Fact: there’s no limit to what you can with a beer can. Why? Simply because it’s called a beer CAN, not a beer CAN’T. Yes, I know it’s not the best pun, but there’s truth in what I’ve said – a metallic beer container can serve all kinds of purposes, long after the beer’s gone (sad face). Anyway, a couple of days ago, I had myself a little pow-wow with some of my buddies.
Not all preppers, but we do get along even on stuff that is not exactly related to survival. However, in talking with them, I found out that there are in fact people out there who really know how to get creative when they have to deal with what we come to an SHTF-type of situation. And because no boys’ night should be without beer, we kinda ended up talking about ale till the crack of dawn.
I’m truly sorry for not being able to share a bottle of suds with you people, but at least I can make it up to you by showing you a couple of ingenious ways to use empty beer cans in a SHTF situation So, here’s my top 7 choices in reusing cans.
Halt! Who goes there? Maybe’s just the wind of a highwayman ready to deprive you of your valuables. Just joking. A perimeter alarm is a must-have if you’re planning on spending a night in the woods. Of course, I don’t think there are any cutthroats nearby, but there may be wild animals prowling the area.
No need to invest tons of money in one of those fancy, laser-triggered alarms when you can make one yourself using a couple of empty beer cans and some cordage. You can always replace regular cordage with dental floss if you plan on using it for other purposes.
Poor man’s survival kit
If you can’t find it within you to spend a couple of bucks on a professional or military-grade survival kit, you can always make one yourself using an old beer can. Just cut a hole on the side and fill it with stuff like weatherproof matches, lighter, dental floss, shoelaces, fishing utensils or whatever.
As they say, survival can be a beach. If you find yourself in a tight spot with nothing to cook your dinner or warm up the inside of your tent, craft a small camping store using an empty beer can. Flatten the top, cut a hole on the side, and place a small candle on the base. Soup may take forever to cook, but at least you’ve got something to keep you warm during the night.
All out of matches? Tac light’s batteries died out on you? No problem. I got you covered. It may be possible to make a meager lantern out of an empty beer can and a small candle. Cut a hole in one side of the beer can. Fit a small candle inside. Attach a stick to the ring, fire up the candle, and, voila, you now have a small lantern. May it be a light for your in dark places, when all other lights go out (and I did not quote from The Lord of the Rings).
Starting a fire
Remember that article about how to start a fire using a water bottle? Well, believe it or not, you can do the same with an empty beer can. Basically, you will need to harness the reflective power of the can’s butt in order to focus sunlight on tinder. Here’s what you will need to do. While the sun’s still high (not that kind of high), grab an empty beer can and place it on the ground. Just below its butt, place a handful of tinder. Rotate the beer can in order to focus the sun rays on the tinder.
If nothing happens after 15 or 20 minutes, it means that the can’s butt is not polished enough to reflect the sunlight. Not a problem – grab a handful of sand or rock salt and start giving that butt a good shine. Allegedly, you can also use chocolate to do the same thing, but I haven’t tested that yet. Place the can again on the ground and rotate it in order to focus the light. When you see smoke coming out, add some more tinder, and blow on it.
Cowboys went through a lot of trouble to make sure that they start each day with a hot cup of coffee. As you know, that meant carrying a heavy cast-iron pot. Well, times have changed, but our need for a hot drink remains the same. Now, if you find yourself stranded in some neck of the woods and nothing to boil water in, you can always pour water in an empty beer can and place it close to the embers. That’s also a great water purification method.
Here’s how it works. First of all, find a way to wash the beer can. Second, pour water into it and place it directly into the fire. Please bear or beer in mind that it will take a while for the water to boil, so sit tight. Once you hear a bubbly sound coming from the can, use a stick or a pair of prongs to remove the can from the flame. Wait for it to cool down, pour in your canteen, and enjoy. You know what? This kind of victory calls for another beer. Cheers!
Making char cloth
If you have the thought of packing some char cloth has never crossed your mind, don’t worry because you can make some using an empty beer can. Get a fire running. In the meantime, fill a can with cotton, punk wood or bark. Fold both ends and toss in the fire. In a couple of minutes, the beer can will begin to disintegrate. When you see that you’re running out of a can, remove it from the fire, wait for it to cool down, retrieve the char cloth, and celebrate.
That about covers it for my list of great ways to reuse an empty beer can. Feel that something may be missing from the list? Get scribbling and let me know.