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.
The item below is a new survival piece of survival gear on the market:
the Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.) … Feel better now?
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: http://sensiblesurvival.org/2011/05/14/make-a-cotton-fletched-blow-dart/
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.
**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?