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Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Survival: Lost with Only a Trash Bag

Ounce for ounce, few items can improve your survival chances more than a humble trash bag.

by: Jason Stevenson

You're probably packing several already, as liners for your stuffsacks and as cheap pack covers. But when trouble arises, they can do much more. Note: For these tasks, opt for brightly colored, heavy-duty lawn bags 30 to 55 gallons in size and 3 mils (1/1000 of an inch) thick.

Cross a River
Create two buoyancy chambers—and a place in-between to grab on to—by filling the bottom of the trash bag with air and cinching down the middle section with tape or cord. Then inflate the top of the bag with air and tie it closed. Trash bags can also be used to collect water.

Improvise a Rainshell
Cut slits for your head and arms, and slip the bag over your torso. Shivering from the wind? Tuck the end into your pants and stuff the interior with dry leaves.

Waterproof a Shelter
On your debris shelter’s roof (see page 73), layer one bag between the layers of branches and leaves. For a mattress, stuff a second bag with dry litter.

Survival Secret
Bright-yellow bags are more visible
in low light and at night than black
or red ones. Unfurl and wave them
to signal airborne rescuers.

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Oct 14, 2012

fill one with leaves and then put another one in as well and you got a handy sleeping bag cheap reliable

Oct 14, 2012

fill one with leaves and then but another one in as well and you got a handy sleeping bag cheap reliable

Mar 19, 2012

Make a vapor barrier in your boots and keep your feet toasty if you are caught in sub-freezing weather unprepared.

Mar 18, 2012

@ Llamaguy: Yes, here's one place

Mar 18, 2012

i always bring a small bag just to pick up trash on my way out. my small part!

ken NJ
Mar 16, 2012

Want a cheap covering for your legs in a rain storm.... cut a big enough hole in the bottom of a contractor bag and than pull it up over your waist... you`ve just made a below the knee length rain skirt that works great... tie rope around the top as your belt... It`s tough, it`s cheap, and wide enough that you can run, climb, sit.. and most importantly airy enough that you don`t sweat...

Sam Tresler
Nov 30, 2011

i hate those trash bags.

Nov 30, 2011

trashBag dresses are in style:)))

Nov 23, 2011

i made a song up about trashbags.. <3<3<3<3

Nov 10, 2011

i always use trash bags everywhere i go even to vist. something bad might happen. anywhere anytime

I can't believe it's not butter!
Oct 04, 2011

Many uses for trash bags! Contractor bags are a bit bulky though! Where do you find them in colors?

mario hernandez
Sep 11, 2011

I pack my tent, sleeping bag, clothes and anything that can be ruined by water in kitchen bags, doest not add much weight and keeps every thing dry,I also carrie a contractor type bag to line my backpack.

Sep 08, 2011

A trashbag with a small hole cut in the bottom makes a great cover for your bear-bag. I always hoist the covered food sack along with my dog's pack (and food). In some places, I will also bag and hang my pack & sleeping bag while on day hikes away from camp. Keeps the critters from chewing on salty straps or the sleeping bag while you are gone.

Sep 03, 2011

Try a trash compactor bag. Extremely durable.

Sep 03, 2011

Try a trash compactor bag. Extremely durable.

e clarke
Sep 02, 2011

Melt snow without a stove: put it in a black trash bag in the sun.

mack huffstickler
Sep 02, 2011

you can also use one to collect water by evaporation from the ground. dig a 3 ft by 18 inch deep hole. lay bag over hole. put a rock on each corner to hold it to the ground. drop a rock in the center of bag. put a cup under the center rock down in the hole with any type of foliage around in the hole. condensation will run down the bag inside the hole to the cup. eat drink rejoice.

Mike Williams
Sep 02, 2011

During an outing fill a black trash bag with water and let the sun heat it up. Later in the evening you'll have surprising warm water to wash up with.

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