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25 Survival Uses for Zip Ties

25 Survival Uses for Zip Ties

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There’s more to zip than meets the tie. No? Let me try another one on you. Tie me a river? Zipper me timbers? I give up. Anyway, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, today’s top is zip ties – very common and handy household item, especially when things get way too intense in the bedroom.

Joke aside, I believe that everyone should have at least one bag of heavy-duty zip ties around the house since they’re very useful for all manner of odd jobs – I personally use them to prevent my PC cables from getting tangled. Sometimes I even use them to organize my paracords.  Now, as you’ve guessed it, zip ties can be a great help in a shit hits the fan situation. So, without further ado, here are 25 survival uses for them zippy ties.

Splinting and securing bandages

Not every SHTF ends with you being rescued the minute you hit the “dial” button on your phone. Sometimes, you will need to fend for yourself before the cavalry comes to pick you up. Scrapes, bruises, wounds, and fractures are possible, especially when you’re forced to cross a hostile terrain.

Normally, you would use cordage (string, rope, shoelaces or dental floss) in case you need to splint a limb, toe or finger. If you don’t have anything else on hand, use one or two zip ties to secure the splint. Don’t forget to snip off the excess. The same method can be employed to ensure that the bandages stay where they’re supposed to stay and that would be the wound.

In a major medical emergency (e.g., profuse bleeding, protruding wounds), a heavy-duty zip tie can double up like a tourniquet. Only use this as a last resort or if you don’t have anything else on hand to control the bleeding like plastic tubing, surgical glove, condom or cordage. Indeed, a zip tie can be used to “clamp off” a bleeder but, in the long run, it ends up doing more damage than the wound itself.

Repair damaged gear

Missing stuff from your bug out bag like a sewing kit for instance? No problem as long as you have a bag of zip ties. They can be successfully employed to mend any kind of gear – parka with a missing button, zipper with no tab, holes in the backpack or heavy rain poncho; snip off the ends and you’re good to go.

Keeping B.O.B items within reach

Many survival items come with lanyard holes, but not all of them. That shouldn’t be much of an issue if you remembered to pack some zip ties in your bug out bag. Just run that plastic tie through anything resembling a hole and attach the item to your belt or to a mini carabiner (that’s how I keep my survival lighter).

Restrain someone

If you get caught up in the fight, use a heavy-duty zip tie to restrain the bad guy until the authorities arrive. Well, you can also use them for other restraint purposes, but I ain’t going to touch this one.

Keeping boots where they belong

One of the worst things that could happen to you during hacking is shoelaces going sour on you. Don’t have extras in your backpack? Grab a zip tie, run it through the holes, and you’re all set.

Prevent pants from falling off you

Lost your belt or had to use it for other purposes? Yup, grab a heavy-duty zip or more, run it through your pants’ belt loops, and tie it. Won’t win you a fashion contest, but at least you won’t have to go around butt-naked.

Craft a shelter

You can use zip ties to secure the beams to each other when you’re building a shelter. They’re also useful in anchoring your makeshift shelter to a nearby tree or to the ground.

Mark trails

If you have a pack of brightly colored zip ties, you can secure them to low tree branches or rocks in order to mark off a trail. They also serve the purpose of signaling, letting your rescuers know that they’re going the right way.

Make a net

It’s possible to weave a net using small zip ties – very useful for all kinds of purposes such as berry-picking or storing game before reaching the campsite.

Make a trap

You can whip up a simple trap using a zip tie, a bent sapling, and some bait. Moreover, heavy-duty zip ties can be used to hang large or medium game from a branch – makes skinning and butchering easier. If you plan on curing meat, draw a heavy-duty through the flesh, and hang the cuts on a branch or an improvised line.

Repair a broken bag

If the zipper or purse lock refuses to work, grab a zip tie and secure the ends. Yes, I know it looks awful, but hey, at least your stuff will stay inside the purse\backpack\bag\tote.

Hang clothes

Don’t have any cloth hangers around the house? You really don’t need to hit the store to buy some more; just use a couple of zip ties to hang them in the wardrobe.

Patch holes in your fence

As the proud owner of a dog which has way too much energy, I spend at least a couple of hours every week mending the chain link fence. As replacing the entire grid would cost me a pretty penny, I usually use heavy-duty zip ties to patch the holes; thanks, Nero. You’re the best!

