plastic bags are a survival tool

Plastic bags
Learn how to use a plastic bag to survive

Using plastic bags for survival: Survival with a plastic bag is
possible in many ways. With a plastic bag you can make cordage,
collect water, stay warm and much more. Here's specifically how
to use a plastic bag for survival...

How to Use a Plastic Bag for Survival
That "Thank you, have a nice day!" plastic bag could be a life
saver, so don't throw it away. Below are dozens of ideas on how
to use a plastic bag for survival...

#1: Use a zip-lock bag like a glove to shield your
If you're caught in the cold without gloves, you can wear a zip-
lock freezer bag, like a glove, to shield your hands. Even if you
have a glove, you may like to use the glove:

  • Fish for something in the icy waters to protect from the chill.
  • Contain contagion if you don't have rubber gloves.
  • Pick up anything nasty from dog poop to a decaying rodent.
    (Remember to turn the bag inside out so that you can
    adequately zip-lock the contents.)

#2: Make a poor man's emesis bag from a zip-lock
An Emesis bag is a good prep to own as part of your pandemic
preparedness plan, but if you don't have a box, or if you can't
afford them, you can make do with a gallon freezer bag, which
will allow you to seal the contents before disposal.

#3: Plan ahead with a home-made zip-lock ice-pack.
Dip a clean sponge into water, then store it in a Zip Lock freezer
bag for a do-it-yourself ice pack.  The best part is it won't drip!

#4: Stash tinder in a zip-lock bag for your bugout
Do-it-yourself tinder for your bugout bag is easy to make: dip
cotton balls in Vaseline and keep them in small zip-lock bag
where they will stay moist. The petroleum jelly is your fuel.
Another method is to dip flat cotton rounds in paraffin wax. The
zip-lock bag will keep them dry and tidy.

#5: Make a bizarre fly control contraption.
Have pesky flies buzzing about? Here's a bizarre yet easy
hang a plastic bag filled with water to get rid of flies!
Flies have an aversion to reflections for whatever reason and this
simple idea does the trick. Flies are harbingers of disease, so get
them away.

If you think house flies are a mere annoyance, think again. The
housefly is recognized as a carrier of many communicable
diseases. They carry disease on the small hairs that cover their
body. Diseases you'll avoid include:

#6: Collect potable water from tree branches
If you find yourself needing to secure potable water in a survival
situation, when there is no river, lake or stream nearby, you can
collect the "sweat" from the trees. This process is called
"transpiration." To harness the transpiration of water from a
plant, you collect the water moving from the plant's leaves,
stems and flowers to your bag through the natural evaporative
process. It won't provide much water, but it may be just enough
life-sustaining liquids to help you pull through.

Transpiration works best when you use clear plastic bags. The
Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags, pictured immediate left would
work well because they have the drawstring. Having such a bag
on a backpacking adventure or bugout scenario is a luxury that
would add a minuscule amount of weight.

#7: Carry water or food.
At the most basic level, a zip lock bag can help you forage for
food in the wild (berries come to mind).  It's not very practical for
carrying water, but if you open the zip-lock carefully and slowly
so that the seams don't break you can carry water. It's a fall
back option, but just may help you get through. If it's raw water
that needs to be filtered or boiled somehow, then you may as
well use the other container to do the task! It's simply not
practical for water in most cases.

#8: Improvise a coverall / poncho.
Shelter from the rain is almost instant with a large garbage bag.
Cut a hole at the bottom of the bag with just enough space for
your face to poke through.

  • Survival tip for prepper parents. For children, ensure they
    have a poncho tucked in a pocket of their coat or their
    bugout bag, as they may lack the sophistication to
    improvise shelter from a trash bag. Teach kids the hug-a-
    tree method of survival and learn more in prepping with
    kids. Left is a rain poncho sized perfectly for kids.

#9: Rig up a makeshift shelter.
A quick and dirty makeshift shelter is to use one large garbage
bag as a coverall over the head (as with the poncho idea, #8);
and then another bag underneath your feet to stay dry from head
to foot.

