When Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he nominated a towel as the simplest and most essential survival tool out there. “Always bring a towel, he said. A towel, according to Adams,
“…is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini-raft down the slow heavy River Moth…”
With all due respect to towels, we think that Douglas Adams may have forgotten an even more useful item. In our humble opinion a plastic garbage bag is completely indispensable to any interstellar hitchhiker or adventurer of any stripe. We say: always bring a plastic bag. Still doubtful? Well, here are thirty ways a plastic bag can save your life:
- Rope and cordage: It’s possible to make strong and durable rope by hand just using garbage bags. Once you’ve got rope, you have the beginnings of shelter, splints, and so much more. Check out this video for the technique.
- Knapsack: Use sturdy garbage bags and some of that cool garbage bag rope to build weatherproof carrying bags.
- Wound irrigation: Getting enough water pressure to flush out a wound can be a challenge out in the wild. Poking a small hole in a bag filled with clean water can help clear the wound more effectively with less water.
- Ice pack: If you need to apply cold to an injury but want the patient to stay otherwise warm and dry, filling the corner of a bag with snow or ice is the way to go.
- Tourniquet: In a crisis first aid situation, where it’s imperative to stop the bleeding quickly, a sturdy strip of garbage bag applied as a tourniquet can safe life and limbs.
- Emergency bandage: Keep a cut clean and dry and keep the pressure going by tying a layer of plastic bag around whatever you’re using to staunch the bleeding.
- Sling: Support and immobilize injured arms with a strong, flexible piece of heavy trash bag.
- Stretcher: Combined with branches, contractor grade garbage bags are tough enough to support the weight of an injured companion or other heavy load.
- Create a quarantine: Whether you’re dealing with a zombie virus or something more day-today, plastic bag screens and masks can help to slow the spread of disease.
Written by Phillip Peterson
Full report at The Plastic Bag Blog