Do It Yourself

Don’t Laugh… Ok, You Can Laugh A Little



Please for the next 5 minutes, forget everything you think you know about the use of a TAMPON.

It may be hard, but just pretend this is the first time you’ve ever seen or heard of Tampons.

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All jokes aside, a tampon has a ton of uses to a survivalist.  You could even say, you should include a couple in your survival kit.  Ultimately, you be the judge on that.

A Brief history of the tampon that might surprise you:

The tampon is actually regulated in the United States by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device.  The word ‘tampon’ is a derivative of the French word tampion which means “a piece of cloth to stop a hole”.

Research indicates that tampons were used as early as the 19th century as battle dressings to plug bullet holes.  It wasn’t until later that they started using them as a feminine product.  There are even accounts of tampons being used as wound plugs in today’s warfare. It’s actually not uncommon for Medics in the military to carry tampons in their medical kits.  Tampons are sterile and are very well packaged in their own water proof container.

This only adds to their survival utility.

Below, are 7 survival uses for tampons:

Survival Use #1: Medical Bandaid

Not only are these medical bandages packaged up in an waterproof sleeve, they are also designed to be ultra absorbent, which makes them a even more perfect first aid bandage.  They can be taped or even tied over a wound as an improvised dressing.  Also as mentioned, they can be used to plug up bullet holes until more detailed medical attention can be administered.

Survival Use #2: Survival Water Filtration Device

Another tampon survival use is as a survival water filtration device.  While it will not filter out biological, chemical or heavy metal threats, it can certainly be used to filter out sediments and floating particulates.  This would be considered a phase one filter and could drastically increase the life and efficacy of your main water filter.  You can also use a filter like this before boiling to filter out larger particulates.  In this example, you see a pushed tampon into the neck of an empty bottle, poked with a small hole in the cap, and then pour in dirty water to filter through the tampon and into the container below.

Notice, the water dripped out clear.

Survival Use #3: Fire Tinder

Almost everyone knows that cotton makes excellent fire tinder.  When the dry cotton fibers of a tampon are pulled apart and hit with a spark or flame, it’ll burst into a nice steady fire. Add in some chap-stick or petroleum jelly and you have an even better fire starting tinder.


Survival Use #4: Survival Water Filter Straw

Yes, that is a tampon in someone’s mouth.  As a spur of the moment water filter, you can make an improvised survival filtration straw by using the plastic housing and cotton from a tampon.  As you see in the photos below, tear off a bit of the cotton and stuff it into the plastic housing. It’s better to leave a little bit sticking out to make the housing pieces are wedged tightly together.

This filter straw won’t PURIFY your water by removing biological, chemical or heavy metal threats, but it will filter out the sediments and particulates.  This would be a last ditch effort, if no method of water purification was available.


Survival Use #5: Wick for Improvised Candle

In the photo above, use the string from a tampon as a wick in an improvised candle, which can be made from rendered animal fat and a fresh water mussel shell, as well as many other things.  After the string soaked up some of the fat, candle should burn for a solid for 20 minutes. Pine sap can also be used as a fuel.

Survival Use #6: Cordage

The string attached to a tampon is a cotton twisted cord typically made up of several 4-6″ pieces of twine.  Though it’s not much, it is usable cordage.  This amount of cordage could easily be used to make a Paiute Deadfall Trap.

I’m sure there are also numerous other uses for small amounts of quality cordage.  For example,  use this cordage in the next Survival Use below…

Survival Use #7: Blow Dart Fletching

Blow Guns have certainly had their place in survival history. From the Native Americans tothe  tribes in New Guinea, the blow hun and primitive darts have put food on the table for 1000s of years.  They’re silent and deadly hunting tools, especially for small game.  A lot of times, especially here in the US, natural cotton was used as Blow Dart Fletching, thus the cotton from a tampon is a perfect candidate, to make cotton fletched blow darts.  Use the string on the tampon to lash it into place on this bamboo skewer.

You better watch out birds and lizards, because you may get shot at by a tampon fletched blow dart!  For a great article about how to make natural cotton fletched blow darts check out this page:

In Conclusion:

What did you decide?  Tampon In the kit or out of the kit?  The only part of the tampon that not mentioned was the wrapper/packaging.  What uses can you think of for it?  Or, are there more uses that I didn’t mention?

