There is one item that every prepper in the world is guaranteed to have: canned food. Even if they mostly have dehydrated or freeze-dried food, every prepper has at least one can or corn or beans somewhere. And of course, canned food usually comes in tin cans. Most people throw them away without a second thought, but in a survival scenario they can be put to good use. As you’ll soon see, there are lots of different applications for tin cans.
1. Storage / Organization – We’ll start with the most obvious one. Tin cans are used for storing food, right? Well who says they can’t be used for storing and organizing other things as well? Screws, nails, sand, herbs, matches, utensils… the list goes on and on. Bonus tip: Punch two holes in opposite sides of the can near the top and use a wire to turn the can into a pail.
2. Makeshift Knife – As you probably already know, the edge of a tin can’s lid can be very sharp. So if you need to cut something and you don’t have a knife, just use a tin can lid instead. But be careful not to cut yourself. Either wear thick gloves or use some pliers to fold over one side of the lid so you can grab onto it without gashing your hand.
3. Arrowheads / Hooks – Tin is great for making arrowheads and fishing hooks. The easiest way to do this is with some heavy-duty scissors, but if you don’t have anything to cut the tin with, there’s another way: Take the lid you removed with the can opener and fold it in half. Be careful not to cut yourself (you should probably be wearing work gloves). Then fold it in half again in the opposite direction along the same crease. Keep doing this until the lid breaks in half. Now use the same method a few more times to form the shape you need. When you’re done, lash the arrowhead to the arrow or tie the hook to the fishing line and you’ll be good to go.
4. Trap – Hopefully you won’t get so hungry that you need this trick. But just in case, here’s how to use a tin can as a trap: Simply bury it in the ground with the top open to use as a pitfall for very small animals like insects, frogs, and even mice. If you bury a whole bunch of cans in the right area, you could collect enough food for a decent meal or possibly more.
5. Fire Transportation – When your supply of matches or lighters is running low, you’ll need to come up with more creative ways to get a fire going. One idea is to carry your fire with you in a tin can. Simply punch four or five holes in the bottom and sides, then place coals from your most recent fire into the bottom of the can. These coals will burn for hours, and to keep them going, you can add tinder and kindling as you go. Don’t let your skin come into direct contact with the tin can for obvious reasons.
6. Water Filter – You’ll still have to at least boil your water after using this method, but it can make the water a lot tastier. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the can, then fill the inside with several layers of gravel and sand. When you pour water into the top, the makeshift filter will remove larger pieces of matter. (continue reading)