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The useful plastic bag

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A truly handy item, the unassuming black bag. The heavy duty type is better. Here are a number of alternative uses.

  • Backpack: Put two, three or more bags into each other. Place small round pebbles in the two corners and fasten the ends of a rope around the pebbles in the corners, The rope must be long enough to be used as shoulder straps. Make a slip knot in the middle of the rope, push the open side of the rucksack through it and pull tight for a third fasten point.

  • Sleeping bag: Two bags can serve for an emergency sleeping bag. A bag over your usual sleeping bag helps a lot against cold and rain. Or, put your sleeping bag loosely in a black bag outside in the sun. Keep the bag open so that any moisture can escape.. Your sleeping bag will get nicely warm, ready to crawl in

  • Hammock: Use four bags or more – depending on your weight – and cut bottom open. Push two strong ropes through and tie onto two trees. Push sticks in between the ropes to spread it out and then slide the bags over each other to form a hammock.

  • Shelter: Cut a bag open and use it for shelter. You can also spread it over rope or branches

  • Flotation device: Put two bags into each other, swing it around to get air into it and tie the end tightly shut. It is something that floats to hold onto in deep water

  • Washing machine: Put your dirty clothes with soap and water in a double or triple layer bag and tie it tight. Let it roll around in the back of the vehicle or let the kids play with it. Soon the clothes will be washed and ready for rinse

  • Geyser: Put water in a bag, not more than half full, and tie the opening tight. Leave it in the sun and the water will be warm. You can also hang the bag in a tree, make a hole underneath and you can shower. Use chewing gum to seal the hole between getting yourself soaped and rinsed,

  • Water Container: Place a plastic bag inside your hat or rucksack to use as water container.

  • Water collection: Cut a bag open and spread it out to collect dew. Or, if available, spread a transparent bag (black bag does not work) over a non-toxic green, juicy branch or shrub. If it is in the sun the whole day water vapor will condense within and will flow to the bottom where it can be collected.

  • Raincoat: Cut holes for head and arms. For a poncho, to cover rucksack and gun, cut a hole for your head and leave the sides open.

    Dr Wallace Vosloo is an Engineer and Scientist by profession. His family has lived in Africa since 1696 and he has a deep love for the continent. He is a practical outdoorsman and loves traditional hunting, axe and knife throwing, longbow shooting, black powder rifle- and cannon shooting, salt and fresh water fly fishing and tracking. The art of survival is Wallace’s main field of interest and his passion is to transfer these old forgotten skills to young hunters.
  • Rope: Start at the opening of the bag and cut a long strip, about 2 cm wide, in a circle. With this you can braid a strong rope

  • Preparing Food: A plastic bag can serve as a water, dust and insect free food container, marinade bowl or plate. You can even boil water in it.

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