Survivalists can use Rubber Bands

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This is the 3rd installment of a 4-part series, regarding odd or often overlooked items that may be useful during a survival situation. So far, I’ve described how a wise survivalist can use a towel and wire hangers to make survival easier. This time we’ll explore how rubber bands can be useful after the SHTF.

Hold Stuff Together

Obviously, this is first on my list because rubber bands are commonly used to hold multiple objects together. They are great at keeping a bugout bag organized by holding rope/paracord and other small tools together. If you’re already at your bugout location (or are bugging-in), rubber bands help to keep tools, cords, and wires organized.

In addition to keeping my BOB organized, I use them to attach associated items to equipment kept in storage. For example, a sealed pack of batteries can be attached to a flashlight.

Close Packaging

Rubber bands are great for “closing” bagged food for later consumption. The bag isn’t sealed, so remember to eat the leftovers before they become stale or infested with pests.

Keep Containers Closed

I know it’d piss me off if I opened a bag and discovered all my small containerized items are scattered at the bottom of the pack, because a clam-shell container was jostled open during a hike. So, as an extra precaution, I wrap rubber bands around those containers with non-screwable lids to keep them closed. 

Grip Enhancer

You’ll be out in the elements most of the time after the SHTF. Wet tools can be slippery and hard to grip. To improve the grip of an object like hand tools, wrap 3-4 rubber bands around the handle. This trick works with both thick and thin bands.

You may find yourself in a situation where you’re alone and can’t ask someone to open a stuck bottle lid. Use a thick rubber band to help you get a better grip and open the bottle[1].

Seal Clothing

After the SHTF, you’ll have to travel through some rough terrain, and will definitely encounter small critters. Bugs and small reptiles live in the woods, along creeks, and even in abandoned neighborhood yards. Use thick rubber bands to make pant legs and shirt sleeves closed tightly around your extremities and keep critters out of your clothes.

Accessory Holder/Concealer

Need light, but don’t want to give up a hand? Use some rubber bands to attach a flashlight to your arm while working. Small, regularly used, tools can be carried using the same method and will be within arm’s reach when you need them.

Similarly, you can use rubber bands to conceal small objects under clothing. This is a good way to hide valuables while traveling, or to smuggle something into a community. If trying to hide an unsheathe-able knife under a sleeve or pant leg, I’d use at least 2 rubber bands (spaced apart) for extra stability. Otherwise, there’s an elevated risk the concealed weapon could stab you.  

Light Strap

A light can be attached to a gun or riffle using a few rubber bands. It’s a great way to keep the hands of patrolling security officers free and ready to defend your camp. However, there are a few problems associated with this make-shift gun light:

  • Recoil – The rubber bands may not be able to keep a homemade gun-light in place after the weapon has discharged. This is especially true for handguns, which have moving parts along the barrel of the gun. Recoil may not be a problem for long-barreled guns, but riffles pose another complication… heat.
  • Heat – Heat is produced when a weapon is “fired” (obviously). Multiple shots will cause the barrel of the gun and surrounding parts to become hot, which will melt the rubber band, and probably the flashlight too.
  • Exposure – Using a light in the dark will expose your position to potential enemies. This is likely an unavoidable hazard survivalists will encounter. After all, most of us aren’t able to spend thousands of dollars on real night vision goggles.


These are ways a wise survivalist can use rubber bands when the SHTF. As I’ve mentioned in prior articles in this series, remain openminded and consider how other common household items (or trash) may be used to make life easier in a survival situation.

I have one more article about reusing common items when the SHTF, and will publish that in a week or so.

[1] Over-tight Bottle Lids: My great-grandma taught me a couple tricks to open containers with metallic lids. This is great if you don’t have a rubber band, or in my case, are 6 to 8-years-old and don’t have hand strength yet. The problem probably isn’t a lid that’s too tightly twisted on, it’s more likely to be corrosion or the vacuum within the container. Tap or pry a side of the lid to weaken the vacuum seal and open the container

  • Tapping – Gently tap the sides of the lid on a hard surface. This will shake loose any rust, and the targeted vibrations allow some air to enter the container. There’s a slight risk the container will break using this technique.
  • Prying – Stick a spoon or knife into the side of a stuck lid to pry a side of the lid away from the container. This breaks the rubber/latex seal inside the lid, allowing air into the container. The lid should come off easily after you hear the lid pop. A draw back to doing this to the lid is that it probably won’t be resealable if you want to try canning in the future.

One thought on “Survivalists can use Rubber Bands

  1. Pingback: Overlooked Survival Items – Edwords wOrcs

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