good bujld up on her wound. A torn up white cotton sheet was tied around her hand. The next day she was using her hand. I used sugar & turpentine when I sliced the end of my thumb off with a mandoline. The next day it had quit hurting & it grew back. Also, by not going to the ER we didn’t get staph infections. A friend of mine did the same slicing of her palm as my Mother did. She went to the ER, got a rare staph infection & was in quarentine for 2 weeks. A pastor friend told me how the doctor who had delivered me at home once told one of his church members her son would be dead by morning — it was the 30s & the boy had pneumonia. My pastor friend told the mother that his mother always used a pan of fried onions on the chest for congestion. She fried up a big pan & the next day when the doctor came to pronounce the boy dead he found him breathing easy. When the mother told him what she had done he said, “That’s what my mother used to do!” I’d love to hear from others about home remedies. We grew up poor & had no insurance. We didn’t think about going to the doctor except in extreme circumstances.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Grammy
September 7, 2011 at 3:46 am

My mom, also from Mexico, used to make a thick, tasty cinnamon drink that really helped upset or acidic stomachs. She would add some flour to a cup or so of water and stir until there were no lumps. Then, she would boil water with cinnamon and sugar, and add the flour water to it, stirring to continue to keep the lumps out. When it had thickened, drink it. It tastes good and sometimes has been the only thing that would help several people we’ve told about to be able to go to sleep when they’ve had really acidy stomachs. If we had the flu and couldn’t keep anything down, she would make rice water (cook rice with a cup or two of extra water until the rice was well done, then add sugar and cinnamon) Sipping that warm a little at a time always helped!


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
September 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I’m sure that most of you know this, but it is important to remember that 550 cord and the other similar items have an outer sleeve and thin strands inside. So, depending on the strength requirements, you can turn turn it into a larger quantity and/or a smaller diameter lines. For example, when using for fishing line, use one of the inner strands.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
September 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm

When it comes to health, look into collidial silver. The stuff is amazing. It is a antibiotic. It was used as an anti biotic before pharmacuticals and won’t allow bacteria to become resistant. Use for animals and people and almost free after the purchase of a generator (35-200 dollars). I have an old (14 years) Lab with cancerous tumers on her eyes. The Vet wrote her off due to her age, and the tumers were growing by the day, almost covering her eyes. The silver applied 2 X daily have shrunk the tumers 80% and she can see fine again. Placing some on a bandaid on a cut, completely closed the cut overnight. You can use the stuff for alot of medical malidies. Do an internet search on the stuff. You will be amazed. I am, and my Vet was. It has even been used to kill the HIV virus in a petri dish, and will kill the deadly staff viruses. I won’t be without the stuff.


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1CYNICAL
September 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Martin
September 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Cynical, good idea about giving it orally to the dogs. I take an ounce a night for a mouth rinse, then after a few minutes, just swallow it. Can’t do that with Listerine. I also put 20 cc’s into a new bottle of shampoo. Since I have done that, no dandruff and no itchy scalp. I find more and more uses every day. Any time ya need to kill germs or bacteria, this is my go to remedy, and I haven’t been disapointed yet.


Vote -1 Vote +1eleanor mason
September 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

great site


Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Michael Love
September 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

I have actually made a sling out of some 550 cord and duct tape. I don’t mean a medical sling; the David and Golith sling. I learned this from Boy Scouts. Great for taking small birds, rabbits, ect.


Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Michael Love
September 5, 2011 at 12:27 am

Martin: What is collidial silver and how is it used and obtained? Also, I have heard for years sugar is used to stop bleeding. My question is how is it used?


