What you can do with the basic garments you wear most often, such as pants (jeans), shirt, underwear, shoes, belt and socks or glasses are many.
Wearing additional clothing, such as a coat, gloves or hat, is an added bonus; for now, we will stick with the most common and basic daily clothing items.
- Use it to help filter water. Almost every type of woven fabric, from everyday cotton T-shirt material to polyester dress shirts, is woven to allow water to flow through the fabric. One exception may be a heavy, canvas-type material treated with a water-repellent coating.
- Tear off a swatch of fabric and unravel or shred it to make kindling for a fire.
- Use long-sleeve shirts to protect you from sunburn or biting insects.
- Tear it into strips for bandages.
- Wear it to cover your head.
- Tear off the long sleeves to use as a tourniquet.
- Use it as a knapsack to carry items you find.
- Wave light-colored shirts as a signal or distress flag.
- Use it as a bowl to hold food, such as berries, you find.
- Roll it up and use it as a pillow.
- Cut it into thin strips and braid them together to make cordage.
- Make it into a shelter.
Long Pants or Jeans
- Take off long pants and tie each leg at the ankle and tie the waist opening. Seal cuffs with a belt, twine or cordage from tree bark and fill the legs with as much air as you can to make a personal flotation device. While that may not be a perfect flotation device, in a dire situation, it works for a short time with some closely woven fabrics, such as denim.
- Most pants, especially jeans, have metal rivets. You can use those rivets as a striker to start a fire.
- Cut out a heavy-duty zipper from jeans or pants to create a small, makeshift saw blade.
Shoes or Boots
- Throw it like a weapon.
- Put rubber-like soles on a fire to produce black smoke to signal for help.
- Tie both of them together for a fishing line.
- Use them to set a snare trap.
- Use to bundle sticks for fire.
- Use to start a fire.
- Turn them into a tourniquet or to hold in place a bandage made from your shirt.
- Remove the elastic from the waistband to make a slingshot.
- Use the wire from an underwire bra as a dagger or hook.
- Make a signal flag.
- Use to bundle and carry firewood.
- Use as a tourniquet.
- Use as a whip.
- Remove the buckle and sharpen the prong on a rock to make a sharp point.
- Use to secure sticks to stabilize an injured leg or arm.
- Protect your hands from heat or cold.
- Carry food, such as berries.
- Wrap around your head as a headband.
- Make it into fire starter.
- Unravel a long piece of thread and use it as a fishing line.
- Make them into bandages.
- Start a fire using a lens as a magnifying glass.
- Use mirrored sunglasses as a signaling device.
- Assuming they are made of real glass, pop out a lens and sharpen the edge on a rock to make a knife.
- Shape metal frames into a sharp point for a makeshift fishing spear.
Did you know there were so many ways to use everyday clothing to keep you alive? Which is your favorite idea? Do you have another one? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Lisa Metheny is a published award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, speaker and outdoor skills instructor. Lisa holds several instructor certifications and conducts a number of women-focused outdoor seminars on topics such as archery and hunting throughout the year. She regularly teaches hunters education and archery classes and has become an advocate for promoting traditional outdoor recreation to families across the United States. Lisa is also an avid and accomplished hunter with many big game species to her credit. She is a member of POMA and former Board of Directors member as well as a member of the NRA, RMEF, MDF and DU.
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