We drown in the comfort and convenience of readily available materials for everyday use — we have electricity to power sources of light, heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning.
But what would you do in an SHTF situation like a zombie apocalypse? Hopefully, you have your AR-15 Blackout at the ready — or for Kalashnikov guys, a 5.45×39.5mm AK-74. Should be good enough to prevent yourself from becoming zombie grub, right?
But even if you do… even if you had the proper firearms to defend yourself… how are you going to get through even just one day? Resources are scarce, survivors would probably compete for whatever is left to salvage… would you just accept your fate and die?
We here at Primitive Survivors stand by our namesake: We aim to get you prepared for the worst and survive against all odds — however odd the things you might have to do to do so.
Before we get to the list of tips and tricks you can master to be better prepared, we cannot stress the fact that whatever happens, you must always have a gun AND a knife with you. Have both of those, and things would become a lot easier.
Pick A Lock Using An Aluminum Can
Here’s the scenario: You chanced upon a grocery store, and you know it has more enough to get you and your survivor’s group by for a few weeks — maybe a few months, even.
But the entrance is bolted with a padlock. What to do?
Shoot it? Nah, the noise alone would attract the undead and make a dire situation worse for you. Hack away with your knife or rifle butt? Same result.
Do you have the skills of a seasoned breaking and entering criminal? Probably not.
See an aluminum can lying around? Perfect.
Cut a T-shaped piece off the can, and make sure to round all the edges. Insert the tail-end of the piece inside the end of the lock where it’s supposed to come off. Twist the arm of the T-shaped aluminum piece until it’s under the padlock’s shackle. Pull the shackle. You’re welcome.
Start A Fire Using Steel Wool And A 9-Volt Battery
No matches? No problem. Not everyone is aware of this simple but amazing lifehack, mostly because not a lot of people understand the science behind it.
The first thing you need to understand is that steel wool is mostly iron (Fe). Steel itself is an alloy — iron with 2% carbon mixed in. But you don’t care about that, I bet. Simply put, the wool is mostly iron.
A 9-volt battery works best at lighting up steel wool because the terminals are right next to each other. Just touching the battery to steel wool creates a current through the thin wire, and heats up to around 700 degrees Celsius. The temperature causes the iron to react with oxygen (O2) in the air and creates iron oxide (FeO2). That reaction makes it burn ergo, fire.
This reaction doesn’t last very long, so make sure you have tinder and dry wood to burn close to you when doing this, otherwise, the effort will come to waste.
Start A Fire With Gum Wrapper And A Battery
This one is easy and works with any battery. Save the aluminum wrap covering your chewing gum and cut it into 3 pieces (to extend the wrapper for more than one use). Fold the wrapper piece in half and cut diagonally on both sides until the only thing connecting both ends of the folded wrapper is a narrow point — just be careful not to make it too narrow, or it’ll break easily. Make it too wide, and it won’t burn as fast.
Put both ends of the wrapper piece on the batteries terminals. The current should be enough to burn the narrow part of the wrapper. Apply on tinder and puff away.
Make Firestarter Balls
Tinder wouldn’t be readily available in snowy or rainy weather, so it’s important to have a firestarter indoors to be sure.
Drench cotton balls in petroleum jelly. They burn hotter and longer than typical paper or any kind of tinder. Store them in airtight plastic bottles or glass jars to make sure they don’t dry out.
Use Crayons As Candles
In a situation as bad as the one we’re theorizing, you just won’t know what you’d find when raiding each and every building for supplies.
If you didn’t find any candles, but found crayons, grab ‘em — they’ll work in a pinch. Crayons are made up of wax, just like candles, and will burn for 30 minutes at least.
Open Rusty Jars With Duct Tape
Finding a jar of pickles or mayonnaise in a zombie apocalypse is a welcome treat… unless you hate pickles and mayonnaise. But you can’t really be picky at this time.
After sitting for a long time, jar lids can get rusty and difficult to pop off easily. Use duct tape to twist the cap off the jar — it’s strong enough to give you a firm grip on the lid without breaking the mouth of the jar — which is great since you probably need to ration your supplies and not finish them off in one go. You still need that lid, son.
Furthermore, remember MacGyver? Sure, he has an anti-gun stance… but he NEVER goes out without a knife or duct tape. You should take tips from the guy.
Make A DIY Lamp Using Regular Cooking Oil
Chances are, that crayon you lit up isn’t going to last very long. Use the time you have to create a more reliable and longer-lasting light source for your hideaway.
Poke a hole through a jar lid or an aluminum can top, and then fill the jar or can with oil. Get some cotton fabric strips and soak it in the oil for a few minutes. Afterwards, get the other end of the cloth through the hole on the lid, put the lid back on the jar, and lit your DIY wick.
Presto, oil lamp.