There are a number of ways large plastic sheeting could come in handy during an emergency. And with a few other supplies, like a knife and some duct tape, the possibilities are almost endless.
1. Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Dry
Whether you use a bag to make a poncho or wrap up your food and gear, plastic garbage bags will keep it all protected from the elements, insects and foraging animals.
2. Make Rope
If you’ve used all your cordage or wound up without any from the beginning, not to worry. Cut the bags into long strips and braid them together, adding new strips as you reach the ends. Once you are finished, you will have an amazingly sturdy rope you can use for any number of situations.
3. Collect and Store Water
Water is essential for survival. Having something to collect it and keep it makes your job of staying alive that much easier.
If you see signs of rain, dig a hole in the ground and line it with the garbage bag. Weigh the edges down with rocks and then wait for the rain to come. When its full, you can store the water right in the bag by tying the top closed to keep out debris and move it to a safe area. Still raining? Have another bag? No reason to stop at one, it’s better to have more water than you need than not enough.
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Not a cloud in the sky? Take advantage of the sun with the use of a clear garbage bag. Place a smaller to medium rock in the bottom of a clear bag. Place the bag over a tree branch that gets good light and has lots of leaves on it. Tie the bag in place to keep moisture from seeping out, and so the rock hangs down from the branch.
Over time, the sun will cause the leaves to let go of moisture. The moisture will collect at the top of the plastic then run down and pool into the bottom around the rock.
This may not be the fasted way to get fresh water, but it works.
If you are lucky enough to be near a natural water source, all you need is a sturdy bag to collect it and carry it back to camp. Tie off the bag, and you have instant storage.
4. Ward Off Hypothermia
Dropping temperatures mean dangerous dips in body temps. Wrap yourself in plastic bags, taping them in place if possible to create some thermal long johns. The plastic will keep the heat in and help you stay warm.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Treat Hypothermia
5. Use as a Sun Shade or Build a Whole Shelter
Create a plastic sheet by slicing open both sides of a large bag. Then stretch and tie it between some trees to create a survival gazebo. If you need something more substantial, add some branches and cordage and make a full on lean-to or tent.
6. Instant Fishing Net
Cut or poke a bunch of holes in a trash bag to make a strong and serviceable net without the need to weave one.
7. Mark a Trail
Trim white trash bags into strips and use them to mark a trail to keep from wandering too far and help search parties locate you.
8. Signal for Help
Use a white garbage bag to create a flag to signal for help or spell out an SOS on the ground with rocks that can be seen from the air.
Suggested Article: 5 Creative Ways to Signal for Help
The Sky’s the Limit
Well, maybe not the sky, but there certainly a lot of uses for different types of garbage bags in a survival scenario. For best prep, keep a box of white, clear and the super tough commercial versions, and you’ll have some great materials to rely on.