You know you’re a prepper when you have all kinds of containers in various shapes and sizes stashed away in the garage or shed. You know you can use all those old butter containers, plastic yogurt cups, and metal coffee cans for something–you just don’t know what yet.
Well, don’t even think about tossing those old coffee cans. There are some very clever ways to use them in a survival scenario.
There are only a few coffee brands that still sell their coffee in cans, such as Kirkland Signature. Most of the other brands have switched to plastic. Those have uses as well, but for this article, we are referring strictly to the metal cans. Without further ado, here are 21 survival uses for coffee cans.
1. Make a Stove
Large cans make excellent rocket stoves. You can use the stoves to heat food without building a large fire that may get you noticed. It only takes a small flame to cook a meal in a rocket stove. Here’s a great tutorial.
2. Organize Supplies
Coffee cans are great for organizing supplies and keeping them fairly dry. Things like matches, tinder, first aid supplies and so on can be kept together on your storage shelves. If you have to bug out, it is easy enough to grab a can and go.
3. Make a Survival Kit
Coffee cans can be used to make portable survival kits. Pack away a poncho, folding knife, fire starting tool, and other necessary supplies. The cans not only hold supplies, but will prove useful in the wilderness (see below for more uses).
4. Make a First Aid Kit
Instead of a survival kit, you could put together a first aid kit in a coffee can. Keep it in the trunk of your car, at the office, or at home.
5. Scoop and Carry Water
Coffee cans are very convenient for scooping and carrying water back to camp.
6. Dig Holes
Coffee cans also make great shovels for digging in places such as your garden.
7. Store Food
Store leftover food in the cans to keep the bugs and animals out of it. You could also put small Mylar bags in them for a more long-term food storage option.
8. Feed Livestock
There are a lot of people who use coffee cans to feed their livestock. It’s easier and more convenient than traditional scoops.
9. Make Garden Pots
Metal cans make excellent pots for your garden, especially if you need to start an indoor survival garden. They are great for vertical gardening and can be attached to a fence or the sunny side of a barn.
10. Carry Fire
If you’re travelling by foot in the wilderness, it’s a good idea to carry a hot coal and some kindling to your next campsite. This will save you time and fire-starting supplies.
11. As a Toilet
The cans could be used as a toilet in an emergency. Put the lid on the cans to keep down odors, and bury the cans when they are full. Adding wood shavings, sawdust, or even kitty litter to the can will further reduce odors.
12. Make a Heater
With some toilet paper and rubbing alcohol, you can make a very effective coffee can heater. If you are in a tent or shelter, the heater will help take off the chill.
13. Hide Valuables
Place valuables in the cans and bury them to keep them out of sight. Valuables like money, jewelry, and survival gear will be relatively safe from dirt and moisture in a sealed can.
14. Wash Things
The cans make excellent wash basins for small items of clothing, like socks and underwear. They can also be used to wash utensils and your hunting knife.
15. Boil Water
The cans can be placed over hot coals to boil water to purify it, or to heat up soup or stew.
16. Save Small Items
Use the metal cans to stash things like spices, gravy packets, and other small items. Place the full cans on your food storage shelves. This will prevent small items from slipping through cracks and being lost.
17. Make Shingles
Flatten the cans by using some wire snips and a mallet and use the pieces as roof shingles for a shelter. You could roof a small building or shed with metal coffee cans.
18. Protect New Plants
Cut off the bottom of the cans to create rings to put around new plants in the garden. Putting the lid on at night will help keep the plants warm and protect them from a freeze.
19. Make Ice Cream
Use a large coffee can and a smaller, empty vegetable can to make ice cream. Some sugar, vanilla, and cream from your fresh milk, and a combination of ice and rock salt in the space between the two cans will yield a tasty treat. Here’s how.
20. Make Buckets
Transform the cans into buckets by running twine through two holes at the top. The buckets can be used when harvesting in the garden or foraging in the wilderness.
21. Catch Milk
If you have a dairy cow or goat, coffee cans are great for catching the milk. You can put a lid on the can and place it in a cool stream to keep the milk chilled.
These are just 21 ways that metal coffee cans could aid in your survival. When you stop and really take time to think, you will likely come up with more ways to use the cans. They can be used as they are or flattened out. The possibilities are endless.