Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Minuteman, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I came across this today and thought it was a really great idea. One I had never seen before. I grew up along a river and there was always debris along the shores, stuck in brush piles etc. I always thought that in a survival situation, scavenging would provide a treasure trove of useful items. Like empty plastic bottles etc. that could be used for survival purposes. So I thought I would start this thread for simple, field expedient, improvised items that can be used to survive. No store bought hiker stoves, backpacking tents, space blankets etc. Just everyday things you can pick up and scavenge from nature or from mans refuse.

    can cooker.
    KAS, oldawg, Motomom34 and 3 others like this.
  2. JABECmfg

    JABECmfg multi-useless

    I've seen these online before, never tried it.

    Question - is there a good safe way of cutting the can with minimal risk of cutting your hand in the process? I'm a bit clumsy sometimes to begin with, so I don't know that I'd want to risk cutting my hand up on a piece of scavenged metal, especially if I were in a survival situation...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  3. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Some "tricks" learned over the years, and from various friends:

    A length of chain and a piece of coat hanger bent into an S-shape will allow you to hang your lantern from a tree limb.

    Use a cookie tin as a Dutch oven.

    Keep batteries in an appropriate size prescription bottle to insure that they cannot run themselves down by accident.

    Prescription bottles make good match safes.

    Prescription bottles or 35mm file containers make good storage places for small items.

    Grills from old ovens can be used for fire grills, refrigerator shelves cannot be used as they will release toxic gasses when heated.

    To prevent batteries from wearing down if a flashlight is accidentally nudged on while you're traveling, put the flashlight batteries in backwards.

    An empty plastic soda bottle, cut off to a convenient height, will work as a camp bowl. You may want to smooth the edge.

    A rope tied to a plastic bottle with an inch of water in it will make an effective water rescue throw line.

    Cut a rubber glove, when discarded, into thin strips to create varied rubber bands.

    Discarded shower curtains (relatively intact) make excellent ground cloths.
    Melt snow in a black trash bag by filling the bag with snow and laying the bag in direct sun. (Water for bathing can be warmed up by the same method.)
    tacmotusn, VisuTrac, Airtime and 3 others like this.
  4. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I think this would make an efficient stove even without cutting it.Especially if you could scavenge a larger can, coffee can size maybe. Make a small hole in the bottom for airflow. Plastic pop bottles for water storage and carry. The 2 liter ones can be used to make an efficient water filter. I'm thinking more of a plane crash, lost in the wilderness type situation where you would use only what you can find. A knife, even an improvised one would be a first priority. So any ideas?

    Great tips Falcon!
    kellory, JABECmfg and chelloveck like this.
  5. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    Amazon.com: Clauss Titanium Bonded Bent Snips, 7": Patio, Lawn & Garden

    Trauma Shears (a.k.a. penny cutters)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2015
    JABECmfg likes this.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  7. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    PET (type 1) plastic water bottles. It was mentioned they can be used to filter water but they can disinfect it as well rendering the microbiologics inert. Put "filtered" water in bottle and set on a piece of metal roofing or other shiney surface in the direct sun for 6-8 hours min, if cloudy it is 2-3 days. The UV will kill the bacteria and viruses. The WHO calls this SODIS for solar disinfection.


    Couple cautions:
    - Don't use glass or polycarbonate - they may block UV and render the process unsafe.
    - The water must be clear enough that if the bottle is laid on a book or letter you can read the type through the water. If not clear enough, it needs to be "filtered" some more to make it clear enough.
    - The SODIS process kills microbes but doesn't remove chemical impurities. I suppose one could make some charcoal with an empty can with metal lid and campfire. Then crush the homemade charcoal, sandwich it and some sand between some cloth and pour water slowly through the sand/charcoal to filter some of the crude then do the SODIS.

    Clear plastic bags like ziplock supposedly can be used as well but I don't have confirmation on that.

    tulianr and Minuteman like this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Silver also kills bacteria, in case you have a coin or two to add to your water.
    Silversnake likes this.
  9. KAS

    KAS Monkey+++

    to cut the can safely try ising tin snips or a hack saw
  10. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    All great tips guys, thanks. But let's change it up a bit. Here's the scenario. You are alone, in the wilds, yet near civilization. You have to evade contact with civilians (behind enemy lines, civil unrest, whatever scenario you can think of). You have to survive on only what you have in your pockets or can scavenge from river banks, trash cans etc. You can't buy anything, and you don't have a bug out bag with you.

