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Bug Out Bag List: Why Tampons, Condoms and Lube Should Be In Your Bag

February 12, 2014

It might sound like the start of a dirty joke, but seriously – if you are the MacGyver type that can do a lot with a little, you will enjoy all the unexpected survival uses of tampons, lube, and condoms.

Before we get into the “extras,” lets go over the basics.

10 Essential Items For Your Bug Out Bag List

Life is unpredictable, and you should expect a disaster to be unexpected. The U.S. government recommends that you be ready at a moment’s notice; they even have an entire website dedicated to disaster survival. They advise that your survival kit be sufficient to sustain you for at least 72 hours. Your bug out bag (also called BOB, 72-hour bag or load out bag) should be pre-packed! If you wait until disaster strikes, it might be too late. Your life will depend on what’s in your bug out bag, so make sure it’s grab-n-go ready.


The fact is different people have different ideas on what they need to survive, but almost everyone can agree on the basics:

  1. Water (and water purification): Each person will need at least 1 gallon of water per day. Water is way too heavy to lug around, so you will need some type of water purification method.
  2. Ready-to-eat Meals (or MRE): Canned foods/juices, and high energy/protein foods like peanut butter, nuts and energy bars are  a good source of non-perishable foods.
  3. Clothing: Pack extra clothing suitable for your climate. Legit military clothing is 50% nylon and 50% cotton, which makes it adaptable to different climates. For the hardcore survivalist, the Flame-Resistant Army Combat Uniform might be what you need.
  4. Shelter: Most people agree that you need at least a sleeping bag. It also might be a good idea to have a tent, tarp and ponchos too. You never know what mother nature will do.
  5. Electronics: Some would say that this category is not a necessity, but the critical electronic devices like a flashlight/crank radio could be helpful in certain situations. Make sure you have a few extra batteries and chargers too.
  6. Source of Fire: The more sources, the better. The beauty of matches, lighters and firesteels is that they are small – so load up. You will need fire to warm up food and purify water.
  7. Cold Hard Cash and ID: Take your next paycheck, cash it and put it in your bug out bag. If we go into a sudden depression or full-on war, you might not be able to get cash from the bank. When disaster strikes, you need cold hard cash, not plastic. If you have an alternate ID – leave it in your bug out bag. If you don’t have an alternate ID, get one now! You might not get a chance to grab your wallet.
  8. First Aid: At a minimum you’ll want a basic first aid kit that has bandages, gauze, adhesive cloth, antiseptic wipes/gel, scissors, tweezers, aspirin, gloves, and a thermometer. You should also consider a trauma kit too.
  9. Weapons: When *it* hits the fan, you got to be ready for anything.
  10. A Bag Or Backpack: We couldn’t leave this one out. You have got to have a durable bag to carry all these items. Your bug out bag will be your lifeline, so don’t skimp on quality. In a stressful situation, the last thing you want is to worry about a tear or a stuck zipper.

Once you consider all the survival uses for tampons, condoms, and lube you will think again about including them in your B.O.B.


Survival Uses For Condoms, Tampons and Lube

Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.)

What is a tampon, really? Cotton batting and string, sealed in a protective and sanitary plastic sheath, and designed for inconspicuous portability. In short, the perfect addition to any serious survival kit. There are a few obvious uses, like medical bandaging – rumor has it that even the Army uses tampons for this purpose, but let’s go over the ones you may not know.

Sediment filter: Tampons won’t weed out chemical or biological contaminants from a water source, but they are excellent at removing solid sediment. Use in a pinch, combined with bleach or iodine, to ensure clean, safe drinking water.

Cordage: The string on a tampon is longer than you think. If you need cord for anything (and who doesn’t?) bring tampons. From trap construction to securing arrow fletching, you’ll find more than enough uses for this versatile survival accessory.

Fletching: Speaking of fletching, blow darts can be made with cotton fletching. What’s a tampon made of? You’ve got it – cotton.

Blow Dart Gun: Which brings us to another use. The tube that tampons are packed in can be used as a blow dart gun in a pinch. Cardboard tubes are the best option for this use – they are wider and more uniform in size. Still, a plastic applicator can function well for a thin dart. Plastic is also more durable.

Toothbrush: Yes, it’s ok to put a tampon in your mouth. In fact, you can also use a tampon as emergency cotton batting for dental wounds. For basic hygiene, however, tampons are excellent toothbrushes.

Emergency Plug: Tampon comes from the French word for plugging a hole. And no wonder. If you have a boat or coracle that has sprung a small leak, a tampon can buy you a few extra minutes to get to shore. Just place the tampon in the leak and let it do what is was designed for – absorb and expand.

Food Protection: If you find an excellent location for gathering berries, fruits, or other high competition food sources, hang clumps of tampons to frighten away deer, crows, and other animals that may compete for your foraging site.

For more tampon uses, check out this blog. Keep in mind that T.A.M.P.O.N.s can be used as substitutes for cotton balls, gauze pads, and tinder, as well.