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1marcus
September 5, 2011 at 6:04 am

Hi Guys
[MOSQUITO NETTING] I know this is not a Multi-use item but in the south if you have to spend a night in the out doors you dont want to be with out it.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Sailorman Andy
September 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

Evidentaly we have more than one Andy responding on this site, so I will , in the future refer to myself as Sailorman as many friends refer to me. I hope to reduce any confusion .
After often finding either dead batteries, or those even after testing having limited life, we have converted to crank charged flashlights and radios. They were tested just a couple of days ago when our grid failed. We have solar as a source of house lighting and electrical needs, but that solar isn’t as portable. The use of outside solar lights that charge during the daytime is an inexpensive source we had not thought of bringing inside. Thanks for the neat idea. We may use it in the future. We use both coloidal silver and food grade hydrogen peroxide to address many of our needs. Both are inexpensive and effective as well as in keeping away from the contamination when hospitals are involved.
We seem to be learning quite a bit from this site even though we have been “survivalists” since before 2000. Thank you all and thanks again David. God bless, Also Andy


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
September 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

We’ve done the whole “solar walkway light” thing as well 🙂 One thing to keep in mind is that the fact that you CAN charge batteries in these lanterns for other uses during the day doesn’t mean that it’s practical. The tiny solar panels that are on the lights are meant to put enough juice in the battery to run an LED or two for a few hours at night…nothing more. They’re great for this purpose, but they won’t charge batteries enough to help you power other items for daily use.

Another interesting point. If you open these units up, most of them use rechargable AA batteries. The ones that I’ve seen have a 600-800 mAh capacity vs. 1800, 2000, or even 2800 mAh that you can get in high capacity disposable and rechargable batteries. In my opinion, this is the perfect application for batteries with such a low capacity. LED bulbs don’t take much power to run for an evening or a night, and the little 2″x2″ or 3″x3″ panels wouldn’t be able to adequately charge a full capacity battery.


Vote -1 Vote +1notforsale
September 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm

A great site for natural cures and remedies is Keep apple cider vinegar on hand. Go on earthclinic’s site and read the multiple uses. . . lots of interesting home remedies, tried and rated by real people.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Antena
September 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm

OK. I’ll give this a whirl. My 101 uses survival item is beeswax. You can use it for:
candles, lip balm, waterproofing items, lubricant for tools and hardware, seals for jam jars, as a barrier for things like mouth sores (as I found when I had braces), lubricate wood drawers and windows, coat to free a rusted nut or lube a screw, on skis and sleds, to make a mean handlebar mustache, bow strings, ear plugs, thread and fishing line coating, lubricate zippers.


Vote -1 Vote +1Brian
September 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Great addition to the list! I’d forgotten about beeswax.


Vote -1 Vote +1Sailorman Andy
September 6, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thanks for the help with trying to differentiate myself from other “Andys” on this site.
My understanding seems to be that you require authorization or acceptance in making that change through Worldpress. For some reason the link provided will not allow my access so my only source is through this link. It seems that a simple name change “aint so simple” and I may have created problems rather than aleviate those I forsaw. Anyway, with the understanding that you monitor submissions, I hope that my authorization here will suffice.
I appreciate your input, and value the information and input I find here. Thanks again,
Sailorman Andy


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dave R.
September 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Regarding bandanas, my father used to tell me that when he was in the Navy during WWII, he and other sailors enthusiastic for shore leave in Honolulu would be checked for weapons as they left the ship by the Shore Patrol. So, to make sure they could take care of themselves, their silk uniform scarf folded around a silver dollar made all the weapon they needed.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1steve semkowicz
September 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I always like to have on hand military trip wire or bailing wire which you can find at any local hardware store it was hundreds of uses is strong and does not weigh very much in your pack . also a good sewing kit is a life saver for any repairs of clothing , shelter , or in a pinch use for sutures . Also people always have different opinions about cigarette lighters , I always carry one in my pocket plus in my truck and in my pack , I have them all over the place even if you dont smoke or if you are skilled at making fire it really dosnt matter you should still carry one , the reason being is people die because they cant make fire when a lighter would have saved there life , or always make it easy compared to flint or bow .


