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How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

by Monday, November 18, 2013

Have you ever been truly hungry?

Have you ever been truly thirsty?

Do you know to what limits you are willing to go in order to satisfy those basic needs?

The recent typhoon that hit the Philippines show just how quickly things can go from bad to worse…

I have family and friends in the Philippines and, while they were spared from the brunt of the typhoon, they were able to relay messages that were not exactly spread on the open media.

Below is an excerpt from an article originally posted on Reuters that lays out how bad things had gotten (if this is what’s being told, imagine how things really are over there):

Desperation gripped Philippine islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan as looting turned deadly on Wednesday and survivors panicked over shortages of food, water and medicine, some digging up underground water pipes and smashing them open.

Five days after one of the strongest storms ever recorded slammed into cities and towns in the central Philippines, anger and frustration boiled over on Wednesday as essential supplies dwindled. Some survivors scrawled signs reading “Help us”.

Controversy also emerged over the death toll. President Benigno Aquino said local officials had overstated the loss of life, saying it was closer to 2,000 or 2,500 than the 10,000 previously estimated. His comments, however, drew skepticism from some aid workers.

Some areas appeared to teeter near anarchy amid widespread looting of shops and warehouses for food, water and supplies.

There were reports of gunfire between security forces and armed men near a mass grave in worst-hit Tacloban in Leyte province, but city administrator Tecson John Lim denied the clash based on information he had received from the army.

Eight people were crushed to death when looters raided rice stockpiles in a government warehouse in the town of Alangalang, causing a wall to collapse, local authorities said.

Other looters still managed to cart away 33,000 bags of rice weighing 50 kg (110 lb) each, said Orlan Calayag, administrator of the state-run grain agency National Food Authority.

Warehouses owned by food and drinks company Universal Robina Corp and drug company United Laboratories were ransacked in the storm-hit town of Palo in Leyte, along with a rice mill in Jaro, said Alfred Li, head of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Tacloban city administrator Tecson John Lim said 90 percent of the coastal city of 220,000 people had been destroyed, with only 20 percent of residents receiving aid. Houses were now being looted because warehouses were empty, he said.

“The looting is not criminality. It is self-preservation,” Lim told Reuters.

Some survivors in Tacloban dug up water pipes in their desperate need for water.

“We don’t know if it’s safe. We need to boil it. But at least we have something,” said Christopher Dorano, 38.

“There have been a lot of people who have died here.”

Resident Rachel Garduce said the aid – 3 kg (6 lb) of rice and 1 liter (34 ounces) of water per household a day – was not enough in her ravaged Tacloban neighborhood.

Her aunt in Manila, 580 km (360 miles) to the north, was traveling by road and ferry to bring supplies. “We are hoping she won’t get hijacked,” she said.

Rice and water may get them by for a while, but from what I was told, many of them do have canned goods.

Canned goods will provide them with  much needed protein, vitamins and additional water.

There is just one problem.

Many of them don’t have traditional can openers.

So that begs the question…

How do you open a can without a can opener?

Actually it’s pretty simple.

Modern cans are sealed using a roller that bends the top of the can over the wall and the bends it again to form a leak proof crimp in the can. This leaves only a small amount of metal around the top lip of the can that actually seals the contents.

If you ever find yourself without a can opener simply find a large flat rock or piece of concrete, the rougher the better.  Simply place the can upside down on the rock and press down slightly.

Begin sliding the can back and forth across the rock until you begin to see moisture from the contents being left behind.

Once you see the juice, it means that the seal on the can has been broken and you should be able to use a knife or other sturdy utensil to pry the top of the can off.

If you are not concerned with saving water and only want the food, you can keep sliding the can across the rock to further erode the seal and make opening the can easier.

Sure, you could poke holes in the can and try to cut it open.

But that leaves a huge risk of injury to your hands.

And in a survival situation, risking a debilitating injury to your hands is just foolish…

Not only would it severely cripple your ability  to functionally use tools, but in a survival situation sanitation and hygiene are major issues and infection can spread rapidly.

It is tips and tricks like these that will hopefully spread and be used to save lives.

Do you have any that you want to share?

