You know those people who dedicate their lives to maintaining and fortifying a backwoods bunker preparing for the end of the world? Most of the time they seem like total fanatics, but who are we to judge?
At the off chance that doomsday really is upon us and you’re interested in surviving it even though you don’t have a backwoods bunker of your own – we are here with some good news – some of these simple tricks could be all you need to outlast the zombies.
Remember the pack of Crayola you have lying around in the drawer of art supply you keep telling yourself you’ll open? The time has come for it to see the light of day. Other than being a coloring book’s best friend, these crayons make great short-term emergency lighting.
A full crayon can last for about 15 minutes. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you stock up properly and use them wisely, they might turn out to be your best apocalypse hack.
Tarp trap for rainwater
This tip might prove useful in case you get stranded somewhere and need fresh drinking water. It obviously applies to rainy areas rather than deserts, but it could still save you lives in case you get stuck somewhere with no electricity, wi-fi, or god forbid – no Starbucks.
A simple sheet of tarp can go a long way when it comes to saving water. What you need to do is stretch the sheet over a few poles and leave one loose end that would go into a bucket or a bottle. The rain will gather on the tarp and drip into the container.
DIY bike tire hunting bow
When supplies run low, there is a chance you might have to resort to hunting in order to sustain yourself. If that ever happens, you will need some tools. There is a way to fashion a functional bow from a bike tire. Sure, it’s a little time consuming, but considering that you live in a post-apocalyptic era, we figured you’d have some spare time on your hands.
First, you take the metallic part of the inside of your bike tire and remove the spokes. Cut it in half to get a half-circle that will become the arched part. Next, cut a long strap of rubber from the soft rubber part of the tire in order to create a string. Tie the string to the top and bottom of the bow and start practicing.
Set fire to your Doritos
It might sound a little counter-intuitive to burn Doritos rather than eating them, but in case you have to choose warmth over snack, it would be good to remember that Doritos are actually pretty flammable.
Starting a fire isn’t always simple, and even if you gather enough firewood, getting it to properly burn can be tricky. A little stack of those salty snacks could be just what you need in order to start a little campfire.
Mini stove from an empty soda can
Yes, your can! This little can you just finished and threw in the trash could be just what you need to keep your meals warm after robots have taken over and our microwaves have killed us all. So go fish that little can out of the trash and save it for a rainy day.
Building a makeshift oven is fairly simple. Cut about three inches from the bottom of the can and then poke some holes in its base. Turn it upside down so the base is facing up and then light a small candle or several matches under it and get cooking.
Bullet case whistle
If high school has taught us anything it is that drawing attention isn’t always a good thing. And still, there might be times when you will need to get people to notice you. Especially if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere and need to call for help or check for presence other than your own.
If that ever happens, look around for some empty bullet cases and a good knife. With a few careful incisions, you can use them to create a loud whistle that would signal faraway ears you need help.
Plastic container raft
Normally we would be the last people to tell you to put plastic in any body of water. But if you’re only way to safety goes through a stretch of water too big to cross, some plastic containers could be just what you need.
Bottles or empty plastic containers float easily. Several of them can be tied together and fashioned into a raft that could carry a person for a while. Large 1.5-liter bottles strapped to your arms can also serve as emergency floaties.
Navigating is not simple. Especially so in the last few years when we got so used to our phones telling us how to get to the grocery store in the next block over. But when stranded in the wilderness, we must jerk that navigation instinct back to life. A way to do it would be by making a compass.
What you need is a leaf, a cup of water, and a little piece of wire. Place the leaf so it floats on top of the water, place the wire on top of it and let Earth do the rest. Scientifically speaking, what happens next is that our planet's magnetic fields will make the wire point northward.
Fix a flat tire with some grass
Just like many other items on this list, this one is only a short-term fix, but it could prove useful in desperate times. Just like on Zombieland, living the post apocalyptic life could mean you need to stay on the move and drive around a lot.
Since mechanics are going to be hard to come by, car first aid skills could be handy. So, how do you temporarily take care of a flat tire? Simple. You cut a few holes in the tire and fill it up with leaves, grass, and other fresh greenery around. This should help the wheels go round and round for a bit while you try to find a spare.