If nothing else, this post is a great lesson in the importance of looking at every day products through the eyes of a survivalist.  Creativity and innovation are critical.

View the original article by Creek Stewart

**Editors Note**  Tampons aren't the only “oddball” Item to keep in your  Bug Out Bag… Have you seen the other “Secret Weapon” I keep in my kit?

Tampon | Don't Laugh... Ok, You Can Laugh A Little

Read more with these related articles from our site:

The Ultimate Bug Out Bag List

Your First Bug Out Bag – 50 Essentials For Your Kit

5 Surprising Survival Uses for a Tampon

Continue Reading


  1. Gtaber

    September 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Great-I already have sanitary napkins/pad in my kit for improvised bandages, now I will add some tampons. Buy them at dollar stores, and make sure you get plain ones, not the deodorant types, as they are treated with various chemicals.

  2. Angus Hodgson

    September 6, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    As a tactical medic I have had tampons in my medical kits for years. They work great along with sanitary napkins. Whatever it takes to keep the patient from bleeding out.

  3. Marilyn

    September 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I did read somewhere just recently that it’s not a good idea to use the tampons in a puncture type wound as they expand, and then will pull out the blood clot naturally formed by the body. Some care is definitely needed when using these, as they are made to expand quite a bit.
    Thanks for your timely posts.

    • Floyd Burdett

      September 9, 2013 at 10:31 AM

      Marilyn, you are correct about the blood clot typically becoming ‘attached’ to the tampon/plug…
      BUT, that is why we are advised to NOT remove it ourselves, and let a Medical Professional do that, where they are prepared and equipped to deal with the fresh bleeding. What we must do ‘in the field’ is to stop the bleeding, and stabilize the injured person.
      If you are still concerned about ‘inserting’ the tampon, then lay it flat OVER the wound, and then wrap over it. that will still provide extra direct pressure as well as absorbency! {Insertion will be more “required” in an injury where compression bandaging over the wound is not possible.}

    • Kamiko

      September 9, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      Ask a doctor. and this should only be in an emergency situation, not as part of your regular medical kit.. Pads can also be used.

      • Sean

        September 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        I used a pad to stifle the bleeding when I cut my thumb last night. Wrapped it and applied pressure until I could get to my proper kit and take care of it. Worked great.

      • tech

        August 31, 2016 at 9:56 AM

        UUuuuuuh if it’s in your bug-out bag and you’re using it I’m guessing its gonna be an emergency situation ! ! What do you think ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

  4. Quester55

    September 6, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    First we had the Kotex, then the Tampon, Next ?.
    I just wish this site had an Archive, I gave nearly 50 uses for each type.
    However for Size & Weight, I’d go for the Tampon any day..
    By the way, They can be dipped in Animal Pee & used as a Hanging Lure, to trap Game!
    Like this report stated, Or Should have, SURVIVAL is NO Laughing Matter!

    • Floyd Burdett

      September 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      The animal lure is also a Great idea!
      But you can also do that with a couple of leaves, and just lay them on the ground. If you use the tampon, of course, the scent will last longer, for use over and over. (save both the sleeve and wrapper to ‘store’ the scented lure! Just be SURE you MARK IT so it does not get used for something else!) And be sure you have enough ‘inventory’ that you don’t use it for a lure, and not have one for wound care!

  5. Quester55

    September 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Did you Know that Using a Baby’s Bottle Nipple & the outer Covering on a Tampon, One can Fashion it into a Snake-bite Poison Sucker, WITHOUT any Risk of getting the Blood or Poison in your Mouth!? As for the Nipple, It’ll keep rain out of the Barrow of your Gun, among other less than Lawful uses. Think Silent Shots. & You thought that BABY’S BOTTLE was only used for feeding Baby’s?

    • laurita

      September 9, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      I like to use foam earplugs in the barrel of my rifle to keep anything from getting down the barrel.

  6. Quester55

    September 6, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    worried that W.T.S.H.T.F., You’ll be caught without your basics. Fear no more. Your Work Cloths & Shirts can Hide many things. Interested?, contact me in comments & I’ll load you up.
    Till then, By!

    • Alice

      September 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Load me up

    • Don Odom

      September 9, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      Load me up. Thank you.

    • Len

      September 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Hi! I’d be interested in the info on tactical work shirts and clothes that have many hidden compartments.