Please leave a comment and let me know below.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles on our site:

How to Open Canned Food by Hand

8 Survival Hacks Using a Soda Can

SURVIVAL SKILLS: Open a Can with Your Bare Hands

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19 Comments on "How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener"

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Ronald (Ronnie) Loga
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Ronald (Ronnie) Loga
2 years 10 months ago
0

I was wondering if I can post these on FaceBook. Ronnie

Chuck
Guest
Chuck
2 years 10 months ago
0 It rains frequently in the Philippines. I watched people, on television, letting rain water run off collecting surfaces onto the ground. They could have caught the rain water to drink. Fifty years ago all those villagers used rooftop cisterns to collect rain water for use as drinking water and for washing. In fifty years they have forgotten how to get along with nature. Rather than digging up pipes that further damages the infrastructure, they would be a lot better off collecting rain water. Just a day or two after the typhoon the news was reporting a heavy rainstorm. That… Read more »
Steve Vise
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Steve Vise
2 years 10 months ago
0 Kind of hard to collect rainwater off your roof’s run-off when you no longer have a roof, or even a bucket to collect it in. My girlfriend lives in Ormoc City and was destroyed in this storm ( I thought she was dead for a week, until she got a message to me via the Red Cross). Her family was smart enough to have stockpiled some food and water before the storm. They lost their home and are now living in a tent, but had enough food and water to survive until supplies started coming in a few days… Read more »
Steve Vise
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Steve Vise
2 years 10 months ago
0

Her HOME was destroyed, my GIRLFRIEND wasn’t destroyed LOL

Steve Vise
Guest
Steve Vise
2 years 10 months ago
0

Most roofs were completely gone off buidlings.

Chuck
Guest
Chuck
2 years 10 months ago
0 True, Steve, but a blue tarp or any water resistant material can be used to collect rain water. The larger the item used to collect the rain water, the more water one has but even a quart of water is absolutely better than no water. A sheet hung in the rain will collect rain water. Some of it can be run off into a container and then the sheet can be rung out to get the water retained by the fibers. While there probably aren’t too many wool blankets in the P.I., a wool blanket will absorb an astonishing… Read more »
Sue G.
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Sue G.
2 years 10 months ago
0

Thank you Chuck for your honesty and guts in saying what you posted.
I was thinking the very same thing. How sad when someone feels that looting = self-preservation vs. criminality.

Adam
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Adam
2 years 10 months ago
0

Great and helpful info! I was just recently wondering about this. Would this technique also work on a larger can, like a can of peaches or something? Thanks

-Adam

Chuck
Guest
Chuck
2 years 10 months ago
0 We used to open C-ration cans all the time with our bayonets. You cut an X in the top of the can with the bayonet or any large heavy bladed knife, bend the remnants of the lid out for a handle, bend them totally in to get at the contents of the can. It’s easy. Put the point of the bayonet at the rim with the sharp edge of the blade pointing in and push on the handle of the bayonet into the can while holding the can. Turn the can 90 degrees and repeat. You will have cut… Read more »
Gordon Gaines
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Gordon Gaines
2 years 10 months ago
0

Have you tried to make a sheath out of a piece of PVC. They work great if you mould them correctly.

Chuck
Guest
Chuck
2 years 10 months ago
0

What kind of PVC material do you use, pipe? How do you form it, use heat? If heat, a heat gun or some other form of heat.

Bill
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Bill
2 years 10 months ago
0

Anyone who has any interest in being prepared probably has a can opener. Think about your multi-tool, Swiss Army knife or manual can opener. Anyone, who isn’t preparing at all, won’t benefit from being able to open a can. The need for good water is much more important.

dirty Bert
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dirty Bert
2 years 10 months ago
0

one of the best confort thing to me is toilet paper.of course the is lkots of moss here in wa andthimbal berry brush.

Charlie
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Charlie
2 years 10 months ago
0

Once upon a time there was a little device used by millions of servicemen called a “P38” can opener. Folded, you could carry it in your wallet since it was no thicker than a couple of credit cards. Opened up,you could open almost any can with it. Check your outdoors store for one of them….

Grandma
Guest
Grandma
2 years 10 months ago
0

thank you! I was begining to think I was the only one that knew about those. you can get a heck of deal on Ebay for 10 count for $2.75 and $1.79 shipping.:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/G-I-P-38-Can-Openers-10-Pack-/150778943246?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item231b20170e

all of the adults in our family carry one.

Douglas Dobson
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Douglas Dobson
2 years 10 months ago
0

ok, so you have a knife, and you’re banging the can against a rock or concrete? Here try this: 1)stick the knife in the top of the can 2)carefully pry it open, or even better, go on Ebay or your favorite army surplus site, and by some P-38 can openers for every keychain, every bugout bag, food storage area, in every vehicle, they’re super cheap small and they get the job done.

Mom
Guest
2 years 10 months ago
0

This information is very valuable. Think of how one could empower their neighbors without providing every unprepared one with a can opener. You would also be able to give away some canned goods without sacrificing opsec.

frank
Guest
frank
2 years 7 months ago
0

why not just use the pull tab?
LOL
just kidding.
good tip.

wpDiscuz
http://survivallife.com/how-to-open-a-can-without-a-can-opener/