Survival essentials: 7 Improvised items that you’ll need when SHTF
06/05/2020 / By Mary Miller / Comments
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Survival essentials: 7 Improvised items that you’ll need when SHTF

When dealing with an emergency or survival scenario, you won’t always have the best tools on hand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improvise survival tools using everyday items that can still get the job done. Here are seven improvised survival items that can come in handy when SHTF. (h/t to

Bandana water filter

Without access to clean drinking water, you probably won’t survive for more than three days. Even if you do happen to find a source of water, you shouldn’t be so quick to drink it, no matter how clean it looks. What you can do is create a makeshift water filter using a regular bandana, along with some rocks, dirt and charcoal. While it won’t necessarily remove waterborne pathogens, this improvised bandana water filter can still filter out large particulates in the water. After filtering your water, ideally, you should still boil it first before drinking.

Hand sanitizer tinder

In order to start a fire to boil your water, you will need some form of flammable tinder. This is where your hand sanitizer comes in. Because most hand sanitizers are made up of 60 to 95 percent alcohol, they are highly flammable and easy to ignite. Plus, most hand sanitizers come in convenient travel-sized bottles that can fit in your pocket or bug-out bag. If you have any paper towelettes, you can soak these in hand sanitizer to create makeshift tinder.

Coffee can heater

If you need an emergency source of heat, you can make a DIY coffee can heater using a roll of toilet paper, a used coffee can and some alcohol. All you have to do is remove the cardboard tube from your roll of toilet paper and place the roll inside an empty coffee can. You can fold the roll in half first if it won’t fit inside the coffee can. Once it is in place, unfold the roll a little and pour in a bottle of 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Swish the can around so that the toilet paper properly soaks up all the alcohol. Finally, ignite the saturated toilet paper with your lit tinder.

Shoe lace cordage

Cordage is always an important survival item to have with you at all times. What you might not realize is that even if you don’t happen to have a length of trusty 550 paracord with you, you probably still have some form of cordage on hand. Simply untie your shoe laces and you’ll suddenly find yourself with a considerable length of cordage that you can use to tie things together. Shoe laces from military boots are especially durable. (Related: How to make 9 improvised survival items that can save your life when SHTF.)

Duct tape bandages

An incredibly versatile survival item, duct tape is useful for all types of improvised repairs and attachments. In a first aid context, you can use duct tape to create emergency waterproof bandages. Simply wrap your wound with clean gauze or cloth and keep it securely fastened with duct tape. You can also cut small strips of duct tape to create temporary butterfly bandages that can keep small wounds closed.

Smart phone signal mirror

Your smart phone isn’t just for calling. Its large reflective glass surface means that in can be used as a makeshift signal mirror. You must first turn off your smart phone and maneuver it at just the right angle so that the screen catches the sun’s light and reflects the rays at any passing aircraft, vehicles or people within the vicinity.

Car key saw

If you’ve ever tried to rip open an envelope or package using your car keys, then you already have the right idea on how to use your car keys. While they might not have the same cutting ability as a genuine survival knife, your car keys can still be used as an improvised cutting instrument to make notches on branches.

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