    • Marilyn

      September 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Load me up please! Thanks

    • Tara

      September 9, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      please send me info on clothing with hidden compartments.

    • Ray

      September 10, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      load me up

    • kellwood38

      September 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      yes I would like to hear about your further info, load me up please

    • Rose

      February 24, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      Load me up,

    • Sonny Webster

      December 4, 2015 at 9:49 AM

      Please send me all that you got. L
      “Load me up”. Thnx, brother….

    • Renee Scott

      August 31, 2016 at 11:08 AM

      Load me up

    • Gar Nick

      September 1, 2016 at 3:18 AM

      If you’re still willing to “load me up, I’ll take any advise or help you can give me. Another thing I’ve been told and used for years now is using “krazy glue” to close small cuts or bleeders, it dries fast and keeps the wound shut and still lets you move around without opening the wound again. Was told it was developed during “Nam” to close wounds fast and let the medics move on to the next man. I even use it on my hands in winter to close those annoying “splits” on the ends of my fingers or in the cracks in my skin that are so hard to put a bandage on, get it to stay and still be able to go about your business.

  7. Russell

    September 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    The only part of the tampon that not mentioned was the wrapper/packaging. What uses can you think of for it?

    How about using it to seal a lung puncture?

    • Floyd Burdett

      September 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      GOOD Russell!!
      It could also be used over almost ANY wound covering to keep DIRT and other impurities out of the wound! Another good item for these cases is the plastic wrappers of plastic ‘silverware’ and napkins…
      It is also flammable and could be ‘kindling’.(As could the above mentioned plastic wrappers, and any broken plasticware.)

    • Rose

      February 24, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      After very carefully removing the outer wrap, and making sure there is air in it, tie off with the string, and use for a fishing bobber. Worth a try if nothing else presents itself.

  8. Jedash

    September 7, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    If I’m in a survival situation, taking my wife’s last tampon to start a fire will likely get me killed. So, I’m going to start sneaking some from her now and hiding them in our B.O.B. Thanks for the good tips : )

    • Floyd Burdett

      September 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      LEAVE your wife her nice, scented ones! And go and BUY some plain, ‘dollar store’ packages of BOTH tampons and napkins!
      And, while you are there, buy a few hundred feet of cheap cord, in various strength-grades from ‘string’ to clothesline, and throw them in your bag! And a box of plain CLOTH diapers.

      • Rose

        February 24, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        I found packages of generic or store brand at Walmart for 88 cents, even cheaper than dollar store. There in my BOB.

    • Kamiko

      September 9, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Go to the Dollar Tree, they sell small boxes of them for $1. If you need larger boxes, they sell them at Dollar general for $2.50 a box, various sizes. please dont steal your wife’s, as a woman that’s a very personal thing to take from us, and make you look like a weirdo!

  9. Don oberloh

    September 8, 2013 at 5:44 AM

    Not only as Russel said. But to also hold an opening in a trachea, like the govt. issued pens we used to carry. Of to hold open a hole in the chest cavity to allow air to expand in the can of a collapsed lunge. Use two of them in your nostrils as crude air filter. Damp works better also.

  10. Don oberloh

    September 8, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    I would not recommend cutting open the bottle in the picture though. Most folks do not realize your to have something to carry, or store water in.

  11. Alice

    September 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Put me on your distribution list

  12. Dorthy Q.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Please send info. Thanks.

  13. Ramon hardesty

    September 9, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Now when I go to the store next week, I need to buy s box of T.A.M.P.O.N.S. It will look funny , because I am a widower .. My late wife had used T.A.M.P.O.N.S . I had to go to the store to buy them… Now I have a good idea what to use them for instead of just the usual..

  14. Karen Kunka

    September 9, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Love your posts

  15. Helen

    September 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    For real? Has anyone here ever heard of:
    I am sure if you get one of each “gadget” specifically designed for each one of these “possible scenarios” they will last longer and not take up as much space as 100 tampons will.
    For crying out loud.

    • Cindy

      September 9, 2013 at 8:08 PM

      There is no other item that can individually serve all four purposes depending on the need. If you don’t like the suggestions, please don’t read the posts.

      • Rose

        February 24, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        A “Swiss army tampon” if you will.

    • laurita

      September 9, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      I think it is useful to be aware of alternative uses for everything we can think of, but I agree with Helen that it would seem to make more sense, while stocking up pre-disaster, to stock the items themselves instead of stocking a bunch of stuff that “will work.”

