Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Garbage Bags

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Garbage Bags

Today Prepography is pleased to present garbage… garbage bags that is…as in the top 10 preparedness uses of garbage bags.  Garbage bags can be used by preppers for dozens of purposes besides rubbish disposal.  I like the heavy duty, Contractor Grade Garbage Bags because they’re larger and more durable than the typical kitchen variety.  In the Jackson household often buy our heavy duty garbage bags through school fundraisers but they’re also available from the big box and local hardware stores as well as online.

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Trash Bags:

  1. Garbage BagsPoncho:  It’s not very stylish but there have been a few of times when I’ve used my knife to make a poncho out of a garbage bag in order to stay dry.  Simply cut holes for your head and your arms and you’re ready to go.  Be careful not to cut the holes too large and if the poncho seems too baggy tie a belt or piece of 550 cord around your waist.  This isn’t something you’d want to use in a warm environment because you’d get wet anyway from perspiration but if a garbage bag can get between you and a cold rain it might be worth making such an awful fashion statement.
  2. Shelter:  Cutting your garbage bag open (to give you more surface area) and adding it to the top and sides of an improvised shelter like a brush shelter, lean to or fallen tree shelter will make it more weatherproof and offer better insulation.  If you are small enough or your garbage bag is big enough you can also use it to build improvised shelters using the poncho hooch designs I’ve previously presented also using 550 cord.  If you have 100 Mile An Hour Tape (also known as Duct Tape) you could also join two or more garbage bags together to weatherproof your shelter.  Another option is putting the foot of your sleeping bag in a trash bag…I’ve used this technique in wet weather when my shelter couldn’t accommodate my whole body.
  3. Groundcloth:  For best results keep a breathable layer between you and the garbage bag (like a blanket or sleeping bag) to keep from sweating.
  4. Forage Bag:  When I travel I often tote along an empty bag just in case I end up bringing home more than I took with me.  A garbage bag can fit this role for your bug out bag.  If you see something you want to take along as you’re bugging out or heading home you can pull out your garbage bag and throw it in, cinch it up and toss it over your back or strap it to your bag.
  5. Water Carrier:  A garbage bag isn’t the best or most durable water carrier but does give you another option for carrying untreated water until you can make it potable.  While hiking in the mountains outside Creede, Colorado one summer I couldn’t find running stream or other water source so I pulled snow out of a gold mine stub by throwing it in a garbage bag and carried it to my bivouac site where I melted and purified it…and yes, I calculated that a little potential lead exposure was preferable to dehydration.
  6. Potable Water Foraging:  You can use a garbage bag to collect rainwater, build a solar still (check out Arizona Bushman’s Taj Mahal of Solar Stills on YouTube) or use it as a transpiration bag.
  7. Pack Cover:  Your bug out bag or pack should be waterproof but if you find it’s not or you’ve strapped something like a sleeping bag that’s not waterproof to the outside of your pack you can easily pull a garbage bag over your pack or wrap your blanket or sleeping bag.  A bungee cord or some 550 cord can be used to secure the garbage bag around your pack or gear.
  8. Sealing a Chest Wound:  Some basic training, a plastic bag and a little Duct Tape is all you need to provide first aid for a sucking chest wound/pneumothorax if you aren’t lucky enough to have an Asherman Chest Seal at hand.
  9. Honey Bucket SeatPort-a-Potty Liner:  There’s a 5 gallon bucket in my shelter, just in case…some people call it a honey bucket but there’s nothing sweet involved.  I’ve got a nice little Toilet Seat that fits on it as well and a supply of cat litter to keep down the stench.  This is one prep that I hope never to even test but it’s nice to know it’s there just in case…and it’s also nice to have VERY THICK contractor grade garbage bags to line it with so that there aren’t any…accidents.
  10. Critter Proofing:  Even a heavy duty garbage bag isn’t going to stop anything mouse size or larger…until you hang it in a tree using that 550 cord we’ve previously discussed.  I discovered this little trick when I was camping in bear country and the locals told me that a bear had walked through our camp just an hour before we showed up.  The only container I had available that was large enough, durable enough and hang-able enough was a heavy duty contractor grade garbage bag.  After we ate dinner we cleaned up all the food scraps then hung our garbage twenty feet up in one tree and our food twenty feet up in another.

Those are my Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Garbage Bags…what other preparedness uses can you think of for the lowly garbage bag?  It’s amazing that such a simple tool that makes civilization so much more civilized.

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