Part of being a resourceful prepper is learning how to use common household items in a survival situation. Zip ties are a prime example of such an item. Though usually made of plastic, zip ties are surprisingly durable. They are also dirt cheap and take up very little space, so you can easily pack them in large quantities.
Zip ties are one of the most versatile items you can have in your bugout bag (BOB). Here are 10 ways to use zip ties in a survival situation: (h/t to TheSurvivalMom.com)
Pack items. Zip ties allow you to organize small items, such as cords, cordage and utensils. You can use zip ties to keep items tightly packed as well. Roll clothes, blankets and tarps as tightly as you can and secure the rolls with zip ties.
Create a snare. Use zip ties to build snares for any kind of game.
Make handcuffs. If you need to tie up an intruder, you can use zip ties as handcuffs. Just make sure to use the bigger zip ties and secure them behind the person’s back. This will make it more difficult to remove the zip ties.
Build an emergency shelter. You can use zip ties to secure tarps together when building a shelter. They can also be used to anchor the shelter to a nearby tree or to the ground. (Related: How to build an emergency shelter inexpensively.)
Close pants around the ankles. Secure a zip tie around either ankle to protect against ticks, snakebites and mosquito bites.
Hold a splint in place. In case you need to splint a limb, toe or finger, you can use a zip tie to keep the splint in place. Don’t forget to cut off the excess.
Secure items onto backpacks. Attach extra gear or supplies to your backpack by running a zip tie through anything resembling a hole. You can also use zip ties to secure items to your belt or to a carabiner.
Make a tourniquet. You can also use a zip tie as an improvised tourniquet. Simply secure it just above the area of the wound to cut off bleeding. Place a piece of fabric underneath the zip tie so that it doesn’t bite into the skin.
Use as a tamper-evident device. Forget about using padlocks to secure your bags and supply packs since those can be easily picked. Use zip ties instead. If something that has been secured with a zip tie was tampered with, the zip tie would either be cut or stretched out.
Choosing the right zip tie
There are many zip ties to choose from. Consider these factors to determine the best one for your needs:
Construction – When most people think of zip ties, they think of the single-use ones you need to cut to release. Those zip ties are great for when you want to keep something secure. If not, you can opt for reusable zip ties. These zip ties are better for things that will need rearranging, such as cords.
Length – Zip ties are available in lengths ranging from four to 52 inches. Since you’ll likely be trimming them after installation, err on the side of caution and buy longer ones. If you do end up with short zip ties, you can link several together to make one long zip tie.
Tensile strength – Tensile strength is the amount of weight that a zip tie can hold without breaking. If you have a zip tie with a tensile strength of 120 pounds, for example, it will break if it is used to hold something that weighs over 120 pounds.
Color – Zip ties come in various colors. In most cases, it won’t matter what color your zip tie is. But when marking trails or sending signals, colored zip ties will get the job done.
Survival.news has more articles on how to use common household items for survival.