Quick Prepper Tip: 13 Ways to Use a Trash Bag

By Lisa Metheny published on in Camping & Survival

Cheaper Than Dirt Quick Prepper TipThey come in a variety of sizes. Some are heavy-duty construction grade while others barely strong enough to mess with. The most common color is black and some have handles, grips and even convenient drawstrings. There are over a trillion sold every year and a staggering one million of them are used every minute. What am I talking about? The trash bag.

Trash Bag Tote

Upcycle your plastic grocery bags to make a tote bag. Photo Courtesy of Nancy Wright.

Besides the intended purpose of containing the contents of our trash, the trash bag has lots of other uses and thankfully relatively inexpensive. And because there are so many trash bags chances are you have also used it for other purposes as well.

Here are a just a few uses for the versatile trash bag.

  • Cut into long strips and braid together to form a rope or cordage
  • Fill with water, tie and set in the sun to heat the water
  • Use as an emergency poncho or raingear
  • Use as a tarp to protect gear or equipment
  • Use as make-shift shelter
  • Use as room darkening curtains for your camper, tent or RV
  • Fill with air, secure the open end and twist in the middle to make a flotation device
  • Fill with leaves or other soft fiber to make a mattress
  • Place under your tent or sleeping bag for a water or moisture-proof barrier
  • Fill with ice and place inside carcass of deer to keep meat cool
  • Line flowerbeds or garden to control weeds
  • Trash Bag Cushion

    Turn a trash bag into a cushion by filling it with leaves.

  • Cut strips to make trail markers
  • Cut strips to make tourniquet

What alternative ways do you use trash bags? Tell us 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.

View all articles by Lisa Metheny

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Comments (2)

  • Bill Dietrick


    Always had 2 or 3 of them in my fanny pack while hunting. If I had to sit on a point, and the ground was wet or snowy, it made a nice seat to keep my britches dry. If it started to rain or snow, a couple of quick slits in the sides made an emergency raincoat or windbreaker. If I dropped an elk, I’d spread one out next to the carcass when cleaning it, at it made a nice clean spot for cleaning knives and the organs I wanted to keep. Once the animal was cleaned and ready for transport, I’d wrap the heart, liver, kidneys, etc. in the bag and tuck them into the body cavity so they, and the cavity, stayed clean during transport.. They’re very handy and quite inexpensive.


  • William Hinkelmann


    garbage bag waders to cross shallow streams.


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