Survival Must-Have: The Old Shirt

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Yes, we all have that old shirt in the closet that we love to wear around the house or during relaxing walks in the park. It’s comfortable and light and (at least in our opinion) goes with everything. But have you ever thought that shirt could actually save your life in an emergency situation?

You probably never thought of alternative uses for that old shirt of yours, but after reading this article, I assure you you’ll look at it with a brand new rightfully earned respect. So the second you’re done reading this, please go add a worn, clean shirt in your bug-out bag. You won’t regret it.

First of all, I assume you’re wondering why it has to be worn. Why can’t it be new? First of all, a new shirt is expensive, while an old shirt that’s lying in your closet costs $0. Also, because new shirts are more rigid and, thus, harder to twist it and turn it the way you please. Thirdly, when you’re dealing with an emergency situation, you’re already stressed out, so it’s better to work with something you’re already comfortable with.

Now let’s see what you can do with a simple old shirt:

#1: Make a backpack

If your bug-out bag gets too heavy or you simply need to carry something around with you and have no room for it in the backpack, turn your shirt into a ragbag and carry whatever you need in it. Just lay the shirt on the ground, put the stuff in the middle, wrap it with the shirt and use the sleeves to make a knot, so you can carry it around easily.

#2: Avoid sunstroke

Getting sunstroke is among the worst things that could happen to you in a crisis. You get a mean headache, you feel nauseated and dizzy, your whole body gets weak… basically, you become a burden when you should be the hero.

So if you have to stay out in direct sunlight a lot, make a sort of a turban out of your shirt and wear it on your head at all times. Make sure every member of your family gets one, so don’t forget to pack a shirt in every one of their bug-out bags.

If it’s really hot outside, you may feel the need to take it off and cool down, but it’s crucial that you keep it on your head. It may feel good at first, but the sun will “attack” even worse if you’re sweating, so try to bear with the heat and keep that shirt for protection as long as it takes.

#3: Support a broken arm or leg

This is not the happiest scenario, but if you do break an arm or leg, you’ll need to support it. And if you can’t get to any medical unit, you’ll have to do it on your own, with whatever you have on hand.

In this case, an old shirt offers the best support you can get: firm and yet comfortable. The sleeves are long enough to allow you to tie them as loose as you want to, while the body of the shirt is wide enough to support your arm or your leg the same way a “hamak” does with your body. .

#4: Stop the bleeding

If you get injured and start bleeding heavily, you will need to tie something tightly around the wound until you get to a hospital. Now, I know all the Sylvester Stallone movies show him ripping his t-shirt and turning it into a tourniquet, but that’s not really how it works. It’s not that easy to rip a t-shirt when your arm or hand is bleeding.

But you can tie a shirt around the wound much more easily. The long sleeves are perfect for wrapping around the wound twice, for more absorption. Just make sure you tie it as tight as possible, even if (or especially if) your limb gets numb. But be careful: if your limb gets numb, it means the blood doesn’t circulate through it anymore. And while it stops the bleeding, it also prevents the arm or the leg from being “fed” with blood, as well. So don’t waste a second and rush to a medical unit or a doctor asap.

#5: Turn it into a weapon

If you need to defend yourself or catch a prey and you don’t have a weapon on hand, you can improvise one with nothing more than a shirt and a potato. Yes, it sounds quite silly, but it’s actually effective.

Wrap a large potato in the shirt, tie it and leave the sleeves loose. The longer the sleeves, the better, as you can hit your target without getting too close to it. And you can also use the sleeves as a sort of a lasso if you’re aiming for a target that’s not close enough to reach it and you need to throw the “weapon” at it. Again, it may seem more of a toy weapon to you, but it hurts like hell. It can knock down a person if you hit him in the knee, for example. Please, take my word for it and don’t try it home unless you’re sure no one can get hurt.

And a friendly reminder: don’t forget to pack a shirt for every one of your family members. If you don’t have that many shirts to spare, ask your friends if they don’t have any old shirts they don’t wear anymore.

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1 Comment

  • By Christian Gains, June 18, 2013 @ 01:27

    No problem here at all…GOOD intel…but…I’d like to suggest a “SHEMAGH” as an even better solution…since they’re the natural survival head gear of the North African Arabs, (who reside in the “HEAT BELT” [as in “110 degrees in the shade” “HEAT BELT”!] And, as well, a “Shemagh” will do ANYTHING that “that Old shirt” will do, and often, better.

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