Using Aluminum Foil as a Tool for Survival

By Michael Levanduski

If you’re in an emergency or survival situation, you often have to make due with the things you happen to have with you.  Knowing how to use common household items is essential for any emergency planning or preparation enthusiast.   In this post, the many uses of aluminum foil will be covered, with a special focus on what it can be used with to help you survive in difficult circumstances.

Sharpen Scissors – This is important any time, but if you’re in a survival situation, you’ll likely be using your scissors a lot, and keeping them sharp is critical.  If you want to use aluminum foil to sharpen scissors, smooth the foil out and fold it over two or three times so you have a thick piece of aluminum foil.  Then, simply cut the foil with the scissors.  Opening the scissors wide and cutting all the way through will help ensure the entire blade is sharpened.

Protect Fruit Trees – Having access to food is essential for survival.  If you happen to have fruit trees in the area, you’ll be competing with the birds for this food.  Hanging strips of aluminum foil in the trees will allow the sun to reflect off of it, scaring birds away.  They will go off to eat other food, leaving the fresh fruit untouched so you can enjoy it.

Lure Fish – Some species of fish, such as the blue gill and crappie, are attracted to shiny items.  Adding small strips of aluminum foil to your fishing line can help bring them close so they will take the bait.  In fact, if you don’t have any other options for bait, you can even add a piece of aluminum foil on the hook and some fish will actually bit it.  Fish will undoubtedly be a huge source of healthy food when the supermarkets are no longer there, so this is a real life saving trick.


Make a Funnel – Whether you need to catch rain water or pour oil into an engine, a funnel is often very important.  If you don’t have one, you can easily make one out of aluminum foil by quickly molding it into the proper shape.  The foil is firm enough to hold the right shape for just about any use.

Signaling – The reflective surface of aluminum  foil makes it perfect for signaling for help.  You can secure it high in trees to attempt to attract the attention of distant people, since the movement of the tree branches will keep the reflection going.  You can also just spread it out and hold it up yourself.

Frying Pan – If you need something to cook on, and you don’t have a frying pan available, just place a piece of aluminum foil across two sticks (or a larger stick that forks) and place the food on the foil.  If the item you need to cook is too heavy, you can use multiple layers, or else lay the aluminum foil directly on a log that has been burning a while.

Seed Incubator – Planting seeds inside is a great way to help get these plants to grow more quickly when spring finally arrives.  Take a shoe box or other item and line the inside with aluminum  foil, poking a few holes in the bottom to allow excess water to escape.  Then fill with soil about half to three quarters full.  Add aluminum foil above the soil line, as well.  The foil in the dirt will reflect heat back up toward the seeds.  The foil above the soil line will reflect sunlight back toward the seeds.  Place the box near any window.

Aluminum Foil Hats – Since many people think those of us who try to be prepared for disasters are crazy, we can always make aluminum foil hats to confirm their suspicions!  Great for Halloween, or just for fun!  (Just kidding, of course!)




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