    • Josie Morris

      September 10, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      All those those items you mentioned are givens but if you just happen to be stranded and need emergency care it’s good to have something not usual to use til you can get help.

    • KJ - Firefighter

      September 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      What it comes down to in the end is just having a large bag of tricks.

      Most people say that they won’t be caught without their bug-out gear, but what if? Stranger things have happened. An example, in the fire service we have more tools than you can imagine and, honestly, we’ve become complacent with using all the new gadgets that make out jobs easier – the jaws, cutters, rams (all either hydraulic or now electric) – we can strip the roof of your car in less than two minutes. What happens when they fail (and the have)? We “old guys” (and I’m in my early 40s, by the way) fall back to our “can opener” days! Takes longer but get the job done. Think, think, think.

      Keep sharing these ideas because it will only make us more resourceful.

      PS: I’m pretty sure that a tampon won’t be able to take the roof of a car. If it can, I don’t want to be anywhere around :>

    • tech

      August 31, 2016 at 10:04 AM


  16. David E. Ide

    September 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    load me up

  17. Cliff Cottrill

    September 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I teach Hunter Safety in Wisconsin. We have been teaching for the last 15-20 years the you should carry pad or tampon in your first aid kit. They absorb bodily fluids great and make a great bandage. This is not news to us here.

  18. Kim Landry

    September 9, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Load me up please

  19. Samuel Brakebill

    September 9, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I was a medic in Desert Storm and we carried tampons for bullet wounds. The are a perfect fit and can stop bleeding until you can get them to advanced medical care. Napkins are also great dressings.

  20. chris caveman peirce

    September 10, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    There are most defiantly going in my bug out back pack

  21. Deborah

    September 10, 2013 at 6:03 AM

    please load me up too! I used a tampon to plug a hole in the side of my sailboat. We were in the Gulf of Mexico about 12 hours from shore and a through hull fitting blew out. It was about the size of a tampon so I took two tampons and coated them with 5200 (a marine caulk of sorts) and plugged the hole. It is still there to this day!!!

  22. Great Grey

    September 10, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    Helen we are talking about emergency conditions not normal times. So this just looking at ways to use what you may have, not what you would like to have, therefore knowing other uses for said items is good.
    1) Do you carry a full first aid in your purse?
    2) All bug out bags should have the necessary tampons and pads to take care of all your family’s women for one period, as you may only have one bag available.
    3) It is possible to run out of your normal first-aid supplies.

  23. Darren

    October 1, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I think I’ll get some of both ,the pads may be better as a bandage they can also absorb dew from grass a source of water not often mentioned.

  24. CK

    August 9, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    I have a friend that used a Tampon to control a severe nose bleed her husband experienced while hunting Mountain Goats at 13000 feet in the Colorado Rockies. She was able to get him off the Mountain to a Medical Facility were a Nasal Cauterization was performed. So from now on, I carry Tampons in my Backpack while hunting. Never know when your going to need sterile a dressing in the field.

  25. Searia Kett

    January 17, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    Interesting article. Looking forwatd to sendinding my significant other to the drug store to buy boxes upon boxes of tampons as an item for our survival B.O.B.s. Searia

  26. Samantha

    January 30, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    Women who leave tampons in for too long make themselves vulnerable to toxic shock syndrome, if a person uses the tampon to bandage a wound to too long, are they aware that they could be risking toxic shock syndrome? Is that a reasonable or likely risk? However, stopping a hemorrhage temporarily for a short period of time…

  27. jim snell

    July 10, 2017 at 2:09 AM

    Our troops in Afgan. & Iraq use tampons to stick in bullet wounds. Really.

  28. Robert Evans

    November 20, 2020 at 12:54 PM

    I have some in my Med Bag along with maxi pads. Just a word of caution when using them in bullet or similar, wounds, the small fibers can lead to infections if they remain in the wound when the tampon is removed. If emergency, go ahead, the trained medical staff will know what to do when you get the wounded there.

  29. Dan Mc

    November 10, 2022 at 10:33 AM

    They are in fact a class 2 medical device, BUT they are not sterile. I worked a decade for the largest supplier of private labor tampons in the nation and can’t say with certainty they are not sterile. Because of the environment that the item is to be used in it does not need to be sterile. Believe it or not. We did nothing to sterilize our products before or after packaging.

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