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20 Unexpected Ways Zip Ties Will Save Your Life in an Emergency

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Preppers may be known for their beans, bullets, and band-aids, but in a survival situation, they may also want to be known for their vast knowledge of zip-tie uses to get them out of hairy situations.

In past articles, we have covered information on how to use common household items like rubber bandsbungee cordsPVC, and tarps to use in an emergency situation. Today, we are going to discuss the usefulness of zip ties in emergency situations.

Zip ties have multiple uses in many situations including emergency scenarios. These little guys should be added to preparedness supplies for the home, the vehicle, and for extended emergency situations.

Most zip ties are designed for indoor use and will deteriorate over time in direct sunlight. Therefore, look for durability especially weather resistant or UV-resistant/UV-stable. A point to keep in mind with zip ties is they tend to weaken in extreme temperatures. According to a zip tie manufacturer, “Ties withstand temperatures to 185°F (85°C) and have a melting point of 495°F (257°C); except for barbed design cable ties which withstand temperatures to 167°F (75°C) and have a melting point of 425°F (218°C).” With that in mind, for emergency planning, purchase industrial strength zip ties or heat stabilized nylon as these tend to last longer compared to others.

Weight can also be a factor in weakening its strength. Zip tie tensile strength is the amount of weight a zip tie can hold safely without breaking. For example, a single zip tie with a tensile strength of 120 lbs. will break if it is used to hold something weighing over 120 pounds. Did you know they make extra large 120-tensile zip ties? These would be useful for long-term emergencies situations!

Because zip ties come in a variety of sizes, you should consider purchasing different sizes to meet different scenarios. The average length of a zip tie is 7-12 inches, but the sizes range from 4 to 52 inches!

Let’s take a look at 20+ ways of utilizing zip ties in an emergency.

20 Unexpected Ways Zip Ties Will Save Your Life in an Emergency

  1. Shoelaces – We all know that when a shoelace breaks, you’re “up the creek without a paddle”. Using multiple zip ties will work as a makeshift shoelace until you can replace it.
  2. Makeshift snow chains – We found this idea on Instructables. While these certainly aren’t a replacement for the real deal (and will likely break off shortly after your car gets moving), if you’re stuck in the snow, this could be what you need to get your car and yourself out of danger. Likewise, you can fasten zip ties to your boots for traction if you are walking on ice or slick wet rocks.
  3. Trail markers – If you are in an area you aren’t familiar with, in the backcountry, or marking a path for your group to follow, mark your trail with some brightly colored zip ties.
  4. Make a snare – Catch small game like squirrels and rabbits with this snare made from zip ties. Likewise, this could also be used as a mouse/rat trap too.
  5. Makeshift belt loop – Attach gear or items you want to keep handy to your belt loops or attach zip ties to hold items on molly webbing for bug out bag.
  6. Medical emergencies – Zip ties can be used as a way to hold bandages in place or even make a makeshift splint.
  7. Make a small livestock enclosure – This would be great for chickens with PVC, chicken wire, and zip ties. Granted, this may not last the test of time, but it could be useful in a pinch.
  8. Fasten tarps for an emergency shelter – If you have a tarp or two in your preps, you will want some zip ties to go along with it. They can help fasten to tarp for emergency shelters. Likewise, you can insulate your emergency shelter by securing limbs and branches with zip ties.
  9. Haul large game – When dragging large game like deer out of ravines or crevasses, an XL zip tie looped in each of the deer’s hocks created handles and is a great way to get a grip on the buck’s tail end and keep from stinking up a hunter’s hands.
  10. Quick fix for gear repair – This is perhaps the most common zip tie use, but an important one at that!
  11. Handcuffs – Hopefully, you will never have to use zip ties in this manner, but it’s good to know that they can be used for home security. Purchase larger/wider zip ties for more holding power.
  12. Garden stakes – Zip ties can especially come in handy in the garden. Simply, loosely fasten a zip tie to stake plants like tomatoes, squash, and other vining plants to train them to grow upright.
  13. Food storage – To prevent opened food sources like rice and beans from succumbing to food enemies like oxygen, moisture, and rodents use a zip tie to secure them. Simply drill a hole in your 5-gallon plastic containers and secure it with a zip tie. This keeps your preps secure and safe.
  14. Zipper hack – Got a zipper malfunction? Loop a zip tie through the end of your zipper, then zip up your pants. Hook the loop onto the button, then button your pants. And voila! Zipper crisis averted.
  15. Camping necessity – Use a zip tie to fix broken hooks and loops on a tent. Or use one to secure your camp tablecloth to the table in windy conditions.
  16. Hang tools – Loop a zip tie through the hole in the handle of your broom and dustpan, shovels and other hand tools. They’ll be easier to hang, and you’ll be able to hang multiple tools from each hook or nail.
  17. Create a hunting blind – One hunter made this suggestion and said to use zip ties to pull back and secure obstructing foliage from shooting lanes. This makes for a more natural-looking hunting blind.
  18. Repair backpack straps – If your bugout bag strap breaks, repair it with a zip tie.
  19. Home security – The garage door is one of the easiest ways that thieves break into homes. Threading a plastic zip tie through the emergency release latch of the automatic door opener can prevent such break-ins. Read more here. This should be used during emergencies only as there is a federal code (UL 325) that indicates that zip ties can’t be used to secure garage
  20. Hands-free lighting – Use a zip tie to attach a mini flashlight to a pair of safety glasses and use whenever you need your hands free such as climbing into an attic or doing repairs in unlit spaces.

This video has some of the listed ideas and more


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