    So far we can use a discarded shower curtain or tarp for a ground cloth, a plastic water bottle as a canteen, a 2 liter bottle and a piece of corrugated tin to solar purify the water. A coffee can stove to warm us and cook with.
    I would add that you can find a lot of lost fishing line, hooks, sinkers, bobbers Etc. in brush piles along river banks. Enough to rig several limb lines for fishing. Fishing line for snares.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    bent-limb fishing jigs.
    Pop_45, Falcon15 and tulianr like this.
  12. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Shoelaces from discarded shoes for line to lash shelter together or make tools like cook tripod.
    Recovered wire for the same thing.
    Cola/beer cans for small cooking pot.
    Turtle shell, gravel, discarded crayons, and an old rag to make a candle/lamp (melt the crayons in one of your beer cans, line the bottom of the turtle shell with gravel, roll the rag into a wick, lay on the gravel, pour the melted wax on top).
    Bottle caps, a nail and a rock to make tarp tie down toggles (punch a hole on a bottle cap, thread both shoelace ends through leaving a loop on one side the loose ends on the other, tie the loose ends in a knot. Slip the loop through a tarp eyelet or hole made in shelter, push cap through, cinch tight. Reduces stress on the tarp). Like this:
    Discarded bricks and a shopping cart or "recovered" yield sign or stop sign to make a cook area (flip cart on side, support with bricks, build fire beneath or set signage on bricks build fire underneath).
  13. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Love this one. Fantastic idea. All are good.
  14. C.T.Horner

    C.T.Horner Monkey

    EMT Shears are a great item to have in your BOB, they will not only cut cloth for bandages they will also cut tin cans. Hence the nick name Penny Cutters.

    They also cut barbed wire!
  15. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Maybe we need to first brainstorm a list of the stuff likely to be found along a river, the roadside, an alley filled with junk, etc. I don't know what I would make until I have construction materials in mind OR it might help to have a need in mind and then explore what kind of junk might help me construct it.

    So, taking the first line of thinking, here are some things I think may be encountered (i.e.stuff I've actually seen) in the scavenging areas out of public view. What might be added to this list? And then what would people do with these things?
    Plastic bottles
    Pop and beer cans
    Styrofoam cups and boxes
    Old ice chest/cooler with a broken or no lid
    Old 15 inch snow tires
    Old tires on 14" steel rims
    Old early 1990s Kenmore washing machine
    Old late 1980s Maytag refrigerator
    Old 1970s RCA 27" console color TV set
    Junked 1992 Ford Escort minus wheels, doors, radio
    Old 1970s Lawnboy M21 push mower w/ seized engine
    Trash bags with old wet leaves
    Lots of plastic rings that hold 6 packs together
    Old 40 gallon gas water heater with bad burner
    Old style (no overfill protection device) 20 lb propane tank
    55 gal drum (formerly held hydraulic oil)

    How is that for a start?

    Minuteman likes this.
  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    anything metal gets recycled.even if it has to be stolen first.:(
  17. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Roaming the river banks when I was a kid you could find all kinds of stuff. Especially after the spring floods.
    I've found;
    fishing line,hooks,bobbers and even poles
    large tarps
    a couch
    a refridgerator
    We once found a commercial beer cooler still filled with beer that had been washed out of a beer joint caught in a flood
    an old boat
    wooden pallets
  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yes, then. Now metal costs are much higher, houses are broken into, pipes and air conditioners are ripped out by force, aluminum siding is stripped off houses in broad daylight. Different times.
  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Two scrappers have passed me in the last 5 minutes.
  20. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Assuming you are the first scrapper, and have access to some limited tools, that lawn tractor listed, would yield a few knife blades or cleaver blades from the cutting blade. Some wires for and a battery for sparking a fire, and the engine cowling would make a crude rocket stove, by flattening it, then rolling it in a tube. Wrapped with wire, it would hold. Front bicycle wheel would make a grill top. Peal the rubber off the rims, and cover it with a scrap of plywood, would get you up off the cold ground as a simple bed. If you can stand the smell, a trash dumpster (especially the plastic round ones) would be a snug dry storm shelter . In fact, there was a problem in some places of the homeless stealing them for that very reason. (After several studies, and lots of math, they found the cheapest solution for housing the homeless and get their dumpsters back, was to make more dumpsters;))
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