Whether it’s through a plague of zombies, an asteroid hurtling through space or simply global warming, you never know when the apocalypse could be just around the corner. But you don’t have to be a fervent doomsday prepper to survive such a scenario. These handy tips and tricks should be invaluable to anyone who manages to ride out the end of the world.
40. Use crayons for lighting
Crayons probably wouldn’t be on most people’s survival lists but you can use them for more than just coloring in. Light one on fire and you can get 15 minutes’ worth of emergency lighting. That might not sound much but if you happen to have a large pack of Crayola’s finest, then that could provide enough illumination to last an entire day.
39. Collecting rain from a tarp
This tip might not come in handy if you’re left stranded in a desert. But if you’re living in an area where umbrellas are a daily accessory, then you shouldn’t want for drinkable water ever again. Simply string up a large tarpaulin sheet, guide it into a five-gallon bucket and let the raindrops do the rest.
38. Make a bow from a hunting tire
This is one of the trickier tips to get to grips with. But you’re likely to have plenty of time on your hands in the wake of an apocalypse. To make a bow that could be vital for hunting any animals that have also survived, all you need is a tire, string and some makeshift cutting tools. Just cut the tire in half, clean its spokes, smooth its edges and use its cut rim to guide your string through.
37. Start a fire with Doritos
You might be tempted to snack on any Doritos that are left lying around. But if warmth is more important than hunger, then you should try and let your stomach rumble for that little bit longer. For corn chips are surprisingly highly flammable and in the absence of lighter fluid can be used to kickstart a small flame.
36. Use soft drink cans for makeshift stove
No one likes cold beans. So if you want to warm up your post-apocalypse meals, then why not create a makeshift stove? All you have to do is cut a soft drink can roughly three inches from the bottom, position it upside down and drill several holes in the base to allow airflow. Then put something like a gel fuel tin under the can of Coca-Cola, Fanta or your other fizzy drink of choice and light it.
35. Use a bullet case for whistling
Chances are you will need to attract someone’s attention at some point. Another random survivor in the distance, for example. And if you happen to have a few spent bullet cases lying around then you’re in luck. Just make several precise incisions and you can make a whistling noise far louder than you would by using your fingers.
34. Use plastic containers to build a raft
Plastic containers might not be good for the environment. But they could be vital for survival if you’re needing to cross a large stretch of water to reach safety. Use a piece of string to wrap a bulk of containers together in a sheet of tarpaulin, and you have a floatation device strong enough for at least one individual to travel on.
33. Make an improvised compass
Navigation can be a tricky thing without a compass, but if you don’t have one to hand, then fear not. All you require is a cup of water, some foliage and a piece of wire. Simply place a leaf in the cup and then position the wire gently on top. Just like magic, the Earth’s magnetic fields will automatically guide the wire to point towards north and south.
32. Use grass for a flat tire
If your vehicle is otherwise still roadworthy post-apocalypse, you needn’t let a flat tire stop you from traveling. Simply make several holes in the tire’s inside, cram them full of grass, leaves and any other greens you can get your hands on and drive. Of course, this is only a temporary measure, so don’t expect to go from one end of the country to the other.
31. Use super glue for stitches
Super glue is the kind of compact and extremely useful product that every survivalist would have in their kit. And it’s particularly handy when it comes to open wounds. If hospitals are no longer a thing in the new world then simply glue the laceration together, making sure to pinch it until the substance fully dries.
30. Produce heat with terracotta pots
If you’re desperately cold, and electric heat is in short supply, then you should check your surroundings for any terracotta plant pots. The type of earthenware is a great heat conductor. And by positioning several candles inside a pot turned upside down you’ll soon be saying goodbye to the chills.
29. Use water bottle for illumination
If you paid attention in physics class, then you may already know the science behind this clever alternative to the ceiling light. After cutting a small hole in your shelter’s roof, jam it with a clear bottle filled with water. Having traveled through the liquid, the light will then disperse and instantly banish those dark days.
