10 Ways to Use Socks in a SHTF Situation


Great for keeping you warm in the summer and for every imaginable situation that involves dry feet – you know them, you love them, and you simply cannot do without. Yup, you’ve guessed it; today’s article all about socks, those cotton wonders that so often get lost in the washing machine. Ever asked yourself about what other things socks are good for apart from wearing them on your feet, of course? Well, wonder no more because this article will teach you everything you will need to know about using socks in a shit hits the fan situation. So, without further ado, here are 10 survival uses of socks. 

1.  Preliminary water filtration 

Water may be a commodity in the big city, but, out there in the wilderness, it can easily become something of a luxury, perhaps even more important than other stuff like cellphones or money. Anyway, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t get any clean water, grab some from whatever source and use a pair of clean socks to filter it. Of course, with this method, you can’t get rid of any harmful bacteria, but you can at least remove any debris, sand, or dirt from it. What comes next, depends entirely on the circumstance: use a water purification tablet, if you have any or make a campfire to boil the water. You can also whip up a water purification system using an old plastic bottle, a handful of pebbles, two pieces of charcoal, and two pieces of cloth. Cut the bottom and start creating layers: pebbles, sand, cloth, charcoal, pebbles, sand, cloth, and charcoal again. Poke some holes in the lid, pour the water in the open end, hang the bottle from a tree, and place a canteen underneath. The filtered water will slowly drip into the canteen. 

2.  Emergency tourniquet 

Though not advisable since it can lead to irreparable vascular damage, necrosis, and even limb amputation, sometimes heavy bleeding cannot be stopped without the use of a tourniquet. If you cannot find anything to use as one, go for your socks. Longer ones (3/4) are more effective at maintaining steady pressure on the bleeder. 

3.  Potholders 

Whenever in doubt about the way to handle a hot situation, grab a pair of socks. In an SHTF situation, you can use socks as mittens to handle various hot surfaces (i.e., steaming hot coffee pot, fiery coal). As a bonus, you can fit a sock over your pot to keep whatever is inside warm. 

4.  Preparing acorn meat

Yes, I know you’re not Scratch from Ice Age, but just so you know acorn’s meat can be pretty delish provided that you can get rid of that bitter taste. That’s where the sock comes in: used as a sieve, the sock can be filled with as much acorn meat as possible before being dunked in water. With plenty of water and patience, you will be able to get rid of the tannins, the compounds that give acorns that bitter taste. As for eating them, I would go with a spread on a piece of toast. 

Related: Survival Basics – Water

5.  Self-defense

Now you can really tell someone to put a sock in it, by turning a harmless piece of clothing into a weapon as deadly as a baseball bat. How? Easy: fill a sock with as many small rocks as you can find, tie the open end, and start swinging. You may not be Harlequin cool, but at least you’re not defenseless. 

6.  Wilderness markers

It’s very easy to get lost if you’re too cocky to admit that it could never happen to you. So, if you feel like going in circles, use some socks to mark your path – place them in trees, on stones, along the path. Basically, anywhere, you can see them. Sure, your feet will disapprove, but at least you’re not running in circles anymore. 

7.  Fire starting  

Yes, I know that burning your socks is a tear-jerking perspective, but when in an SHTF, a man got to do what a man got to do. Tinder would be nice to start a fire, but socks would do just as well. Rip some cotton fibers from your socks to get the fire going. It’s that easy. Since we’re on the topic of starting a fire with socks, I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you want the fire-starting fibers to last a bit longer, you can dip them in resin before setting them ablaze. Works like a charm, especially when you have to deal with wet wood and I ain’t talking about the morning variety. 

8.  Great replacement for pillow 

Forgot to pack your pillow? No problem; just take a couple of socks, put them together, and dream away. If you want to improve the comfy factor of your makeshift pillow, you can stuff a sock with stuff like fresh moss, grass, or hay. 

9.  Improvised containers 

No stuff to hold your ammo during a hunting trip? Yup, use a pair of socks – they’re absolutely amazing for keeping small stuff like shells, batteries, pebbles, and even loose change. With a bit of effort, you can even use them to store food, especially trail mix. I would recommend using a clean pair if you plan on stuffing them with treats. 

Related: 20 Reasons Why You Should Add Sea Buckthorn to Your Pantry

10.  Makeshift hot packs 

The best way to treat minor abrasions and itches are hot packs. They’re quite easy to make, provided you have the right materials. If need to make one fast, grab a sock, and fill it with pebbles or beans. Get the fire started. When it’s hot enough, place your improv hot pack 12 to 18 inches from the fire. Check the temperature with your hand: once it gets warm, you can place it on the itch or abrasion. 

Well, that about covers the survival uses of socks. I won’t deny there are plenty more. So, if you feel like something’s missing from the list, do give me a shout. Stay safe out there, guys!

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