Depending on the part of the country you call home, chances are that there is some variation of pine tree in your neck of the woods. Different species of pine trees are plentiful in many areas, making them accessible to much of the population. In addition to being plentiful, they offer survival benefits, such as being a source of pine resin. There are several uses for pine resin that make keeping it in mind for use in a survival scenario worthwhile.
Since the purpose of pine resin is to heal up a tree if it is injured or otherwise damaged, it only makes sense that pine resin can do the same for you. In the event that you find yourself with a bleeding, open wound, applying pine resin will seal the wound and stop bleeding. In the process, any bacteria trying to gain entry into that wound will be stopped and denied access by the stickiness of the pine resin, which is very inhospitable to bacteria that need moisture to survive and thrive. Reapplying pine resin as needed will keep cuts closed and aid in the prevention of infection.
Since it has been established that pine resin is sticky, the next logical use for it is in glue. By warming and liquefying pine resin then mixing it with finely ground charcoal ash, you can create your own glue stick. Simply warm resin, add ash, and mix thoroughly, then use a stick or piece of paracord as a wick on which you will store your glue. Dip this into the glue mixture, let it dry, dip again, let dry and continue as you would if you were making a candle, only out of glue instead of wax. When it comes time to use that glue, add a little bit of heat to soften it enough to make it moldable into the position or location where you need it, and your glue is good to go.
While heating pine resin, take into account if you have any leaks to patch or anything that needs waterproofing. Apply heated, liquefied pine resin to holes you wish to close or to items that need to be able to resist against water saturation. Carefully manipulate the resin to where you need it on these surfaces, being careful not to burn yourself in the process, and allow it to dry. Once dry, it will serve as a barrier against water penetration.
When heating resin, be very careful because it can also be used as a fire starter. When contact is made between pine resin and an open flame, fire is the result. Because of this, you can use hardened pine resin to grow a fire; as the resin burns, it will ignite dry kindling around it, giving you a camp fire. Alternatively, you can use pine resin as a candle by collecting some in a depression in the ground or in a can. Place a makeshift wick of string or paper towel into your pool of pine resin and ignite. As the wick burns down to the resin itself, you will have a candle-like affect.
Collecting resin is usually fairly easy if you can find a damaged section of pine tree. It is in those types of locations that you will find resin seeping from the tree. Chances are that resin will be hardened to the tree but with the careful addition of a small amount of heat, it will soften enough to remove. Scraping is also an option. More easily than doing this is looking in the area for downed limbs that have resin already on them, although you may or may not find such a thing. If there is no obvious source of resin around, you can damage the tree purposely to acquire resin, but only do so when absolutely necessary and in a small enough area that the tree will recover, unless of course you are harvesting the entire tree for other purposes. To harvest resin itself, score the tree and affix a can below the injury to collect resin as it oozes out.
Do note that pine resin will be difficult to get off of your skin, so wear gloves when handling it, especially if it has been heated. Also be sure to keep pine resin away from an open flame unless you are using it with the intention of creating a fire, as you do not want it to ignite on its own, creating an accidental fire that could claim some of your belongings and injure you as well. Pine resin is a very useful tool provided by nature; take care in the handling of it and it will serve you well.