With most of the world's population unavailable, doctors are going to be pretty hard to find, not to mention medical supply. Super glue, however, can be found in art stores, hardware stores, and department stores, and you don't need a medical professional to apply it.
A small tube of super glue can be very effective when you don't have access to proper stitches. If you cut yourself and need to stop the bleeding, simply pinch the cut and glue it. Remember to keep the cut pinched until the glue dries. You don't want superglue in your bloodstream.
Terracotta space heater
Remember that pot you have in the corner of your balcony? You know the one, that very same one in which you managed to kill your last few plants. Since you're obviously not going to use it for other plants anytime soon, you should know it could be an excellent space heater after that asteroid destroys everyone but you.
Since electricity may not be safe to use, you might want to resort to a more analog device. A couple of candles placed under an upside-down terracotta pot could heat you right up.
Water bottle lamps
So, your post apocalyptic shelter is the finest of its kind, but it's kind of dark, don't you think? Sure, light-bulbs and proper electricity infrastructure are not exactly something you can pick from the nearest tree, but that's not an excuse to and mope around in the dark.
In order to let some light into your Armageddon suite, cut some holes into the roof of your shelter and stick a full water bottle through the hole. If you can get your hands on some bleach, pour a few drops of it in the bottle too for a stronger light. This is just the touch the room needed, don't you think?
You don't have to be a genius to create a makeshift sling. In fact, if you ask us, those things are so easy to make from scratch, that any fancy new design of them must be some sort of a scam. An old sheet or t-shirt will work just as well as the fancy ones you might get from a hospital.
The real tricky part in making a sling when you're the only person left in the world is being able to tie it when only one of your arms is fully functioning, but we'll leave that to you to figure out.
This tip is useful on camping trips just as much as it is on the Day After. You are less than likely to stumble upon a comfortable armchair that fully reclines in the wild. And if you feel like sitting on something other than the floor, you'll need to make yourself a chair.
Step one: gather some strong, long branches. Step two: tie them in a tripod A-frame as illustrated in the picture. Step three: tie up a sheet, blanket, or tarp to the frame. Step four: have a seat.
This method of fishing doesn't require hooks or special skills, so even your traumatized, post-apocalyptic self can do it. What you need is a half-gallon bottle of water (minus the water) and some scissors or a knife.
Take the cap off and cut the bottle at its widest part, now you have two parts. Then, flip the top and insert it into the bottom part. Secure the top part in the bottom one with some string. The device you just created is easy for a fish to get into, but hard for it to get out. Bon Appetit!
Repel insects with wild plants
After the alien overlords have invaded the planet, killed everyone and promptly left, there is still one species left alive here — cockroaches. These little insects have the durability that mankind has always lacked. Well, apart from you as you're the only known human still alive and kicking.
So how do you show those cockroaches who's the boss and get them to stop squatting in your bathroom? You put some plants in there. Certain wild plants can repel different pests. Chrysanthemums, catnip and rosemary, for example will get rid of the roaches for you.
It seems that the only thing tarp can't be used for is food. By now, it should be safe to say that tarp is the survivalist's god. One of the most important things you'll need when fending for yourself in the wilderness is a solid shelter. If you have no access to proper walls and ceilings, tarp is your next best option.
After securing a good sheet of tarp, you will need a tent frame, which you can make out of big, strong sticks. Stretch the tarp over the sticks and secure it into place. To keep warm, insulate your shelter by pushing sand, moss, or even snow if it's winter time, against your tarp walls from the outside.
Ripped clothes are so not on trend for post-apocalyptic times. Sure, everyone's dead and so there's no one left to see your favorite t-shirt is about to lose a sleeve, but that's no excuse for looking like a rag doll.
If you lucked out and you have a yucca plant nearby, you could use it to create a needle with which you can sew ripped clothes or, god forbid, your precious sheet of tarp. Cut off one of the yucca leaves and make a thin, long yucca strip by smoothing down the leaf's edges. Cut that strip in half and then twist the two strands together like a small rope. Now go get some string.
