Multi-Use Item — Trash Bag

Many of the items we put in our survival kits have multiple purposes. Given that we have a finite amount of space in each kit, we need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each potential addition. Today, let’s talk about the different ways in which we can use a trash bag.

Please note though that we’re not talking about the thin kitchen garbage bags here. What you want is contractor grade trash bags. They are made of thicker plastic and are much more durable.

The first use that comes to mind is water collection. Fashion a quick box type frame from branches, open the bag inside, and catch as much rain as you can. You could also use it flat on the ground to collect dew overnight.

If you’ll be at your camp location for a while, dig a hole and line it with a trash bag. Pour water into it to have a larger supply on hand than just your canteen.

It can serve as as waterproof ground tarp. Lay it flat and build your shelter over it. Or use it as a waterproof top for your shelter.

If you fill it with leaves or grass, it may make for a rather nice mattress or comforter.

Cut holes for your head and arms and you have a pretty decent expedient poncho.

Fill it with air and tie it securely closed for use as a flotation device.

While not ideal, you can use it as a container to carry your gear if you lose your pack.

Given that even a couple of these bags weigh next to nothing and add almost no bulk to your kit, they are certainly worth having with you in an emergency.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “Multi-Use Item — Trash Bag”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. A good contractor bag is more than worth it’s weight or bulk in a carry kit. There’s a million and one uses for the creative survivor/prepper.

    Thanks for the article.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *