Improvisation is an essential skill for survival. Almost any day-to-day item can be utilized for certain emergency purposes. Things like empty soda cans might seem useless to other people, but, with a little bit of creativity, soda cans can be utilized for several of the most ingenious and practical survival hacks.
Soda cans are one of the most common items you can find anywhere. And to some extent, that is a sad fact because you do find them littered practically everywhere. However, as preppers, we can collect these soda cans and even hoard some for use on specific needs that may arise later.
What makes soda cans ideal for preppers is that they are easy to cut and shape into various forms with tools and any knives and scissors. Just remember to take extra caution when handling the sharp edges, as they can cut deep!
Therefore, here are some survival hacks wherein you can make excellent use of soda cans:
Firstly, a whistle is an essential tool you’ll need in hand if you get stuck, injured, or need to signal your companions.
What it is needed:
- 1 Soda can
- Scissors (or a sharp knife)
Cut out a sheet from the can. Stay clear of sharp edges that might cut your fingers.
Cut a long strip from the sheet (depending on the size of the whistle you want).
In one end of the strip, bend a small portion into a 45° angle, then using your fingers, roll the end part of that bent portion upwards into a small circle. Make sure to leave a small gap between the end of the rolled-up portion and the rest of the sheet. Also, remember to keep the chrome-colored surface exposed as you do steps 2 and 3.
Cut a short bit from the other side of the strip. Make sure this small strip is long enough to extend over on the sides of the strip when placed horizontally across, right next to the rolled-up portion.
With the chrome-colored surface of the longer strip facing up, place the small strip underneath the longer strip in a horizontal position, right next to the rolled-up portion. This should form a cross shape, with the ends of the small strip extending across on the sides of the long strip.
(The printed portions of both strips should face each other. And the chrome-colored surfaces should face opposite directions.)
Then fold those extended sides of the small strip up over the longer strip.
With the chrome-colored surface facing up again, fold the end of the longer strip up and towards the rolled-up part. It should now cover the folded portion of the small strip.
Remember to fold this well and make sure the end of the strip goes right into the angle bend of the rolled-up portion. Cut the end to size to make sure it stays tight in place. Your can strips are now shaped like a regular whistle.
With the mouthpiece of your improvised whistle facing you, you will notice a very thin space between the small strip and the folded longer strip. Insert a small flat tool in the space and try to make it a bit bigger. Be sure the gap will be enough for air to be blown into it.
To use it, cover both sides of the rolled-up portion with your fingers, then blow into the mouthpiece.
Fire Starter & Signaling Device
Being able to start a fire is a crucial skill in any survival situation. A can of soda can prove useful for starting a fire in two ways.
To start the fire
The concave bottom of the can may be used to direct sunlight to ignite kindling. You will need to polish the bottom of the can for it to be shiny enough to reflect the sun’s rays. A bar of chocolate, toothpaste, and even some mud can be used to polish the can. Rub whatever compound you have on the bottom of the can until it is sufficiently polished. The polished bottom of the can will have a mirror effect that reflects the sunlight and heat up and burn whatever flammable materials you have prepared.
*The polished bottom of the can may also be used as a signaling device for planes, search parties, or your companions. You can also use other parts of the can for signaling, such as the top of the can or by cutting it open and using the smooth reflective surface inside the can.
Using the can as the base of the fire
If it’s not sunny and the breeze is too strong, or if the rain’s pouring down, you can use a soda can as the fire’s base. The insides of the can will build up the heat quickly and maintain it. Use suitable tinder such as dry grass, pine cones, or even a candle.
Penny Can Stove
Making a penny can stove takes a little more effort, but it will surely come in handy if you need something portable to heat water on or cook small portions of food with.
- 2 Soda cans
- Cutter (or a sharp knife)
- Penny coin
Cut the bottom ends of the cans (a little over an inch and a half, or a little bigger if you like).
With one cut-up can, use the hammer and nail to punch five holes on the inside (shaped like a cross). Then, put a circle of holes around the exterior of the concave. Space holes evenly.
With the other can, use pliers to bend the edges inwards to make it easier to attach together with the can with the holes. This can will serve as the bottom while the can with holes will be on top like a cover.
(Optional step) For a starting wick, put fiberglass insulation, cotton, or other flammable materials inside the bottom can.
Attach the two cans together, with the can with holes serving as the top cover. This now serves as your improvised can stove.
Put a considerable amount of denatured alcohol (or other types of fuel) into the can stove by pouring it into the concaved part of the stove. Pour some on the holes on the side of the makeshift stove as well. (Make sure to put a lot of fuel if you didn’t put a starting wick inside the stove)
Light it up with a match or lighter, then put the coin (penny) on top as soon as the fire begins to build up.
Unlike a standard planter, soda cans could be useful for growing plants on almost any surface. It’s also easy to do. All you need to do is cut out the top part of the can, and then you can place your plants and seeds in it. You may use any type of plastic to cover each planter during seeding.
Additionally, you may place a few rocks at the bottom of the can so that water collects below and won’t soak your roots in it. Make sure to paint the soda can to protect it and also make it suitable for different temperatures.
Paint the planter cans a lighter color so the can will reflect the heat outwards. The paint will help keep the plant’s roots cooler while also reducing moisture evaporation.
Paint the planter can black so it can absorb the sun’s heat.
The soda can tab seems like an insignificant part of the can, but it can be made into an improvised fish hook. This fish hook tab may look crude, but it has been tried, and despite its limitations, it has been proven to work quite well.
What you’ll need:
- 1 Soda can tab
- Scissors, pliers, or small knife
- Fishing cord
Using the scissors (or pliers, or knife, whichever you prefer to use), cut a section of the larger circle of the tab to reshape it into a hook.
Sharpen the tip of the tab with your tool of choice until it resembles a hook.
Tie the fishing line to the smaller circle and put some bait on the makeshift hook, and you’re good to go.
You can also turn your soda can into a lantern or lamp with a few items and tools. Check out this DIY Soda Can Candle Lantern article for some guidance.
Various Makeshift Tools
You can easily fashion different tools with a soda can as well. The cut-up edges of a can are quite sharp. Using some wood and some ingenuity, you can easily create a cutting tool.
It only takes a little bit of creativity and skill to fashion simple items for survival uses. Knowing these soda can survival hacks could ultimately help you if ever any such need arises.
Soda cans are easy to get hold of and can be very useful for several more purposes other than the ones discussed here. With the soda can’s adaptability you can even come up with your own survival uses for it.
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