Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my new Fastest Way to Prepare survival course.
Even though Hurricane Irene “fizzled out” last week, it still managed to go down as one of the 10 most expensive disasters in US history. To add insult to injury, since the winds died down, but the rain didn’t, some estimates are that more than half of the damage was due to flooding…which isn’t covered by most insurance.
We’ve experienced flooding in an area that is above the 100 year flood line, “never floods”, and where we couldn’t get flood insurance when we tried to get it. Our damage was minimal compared to the total losses that I’ve seen, but I have an inkling of the feeling that these people had/have when they realized that the insurance they’d paid for wouldn’t cover them.
This week, we’re going to talk about a few items that have SEVERAL survival/emergency uses. I am not going to attempt to list every possible use for these items, or every possible item that has multiple uses, but I encourage you to add to the list by commenting below the article…
The first item is paracord/parachute cord/550 cord. Even though these labels are used interchangeably, they aren’t necessarily equivalent. 550 cord is cord that has a test weight of 550 pounds. Paracord and parachute cord can have test weights that are hundreds of pounds less to hundreds of pounds more.
Parachute cord is designed to exacting standards because they know that people’s life depends on the cord to have consistent qualities from inch to inch. Paracord may or may not be made to exacting standards or any standards at all. One section could be 700 pound test and the next section have 300 pound test. Why do I mention this? If you’re going to be using paracord at the edge of the performance envelope, make sure that you’re using new, rated paracord…not just paracord that happens to be the right “tactical” color that coordinates with your gear.
So, how can you use this stuff?
Here’s 20 of my favorite survival uses for 550/parachute/para cord:
- Shoe laces
- Making fire with a bow drill
- Traps/snares/fishing line
- Early warning devices
- Cordage for lashing sticks for shelters
- Creating a shelter out of a poncho
- Cutting restraints
- Holding game for field dressing
- Restraint (human) or leash for a pet
- Lashing/towing branches & lumber for fires
- Slings/belts/suspenders/clothing repair
- Making loops for gear
- Wrapping handles for easier handling
- Retention lanyards
- When tied to a weighted object, they make a nice weapon
- Zipper extensions and repair
- Strapping items to packs/load bearing vests
- Emergency improvised rappel (with the right setup and practice)
- Belay cord (not for climbing) to connect you to a known point or another person for no-light conditions, smoke obscured conditions, whiteouts, or sandstorms
- Improvised way to secure doors
Next, we’ve got survival uses for bandanas
- Sun shade
- When wet, an evaporation cooler
- Smoke/dust screen and filter
- Odor protection (morgue/spoiled food/etc.) when used with gas, essential oils, etc.
- Essential oil “diffuser” (wear it like a mask with a drop or two of essential oils by your nose)
- Medical Sling
- Pressure dressing for wounds
- Traction splint
- Weapon (soap, sinkers, rocks, etc. held in “pouch”)
- Sediment pre-filter for water
- Friend/foe identification
- Pot holder
- Light filter for flashlight
- Scalpel blade handle
- Head cover to insulate head
- Headband to catch sweat
- Signaling device
- Use to secure splinting material (sticks/boards/SAM splint)
- Shoulder sling repair/padding
All that, and I didn’t even use it to blow my nose, use it as a blindfold, or as a mask
And finally, survival uses for contractor (thick) garbage bags
- Improvised bag/pack
- Rain Poncho
- Rain/snow “kilt”
- Sleeping bag
- With cordage, use as a shelter
- Solar still
- Improvised boot liner/wader
- Rain cover for pack
- Bear bag
- Carrying water
- Solar water heater
- Sun shade
- Burns black for signal fires
- Sealing a tub drain before a storm
- Dig a hole under your gutter downspout, line with trash bag, and collect emergency rainwater
- Holding wet gear in an otherwise dry bag
- Collecting and transporting human waste
- Water/wind proofing for a debris shelter
- Solar heater to melt snow
- Emergency buoyancy device
Of course, I could go on…I’ve got a handfull of items in my kits that all have 20+ uses. And, I’m guessing there are at least 100 uses for each of these three items, and that’s why I carry them in all of my kits. Can you add to the lists? Do you have other favorite multi-use survival/every day items? If so, please share them by commenting below.
Some items, like these, make for great survival tools. They allow people to survive in the isolated or urban wilderness with little more than what they have in a pocket or two. Other times, it makes more sense to simply lay in a big larder of supplies to last you through a disaster. Our ancestors did it every winter and in preparation for droughts, floods, insects, disease, and attack.
As refrigeration, electricity, supply chains, and grocery stores have become more and more efficient, we’ve developed the illusion that we don’t need to lay in supplies for bad times anymore. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Take a look at what happens leading up to EVERY hurricane. Gas stations stop getting filled, stores have bare shelves and can’t get stocked fast enough, generators sell out, and people panic.
But if you’ve got basic supplies set aside and have prepared in advance, you don’t need to panic. When you’ve got a plan and supplies in place, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that you’ll be able to take care of your family and won’t be dependant on the government or aid agencies…in fact, you’ll have the ability to be the one doing the aiding.
That’s why I created the course. It’s a simplified course to get you prepared for a 40 day and 40 night disaster. Why 40 days? Besides the fact that it rolls off the tongue nicely and is easy to remember, having supplies for 40 days and 40 nights will buy you enough times for things to get back to normal or take action to improve your condition/location.
What I’ve done with it is taken the plan that I give my friends and relatives who call me up in a panic wanting to know the quickest and easiest way to get prepared for disasters. This is the plan I give to people I care about when they don’t have time to search, research, and learn a bunch of new stuff and just want me to “aim the gun” so they can pull the trigger and sleep good at night.
To find out more, please head on over to:
Until next week, God bless and stay safe.