Prepare Every Needful Thing

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

Equipment and Supplies–October 2014

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Plastic 33-55 gallon Trash Bags

Trash bagIf someone with limited funds asked you what they should begin with for preparedness supplies, how would you answer?  Obviously, food and water are the very first priority, but after that, then what?  Heavy duty plastic bags would be a good answer as they are quite inexpensive, lightweight and they can serve multiple purposes. According to Backpacker Magazine ( ) “Ounce for ounce, few items can improve your survival chances more than a humble trash bag.”

Let’s look at what we can do with the common 33-55 gallon trash bag:

  • Need to stay dry? Cut holes in large bags for arms and head and wear as a protector.
  • Cold? Prepare as above and then stuff it with newspaper or leaves etc. and tuck in your pants.
  • Need a life preserver?   Fill bag one third with air, bind the center third with duct tape or tie knots to hang on to, then fill the rest with air and tie or tape off.
  • No shelter?
    • Most basic shelter- cut hole for head and wear as a poncho- stuff with leaves or newspaper for warmth.
    • Use one or more cut open flat to make a tent or to waterproof a basic shelter.
    • Use as a ground cloth.
    • Stuff one to use as a mattress on the ground to preserve body heat.
  • Need help?
    • Signal flag-A brightly colored trash bag would work best.  Lay out in an open area for overhead
      searchers or attach to a stick to use as a flag or a windsock.
    • Trail markers- cut bag into strips and tie on branches at eye level so you can find your way back to camp or searchers can find you.
  • Need water?
    • Rain catch-Lay the bag in a hole in the ground or a similar low spot to catch rain water.
    • Water carrier- avoid sharp objects!

Note: only in dire conditions should you drink water from a trash bag as many are treated with chemicals that probably shouldn’t be ingested.

  • Need a toilet?
    • Line a 5 gallon bucket.
    • Drain the water from your toilet at home and line the bowl with a bag to collect waste matter until it can be disposed of.

This is just a snapshot of all that can be done with the humble trash bag.  Keep some in your car, 72-hour kit, purse or pocket.     In future articles we will cover other sizes of plastic bags and their uses in preparedness.


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