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16 Survival Uses For Zip Ties


16 Survival Uses For Zip TiesPart of being a resourceful prepper means finding small yet common items that we take for granted in our daily lives and learning how to use them a survival situation, hopefully in multiple ways. Zip ties are a prime example of such an item. Like duct tape, their survival and non-survival uses are practically endless.

Also known as cable ties, zip ties are cheap and made out of plastic. Nonetheless, they belong just as much in your bug out bag or camping gear as they do in your kitchen or garage.

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In fact, as long as you are armed with the knowledge of what they can provide you, zip ties can be among the most valuable items that you could ask for in a survival or prepping situation. They’re also incredibly cheap and take up preciously little space even in bulk, further adding to their overall value.

Zip ties come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, but just remember that the colored variants are typically weaker than the black or white ones. While we suggest you keep at least some colored ones to use as trail markers, we still highly recommend that either white or black make up the strong majority of the zip ties in your survival kit or bug out bag.

Here are 16 survival uses for zip ties:

1. Organize Small Items

Zip ties are perfect for keeping sticks, pens, cables, cordage, bags, utensils, and other small items together and organized. You don’t want to have a mess on your hands when you’re busy trying to survive a widespread disaster.

2. Save Space

Clothes, blankets, and other fabrics can take up a lot of space. To fix this, roll them up as tightly as you can then compress them even more with a couple of zip ties. Saving as much space as possible is very important if you’re bugging out.

3. Bag Handle

It’s always useful when your bag has a carry handle attached to it for convenience, but it’s just the opposite of useful when that handle breaks off or is in need of repair. Thankfully, lashing a zip tie to your bag is a quick and easy remedy. Simply take a longer zip tie, place it through a loop on your bag, and then cinch it to the length you want it.

4. Attach Gear To Your Bag

Let’s say you want quick and easy access to a knife or a flashlight or some other tool that has a holster. Use a zip tie to attach the holster to your bug out bag so you can get your tool without having to dig through your bag looking for it.

5. Makeshift Shoe Laces

If anything ever happens to your shoelaces, you can use zip ties to secure your shoes in their stead. If your shoes move around your feet too much while hiking, it can cause blistering and bruises, so it’s important that your shoes or boots stay secured.

6. Snow Traction

In a winter survival scenario, should you ever find yourself walking over some icy or slippery terrain, you can attach two or three zip ties around each of your boots. This will allow your boots to better grip the ice and give you more stability/traction.

7. Securing Makeshift Trouser Gaiters

If you ever have to survive out in the swamps or the marshlands, staying dry will be even more critical. If your clothes become soaked, they can freeze to your skin at night and cause hypothermia. This is why trouser gaiters are excellent for tying around your ankles in this scenario, to stop your lower legs and feet from becoming drenched.

But if you don’t have traditional gaiters with you, you’ll have to use another type of fabric in their stead…and there’s no better way to securely fasten them then with zip ties.

8. Trail Markers

This is where it will come in handy to use colored zip ties. You can simply tie or hang a zip tie around a branch, making sure you use a color that stands out against the environment. Granted, you’ll need to have a lot of zip ties in your arsenal to avoid wasting all of them just as trail markers, but they still work very well as an alternative to blazing trails, a technique that many people do not know how to do.

9. Shelter Making

When you’re out in the elements, fire and shelter will be two of your best friends. In this case, zip ties will aid you in making the latter. You can lash together ponchos or tarps in order to make a lean-to or similar shelter, and if the zip ties are large enough, you can even lash saplings together in order to make a teepee.

Simply choose three poles that are roughly the same size, and then tie two of them together at the top with a zip tie. Spread the poles and then raise them, slipping in the third one in the process. Once you have a standing structure, tighten the zip ties as needed and you have yourself the frame for a teepee.

10. Hanging Things

Zip ties are a quick and easy way to hang just about anything you want. Lanterns, wet clothes, bags of food, or whatever else you need to keep off the ground.

11. Snares

Rather than just use ropes or cordage to build snares, you can use zip ties. The advantage to using zip ties for snares is twofold: 1. they already come in a variety of different sizes, so you’ll be ready for any kind of game, and 2. Zip ties are naturally more secure for setting up snares than ropes and cords are.

12. Repair Gear

Zip ties are great for simple repairs like a broken strap on a backpack or a large tear in a net. Just run the zip tie through both ends and cinch them together.

13. Restraining Device

Hopefully, you’ll never have to, but if necessary, you can restrain someone either on the hands or the feet with zip ties. The advantage to using zip ties to restrain someone is that very few people know how to escape them.

