Before we get started on the hacks, most EDC kits will include a phone (usually a smartphone), a wallet, and a keychain. These will get most people through their everyday life without much hassle.
However, if you haven’t already added to your kit a knife, multi-tool, lighter, and flashlight, you should really consider it. In the unlikely circumstances that you are in a car accident, you don’t want to be hunting around the cab of your car looking for a blade to cut the seatbelt off. It would make sense to get a rain jacket as well, as you never know how the weather will get.
While this list of 5 essential survival hacks may include a few items you will need to get from the convenience store, these are generally readily available to be used on the fly.
1. Use Your Watch as a Compass
If you have an analog wristwatch and you’ve lost your way during the day, you can actually use it as an approximate compass if you’re on the northern hemisphere.
All you need to do is hold your watch horizontally and aim the hour hand at the sun.
Then to calculate south, find the halfway point between the hour hand and the twelve o’clock notch. For example, if it’s currently six o’clock, point the hour hand at the sun and south would be approximately at the nine o’clock position.
Keep in mind:
- If it’s noon, the south should be lined up if the twelve o’clock notch.
- This is approximate because the sun is not always going to be directly south at noon.
2. Use a Battery and a Gum Wrapper to Create Fire
If you haven’t started carrying a small light with you and you find yourself in a situation that requires fire, just remember that you need three elements to create one; heat, fuel, and oxygen. Without one of these three components, you’ll end up struggling to keep your hands warm, boiling water, or cooking food.
While there are a multitude of ways to start a fire without matches, if you have a battery on hand, and a stick of gum with an aluminum wrapper, you are in luck. Cut a small strip of the aluminum wrapper and have it touch both ends of the battery at the same time. The electrical current will flow through the aluminum foil setting it alight.
Keep in mind:
- You can use tinfoil
- You can use steel wool
- This will kill the battery!
3. Create a Stove Out of an Aluminum Can
Now that you can create fire, you can make that cup of coffee with boiled water. Using an aluminum can, you are able to create what is colloquially known as a “hobo stove” so named due to the fact that hobo’s and transients would use these during the Great Depression.
What you’ll need:
- A can (soda cans and food preserving tins work well)
- Tin snips or wire cutter
- Nail and hammer
Using the tin snips, cut an opening on the bottom large enough to place the fuel that will feed the fire.
While this is the most basic form of a hobo stove, there is an endless variety in design. There are hobo stoves that have ash stands and ones that use alcohol which will create a jet burner.
Keep in mind:
- You’ll likely burn the pot you’re using to cook with
- It’s difficult to maintain a constant flame
- Boiling water will take some time
- While boiling water isn’t as efficient as a water filtering kit, it can save your life in a crunch
4. Super Glue Bandage
If you’re going out for a day hike, you may want to put a small tube of super glue in your kit.
While there are the obvious uses of super glue, being that it sticks things together, the sticky substance can also be used in a medical emergency for a quick fix, until you see proper medical treatment.
This isn’t a new idea, even in World War II military medics ended up using super glue for closing combat wounds!
Be aware, however, that most super glue isn’t intended for medical usage (there is a medicinal version available) but if you have a cut that isn’t a puncture wound then it might be your best bet before you can see a doctor.
Benefits of a super glue suture is that:
- It’s quick drying to stop the bleeding
- It’s waterproof
- It keeps the cut sanitary
5. Soda Can Fish Hook
If you’ve finished your soda during your walk by the lake, you can always use the tab of the can to catch some fish!
This quick hack requires a few items to have on hand:
- Pocket knife
- Soda can tab
- Thread/ Dental Floss
- Needle-nose pliers
You’ll want to use your pliers or the file on your multi-tool make the hook into a point. After that, try to remove any other sharp edges either by filing them down or compressing them with the pliers.
Now that the shape and point of the hook have been made, use your pocket knife to punch a hole on the top of the tab which is where you’ll thread your line.
Another great item to have with you in your EDC kit, is a spool of waxed dental floss, while we could go into the incredible use of using dental floss to open a locked car door, today you’ll use it to go fishing!
With these 5 essential survival hacks using your EDC, you’ll be able to take on any challenge that life might throw at you.