#10: Devise a sleeping bag.
Use at hefty-size garbage bag  like a bivvy sleep sack to retain
body warmth if you’re stranded in the snow in your car or lost in
the wilderness. The key to staying warm is to squat (don't lie
horizontally as you will get too cold from the ground).

#11: Secure survival water with a rain cache.
A garbage bag can help you harvest potable water in an
emergency. Before the rains, dig a hole and line it with a trash
bag. Secure the bag with stones. You may still need to filter your
water from fallen debris and you may like to boil it, but rainwater
is potable as is.

#12: Improvise rubber boots.
While bugging out or camping, you may need to improvise rubber
boots to cross the shallow waters of a creek without getting cold.
If your bugout path has a cold creek as an obstacle, you can use
a couple of plastic bags and duct tape to get across without
getting yourself wet. Step into the plastic bags and duct tape
them to your pants: now you can stay dry to reduce risk of
hypothermia. (In warmer seasons you might just cross barefoot.)

#13: Provide waterproof insulation for your feet.
While bugging out or camping, you may walk across a damp
surface and want to stay dry in soggy conditions. Wear plastic
bags on top of your socks, but underneath your shoes to provide
a layer of insulation, which will keep your feet warm and dry. If
you were to place the bags on top of your shoes, you wouldn't
get the proper traction and they would wear easily.

#14: Haul small carcass from a hunt.
Don't have a game bag? With a large garbage bag, you'll be able
to haul a small carcass bag or have a clean workspace for
dressing. The bags will keep your deer cart clean (or toboggan) if
you're hunting in the snow.

#15: Make a solar still.
With a large plastic bag, a trench, a container and some stones shows you
how to make a solar still.

#16: Filter Water.
Survival with a plastic bag in the rain forest is made easier with
a water filter if you have access to water, rocks, sand and you
know how to make your own charcoal (or you carry some with

Filtering water through charcoal, sand and rocks is a classic
survival method usually accomplished through a series of
buckets, but there is no reason why you can't do the filtration
through a strong plastic bag in a survival situation. How stuff
works shows you how to make a homemade water filter...

#17: Fuse plastic bags into fabric!
During the Great Depression, people were resourceful (making do
or doing without). If the plastic bag had been invented in their
time, surely we would have seen some amazing creativity. The
plastic bag was invented in the 1960s, and since that time we've
done little with them until now. Humanitarian projects in under
developed countries are paving the way with new ideas:One
humanitarian project taught the poor of Bamako, Mali, Africa how
to create new things from trash for self sufficiency. The
fused empty plastic bags littered on the streets to
make useful new table cloths, ground coverings, crib liners,
shower curtains and rain ponchos using nothing more than an
iron, newspapers, scissors, and scraps of paper shapes.

#18: Make cordage!
Here's the YouTube tutorial for how to weave plastic bags into

#19: Craft "plarn"(plastic-bag yarn).
Recycle colorful plastic bags into plastic yarn called plarn. Here is
the tutorial for how to make yarn from plastic. From this process
you can make a variety of things, including a basket, a grocery
handbag (takes 47 bags), slippers, shoes, sandals, hats,
placemats, or whatever you need.

#20: Weave with plastic bags.
Weave plastic sleeping mats or a ground covering from your
plarn. The beauty of these mats is that they will stay dry and
keep the bugs away. For some reasons the bugs don't like them.

#21. Freeze water in plastic bags.
Fill a few baggies with water and put them in your freezer in
preparation for the next blackout to keep your frozen goods
chilled through the outage. This will save you from buying bags
of ice like everyone else. Best of all, when they thaw, you’ll have
some drinking water on your hands.

So there you have 21 useful ways to make good use of a plastic
bag! How will you use a plastic bag prepping? Do you have a
prepper use for plastic bags that we overlooked? Write us!

Happy endings...
Keep zip lock bags handy in your car kits, and with the ration
bars you stuff in the bugout bag. Ration bars are individually
portioned, but do not come wrapped individually. When you break
the bars to take a meal, you will need a place to keep the
contents fresh until the next meal or critters may get to eat the
remains before you get the opportunity. They will crumble and
you can't reseal the bag.

Related articles...

Above, an ice fisherman covers himself in a plastic bag.

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