Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Man's Trash: Making Gear From Garbage

Some of the sites I like to visit on the internet are the ultralight packers sites. They build alot of their own gear and they give me inspiration for ways to recycle everyday items into survival gear. The coke can alcohol stove is one item that is outstanding as it costs next to nothing but is a valuable resource.

If you open your mind when you look around your kitchen, you will see a myriad of items which can have extended uses. Cheap gear is great to have when you are planning on caching items for later uses. If your cahce is found, you are not out a great amount of money if it is comprised of recycled items.

Some items I use on a daily basis are sports drink bottles, such as Powerade and Gatorade. I feel Powerade is the better choice now as their bottles are a thicker plastic. This wasn't always the case, but it seems that Gatorade bottles have become thinner lately.

Powerade has been on sale lately as cheap as $.60 a bottle so I stocked up on some. We rinse and fill the emptys and put them in a second refer for drinking on a daily basis. I am not one to buy lots of soft drinks, so drinking cold water is the main beverage consumption around our home. Refilling the bottles also supplements our emergency water supply.

I find that for storing water on the cheap, recycled one gallon SunnyD orange juice jugs are a good choice. I have been taking 2 Powerade bottles full of water to work for the past couple of years. I generally use the same 2 bottles and they have held up perfectly with no deterioration. I think they work as well as any sports bottle.

Two of the best canidates for reuse are the Heineken 12oz and 24oz beer cans. They are made of heavy enough aluminum to be able to reuse as a cooking vessel. The 24oz is the best choice for a pot and the12oz for a hot drink container or a container to eat from. Cut the top out of them and sand the cut edge to make it safer for use. Put the 12oz can in a beer cozy and you will be able to eat hot meals from it. Many ultralight backpackers cooking kits are designed around them.

Many sites recommend cutting the top off with a "Safety Cutter". This will take a lot of the strength away from the can rendering it vulnerable to crushing if not stored in some sort of container.

Other items to consider for reuse are the Folgers Cafe Latte container (with measuring scoop), The General Foods International rectangular metal Coffeee Drink Mix container, and a plastic lemonade mix container. These will allow you to store smaller amounts of bulk food in your cache or BOB.

The measuring scoop is equal to 1/8 cup.

The plastic trays that microwave dinners come in with their divided trays are another example of something that can be reused as originally designed. There are lots more items out there that you can reuse, just set your imagination free.

Water bottle, eating bowls, food storage container, kitchen sink.


  1. Great idea about reusing those microwave trays!


  2. I recylce yogurt containers, penut butter jars, sour cream containers, etc all the time. I use them in my shop for storing nails and screws and such.

    I drink a lot of diet pepsi, so i use those containers for storing additional water.

    Altoid tins are awesome for a lot of things, if you have any sales guys at the office, bug them to let you have the tins.

  3. I've got a lot of "redneck tupperware". Plastic butter containers, mayo jars, Cool Whip containers.... Milk jugs are great for paint pots, mixing up Bondo or fiberglass resin, storing screws and nails.... They're all useful for many purposes. And the sheeple just throw 'em away......

  4. I make Penny Stoves from the Heiny 12oz cans. These are ultralight camping stoves that are a part of our preps packages. Two or three tablespoons of denatured alcohol will boil water in 5 mins, then simmer that water for another 20+ mins.


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