9 Everyday Items and Their Multiple Survival Uses

Excerpts from Survival Tips, Tricks and Traps by Wanda Priday & William Priday

In an emergency, items that did not have much value before can be life savers. Learn to be creative and learn how to improvise.  These 9 everyday items have multiple uses in a survival situation.


  1. Inner tubes from bicycle tires can be a great resource because of their versatility. Add one to your BOB or EDC. Cutting it into rings creates rubber bands and ranger bands (heavy duty rubber bands). Cut in a spiral it creates a long piece of cordage. Take out the valve stem, replace it with smaller tubing and seal where the 2 join and you have a mini camelback. Innertubes can be used as a tourniquet. They are also a waterproof container for items that you want to keep dry. Or as a water container that can be resealed using heat. If you heat it to melting point you can use it as a sealant such as patching a boat or floatation device. It serves as a fire starter, accelerator and produces black smoke for signaling. It’s a great asset in making traps and weapons when used as an action intensifier, such as a sling shot or Hawaiian sling.
  2. Condoms can be a good waterproof place to store and keep tinder, matches, a lighter or any other item you need to keep dry. A condom can be a water container and fortified by carrying in a t-shirt or garment. If you have a somewhat opaque or almost transparent colored condom, it can be filled with water and used as a solar lens to start a fire.  Even a slingshot can be improvised using a condom.  Find a thick Y shaped stick that will fit well in your hand.  Cut notches into the tops of Y.  Create an ammo pouch with a small sturdy rectangle shaped piece of fabric with 2 small slits cut on each side.  Tie a knot in one end of 2 condoms and slide the knotted condom ends into the notches of the stick, then tie the other end of the condom around the slit in an ammo pouch.
  3. Tampons can be used as a sterile wound dressing. The cotton also makes great fire tinder when pulled apart and fluffed. The plastic sheath can be turned into a fishing bobber.  The plastic sheath and wrapper can be used to help start or extend a fire. Together the cotton and plastic sheath can also be used as a straw to filter out water turbidity.
  4. Cigarettes, whether you smoke or not, can be a useful item in survival scenarios, a fire can be lit from the ember, mixed with saliva the tobacco is balm for insect bites and cuts. The smoke from them can keep insects away.  In almost any survival scenario, they become currency and when offered to someone can make the difference between friend or foe.woman-1150111_1280
  5. A hat, especially a wide brimmed leather or canvas hat can be used as shade, a container, a rain catch, and a thermo-regulator. It can assist you in fanning a fire or swatting away bugs. It can also provide concealment for clandestine activities or a place to store items out of site while you are wearing it.
  6. The umbrella is underrated. It can double as a walking stick, a shelter, a self-defense weapon, a rain catch, and shade from the hot sun. It is lightweight and small and can truly be a life saver. Keep one or 2 handy.
  7. A scarf or wrap takes up little space and has multiple uses. Used as a head-cover to stay warm or out of the sun, as a face cover to filter dust, debris, or smoke, as a bandage and when cut into strips becomes cordage.images
  8. A space blanket can be used in lieu of a tarp to create a makeshift shelter. It can serve as a rain catch when laid on the ground with the edges propped up using earth, rocks or carefully placed sticks to create a large low bowl shape.  Because of their reflective nature they make a great signaling device. Space blankets also make a crinkly noise that can be set up to notify you of someone or something approaching through a door or window. Two space blankets and 13–15 ft. of duct tape can create a fantastically warm sleeping bag. Space blankets work by trapping your body heat and reflecting it back at you. However, they do not allow for water vapor from breathing and sweating to escape, so to keep condensation away from you, stay clothed and/or line the bag with a wool blanket.
  9. A towel can be wrapped around you for warmth. It’s a cover that creates shade and it can keep you off the ground. Wet it to use as a club, whip or entanglement device. Snap someone in the eye with it or put an object in the end of it, such as a stone, and it becomes a blackjack or flail. Dragging it through the morning dew may yield enough water to be worth the effort.  It can be a transfer device, by absorbing water with it from a difficult to access water source and then wring it out into a container. It can also be a signaling device when waved and when push really comes to shove you can dry off with it. Hitchhikers across the galaxy highly recommend carrying a towel!

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