When unforeseen problems occur in the outdoors, we typically solve them using the”known” equipment we are carrying in our packs. Sometimes this means the problem cannot be resolved, but often by simply applying a little Lateral Thinking, many more uses for the same gear and surroundings can be discovered.
As a result it is very wise to always carry your rubbish,(and good for every one else too) as well as NEVER discarding any gear, no matter how dire circumstances may seem.
Here is a bunch Lateral Thinking ideas that I have both discovered my self or read about in my own research for this topic.
Please do send me any extra suggestions you have via the comments at page bottom.
Food and Meals;
- Orange peel: great source of energy and nutrients, great fire kindling when dried.
- Complete orange: Candle, Fire starter!
- Food scraps: Food.. you always need that.
- Zip lock Food bags: water carrying, water catching, fire starter(with sun and water) keeping tinder dry.
- Plastic wrap: Burn dressing, water carrier, water catcher, fire starter.
- Aluminium cans: polish the base with finger – mirror, signalling, stove, fish hooks.
- Gas stove: Heat, Cooking, Signalling.
- Pack: Carrying gear, Partial sleeping bag,(Legs) ground insulation, spears and tools(alloy or wire frame), fire tinder,(nylon)
- Cell phone: SmS, (often better then voice calls) navigation apps, signalling ( screen on at night stands out to helicopters!) torch app.
- Head lamp: Intended purpose, signalling.
- Walking Pole: first aid splint, pipe, straw, depth gauge(river), fishing pole, shelter pole, thrust spear, water purifier straw(stuffed), fire starter,(shavings of aluminium) trumpet,(sound amplifier) marker pole, reach tool.
- Socks: for your feet, also make great warm gloves, boot grip for ice, club,(rocks inside) wound dressing, food pouch, water pre filter, oven mitts,(hot pots) repair thread source, arm warmers.
- Alloy pots: water carrying, water catching, signalling.(polished)
- Pocket knife: cutting, striker for flint, spear tip, food prep./ dressing.
- Pocket Survival sheet: solar still, rain catcher, shelter, sleeping bag, rain coat.
- Rain coat: basic shelter, water trap, bag, sling, ground insulation.
- Clothing: (avoid destroying but using as they are so you can still wear) – sling, bag, water filter.
- Wrist Watch that is on time: (hands not digital) navigation compass.
- A bunch of assorted hacks here – keys, zippers, plastic bottles, water filtering, pack straps, dead phone, needle.
- Reading glasses: fire lighting lens.
- Spare clothing: water collection. (wrap around ankles and walk through wet grass before wringing out.)
- Compass: has yours got a magnifying glass, rulers, straight edge.
- Camera: use the flash for signalling in an emergency at night, torch(if you have a video LED for video shooting)
First Aid kit;
- Cotton wool: fire tinder.
- Foil blankets: Hot and cold, shelter, solar still, water catcher.
- Tampons:(full of cotton wool)blood nose plug, penetrating wound plug, excellent fire tinder,(unravelled) Emerg. water drinking straw(tampon and cardboard applicator- )
Vegetation; (only use in emergency !)
- Branches: splints, crutches.
- Ferns and twiggy bushes: ground insulation, or extra clothing insulation. (stuffed in side)
- Wet leaves: lick the water off in the morning.
- Mud: primitive sunscreen, insect protection.
My own examples
A friend had forgotten their drink bladder bag, so we;
Emptied out one of my dry bags, looped a length of webbing through the drink bladder top, rolled the dry bag closed, put both ends of the tie down over her shoulders, tied them off to the centre of the dry bag, and there was enough left over to finish with a waist belt.
The Breakfast server
A zip lock plastic bag;
I mix my favourite overnight hiking breakfast in a small zip lock plastic bag, and leave it to soak overnight, but in the morning it always used to be a messy affair getting it out of the bag with out spilling… A mate suggested leaving the zip lock closed and just snipping off one of the corners with my knife… and drink it out! brilliant…This is now named after her.
- King of Random Youtube channel
- Lifehacker Australia, © 2007-2018 Allure Media,
- ARHT, Lead Paramedic Karl Taylor, 2017
- Sportsmans Guide Outdoors, 2018
- Alfie Aesthetics, 2014
- Leaf Group Ltd, 2018
- sixdollarmedia.com, 2015-2016
- The Alfred Hospital,Victoria Australia, 2016,