Summer is getting so close I think I can already smell the sunscreen. And for lots of us, summer means camping trips with the family!
Hopefully everything goes according to plan, but in the case of an unexpected hiccup or full-on zombie apocalypse, here are 12 weird survival tips that you absolutely must read!
You know the usual, “Don’t leave food out–it attracts animals,” and “Mind that you don’t start a forest fire.” So I won’t beat a dead horse.
These are the weirdest survival tips and tricks I could find, plus the most genius ways of re-purposing stuff you already packed!
1. Use Doritos or crayons to start a fire.
You’ve probably heard of using lint, steel wool, and dry brush as kindling for a fire, but you can also use any of this random stuff you probably have on hand for your kindling nest:
- Dried spaghetti
- Tampons — the cotton part. (Bonus if you have Vaseline, because any little piece of cotton soaked in petroleum jelly is a great fire starter.)
2. Use your spit for fishing.
No fishing gear? No problem, just find smaller fish to fry.
- Use a piece of fabric (like a shirt) as a net. Just hold it out with both hands and submerse a few inches under the water.
- Spit on your shirt. Well, the water above your shirt anyway. Small fish like minnows will be attracted to all that yummy food in your saliva (salts, sugars, Dorito powder. . .)
- Once the fish is in place, lift your shirt out of the water and fold the ends toward each other trapping the fish.
You’ll probably want to have some kind of container ready on the shore so you can collect a bunch of these little guys for a meal.
3. Steal potable water from plants with a plastic bag and a rock.
Okay, it’s not really stealing. And even better, you won’t need to harm the plant at all.
Plants transpire water, meaning after they absorb it from the ground, the water moves through the plant, and some of it evaporates from pores on the leaves, stems, and flowers. This process filters out many impurities too.
To capture this drinkable water:
- Fit a plastic bag over some leaves.
- Place a small rock inside the bag to weigh it down without tearing it.
Depending on the circumstances, you should be able to collect a half cup to 2 cups of water within 24 hours.
4. Burning sage can protect you from bug bites.
This isn’t a seance; turns out mosquitoes hate sage smoke as much as evil spirits.
Toss some sage on the fire every couple of hours to help repel bugs from your campsite.
5. Use crushed aspirin to wash your clothes.
It’s not an ideal detergent by itself, but it will help a lot when you just can’t stand the smell of your sweaty clothes anymore.
Crush the aspirin to make a paste with some water, then rub the paste into damp clothes and rinse. The acetylsalicylic acid works great on protein-based stains.
6. Jump your car using aspirin.
Turns out acetylsalicylic acid is good for a lot of things. Obviously, there is some inherent danger here, so you should really only use this as a last resort.
- Carefully lift the cover straight up off your car battery.
- Pop 2 aspirin in each battery cell.
- Re-cover the battery then try to start the car.
7. Mash up more aspirin to treat bug bites.
Another of the many uses of aspirin: simply make a paste with crushed pills and water, then apply directly to a bug bite for fast relief.
8. You can make a fishing bobber with a tampon.
It turns out tampons are about as useful and diverse as aspirin. Fishing bobbers! Who knew?!
- Open the plastic wrapper just a little bit at the top.
- Remove the cotton and one of the two plastic pieces.
- With one of the plastic pieces inside the wrapper, tie it shut.
If your bobber doesn’t float, make sure you have a good amount of air trapped in the wrapper, or try adding a little cotton.
9. You can make a filtering straw with a tampon.
Again, this is so far below ideal it’s not even funny, but so is running out of water.
Stuff some cotton into the top plastic piece of a tampon. The cotton will filter out some impurities as you suck water through the straw.
10. You can help stop heavy bleeding with tampons.
I know, duh. But we’re not just talking periods.
A tampon’s clean, absorbent cotton makes it an ideal component in makeshift bandages. You can also put the tip up your nose and tilt your head slightly forward to treat a nosebleed (ala Channing Tatum).
11. You can use duct tape to make waterproof waders.
Duct tape has so many obvious uses–there’s no reason to go camping without it!
I never would have thought of this one, though. If you have to cross a river or hike in the rain for some reason, wrap your shoes in duct tape for impromptu waterproofing. Continue wrapping up your pant legs for waders.
Just, you know, make sure you don’t wrap it so tight that you can’t get your clothes or shoes off, or, God forbid, you cut off your circulation.
Also, removing the duct tape might damage some materials, but it’s better than hypothermia.
12. PSA: dental floss is string. You can do all the string things with it.
There are a million reasons string can come in handy, but you might not realize you have a fat spool of durable thread in your purse.
- Use it to fasten a spear or some fishing gear
- Tie off that water-trapping bag.
- Pull it taut to cut food in lieu of a knife.