So, this article isn’t about the best kind of water bottle to have in your kit… I’ll post another article about that soon. This is about the simple plastic disposable water bottles we see every day. I’ve seen as many as 15-20 different hacks for these and people are getting pretty creative… so if you’re really interested there’s still an internet right now.
Anyway, you should always have some bottled water ready nearby. By some, I mean a temporary stash of several cases at home and work and at least one case in your vehicle. If you have to go on foot you will be very limited by what you’re able to carry because unfortunately water is one of the heaviest things you might carry aside from weapons and ammunition. If you are with others divide up what you have and try to bring as much as you can with you. Besides the obviously important H2O inside, the actual bottles can be useful too.
First of all, when you buy the water try to find your standard cylindrical bottles, squared ones suck for this. The ringed ones are best because once empty they can easily be compacted by loosening the cap crushing it downward and tightening the cap again. They make nice compact little canteens which can be filled as needed. Conversely, leaving them full of air can provide extra flotation if crossing a river or something but I’ll discuss that in a future post. Some people have even demonstrated boiling water in plastic but I would only recommend this as a last resort as it probably leaches chemicals into the water and nobody wants cancer. If you do need to boil this way, go low and slow with the cap off so it doesn’t explode on you.
Another use is for catching fish. In the first method you’ll only be able to get small bait fish but bait fish attract bigger fish. If you only have one bottle it’s probably best to look for worms or something terrestrial as your bottle will probably serve you better fully intact. Otherwise, start by cutting off the top about 1/3 of the way down leaving yourself with a funnel (yes, that is another use). Then flip the funnel around with the mouth of the bottle facing toward the inside of the bottle. Put a little bait inside, like a bug or worm and some small rocks to keep it submerged and you have yourself a bait trap. The second method is useful for bigger fish if you didn’t ruin your first bottle catching bait. It can be useful as a bobber system or a floatation device attached to a spring pole on one end with bait hanging below it on the other. The ESC explains all this in more detail.
I got another good hack from youtuber “Survival Russia” who has some cool content. As someone who studied there and has seen it myself there is a lot of pollution (at least there was 15 years ago), especially in wilderness areas and parks. One time, my friends, my Ruskie professor and I even went drinking at an abandoned palace of Czar Nicholas II and a few things struck me: “Vot eta da (wow), I’m at a Czar’s palace and it’s not open a tourist attraction… there isn’t even security protecting it,” and “there’s a lot of trash around here.” It was mostly beer and vodka bottles but a lot of plastic too. Even in America though, discarded water bottles are pretty easy to come by so if you’re ever in survival mode think about this. Just cutting the bottle horizontally across, in a spiral fashion can make a coil. The strong plastic coil can be used to tie together whatever you want and is especially useful if you’re building a shelter. Once wrapped, the plastic can be heated with a lighter making it bind even tighter. Supposedly, if it’s thin enough it can be used for fishing string and some internet folks have even gotten carried away weaving it into nets. You won’t ever see me doing that but I will probably have a field video showing you how to “harvest” a bottle for cordage though.