Thinking outside the box: Common items with unusual survival uses
09/16/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

For many preppers, everyday items like a lip balm or bubble wrap have no place in their survival gear. But these seemingly common items have many survival uses, and you should stock up on them before SHTF. (h/t to

Whether you're on a budget, or you just want to make the most of the items around your home, it's always a good idea to keep some of these versatile items in your bug-out bag.


Aside from their intended use, extremely elastic condoms can be used in different survival situations. When buying condoms for your bug-out bag (BOB), purchase unlubed and unscented varieties.

Here are some of the survival uses of condoms.

  • Tied and stretched condoms can be used as makeshift cordage.
  • Two condoms can store at least a week's supply of water for one person.
  • A condom can be used to keep matches or kindling dry, as well as for starting fires.
  • Use condoms to design a makeshift slingshot for self-defense or for hunting small animals.
  • If you lose the lid of your water bottle, use a condom as a temporary cover for the opening.
  • Condoms can also be used to waterproof your electronics, especially when traveling in rainy weather.
  • If you're going fishing, you can use a condom as a makeshift fishing float so your hooks don't fall to the bottom of a pond.


Floss is essential for oral hygiene and it can also function as a versatile survival supply.

Floss can be used as fishing line or as a thread for sewing. Alternatively, you can use floss to make a snare for small animals if you need nourishment.


Garbage bags

Use garbage bags as a makeshift pack or to keep your gear dry. Alternatively, garbage bags can be used as material for a shelter, a poncho, a temporary blanket for sitting on the dirty ground, or as a sleeping bag.

A garbage bag looks flimsy but it is made of materials that are suitable for insulation.


Gillnets are a type of fishing net. You can set them up near a body of water and leave them unattended. Once you're done with your tasks, you can check the gillnet for fish.

Lip balm

Lip balm keeps your lips moisturized, which prevents chapping during extreme cold or hot weather.

It also has the following survival applications:

  • Lip balm can form a protective barrier over cuts and scrapes to prevent infections.
  • Use it to stop minor bleeding from cuts.
  • Applying a bit of lip balm to kindling will make the latter easier to light.
  • Empty lip balm tubes can be used to store small items like matches, pills, or Q-tips. You can also use empty tubes to store a homemade fishing kit with a small hook and a length of fishing line. (Related: Improvising while prepping: Everyday items that can double duty in an emergency.)

Powdered milk

Powdered milk is useful survival food. When SHTF, powdered milk is a great alternative for fresh milk since it also contains essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamins.

With powdered milk, you can cook and get your daily dose of vitamins and nutrients that will keep you healthy during a long-term disaster scenario. Powdered milk has a long shelf like and keeping it sealed will make it safe to use for a long time.

To ensure the quality of the milk in your stockpile, learn how to make your own powdered milk. Making powdered milk at home also ensures that it's free from additives and harmful chemicals often found in pasteurized and processed milk.

A small metal pot

A small, metal two-quart pot is a commonly overlooked survival item.

A metal pot can be used to cook small portions of food and boil water. You can also use it to sterilize items when SHTF.

Super glue

Use super glue to repair your gear or shoes or to prevent cordage from fraying. Additionally, super glue can be used to seal wounds as a last resort.


Even if there aren't any females in your group, tampons deserve a place in your stockpile.

Tampons have four separate parts, each with its own uses. The cotton in tampons can be used as a bandage or kindling while the barrel can be used to make a fishing bobber.

Preppers know that their creativity is just as useful as their survival skills when SHTF. With a bit of ingenuity, you can come up with various ways to use common items like garbage bags or tampons for survival purposes.

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