Thursday, May 10, 2012

Survival Kit: 5 awkward but Useful Items!


Oh yes, the condom. Part of every old school survival kit. What can you use it for besides its obvious application?
Storing water. Storing small items, anything you don’t want to lose or you want to keep dry. It has been used on rifle barrels to keep dirt, salted water and other foreign objects away. Filling it up with water it can be used as a lens to start a fire in a sunny day if you have dry tinder. Since its elastic it could be used as a large rubber band. You can even do a mean slingshot with condoms, look it up on youtube. The possible applications are too many. And don’t forget the purpose for which it was intended, not a minor detail. During the war in Bosnia in at least one radio communication people asked for condoms!


These are commonly found in kits as well. Since its basically compacted cotton the applications are in many cases the same. Opening a cotton tampon up and you can use it as tinder, as dressing for a wound, it can be used to filter water before making it potable with a tablet or potassium permanganate crystals. After filtering it leave the water exposed to sunlight UV in the condom so as to kill most of the bugs in it. Tear one or two up and throw it in the gas tank to sabotage an enemy’s vehicle. The fuel pump and filter wont like it one bit. Tampons have been used many times in gun shot wounds with a fair amount of success, expanding and stopping the hemorrhage. They are after all designed to contain bleeding. Even the little piece of string can be used for cordage. A word of caution about gun shot wounds and tampons: God forbid you even have to use one in such a manner, be careful of sucking chest wounds that the tampon doesn’t get sucked into the lung.  Also in the feminine hygiene department, pads are supposed to be good  for dressing wound as well.

Nail Buffer/Emery foam Board

I`ve mentioned these several times in the past. For touching up a knife, even some serious sharpening, I’ve found few sharpening tools to be as practical and light weight as these things. Chopping some wood with a Condor knife I would carelessly chop through the logs and hit the concrete ground, mostly to see how the knife held up when abused rather than just used (did very well). A few minutes with the emery foam board and it was back to razor sharp. If you keep one of these in your kit and touch up your knife after some use you’ll always have your blade ready for duty… and your nails will look fantastic…  :-p


Yes. Pantyhose. They make your manly legs look pretty and you can get them all in a bunch when someone offends you on the internet. Besides that they can be used for a number of purposes such as pre-filtering water, as a more robust water container when used in combination with the condom, as cordage, a tourniquet, improvised vehicle fan belt, pretty good fishing net, cover your scopes lens to avoid reflection, cover your face when you want to avoid detection or freak someone out. Googling about some of the possible uses I found out that many hikers, hunters and athletes actually wear them too because they keep their legs warmer, because they stop ticks, because they like wearing them… Just do me a favor if you ever meet me in person: Don’t ever tell me about it man, I just don’t want to know.

Breast milk bag

When you though this article couldn’t get any weirder I drop this on you. You should have seen my wife’s face when I threw a box of breast milk bags into our shopping cart. She said something like “any other woman would be freaked out if her husband did that, but given that last time you bought tampons for yourself …”. After all the guns, ammo, knives, stuff that burns, stuff that explodes, stuff that runs and then explodes, she’s pretty much used to anything.
These breast milk bags are just awesome! They are like ziplock bags but especially made for containing liquids of course. The bags are of thick material, sterilized and have a double ziplock type of seam that holds liquid without any leaking. Maximum capacity is 8 to 18oz or 250 ml.  to half a liter in general, with markings up to 9oz or 250 ml so as to know how much liquid you have in there. Uses for this? How about the best, most compact water bottle I’ve ever found, and they come like 40 units per box. Given that they are sterilized you could even open one up and cover a burn wound, use it to make a valve along with some duct tape on a sucking chest wound. The bag full of water can be left on the sun for disinfecting water with the SODIS method, just leave it exposed to good sunlight for 6 hours. Of course this is a much better water container than a condom, you can easily open it, drink and close it again.
Hope all this gives you some food for thought. Suggestions? Other uses? FerFAL this article is freaking me out? Its all welcomed.
Join the forum discussion on this post!


Michael Messina of FLSGear said...

Doh, you beat me to it! I was going to do a post like this to my blog. Though I think I'd have put more about the utility of the tampon. After all, it's great for GSW's and severe trauma - plus it's sterile! You can't beat that. It's better for packing a wound than gauze because you just pop it in and it puffs up. So simple.

Great post though, put it up on my fb.

Anonymous said...

Good tip on the emory board for knife sharpening, I read that earlier in your blog and tried it - does a pretty good job! I would have never thunk it.

I wrapped a length of one in BIC lighter under 'ranger band', it hardly takes any room at all.

Another 'krazy a$$' suggestion - hair net. Compress to teeny tiny space, yet can hold a couple of pounds of collected items in the wild. I have tried (with very limited success I will confess ;^)) to using one to collect small fish, using a limber branch to form ring along edge. That is pushing it though.

A little larger are the net bags used in produce department - tougher yet and are multi-purpose item. You can cut these or even join them together with zip ties.

Thanks again for the post.

Rita said...

Thanks for this post. Great ideas!

The thing about condoms is that they have a limited shelf life, and after they are older, they tear or rip easily. They are not something I think I would want to drink water out of, but I am not thirsty or been without water for several hours either.

Anonymous said...

Great article!

Very entertaining as well.

recon said...

ive heard conflicting theories about the tampon for wounds, and have no real world experience so take what im saying with a grain of salt; but ive heard that the traditional idea of stuffing a tampon directly into the wound can cause more harm than good because it soaks up blood, blood that may not necessarily be otherwise leaving your body. but im not an emt and have zero training in first aid, so i dont know for sure. but it sounds like it makes sense.

millenniumfly said...

Nice ideas. I never thought about using a simple emery board as a knife sharpener; I'll have to try it some day. And the breast milk bag from your wife was classic!

Shayne said...

Tampons are not recommended for being used as a plug for wounds due to complications in removing them when they have expanded. Pads are possibly a better solution also being able to be used as a battle dressing.