Tin Cans into Survival Gold: 20 Uses for Used Cans

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    Stockpiling food is an important part of every survival plan. While dry goods will make up some of your food supply, also included are canned goods. After dining on a meal of pork and beans, you may be tempted to dispose of the tin can in which they came, but it might prove more beneficial to keep it. Once opened, these cans cannot be resealed, but they can definitely still be used for many tasks.

    Photo: Costco

    At some point it becomes wise to consider dual purposes that can be served by the same items in your survival stash. Cans are an example of this because as you empty them of the food they one contained, you can turn around and use them for something else. You will need to be cautious with handling due to sharp edges, but the risk is worth it. Do keep in mind as well that some tin cans may contain BPA, a plastic additive regarding the potential harm of which debates still rage on.

    Photo: Good to Know

    Here are 20 examples of the many ways you can repurpose tin cans.

    1. Make bathing easier by punching holes in the bottom of a tin can and using it as a showerhead. This will slow down the flow of water, making it last longer than if you were to dump it from a container with a large, open mouth.

    2. Use a tin can to create a rocket stove for cooking by following these instructions.

    Photo: Log Cabin Cooking

    3. Transport water via tin can by filling and carrying. You can make a handle with wire or twine by punching a couple of holes in the can and threading material through.

    4. The lids can be saved to use as emergency signal devices since the shiny exterior is capable of reflecting light.

    5. If you're in need of storage space for canned goods, what better is there to make shelves out of than actual tin cans? Place wooden shelves atop large cans placed at each end to create a storage shelf requiring less labor.

    6. Tin cans can be repurposed into a light source. Punch some holes in the sides to emit light and place a candle inside to create contained, safer light than a candle alone would be. Alternately, you can skip the hole punching and use wicks and wax to make candles directly in the cans themselves.

    Photo: Pinerest

    7. Burying a tin can in the ground so that only the open top is exposed can create a trap of sorts to capture unsuspecting insects for your own personal consumption or fishing bait.

    8. Once you have some bait captured for fishing, snip off sections of can and add them to your hook to create a lure that will attract hungry fish.

    9. If a weapon is what you need, create an arrowhead out of sharp portions of tin can cut to a point. Affix to a makeshift bow and set out in pursuit of your dinner. You can also make a knife the same way.

    10. Just because you ate from your tin can once already does not mean you cannot do so again. Warm up foods such as oatmeal in a tin can and use the can as a bowl.

    11. Start seeds or create an herb garden in tin cans.

    Photo: Off Beat Home

    12. It is even possible to make a food dehydrator out of tin cans and a few other components. Instructions for doing so can be found here.

    13. By adding additional components, you can also make a meat smoker with these instructions.

    14. Use can lids to replace shingles for a roof patch or to create a wall for structures such as chicken coops.

    Photo: Pinterest

    15. Create an early warning system for your camp by stringing tin cans to a trip wire. When someone or something makes contact with the wire, cans will rattle, alerting you to potential danger.

    16. If you need to dig a hole, a can cut in half and attached to a stick can make a shovel. This will probably not accomplish significant digging, but will do the trick for small jobs such as burying waste.

    17. In the event that you need to move camp and have a fire you may not be able to reignite elsewhere, place some embers in a tin can for transport. Just be sure to create a handle that can sustain the heat so you do not burn yourself in the process.

    18. Use empty cans as feed scoops for animals. Are chickens or other livestock part of your survival plan? Rather than waste money on a feed scoop from a store, use a tin can to carry and distribute feed to animals.

    19. If cold weather is coming and young outdoor plants need protection, flip an empty tin can upside down over them for quick insulation.

    20. Make bread in empty cans by following these instructions/recipes.

    Photo: DIYN Crafts

    The uses for tin cans do not stop here. As long as you have the necessary tools to cut and bend cans, there are a plethora of tasks you can accomplish with them. Next time, instead of tossing used cans, think to the future and make plans for the tasks they can accomplish for you. This includes pull tabs as well, which are known to break, so having extras on hand can prove extremely useful.

    Do you use tin cans for any of your own personal projects? What purpose do tin cans serve in your life? Tell us in the comments!

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