28. Create improvised sling
The humble sling is perhaps one of the easiest things to make from scratch in the event of an apocalypse. You can use anything from tarpaulin sheets and T-shirts to blankets and bandanas to hold a broken arm in place. Simply cut the material to fit or tie several smaller items together and voila!
27. Make a blanket chair
After a hard day of survivalist work you may well need a comfortable sit down. If you don’t happen to have a three-piece suite at your disposal, then you can still enjoy a well-deserved rest. Make a camp chair-for-one by tying a tarpaulin sheet to a tripod A-frame made out of several sturdy branches.
26. Trap fish with water bottle
You shouldn’t expect to feed the 5,000 with this fishing tip. But it still may help tide you over until something more substantial comes along. Find a half-gallon water bottle, remove its cap and cut the bottle at its thickest. Then insert the flipped smaller piece back inside and secure it with some string. The idea is that fish will be able to swim inside but unfortunately for them they will be restricted from escaping.
25. Use wild plants for insect repellent
It’s a well-known theory that cockroaches would be one of the few species to survive in the event of a nuclear war. If you find your living quarters swarming with such insects, then nature is there to help. That’s because wild plants can act as a deterrent to the indestructible critters.
24. Use tarpaulin for shelter
A simple piece of tarpaulin and a few sticks could be the difference between survival and developing pneumonia. If you find yourself homeless, then create a waterproof shelter by building a tent-like frame with the sticks and placing the tarp over it. For insulation, then push as much moss and dirt, or in the winter, even snow, as you can find against the shelter’s side.
23. Use yucca plant for sewing needles
This particular tip will only apply to those in close proximity to a yucca plant. After cutting off one of its leaves, smooth down its edges to make one long and thin yucca strip, cut it in half and make a small rope by twisting together its two strands. You’ll then have the makeshift sharp needle you need to sew any ripped items of clothing.
22. Use CDs for reflective signals
You may think that your CD collection would be rendered entirely obsolete in the wake of an apocalypse. But the good old compact disc can still come in handy for other purposes. Indeed, you can use their sunlight-shimmering surfaces if you need to send out a signal that you are in distress.
21. Use ring pulls for fishing hooks
Drunk a few cans of beer to try and forget about the hopeless fate of mankind? Well, make sure you keep the ring pulls after you’re done. These can be used as a nifty little fishing hook, meaning that you also have more chance of having some food the next time you want to drown your sorrows.
20. Start a fire with battery
If more traditional fire-starting options aren’t available, then you may want to grab the batteries you’d normally find in your remote. Place a strip of tin foil at each battery end and watch a flame spark to life. You can then increase the heat by using it to set fire to anything from tree bark to swabs of alcohol.
19. Breathe through a bra
Find yourself wandering through an area that’s engulfed in fire debris? Chances are you won’t have an oxygen mask to hand. But no need to worry. You can breathe easy by simply placing a bra over your mouth. It might not be the most graceful of looks, but it will sure do the trick.
18. Use duct tape to open jars
You may have enough jars of food to last you a lifetime stocked in your larder. But if you’ve used up all your strength simply trying to stay alive, you may still find yourself going hungry. However, by placing some duct tape around the jar lid and pulling tight even the weakest individuals will soon be able to tuck in.
17. Sticks for walking sticks
This survivalist hack seems like a no-brainer. If you have trouble walking or have been injured while the world is collapsing around you, then you don’t need to suffer. Simply head into the nearest woods, and find the tree branch best suited to your height to use as a basic but still highly effective walking stick.
16. Use baking soda for toothpaste
Improvisation is a key skill in the wake of an apocalypse. If you find yourself with far more baking soda than toothpaste, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can still keep the dentist – if there are any left, that is – at bay. For the former also contains properties that helps to keep the teeth and gums clean.
15. Use baby oil to prevent frostbite
Frostbite may be a very real problem after such a cataclysmic event, particularly in the depths of winter. You can layer yourself with as many clothes as possible, but what about the parts of your face that may be exposed to the elements? Well, simply smear some baby oil or petroleum jelly on them, and you should remain frostbite free.
