Since 1958, we have been using the zip tie for many different things, from lashing and tying, to organizing and repairing. It’s uses seem somewhat unlimited. In this article, we take a look at 19 different survival uses for the humble zip tie.
1) Organize things
You can use zip ties to organize your preps and bug out bag, even lashing cables together, be it your electric hook up for your bug out vehicle or your smartphone charger.
If you needed to, you can easily restrain someone with zip ties, on both the hands and the feet. You can use plasticuffs, but why pay so much more when zip ties will do the job? Plus, no everyone knows this neat trick on how to escape zip ties.
3) BoB gear attachments
If you have a military style backpack, heck even a standard pack, nowadays the almost always have points at which you can attach additional gear. The Molle style webbing points are the strongest and the best for using zip ties to attach gear you don’t want to lose or cannot fit into the pack itself.
4) Attach carabiners
Some gear doesn’t work well with just a zip tie, however by using the zip tie in conjunction with a carabiner can allow you to attach those items that you always need handy, like a radio or GPS. The shoulder straps are a great place for this as you just have to glance down to look at the screen of your device when needed.
5) Compression straps
My preferred use for the larger zip ties is for my bedroll I keep inside of my bug out bag. The bedroll is constructed of a Bivy bag and a warm wool blanket, that are rolled together and the ties are used to secure the bundle, compress it down and stop it from unrolling.
This same set up can be used for sleeping bags and your additional closing, towels, hat’s and gloves etc.
6) Bag security
When traveling or leaving your gear unattended for any period of time, you want to know it’s safe. Instead of using a crummy padlock that can be picked and quickly put back together, you can use a zip tie.
Simply thread the tie through the loops that most backpacks and luggage packs have, and cinch it down tight. It will need to be cut if they want to get inside. That is unless you know this trick….
7) Bug out bag or EDC Grab Handle
If you have a pack that you like to carry every day, or just one you throw in the back of the truck on the way to work. Having a carry/grab handle can be useful. If it doesn’t already have one, if you need to repair it, you can knock up a quick grab handle using zip ties.
Simply take a long zip tie, pass it through and existing loop and cinch down to the desired length.
8) Quick release knife mod
This is a great mod that takes a few seconds but can literally save your life. It is a way to use a small zip tie in conjunction with a Spyderco Tenacious, to make a quick deploy pocket knife. Check out the video below:
9) Secure bandages
When you have a wound or a cut that needs to be bandaged, you can easily secure them with a couple of medium sized zip ties placed at either end of the bandage.
Just be sure not to cinch them down too tight and cut off the blood circulation.
10) Leg or arm splint
You can use a combination of zip ties, together with wooden sticks or plastic tubes or anything long and straight you have at your disposal, so split a broken arm or leg.
Simply place the splints either side of the injured part, wrap around the zip ties at either end (top and bottom) and cinch down tight to secure and brace the injury.
11) Shelter/Tarp lashing
If you have no paracord or string, you can use your long zip ties to tie your shelter to a tree to escape the elements. Thread the tie through the eyelets on either side of the ridge and tighten to the tree.
If your tarp or sheet material doesn’t have eyelets, you can take a small rock and wrap the edge of the tarp around it, use a small zip tie to lash the rock into place, which will create an anchor point. The simply thread another longer zip tie through the smaller tie and attach to the tree as above.
The video below explains it well, using paracord instead of zip ties, however, the method is the same.
12) Running repairs
If you have any straps, webbing or molle attachments that break, you can easily replace these by threading a zip tie through the buckle on either side and tighten.
13) Trouser gaiters
If you out in woodland or marshland, you will want to keep your trousers dry and stop them from flapping around and potentially getting snagged on a branch etc. Using some medium sized ties, we can gather the trouser leg together just above the ankle and keep them secure with the zip tie.
14) Hanging objects
If you’re on your shelter and need to hang things from the roof or a tree branch like I often do, it’s not always necessary to use paracord. Zip ties will work just fine and can be cinched down tight if you are in windy conditions.
One of the best uses for this is in combination with the milk bottle lantern:
See these tips in action:
Image courtesy of Silverxxx CC via Wikipedia
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