10 Survival Uses For A Tin Can

Tin CanOk everybody, it’s time to talk about another wild, wacky survival tool you would never expect to help you if SHTF…today’s topic: the tin can!

But seriously, although it seems strange, there’s a surprising amount of survival uses for tin cans. Not only can you use these in your home, but they’re also attributable to camping, bugging out and living off-grid.

You might be surprised at some of these (so was I), but now I’m going to definitely think twice before I throw away my empty can of peas or tuna. You probably will too once you read these…

10 Survival Uses For A Tin Can

1 – Transport A Fire

This is great if you’ve used up your last match. Take a knife and poke some holes in the bottom of the can, as well as on the sides.

Then, drop some hot coals (preferably from a fire you just made) into the can. Add tinder to the bottom to help keep the coals burning the rest of the evening.

Now that’s a swell idea – but what happens if you don’t have any hot coals and you’re getting chilly/hungry? Well, if you’ve got some cardboard and candle wax, you can start a fire in that empty can instead.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to do this:

Or, if you’re anything like me and don’t want to have to take the time to do any of this, you can just carry this Magnesium Fire Starter Survival Tool on your keychain so you have the ability to start a fire no matter what.

Transport A Fire

2 – The Makeshift Alarm Clock

If you’ve got a few empty tin cans, poke a hole at the top of each one and string them up with dental floss, making a nice long line of them. Set this line around the perimeter of your campground.

If you’ve got any intruders looking to sneak in, they won’t see the floss, and will ultimately drag the cans along with them, waking you up and catching them in their tracks.

Note: We’ve got something cool that’s similar…an actual alarm clock. Only this one will warn you of impending danger, allow you to hit snooze AND will give you weather updates. Tin cans…not so much.

Alarm clock

3 – Send Signals

You might not think of it initially, but the tin can’s shiny surface is actually a major advantage to you in a crisis.

If you’re stranded somewhere and need to signal to helicopters or search parties, just puncture a hole into the lid of the empty can and rub a piece of chocolate or a coal over the top.

Once the lid is as shiny as you can make it, reflect the sunlight off the lid toward them (this is best achieved when you’re aiming by looking through the hole).

You can also use this awesome signal mirror if you don’t want to lug tin cans around.


4 – Home For Herbs

Wash out the empty can, pack soil in , and then place the herb or small plant inside. Water it and watch it grow into the start of your very own herb/survival garden.

If you don’t want to worry about finding a tin can, rinsing it out, and buying the right seeds/soil, you could make it easy on yourself and get this great Garden-In-A-Can! Just add sunlight and fresh water for delicious, fresh basil anytime.

Herb plant

5 – Knife Substitute

Who hasn’t cut their finger on the sharp edge of a tin can lid? Well, wrap a band-aid around it and learn from your mistake by cutting other things with that lid.

You can use its sharp edge like a knife to help cut rope, tape, and whatever else you need severed in half. One piece of advice, though: wear a glove so you don’t gash your palm open as you do this.

Or…you could just get a real knife instead like the Black Survival Pocket Knife with Seatbelt Cutter.


6 – Here Fishy Fishy….

Using thick gloves, take the lid off your can and fold it in half. Then, fold it in half the opposite way until it breaks in two (this might take a few tries). Do this over and over with each piece until you have small sections left.

Simply tie one of the broken sections to the end of your fishing line, and you’ve got yourself a hook. The fish will be attracted to the shiny object (probably thinking it’s another, smaller fish), and they’ll get caught on the sharp edge of the lid.

Note: You can also use this method to fashion an arrowhead for your spear.

7 – Light The Way

If you’ve got a large candle, well then you’re halfway done. Cut a few holes all around the side of the can, and then stick the candle in the tin can. Light the candle, and you’ll have a light that won’t fizzle out as soon as the next breeze hits.

Note: Now this is a good idea, but I have to ask – is this “candle in a can” collapsible? And does it have adjustable settings so you can shine it brightly or dim it low for your kids to have a cool nightlight? If not, better get this alternative instead:


8 – Replacement Cooking Pot

If you don’t have a normal cooking pot, you can use a tin can. Fashion a handle to the can by attaching it to something sturdy (such as a thick branch or wire), and add your grub to the inside.

Then, simply lower the can over the heat, and in a few minutes you’ll have a hot meal ready to be devoured. You can also use this to boil water, or sterilize utensils.

However, if you’re not quite sure you’d be comfortable eating your dinner out of a tin can, you could always nix the whole thing and eat from an actual camp stove (way more efficient and hassle-free!).

Replacement cooking pot

9 – Trap Your Dinner

This one’s more for desperate situations, but if you get hungry enough, you can always take the lid off the can and bury it (open-face at the top) in the ground.

Wait and watch as small bugs and critters fall into your tin can trap of doom. If you use this method with multiple cans, you might be able to scrape up a pretty decently sized dinner.

Or…if you had thought of it ahead of time, you could have just been prepared with these pre-made delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners so you wouldn’t have to eat bugs.

Survival Food Legacy

10 – Water Filter

Take the lid off your tin can and punch a few holes in the bottom. Place the can in a bowl or large cup, and then fill the can with water that contains a ton of big rocks or debris (like creek water).

The can will act like a colander and filter out the large debris from your water. You’ll still have to boil the water to make it drinkable, but it’ll taste a lot better thanks to your can.

Now you can do that and it would work (that’s why I suggested it after all), but I just hate boiling water.

I don’t know what it is exactly…there’s just something about going through the hassle of filtering out the water with the can (or whatever you’re using), and then having to then put it in the pot, then wait for it to boil…it seems like this process takes FOREVER (especially if I’m starving).

You know that old phrase, “A watched pot never boils?”

…My point exactly.

Well, as crazy as it sounds, I’m about to open your eyes to a water filtration system that makes it so that you never have to boil water again when you’re in survival-mode. Let me introduce you to the Katadyn Base Camp Pro Water Filter 10L.

This survival gear is seriously so cool – all you do is open the top of the bag and fill it with water; then, you hang it up by its carry strap (like on a hook or from a tree), and just let the filter go to work.

Its crazy powerful Ultra Flow technology filters any protozoa and bacteria out of any type of water, and has the fastest flow rate of any other gravity filter on the market (2 liters per minute!).

That means you can fill up your canteens/hydration bladders and get back to work FAST.

I think my favorite part, though, is how much the filter holds – this model holds 2.5 gallons of water at a time. So not only can you quench your own thirst, but you can keep your whole family from experiencing dehydration in just minutes!

This is seriously my favorite thing to talk about right now – and if you click here or on the picture below I bet you’ll be just as fascinated by it as I am (and probably get one for yourself).

Water filter

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