10 Survival Uses For a Tampon: by Senior Police Detective Troy Edwards (Ret), The Crosshairs L.L.C.
TAMPON Survival Use #1: Medical Bandage
Tampons are sterile, come very well-packaged in their own waterproof sleeves, and are designed to be ultra-absorbent — making them the perfect first aid bandage. They can be opened and then taped or tied over a wound as an improvised dressing. And they can be used to plug a bullet hole until more sophisticated medical attention can be administered. Accounts of this use date back to World War I.
TAMPON Survival Use #2: Crude Water Filter
Another excellent tampon survival use is as a crude water filter. While it will not filter out biological, chemical, or heavy metal threats, it can certainly be used to filter out sediments and floating particulates. This would be considered a 1st Phase Filter, which can drastically increase the life and efficacy of your main water filter. You can also use a filter like this before boiling to filter out larger particulates. Previously I ‘ve pushed a tampon into the neck of an empty water bottle. I poked a small hole in the cap and then poured in dirty water to filter through the tampon and into the container below.
TAMPON Survival Use #3: Fire Tinder
Nearly everyone knows that cotton makes excellent fire tinder. When the dry cotton fibers of a tampon are pulled apart and hit with a spark or flame, they will burst into a nice steady fire. If you’ve done the right amount of fire prep work, you can easily split 1 tampon into 3 or 4 fire-starting tinder bundles. Add in some chapstick or petroleum jelly, and you’ve got an even better fire-starting tinder.
TAMPON Survival Use #4: Crude Survival Straw Filter
As a last ditch water filter, you can make an improvised Survival Straw from the plastic housing and cotton from a tampon. Just tear off a bit of the cotton and stuff it into the plastic housing. I find it better to leave a little bit sticking out to make the housing pieces wedge tightly together. Again, this filter will not PURIFY your water by removing biological, chemical, or heavy metal threats, but it will filter out sediments and particulates. This would be a last ditch effort if no methods of water purification were available.
TAMPON Survival Use #5: Wick for Improvised Candle
Use the string on a tampon as a wick in an improvised candle which can be made from rendered animal fat and a fresh water mussel shell. After the string soaked up some of the fat, the candle can burn solid for 20 minutes. Pine sap would have also worked as a fuel.
TAMPON Survival Use #6: Cordage
The string attached to a tampon is a cotton twisted cord typically made up of several 4-6″ pieces of twine. Though it’s not much, it is usable cordage. This amount of cordage could easily be used to make a Paiute Deadfall Trap.
TAMPON Survival Use #7: Blow Dart Fletching
The blow gun certainly has its place in survival history. From Native Americans to tribes in New Guinea, the Blow Gun and primitive darts have put food on the table for thousands of years. They are silent and deadly hunting tools, especially for small game. Oftentimes, especially here in the US, natural cotton was used as blow dart fletching. Thus, the cotton from a tampon is a perfect candidate to make cotton-fletched blow darts.
TAMPON Survival Use #8: Blow Tube for Coal Burning Containers
In a survival scenario, a simple container can make the difference between life and death. A water-tight container can be used to carry water, boil water, and cook meals. Natural water-tight containers aren’t easy to make or find. A very practical and useful improvised container can be made by using hot coals to burn out a cavity in a log or stump. A blow-tube (in this case the plastic tampon applicator) can be used to intensify the hot coals to burn the cavity. Using the tampon applicator blow-tube, it takes about 30 minutes to coal burn a cavity large enough to hold 2 cups of water. If necessary, I could then boil and purify this water by adding in several red hot stones that had been heated in a fire.
TAMPON Survival Use #9: Waterproof Match & Fire Tinder Case
In wet and damp conditions, keeping fire-starting tools such as matches and tinder dry can be a challenge. The waterproof tampon package/sleeve makes an excellent improvised “dry-sack” for any items that are moisture sensitive. Just fold over the top 2-3 times and tie it off with the tampon string and you’ve got a great waterproof match case.
TAMPON Survival Use #10: Survival Fishing Bobber
Fishing with hook and bobber is an incredibly effective method – especially when using live bait such as grubs and worms. A thorn hook, some natural braided line, and a tampon bobber make the perfect combination for a survival fishing rig.