Ok 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.