Knowledge and materials are essential for preparedness. Plastic wrap is a low-cost material that many people overlook for survival considerations. You've likely fought your fair share of battles with plastic wrap when ripping a piece out of the box or attempting to cover a bowl of leftovers, but its stickiness is one of its most valuable advantages for survival.
Yes, you can utilize plastic wrap for various purposes if SHTF, so keep a few rolls on hand! You can use household plastic wrap, but it is recommended that you purchase a full roll of clear or green transparent plastic wrap that is commonly used to cover pallets at the hardware shop.
This article will show you the best survival tips for using plastic wrap. Read on to also find bonus tips for everyday use.
1. Water Collection
Water collection is easier with plastic wrap; there are several ways to gather water with it. The first method is obvious: hanging a sheet of fabric horizontally to the ground lets it collect rainwater or dew. Using a bucket (or similar), place your container beneath the plastic while using a stone to tilt it to one side, draining the water into the bucket.
Leaving a bucket out in the rain allows you to capture water that falls straight into the bucket, but that way of collection is limited. Draping plastic wrap or using it as a funnel into your bucket collects far more water because plastic wrap provides a bigger surface for the rain to strike.
Many will overlook the value of plastic wrap for protection however, businesses and homes can cover electrical equipment with plastic before a storm. Other ways to protect your valuables and assets:
Seal electronic devices, important papers and documents, or cherished photos and prints using plastic wrap and duct tape.
Wrap food, first aid supplies, or other necessary goods in plastic to seal them and store away from windows. In flood conditions or during hurricane storms, store your sealed items high up on solid shelves or on an upper floor.
The best feature of plastic wrap is that it is impermeable. Because air and water cannot travel through it, plastic wrap might be one of your closest friends if you're caught in a storm or have to go outside in the cold.
Plastic wrap not only keeps air and moisture out, but it keeps body heat in. Wrapping your chest, limbs, or feet in plastic wrap can save a lot of body heat while keeping you dry.
The main thing to remember while using it in this manner is that your skin needs to breathe so be cautious to reduce time with plastic wrapped against the skin. Promptly remove it when you arrive somewhere warm and dry.
4. Fashion a Solar Still
Another technique for using plastic wrap in survival is to construct a solar still. This sounds a lot more formal than it is. Water evaporates and rises as the earth dehydrates, causing condensation on the plastic.
Here's how to go about it:
- Make a large hole in direct sunlight, ideally in the early morning. Make the hole at least 12” deep; the more moist earth that is exposed, the more water you'll obtain.
- Place a cup, bowl, or object at the hole's center to collect the water.
- Fill up the space surrounding the cup with whatever moist plants you can locate. The more moisture there is, the better.
- Seal the opening with plastic wrap tightly.To seal the plastic wrap to the earth, place sand, soil, and rocks around the outside border of the hole.
- Put a tiny stone or some soil on the plastic above the middle of the cup, forming a dip in the plastic. Ensure that the plastic does not come into contact with the cup.
- Keep the still in place for as long as possible until the soil dries up, or the sun sets, whichever comes first.
- If the hole dries, dig deeper to reach other moist soil or start anew.
- Make intentional use of the water collected. This method does not yield much, but some water is better than none in a survival emergency!
5. Build a Temporary Shelter
Plastic wrap is an essential tool, particularly for mountaineers. It may be used to construct tiny shelters and for shielding you from wind and rain. This shelter is not ideal for extremely cold environments.
6. Build a Greenhouse
Because you can make a shelter from plastic wrap, you can modify your shelter to be a greenhouse. The frame for your greenhouse can be made from found poles or structure; chopped down trees will also work. Wrap the plastic over the chopped trees or poles, then create a cover across the top to create a plastic room.
You can make a door out of cardboard, or you could also cut a small entrance. More plastic should be used to seal your greenhouse from the inside. This shelter also catches dew on the top, making your plastic wrap home also a water collector.
Your plastic wrap shelter results in a wind-proof, waterproof shelter that is quite sturdy and will keep heat inside.
Nothing is worse than traveling through a deluge and stopping for the night only to discover that everything in your pack is also saturated. Perhaps you dropped it in a creek when crossing it, or you had to swim at some point. Plastic wrap would have kept your things dry in any of these instances.
Although not entirely waterproof, it can keep your pack dry on lengthy rides when I don't have saddlebags. You can keep a piece wrapped up in the bottom of your bag, and when needed, unfold it and wrap it around your bag.
It wouldn't help if your bag gets submerged, but a wrapped bag dropping it in a lake gives a few additional moments to collect it. Plastic wrap is also useful to cover items like firewood at your camp to protect it from rain.
8. Braid into a Rope or Lashing
Having a rope on hand is a smart idea. Plastic wrap is extraordinarily strong, and if you twist it into a rope it will stretch to nearly three times its original length and hold.
When tested it was found that plastic wrap rope could withstand 115 pounds without breaking. You can then untwist it and use it for other things.
9. First Aid
Plastic wrap may be used for first aid in a variety of ways:
- A sucking chest would need to be wrapped in plastic
- Use as a nonstick coating to keep water and dirt out of a wound
- Make a sling or wrap it around as a binding
- Sanitary Glove
Bonus Tips: Plastic Wrap for Everyday Uses
The importance of plastic wrap or cling wrap cannot be overstated. The uses are enormous – from helping with kitchen utensils to preserving food and keeping fruits fresh.
Here are a few household tips you will find helpful.
1. Keep Flowers Fresh
Are you gifting flowers or traveling with a bouquet?
Covering the stems with a damp cloth or tissue paper, then wrapping them in plastic wrap to retain the moisture will help keep the flowers fresh. This will keep your arrangement from withering until you can place it in a vase of water.
2. Preventing Mess
Pulling your fridge's shelves out to clean sticky stains may be a real nuisance. Instead, put cling film across the top of each shelf. When there is a spill, or if they appear dirty, peel it off and replace it. So much simpler!
3. Unclog a Toilet
Cling film or cling wrap is one of the methods you might use to attempt to unclog your toilet (weird, we know, but it works). Here is how you do it: Wrap your toilet bowl in 2-3 layers of cling wrap until it is completely sealed. Flush the toilet after you're confident the entire bowl is wrapped with cling film and won't move.
As the cling film begins to bubble up and expand, forcefully squeeze the air out of the bubble and back into the toilet. The air pressure will cause your toilet to unclog - incredible, right?
4. Prevent Leaks
If you've ever opened your bag to find that your shampoo or lotion bottle had exploded, you know what a disaster it can be!
Avoid this by removing the lids from your toiletry bottles, sealing the openings with plastic wrap, and then replacing the lids. Even if you don't travel much, this straightforward advice might save you a lot of trouble!
5. Lower Bills
Plastic window covers save you significant money on utility expenses when correctly fitted. They can swiftly repair drafts and leaks around your windows and doors.
6. Plastic Wrap As a Lid
You can use your plastic wrap as a lid for food or small items that can easily spill, fall off, or get lost in an obscure place. Plastic wrap is airtight and will keep your things safe.
Potential Dangers of Plastic Wrap
- Suffocation - keep plastic away from small children and do not use on your face, head, or mouth
- Carbon Monoxide - plastic homes don’t breathe or allow for air flow, be mindful of ventilation
- Heat Stroke - don’t keep wrapped in plastic for an extended period of time
- Cutting off Circulation - when used as a first aid tool, be cautious at how tightly plastic is wrapped on body parts