Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The best survivalists know how to innovate–they know how to use the simple materials around them in every way possible.
Today’s simple material? Shoelaces. Let’s see how many ways you can use these bad boys to survive and thrive off the grid.
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1. Escape from Zip Tie Hand Cuffs
What do you do when looters have zip tied you, shoved you in a closet, and started ransacking your stockpile? Answer: Use your shoelaces to break the zip ties.
You’ve still got free use of your fingers which can be used to tie your shoelaces in a knot around the zip tie. Use your legs to create friction and voilà! You’re free. Check out this YouTube tutorial and practice.
2. After a Snake Bite
Similar to a tourniquet for a wound, you can use your shoelace after you’ve been bitten by a snake.
One moment you’re out hiking on the trails and the next, you’re facing a life & death situation. Use a snake bite kit to suck the venom out of the bite, remove your shoelace from your shoe, and secure it tightly above the bite to slow down the circulation of blood.
This method can give you enough time to get yourself to the nearest hospital – just make sure to take note of which kind of snake bit you. Here’s a quick tutorial that every outdoorsman should read.
3. Hang your Food while Camping
Leaving your food in a cooler on the ground overnight is a rookie mistake. Bears, possums, raccoons, and any other animal with a keen nose and strong appetite will decimate your stockpile as you sleep.
By placing your food in a bag and hanging it from a tree branch, those furry critters will have a much more difficult time stealing your stash. Here are some tips on how to “Bear Bag” like a pro.
4. As a Fishing Line
You don’t need top-of-the-line fishing gear to catch dinner. Use your shoelaces as both fishing line and lure! One method is to attach a fishing hook or bottle cap to the end of your shoelace. The other is to make a fly lure by threading a hook through your lace, burning the end near the eyelet and fraying the other near the hook.
Fish are stupid and will think they’re chasing some grub. Check out this tutorial to get started.
5. As a Belt
Don’t underestimate how much saggy pants can slow you down. When you’re in survival mode, you’re going to lose weight and those trousers are going to get loose. Tie your shoelace around your pants as a makeshift belt so you have no distractions while hunting, escaping, or foraging.
6. As a Snare Trap
Gather together a shoestring, a pocket knife, and some tree branches. Now you’re all set to create a snare trap to catch a passing critter. This video tutorial will show you, step-by-step, how to create a very simple snare to catch rabbits, squirrels, and other small wild animals that will make for a hearty meal in the wild.
7. As a Squirrel Trap
If a snare trap seems a little too advanced for your survival skills, here’s a fool-proof trap that you can literally put together in minutes. You’ll need a box, a stick, and a couple shoelaces.
This is the classic bait and trap trick where you entice an animal with shiny objects or scraps of food, and when they go to nibble, you pull the stick out and the box traps the animal inside. You can certainly use this trap for curious squirrels, but also try it on birds!
8. To Start a Fire
No flint? Scraped up hands? There is another way to make a fire in the wild. Create enough friction needed to make fire with some sticks, a knife, and your shoelaces. This video tutorial shows you how to create a neat little contraption that does half the work for you.
9. To Cook your Food over an Open Fire
The lazy man’s way of cooking! Using two shoelaces, secure both ends of a stick so that it hangs over your fire like a clothing line. You can either skewer meat & veggies on the stick or lay pieces of bacon over the stick to give your meal a nice smokey flavor. This video will give you an idea of what you’re going for.
10. As a Bow & Arrow Cord
A weapon as old as time, the bow and arrow can be made with just a few supplies. Find yourself a small green tree and chop it down. Its pliable wood is perfect to make your bow. Carve it down to the right length and flexibility, then attach your shoelace!
Practice makes perfect here. It may take a couple tries to get the strength of the bow correct, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to go hunting.
11. To Hold Down a Tarp or Shelter
Got a tarp but no tent? As long as you have shoes with laces, you have shelter! It’s all about the knots, here! You’ll use your shoelace to make a sturdy Truckers Knot that is capable of securing your tarp in windy and rainy weather. Now you’re protected against the elements.
Bonus Tip: Do NOT Use a Shoe Lace as a Makeshift Tourniquet
I’ve seen this tip floating around, and it’s a terrible idea. The problem with shoelaces as tourniquets is they’re too narrow to cause enough compression to stop bleeding, and they could even cause nerve and tissue damage.
At the end of the day, your shoelaces are simply cordage. And as you can see from these survival hacks, cordage can be critical in surviving a multitude of situations. What a shame it would be to have a tool right in front of you and not know how to use it when you need it.
Like any good survivalist, get to practicing now. The caveman didn’t learn to make fire in a day, and you certainly won’t learn how to make a bow and arrow when your starving on day five of the apocalypse.
Survival skills can be a necessity, but they can also be a hobby. Have fun with them and always be prepared with some high-quality shoelaces
Better yet, get yourself a pair of fire laces. They’re made from 550 paracord, and they come with a striker plate and flint lace tips so you can throw sparks and get a fire going. All you have to pay is $4 for shipping.