Find out why plastic bottles are some of the most versatile resources you can have in a survival scenario.
In this article:
Turning Plastic Bottles into a Survival Tool
Re-Purposing Empty Plastic Bottles for Better Use
When you find yourself in a survival scenario, it may seem as if you are all alone. However, you often have more resources at hand than you realize. Other than the abundance of natural resources all around you, there is another option to consider. On shorelines, you can find an abundance of plastic bottles. This may be a sad issue of plastic bottles pollution, but it is a win for survival.
I have been on dozens of survival challenges and have yet to complete one without finding at least one plastic bottle. In this article, we will cover ways you can use these plastic bottles to survive in the wilderness.
1. Contain/Purify Water
One of your biggest priorities in a survival scenario is water. You can only survive three days without water, and if it is not purified, you can end up with nasty waterborne illnesses. Of course, bottles help you carry and store water at your shelter. In addition, they can help you purify water.
If you put water in clear plastic bottles and set it in the sun for at least six hours, it will kill most of the harmful bacteria and parasites. You can also add sand, rocks, and charcoal to a bottle to create a filter. This will eliminate debris and draw out contaminants.
2. Start a Fire
Clear plastic water bottles can actually be used to start a fire. Fill the bottle with water and gather some fine and dry tinder. You will need a sunny day and clear water. Use the light from the sun to position the bottle in a way that focuses light on a small point. Move that point onto your tinder, and hold it there until it starts smoking consistently. Then pick up your tinder bundle and blow gently on the ember to coax it into a flame.
3. Make Cordage
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One of the hardest materials to replicate in nature is cordage. You can find it or make it, but often it is not as strong or flexible as you need. Cut off the bottom of a bottle and start trimming a thin strip from the remaining bottle. Keep trimming this thread until the bottle is gone. This should give you several feet of cordage.
4. Trap Fish
— GetZone (@zone_get) May 19, 2018
Food is a major priority in a survival scenario. Fish are a great source of calories and protein. If you cut the top off of a plastic bottle just below the taper, you can flip it over and insert it back into the base. After this, you can punch holes through both pieces and use cordage to attach them.
Put some stones inside along with some bait, and then sink it to the bottom of a water source. You can make the opening larger if you are targeting larger fish. They will swim into the trap and not be able to find their way back out. A simple yet effective DIY plastic bottle fish trap!
5. Make a Lantern
Our home made lantern: iPhone flashlight and plastic bottle pic.twitter.com/0u7XcZjWux
— JacobShuler™ (@JacobShuler) May 29, 2013
Often people have a flashlight for lighting a specific spot, but they are unable to light an entire room and keep their hands free. A lantern accomplishes exactly that. Fill a plastic bottle with water and turn on your flashlight. Press the lens against the bottle, and then tape it to the side. The light should refract against the water and light the whole room.
- The all new Everstryke Pro has been completely redesigned, with new features like a replaceable flint, the wick last 10x longer and is even replaceable!
- Contains the flint and wick in one all-inclusive fire starting kit that fits conveniently in your pocket.
- Strikes hot, burns hot: Flame burns at over 600 degrees fahrenheit
Here is a video by Crazy Experimenter on 56 brilliant ways to reuse plastic bottles:
It’s sad that we’ve come to a point where tons and tons of destructive plastic are disposed every day. It’s alarming that a large percentage of the garbage we produce consists of plastic bottles. These simple recycling methods won’t solve our greater problem on plastic management, but it’s helping out in our own little way.
Do you have other survival ideas for plastic bottles? Please let us know in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 22, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Last update on 2019-08-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API