50 Survival Uses for Trash Bags

As we reiterated in Prepping for Doomsday: A Beginner’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness, the best use of your time and money is not finding a way to store a million individual items for individual situations, you pack once for many uses. Plastic garbage bags are one such item that requires very little storage space but has unlimited possible uses. Please note: The black heavy-duty variety are going to be your first choice for the following survival uses for trash bags.

survival uses for trash bags
1. Protect your supplies from the elements
2. Use as a medical apron when performing first aid
3. Wear as a poncho
4. Use as ground cover
5. Make a shower – fill with water, hang from a tree, allow the sun to warm the water, poke a few small holes in the bag and rinse
6. Keep your shoes dry when walking through rain or mud
7. Make a tent
8. Keep food dry
9. Get rid of waste and garbage
10. Make a medical sling
11. Use to compress an injury and stop blood flow
12. Seal windows, doors and ventilation systems
13. Use as a toilet (line a 5-gallon bucket, you can even place a toilet set on top)
14. Make your own shade from the sun
15. Keep bandages dry (both before use and after applied when needed)
16. Use as night camo
17. Trade them with others for items you need
18. Line with toilet paper or cloth for a makeshift diaper
19. Cover holes in your roof or siding caused by wind or severe weather conditions
20. Create layers to keep warm (plastic really holds in heat)
21. Keep food away from animals (place in bag and tie up to a tree branch)
22. Fill with leaves to make a pillow
23. Collect rainwater or tie to a tree branch to collect condensation overnight
24. Braid bags together to make a rope
25. Make a knapsack with a bag and a branch
26. Clear bags can be used as a greenhouse

Make a greenhouse

27. Design a concealable compost bin
28. Use as a thermal blanket for the injured
29. Create windbreak
30. Cover a wound
31. Make a bowl by lining a basket or hat with a plastic bag
32. Catch fish
33. Use as a sled
34. Line a table or the ground for a sterile work environment
35. Brine meat in a trash bag
36. Use as a short-term dromedary bag for a gallon or two of water (don’t overfill, it will break)
37. Use as disposable gloves
38. Sleep inside of a trash bag in colder temps
39. Make a solar still for distilling water
Solar Still

40. Use it as a flag to signal help
41. Create a wind sail for canoeing
42. Cover your dog’s house with a black garbage bag to generate heat during winter months
43. Create a makeshift quarantine facility
44. Fill with cold water or ice to create a cold compress for injuries
45. Fill with warm water to relieve muscle fatigue
46. Use a garbage bag to create a gravity filter for water
47. Fill with air and tie shut to create a simple flotation device
48. Use as sewing thread in a pinch
49. Line your backpack with a garbage bag to further waterproof it
50. Wind direction can be identified with a simple plastic bag

What clever emergency uses for trash bags would you add to the list?

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