The uses of a condom in a BOB are too many to count. I’m sure you’ve heard how condoms can be used to protect gun barrels from getting fouled with sediment, or to carry water. There are hundreds of other uses that are rarely discussed, however. We’ll clue you in on the secrets of these sheaths in this section.

condoms can be used to protect gun barrels from getting fouled with sediment

Catch Fish: You can use a condom filled with lightweight batting, or an air bubble, and tied securely, as a fishing bobber on a homemade line. In Cuba, some fishermen use condoms to carry their baited handlines out into the open ocean. Coating a small piece of sponge or cotton with lube is a great trout lure, too. It tricks the fish into thinking that the sponge or cotton are fish eggs.

Emergency Flotation: Here’s a use you may not have expected. As fragile as they are, condoms can be inflated to extreme size. Rumor has it that a woman who fell off of a cruise ship used a package of condoms to create a makeshift life raft, and was picked up three days later, still safely bobbing the high seas.

Tourniquet: If you’ve had your blood drawn in the past ten years, you’ve probably seen a tourniquet in action. In order to slow down or stop bleeding to a serious wound, you can make a tourniquet out of a condom. Their elasticity makes them perfect for the job. Just tie the condom tightly above the wound location, and attempt to seal with wound. Make sure to keep sterile needles and thread in your BOB for emergency wound closure, too.

Keep Items Dry: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Tie any tinder or other important items that shouldn’t get wet, inside of your condom. After all, they ARE designed to prevent leaks.

Build A Weapon: There are multiple uses for condoms in the construction of emergency weaponry. From this condom gun to slingshots, a condom might literally save your life in an emergency backwoods scenario – or at least provide you with the means to catch the food you need to survive.

Target Practice: The Royal Air Force Regiment distributed 20,000 condoms with survival use recommendations for their soldiers, one of which was to inflate condoms for small arms target practice. Condoms, when inflated, are very fragile, making them great choices for this task.


Now we’re really going to make things exciting. This is one of our favorite all-purpose BOB component. When choosing your lube, go for the basics.

Hiking: Every good prepper knows to expect long treks. If you are prone to blisters, coat the areas most often affected with a hefty amount of lube. You’ll keep blisters from forming, and your feet will feel refreshed at the end of a long day on the move. This article will give you an idea of how to use lube to save your feet on the move.

Stuck Objects: Lube is designed to make sliding objects into and out of each other easily, right? Keep your mind out of the gutter – I’m talking about rings on fingers, freeing weapon jams, unjamming the zipper on your bug out bag, and the like. Anytime something gets stuck, reach for your lube.

Fishing: You’d be surprised how useful lube can be when fishing. If you are lucky enough to carry a rod and reel in your kit, you know to keep it in perfect condition or lose a valuable resource. Lube can keep your reel working smoothly.

Frozen Locks: If you are forced to lock and abandon your car in freezing weather, a tube of lube can help you work a frozen lock when you get back with gas or help.


More uses for lube can be found here and here.

No Survival Kit Is Complete Without Being Able To Start A Fire

You can use condoms, vaseline, and tampons together to create fire in several ways. Condoms actually light very quickly, and tampons make excellent tinder. You can also dip the cord from a tampon into your lube to use as a candle.


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Can you think of any more survivalist uses for these vital BOB additions? Share them here!


10 responses to “Bug Out Bag List: Why Tampons, Condoms and Lube Should Be In Your Bag”

  1. OK. Let’s get rid of this urban legend here about condoms over your muzzle. They don’t work! Just beacause you saw it on a movie, doesn’t mean crap. I have fired out of water in the US Marine Corps and have tried that bs, it won’t work. Your bolt and ejection port are not water proof, so even if a condom were to work on one end, the water comes from the other end!

    • Hey Patrick – Thanks for reading. We are not suggesting putting a condom on a rifle to protect it from water.

  2. Yes, if you read it carefully Patrick you will see that they don’t even mention water. It is offered as advice, for keeping debris out of the muzzle.

    Thank you for this educational article.

  3. I took a survival course years ago from an ex-Navy SERE instructor who talked about condoms. He claimed to have seen someone encase a .45 Govt Model in a condom.

    Hmmm, sounds like a very sturdy condom with absolutely NO sensitivity.

  4. Relative to condoms over gun barrels, especially when I hunt I use balloons over the muzzle end of my flintlock muzzleloader to keep moisture out of the barrel. It works well when it is raining, although the bigger problem then is keeping the pan powder dry. That’s why I carry bees wax. melting a ring of bees wax around the pan, putting powder in the pan and closing the frizzen eliminates most of the moisture there.

  5. Just wanted to add that if you’re going to make a tampon string and lube candle as suggessted in this article you’d better check it’s silcone based lube first! Water based lube will just dampen all your fire making supplies and (rather obviously from the name) isn’t flamable. Great suggestions though!

    Also don’t forget the original use: just because the shit has hit the fan doesn’t mean people won’t be gettin it on, and STD’s aren’t any less contagious in a post apocalyptic setting!

  6. Guitar picks are made from a highly flammable material and makes great fire starters. You can scrape it into tinder size flakes; spark it with your Ferro Steel Match, and it will burn hot and fast

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