Reflective signal using CD
We stopped using CDs a long time ago, but that doesn't mean they're completely useless. Actually, you would do good to go in the garage and dig up your old CD collection and take one with you when you go hiking in a rain-forest or trekking in the mountains.
A CD's reflective surface can be very helpful in case you need to signal for help. You simply hold the CD so it reflects the sunlight and redirect it towards places people could see you from.
Can tabs fishing hooks
Soda cans are turning out to be a lot more useful than we had expected. If you have any experience in fishing, or thinking you might as well start now as you have nothing better to do, the little pull tab on a soda can might just be your key to survival.
Once you're done with your drink and your crying about how you'll never get to see Beyoncé live, take the pull tab off the can and cut a piece of the frame to create a little fishing hook.
Use a battery to start a fire
In the past, when we all lived in caves and language was no more than a few fancy growls, we knew how to light a fire with some sticks and stones. Now you have no one to growl at and no knowledge on starting a fire without a lighter. Well, we can help with one of those things.
First, find some batteries. Next, find some tin foil. Then, cut a strip of tin foil and place it on the tip of the batteries. That will spark a small flame, which you can use to start a bigger fire.
Bra face mask
If the reason for the apocalypse is a nuclear explosion or pollution, odds are you will need a face mask to help you breathe whenever you're outside. Such an oxygen mask isn't exactly a household item, but that doesn't mean you can't make one.
Bras, unlike oxygen masks, are a household item, and they might be your most prized possession as they guarantee you keep breathing. Just place one of the cups (preferably padded for filtering reasons) on your mouth and nose and tie it on the back of your head.
Duct tape jar opener
Food that comes in jars rarely goes bad (honey, jam, etc), and if the world has come to an end, it's only a matter of time until you have to solely rely on jars and cans for sustenance. But alas, the lids on some jars are just screwed on much too tightly and there is no opener in sight.
Fear not! For you can use duct tape to get rid of the lid. Simply place some tape around the lid, pull tight to get the lid off and help yourself with whatever's inside. We'll leave it to you to find a spoon.
This tip also works for people on camping trips. And to be honest, if you needed us in order to find out about that tip rather than just use common sense, we're not sure you deserved to survive the apocalypse.
If you're having trouble walking around — be it due to a previous injury or one you suffered when the planet was destroyed — a cane would be very helpful. A makeshift cane from a strong tree branch is just as good as the real thing.
Baking soda toothpaste
Now that all the doctors are gone, it is more crucial than ever for you to look after your own health. When it comes to teeth and gums, the best way to do it would be to regularly brush and floss, of course.
In case your toothpaste inventory is running low, you might like to know that baking soda can also serve your brushing purposes.
Frostbite care with baby oil
Assuming the apocalypse wasn't caused by global warming and that your main concern is dealing with extreme cold, you might want to put some clothes on. More… maybe another sweater… and throw on a scarf while you're at it. Good.
Now it's time to take care of the body parts you weren't able to cover. In order to prevent them from getting frostbites, rub them with some petroleum jelly or baby oil. That will keep the frostbites away.
Empty water bottles are turning out to be a lot more useful than we'd expected. After serving the purpose of holding your water, there are various things you can do with your plastic bottle. One of those things is creating a spoon.
Other than the bottle you will also need a good knife or some scissors. Start cutting from the little dents on the bottom of the bottle for the spoon part and keep cutting up the plastic to create a handle.
Properly kicking down a door
If there's anything we learned from all those years of watching police drama on TV, it's that kicking down a locked door makes you look awesome. But in case you actually need to do it to save your own life, you should at least know how to do it properly.
Experts say that the key (see what we just did there?) to breaking down a door is kicking as close as you can to the handle. Make sure not to put your shoulders and back into it in order to not get injured. That kind of kick will break the lock and set you free.
Putting out grease fires
Unlike many other items on this list, this tip is more of the what-not-to-do kind. Being in the wilderness on your own means that one of your main priorities is to build fire and sustain it. You will, however, need to know how to contain or put it out as well.