Keep your B.O.B organized

Use small zip ties to secure paracord and to keep your cables organized. Remember that it’s an emergency survival kit, not your sock drawer!

Extra traction in cold weather

Although I wouldn’t advise you to drive around town with zip ties attached to your wheels, in an emergency, you can use two or three to gain extra traction on icy roads. Works best in conjunction with kitty litter and sand.

Quick-draw mod for pocket knives

A pocket knife is not only great for carving wood or cutting meat, but also a great ally in hand-to-hand combat. As a self-defense teacher once said, the first ten seconds of any armed encounter will determine the outcome of the fight. A pocket knife is an excellent close-quarter weapon, but getting the blade out takes a couple of seconds.

To gain an edge in combat, you can add a quick-draw mode to your pocket knife. Here’s what to do: take a piece of the zip tie and secure it to the finger hole. Snip away the excess. Yes, I know it looks dumb, but that little piece of plastic will get the blade out as soon as the knife leaves your pocket. Try it and see if there’s any difference.

Keep your travel bags safe

If you plan on going abroad this year, forget about using a padlock to secure your suitcase. Use a heavy-duty zip tie instead. Travel locks can be easily removed. The same thing cannot be said about a fastened zip tie which will take more than a pair of a bolt cutter to unfasten.

To be extra safe, use at least four of that stuff. You should use zip ties that match the color of your suitcase for concealment purposes. Don’t forget to tighten them before reaching the airport and to snip off the excess.

Leg protection

Mother Nature’s is very good at hiding stuff in plain sight. This includes poisonous plants like ivy or nettle. Now, if you’re about to cross an area with tall grass or plenty of puddles, use a heavy-duty zip tie to lash the pants to your ankles. That tie will make sure nothing gets inside your pants.

Make more room in your bug out bag

If your bug out bag comes with a bedroll, mylar blanker or sleeping bag, use a couple of heavy-duty zip ties to secure the bundle and to compress it. You can do the same for your rain poncho.

Makeshift bandana

Hair getting in your eyes? Use a bandana. You don’t have it anymore? Not a problem. Use a piece of zip tie to prevent those curly locks of your from getting into your eyes. If you have longer hair, it’s possible to use a pencil and then zip tie to make a bun.

Keeping your tomato vines in line

As a gardener, I can truly say that zip ties are what one might call a God-sent gift. Without those little plastic loops, my tomato vines would grow all over the place. That doesn’t sound so bad, I know, but I do have this obsession with keeping my garden organized; the same thing cannot be said for my clothes or socks.

Make a headlamp from any tac light

Although your tac light should come with a head attachment, in some cases the manufacturers forget to include that thingamajig. Anyway, if you find yourself unable to hold your electric torch, use some heavy-duty zip ties to secure the tac light to your head. Furthermore, you can use the same trick to tie a regular flashlight to your bike’s handle if the one you have can’t handle the darkness.

Hang a solar still

In one of my previous articles, I showed you how to make a simple solar still using a plastic bottle and a tin can. When it’s ready, use a piece of zip tie to secure your still to a nearby low-lying branch.

Patching your tent

Because I’ve been hiking ever since I could remember, I have at least one fully functional tent around the house. Now, the thing I realized about these mid-range tents is that the rivets closing the hatch tend to break after a couple of uses.

No problem if you’re still in town, but kinda shitty when you want to hit the hay and can’t close the hatch – bears are not a problem if you keep the fire running, but the mosquitoes won’t spare you.

Now, if you have issues with your hatch, use a couple of zip ties to close it. Yes, you may need a survival knife or a pair of scissors to get out of the tent, but at least those damned mosquitoes stay outside, where they belong.

Use around the house

Zip ties are great for keeping cables anchored to the wall or other kinds of odd jobs. For instance, I like to use them to dry the meat my wife will use to prepare beef jerky. If you have a little smokehouse, you can replace metallic hooks with zip ties to hang the meat.

They’re also double up as padlocks – if you have a gun cabinet, you can use one or two heavy-duty zip ties in conjunction with a lock to keep the guns out of children’s reach.

That’s it for my article on ways to use zip ties in a shit hits the fan situation. Anything missing from the list? Head to the comments section and let me know.


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