The Top 3 Multipurpose Survival Items


Stockpiling food, water and other items is a great idea. In an emergency situation, having those crucial items could mean the difference between you and your family surviving on your own or having to become dependent on a Federal Emergency Management Agency center, assuming you can get to it on time.

But what if you’re traveling when a crisis occurs? It’s unlikely that you’ll have much of your food and water supply in your car when something like that happens. Or you may find yourself in a situation where you are really on your own and have to deal with the elements that Mother Nature can throw at you.

With a very limited number of items that you can carry in a survival situation, you need to make sure that some of those items have multiple purposes. Space and weight will suddenly become very important, because you may be limited by the size of your dwelling or by the amount of items you can carry or transport.

Two multipurpose items come to mind immediately: a Swiss Army knife and duct tape. There’s almost no limit to what you can do with those versatile tools. But as far as protecting yourself from the environment and gaining the water you need to survive, following are three multipurpose items that you should try to never be without:

  • Thick garbage bags. Uses include a rain poncho, a sleeping bag, shade from the sun, an additional bag for holding gear and other items, an emergency buoyancy device, tying off a wound to lessen bleeding, an emergency shelter (with the help of cord), liner for shoes and boots, a water collector or carrier, a solar still, and keeping wet clothes or gear separate.
  • Bandanas. Uses include sun shade, an evaporation cooler, a medical sling, a pillow, a pot holder, a signaling device, a filter for smoke and dust, protection against breathing fumes, pressure on a wound, a weapon when “loaded” with a rock, a pre-filter for water, a headband to catch sweat, and identification of people in your group.
  • Strong cord, such as paracord or parachute cord. Uses include shoelaces, a fishing line, lashing sticks for shelters, restraining a human or animal, towing branches for fires, wrapping handles for easier carrying, a weapon when tied to a heavy object, strapping various items to a load-bearing object, and securing doors.

If you want to put yourself in the best possible position to survive when stuck in the worst conditions, these three items will help you. Try not to ever be without them.

Frank Bates

Personal Liberty

Frank Bates

is a contributing writer to Patriot Headquarters, a new website featuring 100s of articles on how to be more self-reliant. Frank is also the founder of Food4Patriots, a supplier of emergency food suitable for long-term storage, survival and emergency preparedness.

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  • independent thinker

    I never leave the house without at least two knives, a multitool, and at least one bandana. That includes going to the garden, mowing the lawn, going to the mail box, and any of the other times I might have occasion to step out of the house for some reason. If I am in my truck I have cording/rope, a shovel and axe, space blankets, and a mulititude of other items that could prove useful in an emergency. While I do sometimes have them I do not routinely have heavy trash bags with me when away from the house. I was watching Man Woman Wild when it was on and they reccomended replacing your shoe/boot strings with para cord so you would have it in an emergency. I have also seen advertised bracelets made out of para cord.

    • 5alive5

      go to sears and buy their “two pack” of tool bags. put these things in one and ‘tools” in the other and keep them in your car. It takes very little space!

    • $9913635

      I used to do that too, till I realized it was much more easier to leave all of that back in the shed.

      • independent thinker

        That requires too many trips back and forth when I need the multi-tool to tighten a piece of wire then a knife to cut squash then the bandana to wipe sweat etc, etc, etc.. If it fits easily in the pockets or on my belt it goes with me. If it is larger like a hoe or shovel it stays in the shed until I need it.

  • JimH

    I always have a pair of work gloves a source of fire(matches,lighter, flares), knife, multi-tool, flashlight, blankets and jumper cables.
    In winter I put winter gloves a wool hat and sleeping bag.

  • FreedomFighter

    “protecting yourself from the environment and gaining the water you need to survive”
    Agree 100 percent with your choices, but would add a “Life Straw” to purify the water and toilet paper tissues, I know that’s 5 items but still, no need getting sick from the water or being stinky..
    Laus DeoSemper Fi

  • $9913635

    Thanks but I think I will look pretty stupid with a garbage back tied around me with paracord wearing a bandana.

    No, I’ll just stick to my body armor, riot helmet, army boots and urban camo with my handgun holster strapped on my leg and my .223 Colt AR slung across my back and a waist-pak for ammo.:)

    Thanks anyway.