If you used grease to light your fire, don't try putting it out by pouring water on it. That will only make the fire stronger. What you want to do instead is to put it out using a towel, wet cloth or sand.
Stand up to wolves
If your post-apocalyptic experience is similar to Liam Neeson's in The Gray, you might need to learn how to deal with the local wolves. Contrary to what your instincts tell you, running away from a wolf may not be your best option at staying alive.
Wolves prefer to chase their prey. This means that running away from them will trigger their hunting instinct and make them come after you. What you will need to do is stand your ground and look unbothered.
Bears aren't fans of hills
The great outdoors is magical. The sun, the trees, the tiny little squirrels — all of these aren't going to matter if you find yourself facing a blackbear. Those bears have had some nasty encounters with humans and you would do good to run away.
The thing is, you shouldn't try climbing up a tree to run away because bears climb better than humans. Your best chance to not get mauled is to run up a nearby big hill. Bears prefer not to go uphill as their huge form makes walking downhill unstable and even potentially dangerous for them.
Don't let moose see you
Moose aren't carnivores, but that doesn't mean you should try to be friends with them. They are still wild animals and they might feel intimidated by you, which means you want to put as much distance as you can between yourself and those antlers.
Your best way of escaping a moose is to simply hide. Be as quiet as you can and hide behind the nearest tree. The moose's blind spot will take care of the rest and you will soon be able to move away.
Use polar bears' ADD
In case the apocalypse leaves you all alone in the north pole, one of the primary predators you want to look out for is the polar bear. Those huge white bears can be very threatening and a human doesn't stand a chance against one of them in battle.
But here is a little piece of information that might just save your life — polar bears have ADD, which means they are easily distracted. The way for you to use that ADD against such a bear is to take your hat off and throw it away, which would send the bear running after it. Same goes for any small item you can throw away at a moment's notice.
In a post-apocalyptic world, not all water could be safe to drink. So, unless you want some contaminated water to finish off what doomsday started, you will need to get your water purified.
Most of us know that one method of purifying water is to boil it, but there is another way to do it. By putting your water in a clear plastic bottle and leaving that bottle under direct sunlight, you let UV rays purify your water for you.
The only thing more nasty than insects is post-apocalyptic insects. Going into battle against them means you will need to arm yourself, and that a standard shoe or a rolled-up newspaper is not going to cut it.
You can get a little creative and form an anti-insect weapon using a compressed air can and some toothpicks. Place the toothpick in the can's opening, point it at the creepy crawler you're fighting and fire away.
Duct tape your blisters
Rebuilding a life is just as tedious as it sounds. You must have quite a few cuts and bruises on your hands and legs, and your blisters have become your new best friends.
While your blisters could be worn as a badge of survivalist's honor, they are also pretty painful, and they make it hard for you to go about your day as the sole human on the planet. A simple way to treat those blisters is by covering them with duct tape.
When learning about electricity in school, many of us have seen how you can produce electric current from a mere potato. But potatoes aren't the only produce that can generate electricity.
If you have some lemons lying around, you can use them for some low voltage current. When you put two electrodes into the pulp, you can produce enough electricity to power an LED bulb!
Saltwater wound cleaner
Saltwater may be less than ideal for drinking but they can still be of use, especially when you're injured and need to clean up an open wound to keep it from getting infected. The salt can actually clean the cells from any harmful bacteria.
You should, however, remember not to use saltwater you took directly from the sea. That water (especially after the world has ended) could be contaminated and do the opposite of disinfecting the wound.
Avoid the sound of silence
Don't go into areas that are especially quiet. Sudden dead silence usually means that there are predators roaming around. If things turn quiet, turn around and leave.
We know, the world is over and you're the only one left, so things are bound to get a lot quieter than they used to. Still, you should also listen for when things are relatively quiet, even at the end of the world.
The rule of threes
Fending for yourself under extreme conditions is not an easy thing to do. And while humans are normally pretty adaptive, it is important to know what your body is capable of.
Usually, the average person can survive for about three minutes with no air, three days with no water, and up to thirty days when there's water but there's no food.