Your ingenuity and ability to make useful resources out of whatever material may be on hand is one of the most-important survival skills to nurture.  In fact, some of the best tips and tricks that come our way are so effective because of their simplicity.  Here are a few examples that illustrate this point, and they’re also worth remembering during a survival situation as well.


A bra may not seem like a valuable survival resource at first glance, but there are a number of things that you can accomplish with one in a pinch.  The cup can be used as a facemask if you’re trying to move through dusty or smoky air.  While it won’t protect you from harmful airborne chemicals, it can keep you from breathing in particles that can cause all kinds of respiratory problems.  Just press the cup over your mouth and nose, and bend the wire to create a customized fit.

You can also use a piece of the wire as a way to release handcuffs.  Just remove the wire, slide it between the teeth and locking mechanism, and the cuffs should slide right open.  However, this method doesn’t always work on all types of handcuffs, and some bras have wiring that is too thick to be useful as well.

Zip Ties

If you’re ever cuffed with zip ties, one of the easiest ways to get free is to slide a needle or pin along the track, beneath the teeth.  This will prevent the teeth from gripping as you pull back, and the strip will pull right out.  You can also use the toothless stem of a zip tie to release a handcuff just as you would use a wire from a bra.  While we’re on the subject of handcuffs, you can also use a strip of material from a hair clip or barrette to force them open as well.

Replacement Battery

If you’re using something that requires two AA or AAA batteries, you can replace one of them with some aluminum foil in an emergency.  All you need to do is form a cylinder out of the foil that is roughly the same size as the battery before sticking it in the cradle.  This is a great way to squeeze a little bit of extra juice from small devices if you’re ever short on batteries.  However, using one battery will cause it to drain faster, and some items will not produce the same amount of power as well.

Rope Cutter

If you don’t have a knife to cut some cordage, consider using your feet instead.  Grab about 3 feet of rope, and step on it with both feet while letting the ends fall to the side.  Pick up one end and pull it over your shoe before pulling it beneath the rope you’re stepping on.  Pull on the end while holding the loop over your shoe with your other hand until everything is nice and taut.  Use both hands to create a back and forth motion as you use the cordage as an improvised saw.  It may take a few tries to get the feel for this trick, but it really works, and it can definitely come in handy in a pinch.

While these are great tools to have when other options aren’t available, they are not intended to replace good planning and preparation.  Make sure that you have ample supplies in your bug out bag or survival kit, and chances are that you won’t need to resort to these techniques in an emergency.  However, they are worth remembering just in case you ever end up getting caught off-guard.