14. Splints

There will be preciously few things as detrimental to you as being physically injured while out in the wilds. Since you won’t have any professional or traditional medical help with you, you’ll have to make do with what first aid and other supplies you have on you.

A zip tie is excellent for lashing a splint to a broken limb. Regardless of whether it’s a finger, toe, leg, or an arm, a zip tie can secure a splint very securely. The only thing to remember to do is to add some sort of fabric or cushioning underneath the zip tie so it doesn’t carve into your skin.

15. Tourniquet

A zip tie will work just as well for a tourniquet as it will for a splint. Whereas splints are about securing a broken limb, tourniquets are about preventing any bleeding you sustain from an open wound. Simply secure the zip tie just over the area of the wound, in order to cut off the bleeding. There are even zip ties that are actually made specifically for tourniquets, but any ordinary zip tie will work if you need it to.

Just like with making a splint, it’s very important that you place some form of cushioning or fabric underneath the zip tie so it doesn’t bite into your skin, and that you have something on standby to cut through it if necessary.

16. Hold Bandages In Place

If you don’t have any tape, you can use a couple zip ties to hold a bandage in place. They’re great for this because they will keep pressure on the wound until you can get help.

You can get a variety pack of zip ties for less than $6 on Amazon.com.

Also, check out 15 Survival Uses for Ziploc Bags and 21 Survival Uses for Plastic Grocery Bags.

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  1. Eduardo Colucci on November 7, 2019 at 7:36 am

    They can also be amended to the desired size.

  2. gcaverly on October 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Zip ties, tie bands, Macgyvers paperclips, rope, safety pins, pins,duct tape, electrical tape etc and the list goes on and on. Everyone of these is important and should not be underestimated and kept on handed. Example just this morning I used a small paperclip, unbent it and used it to repair my umbrella that had come apart due to the wind. Result, umbrella repaired and folds and unfolds again. Thanks urban survival.

  3. Don on October 22, 2019 at 11:50 am

    I’ve used these for years for not just work (electrician) but for camping /fishing..etc…be sure to spend the extra few bucks on higher quality tho…if you tie down stuff where its windy/cold or hot the dollar store ones snap…and only get ties about a foot long…the can be cinched together for any length you need

  4. Gordon on March 19, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Get some releasable cable ties too, then you don’t need to cut them, rendering them near useless. Especially useful if you had to use as a tourniquet or as shoe laces, etc. etc. I use the releasable type for 90 per cent of jobs.

  5. Ed on March 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I highly recommend tie wraps for any emergency kit, however, due to sun degradation buy rom a Marine store

  6. Dave on March 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Actually you can reuse ties in some cases. If not slipped tight, cut them off carefully away from the tie/ square end. They make good shorter ties. I have done this with packages that have the product tied into them.
    I do the same for bread/wire ties from products, som of which can be several inches to a foot long and are reusable.

  7. Marty J on February 14, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Zip-ties may be able to do these things, but they suffer from two main problems–they are one-time-only use, and they melt.

    Instead, use wire ties, like the kind on bread bags. They accomplish everything mentioned here, plus you can remove them and re-use them instead of cutting them off. Also, you can use wire-ties in cooking and around fires where your plastic zip-ties will just melt.

    • Alan on February 14, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      You’re right, zip ties do have some disadvantages. I don’t know if the kind on bread bags would be strong enough for all of these uses, but some kind of wire ties would definitely work better.

  8. Tony on November 21, 2017 at 1:23 am

    I am a florist. Zip ties are my life saver in the flower shop.
    1. EXCELENT for making bouquets. zip tie the stems together and wrap with ribbon.
    2 Attaching Oasis cages to easels or anything.
    3. Use them in the place of woven wire for binding up foam to keep it fgoing I’m breaking.
    4. When you make velvet Christmas bows, use two zip ties. Attach one around the bow, and around another zip tie, which will remain open, to use to attach the bow. A criss-cross arrangement.
    5 the tiny ones are wonderful for attaching a corsage to a wristlet. Slide the little tie through the clip on the wristlet, make your bow, and zip tie it go the wristlet, then use Oasis glue to place in your foliage and flowers.
    6. Tie plants or weak stems to hyacinth stakes.
    7. Zip tie stems on top of stems to make a simple yet beautiful Garland.
    8. Two words: Deco-Mesh. (I guess that’s one compound word, huh?)
    9. This time of year especially…..I zip tie all things Christmas Decoration!!!

    Life is better!

  9. Joe on October 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I use them to lash batteries to flashlight and batteries together. Keeps proper batteries with appropriate lights and they won’t leak.

  10. survivalkit on December 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

    This is a very clever idea. I didn’t know these thing will be much useful. Thanks.

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