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1john-douglas
September 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Hydrogen peroxide (bottled), aloe vera (leaf from house plant) are two basic essentials for treating and healing: 1) ripped three-inch gash, about a half-inch deep, from a pit bull attack; 2) open friction wounds on the knee (thrice); 3) leg rash from a pharmaceutical poison pill (which was supposed to relieve the pain I was suffering from an auto accident, but only produced persistent leg rash)
This rash persisted, despite modern medical attention for months, until I decided it was time to apply aloe vera – this did the trick in a few weeks..
The hydrogen peroxide I applied either with a cotton ball or via man Elastoplas bandage, or straight from the bottle. It was used as a disinfectant.
The aloe vera I applied directly from a leaf snipped off the host plant. I use the open end of the leaf, squeezing as necesary to get the gel to slowly accumulate at the broad open end. Then, using the leaf end as a brush, I gently apply the gel in layers until the entire wounded area is covered.
It is possible to use the same leaf several times if you snip off the wilted used end to expose more gel (it seems to retract from the cut end after a few hours or so) In this manner you should get several fresh applications of gel from a single leaf for several days or applications.
The wound from the pit bull healed within a few days and the scar tissue disappeared in about six months. Today I cannot see any trace of the injury.which was inflicted seven or eight years ago.
Packing a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your kit should be no problem As for the aloe vera plant, I dunno. But I strongly suggest you have one in a window planter at home – it thrives on plenty of sunlight and the occasional (weekly) drink of water.
Still, It’s best to avoid attacking pit bulls and poisonous pharmaceutical products!
Pax vobiscum otis fensum, Deo volente! – JDoN.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1MARY E
October 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I was always a little hesitant to store wheat like the Mormons, because if you make bread it will be smelled for miles. But what I have learned about sprouting wheat and wheat grass is absolutely amazing. For healing, for nutrition, for detox, you can actually simply chew the grass, swallow the juice and apply the pulp to a cut for healing it. If you search it, you will lear how perfect a food it actually is, juiced.. Just a couple ounces a day is extremely healthy! Wasn’t there a story of a woman who set out to cross the country walking, eating only grass?


Vote -1 Vote +1ron
October 23, 2011 at 1:04 am

just want to say thanks very much for the really great idea’s and sharing them and your knowledge. i am still learning but with all your help it makes it easier especially with all the recommendations. looking forward to reading and learning all i can to be prepared and to
protect my family.
god bless, ron


Vote -1 Vote +1dog
December 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

would like advise as to what brand and model of water filter or pureafucation unit
also advise on make and model of portable radio am/fm plus short wave.
thank you in advance.
take, god bless. dog


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 11:25 am

Never can go wrong with BRAND names. Check out the BIG Marts to save money, BUT first go to a Sports/ Camping store to talk & gather info. That said, I made a GREAT portable water filter with a Britta replacement cartridge in a cutout soda bottle.. Also, to purify water, I use iodine CRYSTALS.Or silver.
If its a LARGE quantity, in-home unit you’re looking for, get a BERKEY.

Grundig & Uniden are common, high quality, electronic BRANDS. However, personal preferences aside, off-brands are often cheaper and sufficient.

Hope this helps, just a little. Keep asking questions!



+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Take no chance
December 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Purchase a small folding shovel, use a good file to sharpen the edges. Makes a good cutting tool and even a weapon if necessary. It will also still work for digging.


Vote -1 Vote +1Bob T
March 2, 2012 at 8:36 am

Several years back I purchased two heavy duty waterproof bags from EMS to use for kayaking. They look like yellow duffel bags. I forget the price but I don’t think that they were real cheap. They can be used to hold things that are wet or things that you wish to keep dry.


+1 Vote -1 Vote +1TPPatriot
March 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

HO! the group!
One of my favorite products is Spiderwire fishing line, the original spectra fibre. It has sliced brick cheese for my sandwich, finished climbing rope ends, and even caught fish for over 15 years! back when it was less than $6 for a 150′ spool, so I bought a dozen!



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