14. Make a spoon from a bottle
The humble water bottle has many uses in the event of an apocalypse. Indeed, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any kitchen utensils to hand for your nourishing soup. Simply cut the bottom out of a bottle as cleanly as possible to make a spoon the size of your choosing.
13. Kick a locked door near the handle
There may be times when you need to make a quick getaway or seek shelter in a hurry. But what happens if the door you need to get through is locked shut? According to experts, you should kick it down as close to the handle as possible but without putting your back and shoulders into it. This should both help break the lock and reduce the risk of injury.
12. Avoid using water to put out grease fires
While much of your survivalist efforts will center around building fires, there may be occasions when you need to put one out. You should avoid the temptation to simply pour water over alight grease though as this will only increase the intensity of the flames. Instead, smother it using a wet cloth or towel.
11. Hold your ground against wolves
If you find yourself facing off against a wild pack of wolves that have also survived the end of the world, resist the temptation to run as fast as you can. It may go against every instinct in your body. But to increase your chances of survival the best thing that you can do is hold your ground. Wolves prefer to hunt their prey, and by running away you’re giving them the impetus to chase.
10. Run for the hills to flee bears
Avoid clambering up a tree if you suddenly discover you’re in the company of a man-eating black bear. The animals are famous for climbing trees much faster than humans. Instead, you should aim for the nearest big hill. Bears find it difficult to move downhill as their giant stature sends them hurtling at breakneck speed.
9. Hide from moose
Moose are much easier to evade than the likes of wolves and bears. Should you happen to stumble across one in the wild, then all you need to do is partake in a game of hide and seek. Stand behind a tree and the fact that these animals have a spot in their peripheral vision that doesn’t give any sight will allow you to flee with relative ease.
8. Strip for polar bears
You never know where you’ll end up after an apocalypse. If you find yourself stranded in the Arctic Circle, then polar bears will be a very real threat. But there’s one easy way to keep them at bay. Simply take off your hat or gloves, and the animals, renowned for their attention deficit disorder, will soon be far more interested in the item of clothing than tucking into a human.
7. Purify your water
Boiling is the most orthodox method of ensuring that your drinking water is safe. But if you don’t want to use up too much heat, there is another way. Leave your plastic bottles of water directly in the sunlight, and all the dangerous pathogens will soon be killed by the UV rays traveling through the water.
6. Kill giant insects with toothpicks
If you are still having major problems with creepy crawlies after such a world-ending catastrophe, then you might have to get creative. Take a compressed air can, and in its opening, place a toothpick. You then have a makeshift tiny gun capable of stopping any pesky insect in their tracks.
5. Use duct tape for blisters
It’s highly likely that you’ll have to cover a lot of ground while rebuilding a life for yourself in the new world. As a result, you’re also likely to get plenty of blisters on your feet. One way of treating such an ailment is to simply cover them using a piece of ever-versatile duct tape.
4. Generate electricity from lemons
If life hands you lemons, then generate electricity. Sure, the citrus fruit won’t exactly power your entire community. But when its fruit pulp is inserted with a pair of electrodes – two copper coins, for example – then it is capable of producing a current strong enough to light up an LED bulb.
3. Clean wounds with saltwater
You might not be able to drink saltwater, but it can still be hugely beneficial when it comes to cleaning wounds. Sodium chloride can force bacterial liquids out of the body’s cells in a process known as osmosis. However, you should avoid collecting saltwater from the sea as this isn’t sterile and can actually make things worse.
2. Flee from sudden quietness
It’s never a particularly good sign when a previously busy and loud habitat suddenly becomes deadly quiet. Whether you are diving in the ocean or wandering in a forest, the lack of activity usually means that predators are circling. And you should therefore make your escape as quickly as possible.
1. Remember your limits
Of course, all the preceding may be entirely irrelevant if you don’t know the basics limits of survival. In the event of an apocalypse, humans are able to go three minutes without air, three hours without shelter and three days without water. But you can go a full 30 days without lining your stomach with food.