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Survival Gear: 5 Survival Uses for Glass Beer Bottles

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February 26, 2014
Survival Gear: 5 Survival Uses for Glass Beer Bottles - 5

As maddening as it is to see litter and other castoff remains of modern civilization in the wild, certain items can be can be a welcome find in a survival situation. One of the most enduring and useful trash items is the beer bottle, which has the potential to last for centuries — and the potential to help us survive an emergency. Here are my top five uses of an empty glass bottle.

Glass Blade
Knives, arrowheads, scrapers, and many other tools can be chipped from broken glass. Pick up a book on flint knapping and you’ll start to get the idea. Hard, sharp items like antler tines and metal nails can be used as a chipping tool to turn broken glass bits into razor-sharp instruments.

Boil Water
Boiling water to disinfect it can be quite a challenge without a fireproof container. Luckily, a glass bottle can handle the heat if you guard it from quick temperature shocks. Fill your bottle from the nearest stream, and place it on the edge of your campfire. Get it right in the ashes, and in just a few minutes it will start to boil. Though the bubbles will jump on only one side of the bottle, there is no need to turn the bottle. The water will be plenty hot throughout to kill any pathogens. Allow the water to boil for ten minutes, let the container cool, and enjoy your drink.  

Transport Water
After you have boiled your water, carve a stick to act as a cork for your bottle. This will keep the water from spilling as you transport your safe water to another site. Make sure your wooden cork tapers, and it will fit snuggly in the bottle mouth. Carry it upright for good measure.

Dry Container
The same cork you whittled to keep water in, can also be used to keep water out. Items that must stay dry (like salt, sugar, char cloth, and other supplies) can be protected inside the confines of a bottle. Survive any wilderness situation with these critical tips.

Make Fire

With a little bit of the char cloth I just mentioned, some direct sunlight, and a clear glass beer bottle full of clear water, you can light a fire via optical fire making. Lay your char cloth (or a similar high-quality tinder) on a flat rock. Place your clear, water-filled bottle on its side, next to the tinder. The sun should be shining through the rounded bottle shoulder, down onto the tinder. Pick the bottle up slightly, keeping it close to the tinder. When all of the angles are right, the hot spot of light should cause the tinder to smoke immediately. Patience is a virtue with this skill, but as any fire fighter can attest, clear bottles start brushfires all the time in sunny weather. For this picture, I am using a water-filled bottle, capped with duct tape, and aimed at the dust from birch fungus. Once the angles were right, it lit in seconds.

Got a survival skill, craft, or hobby that utilizes beer bottles? Please tell us all about it in the comments.

Comments (5)

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from Josey 3/3/2014 at 03:10pm

If you find a bunch of bottles from a pre-apocalyptic party, you can string them up around your camp--during the bad times--to make noise if strangers or zombies try to get into your camp.

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from Josey 3/3/2014 at 03:09pm

If you find a bunch of bottles from a pre-apocalyptic party, you can string them up around your camp--during the bad times--to make noise if strangers or zombies try to get into your camp.

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from kiddsport 2/28/2014 at 09:35am

With a stoppered bottle, you can also make char cloth for subsequent fires.

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from gunslinger454 2/27/2014 at 07:36pm

All good advice with one exception, you do not need to boil water for ten minutes to make it safe! Once it gets to the point of a rolling boil it's safe. Boiling it longer just wastes water. If you're right next to a flowing stream maybe that's not a big deal, but if you're in the desert it is a really big deal!

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from charliejoe 2/27/2014 at 04:45pm

You could also use it to heat stews made from strips of meat, etc. and other cooking uses. You could also use it as a low-pitched whistle, although I am stretching for how that is particularly useful!
Finally, you could potentially catch small crayfish or other small fish in it by putting it in a stream with some small bait (like bugs, entrails or worms) in it. I wouldn't count on it to save your life, but we used to use larger glass jars with a mesh wire funnel to catch such "bait" in creeks.

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from charliejoe 2/27/2014 at 04:45pm

You could also use it to heat stews made from strips of meat, etc. and other cooking uses. You could also use it as a low-pitched whistle, although I am stretching for how that is particularly useful!
Finally, you could potentially catch small crayfish or other small fish in it by putting it in a stream with some small bait (like bugs, entrails or worms) in it. I wouldn't count on it to save your life, but we used to use larger glass jars with a mesh wire funnel to catch such "bait" in creeks.

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from gunslinger454 2/27/2014 at 07:36pm

All good advice with one exception, you do not need to boil water for ten minutes to make it safe! Once it gets to the point of a rolling boil it's safe. Boiling it longer just wastes water. If you're right next to a flowing stream maybe that's not a big deal, but if you're in the desert it is a really big deal!

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from kiddsport 2/28/2014 at 09:35am

With a stoppered bottle, you can also make char cloth for subsequent fires.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josey 3/3/2014 at 03:09pm

If you find a bunch of bottles from a pre-apocalyptic party, you can string them up around your camp--during the bad times--to make noise if strangers or zombies try to get into your camp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Josey 3/3/2014 at 03:10pm

If you find a bunch of bottles from a pre-apocalyptic party, you can string them up around your camp--during the bad times--to make noise if strangers or zombies try to get into your camp.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):