To me as a child, pioneering were the TV shows The Rifleman with Chuck Connors and Wagon Train with Ward Bond. (Yes, I am that old.) Little House On the Prairie was too sappy. My sisters watched that.
Those TV characters were seeking new western homesteads to build homes and families.
Using common, everyday skills for those times, they hunted game, grew fruits and vegetables, preserved extra food, and tended to injuries and ailments. They were pioneers.
Much of our prepping strategies are focused on gear … and how to use it. But survival skill sets are just as important. And among the most important of those is knowing first aid.
Planning for disaster scenarios certainly must include helping the injured and ill in your family and your group.
I’ve discussed garbage bag uses before here.
This is a more comprehensive list of survival uses for contractor-type bags. These ideas come from the website Plastic Place, a great trash bag resource. [See “Source” below for additional links.]
A small disclaimer here: many of these uses aren’t going to save your life, but they will aid your outdoor survival tasks. I’ve added additional trash bags to my prepping supplies.
1. Rope and cordage: It’s possible to make strong and durable rope by hand just using garbage bags … the beginnings of shelter, splints, and so much more. Check out this video for the technique
2. Knapsack: Use sturdy garbage bags and some of that cool garbage bag rope you just made to build weatherproof carrying bags.
3. Wound irrigation: Getting enough water pressure to flush out a wound can be a challenge out in the wild. Poking a small hole in a bag filled with clean water can help clear the wound more effectively with less water.
4. Ice pack: If you need to apply cold to an injury but want the patient to stay otherwise warm and dry, filling the corner of a bag with snow or ice is the way to go.
5. Tourniquet: In a crisis first aid situation …
6. Emergency bandage: Keep a cut clean and dry and keep the pressure going by tying a layer of plastic bag around whatever you’re using to staunch the bleeding.
7. Sling: Support and immobilize injured arms with a strong, flexible piece of heavy trash bag.
8. Stretcher: Combined with branches, contractor grade garbage bags are tough enough to support the weight …
9. Create a quarantine: … plastic bag screens and masks can help to slow the spread of disease.
10. Food storage: … Put your food in several layers of plastic bags (to cut down odors) and then hang it from a tree away from your sleeping area.
11. Water collection: … Dig a shallow hole, line it with the garbage bag, and weigh down the edges with rocks.
12. Solar still: Turn salt water into drinkable fresh water with a black trash bag. Here’s a video that will show you how.
13. Boil water: Boil in the bag … Check it out in this video.
The medical kit we’re talking about here is for serious injuries, for trauma. So there are no band-aids, first aid creams, etc.
In the video below, SkinnyMedic shows what belongs in your kit. Along with his preferences, he suggests several options for each item category. There is one item he reluctantly recommends … but only if you’re trained in its use (9:30 mark of video).