Don’t Be Ashamed To Buy These Items For Survival

Does the thought of buying tampons, pads or condoms make you cringe in embarrassment?

If so, you’re not alone. Most men would rather take a fork to the eye than have to buy any type of women’s hygiene item. Even diapers may be a bit embarrassing for a single guy to tote around in his car.

Still there are a few personal hygiene items that any good prepper should not be ashamed to include in a survival kit.


There are so many survival uses for tampons that I feel like I could write an entire book just on them. They’re intended purpose is to absorb blood and other bodily fluids, so it only makes sense that they should be used for that.

Tampons are great for packing wounds or using as a bandage under tape or gauze wrap. If you spray some nasal spray on them and seal them up in a baggie, they’re good for stopping nosebleeds or bleeding in other small wounds. Sure, walking around with a tampon hanging from your nose may seem odd, but it beats bleeding all over yourself.

Tampons can also be used as a water filter. Leave the plunger extended and place the cotton end into the water source, then just suck through it like a straw. Even better, unwad the cotton and stuff it into the top of a water bottle with the bottom cut off. Drill a hole in the lid and then pour dirty water into the bottle. Turn it til the lid is down and put a clean container underneath of it. The water that drips through will be almost clear. This doesn’t purify the water but it does filter it.

The cotton is a great fire starter and the string makes an excellent impromptu candle wick. Just put it in a dish of oil and leave the end sticking out. Light it and voila!

The string is made of several 4-6 inch strands of twine so you can use it to build a trap or tie up your tarp to protect you from the weather or catch rain water.


red condoms Though you’ll often see these touted as a great way to carry water, they’re really not that good at it for a couple of reasons. First, they stretch to surprisingly large sizes but they’re extremely delicate. You can reinforce them by carrying them filled with water in a sock or lining a backpack with it. Still, they’re delicate. Second, you need to have a pretty good flow of water to fill it up. Just holding it in a slowly running stream won’t do it.

However, there are still many good survival uses for condoms.

A condom is great for storing things that need to stay dry such as tinder. Cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly or some peat moss aren’t going to puncture it. The condom itself is actually really flammable and can be used as a fire starter too.

A few condoms can be used as the bow in a bow drill fire set. Because they’re so elastic, they’re super functional for this task.

Two or three condoms per fork make a pretty decent slingshot, which can be incredibly useful as a weapon to kill small animals or to defend yourself with.

You can always use a condom as an emergency glove if you’re dealing with somebody else’s bodily fluids and you can also protect your gun muzzle from moisture with one.

Disposable Diapers

Because they’re made to be absorbent, diapers are great for dressing wounds. They also have a few other survival functions that you may not have considered.

The gel inside of them is meant to hold liquid. Scientific studies have shown that when this gel is placed in soil, it helps hold water in the soil and increases plant growth. Just be careful because if the soil gets too dry, the gel balls will suck more water out of the soil and do just the opposite of what you want them to do.

Maxi Pads

maxi padsOh the survival uses this product has. Women hate them for their bulk but that bulk makes them great for other things in the survival world. Obviously, they’re good for dressing wounds but maxi pads are also good for creating an eye patch, using as knee pads in the garden or when you’re crawling through the woods and they also work well as shin guards, should you ever have the need.

The material inside can also be used as a fire starter and the cotton ones can be used as a water filter in a pinch if you tear it apart.

Hemorrhoid Cream

Yes, they’re useful for calming hemorrhoids, but do you know WHY this cream does what it does? It’s an anti-inflammatory. Models and movie stars use it underneath their eyes to get rid of unsightly bags. It’s also useful for a couple of other medical conditions. It eases the sting and swelling of insect bites. It soothes rashes and sores. It’s also good for treating a cold sore. Just make sure that you don’t get it anywhere where you’re going to lick it off.

Dental Floss

dental flossOK, so this one isn’t quite so embarrassing to buy, but it’s still a personal hygiene item that is EXTREMELY useful in a number of ways when it comes to survival. You can use it to make a garrote, you can use it to tie up a tarp, tie your condom shut to keep your tinder dry, or to lash together a splint or a litter to carry somebody on.

You can also use it for sewing and if you have the waxed kind, it’s even good for mending waterproof items such as tarps. Speaking of sewing, dental floss could be used to stitch a wound. You can use dental floss to tie your food up so that animals won’t get it and you can make a trip wire out of it. Or, how about fishing line? That would work, too. These are just a few of the uses right off the top of my head.

As you can see, it may be embarrassing to go into the store and buy many of these items but their usefulness far outweighs personal discomfort. If the clerk gives you a funny look when you’re buying tampons, just say, “What? I’m making candles and fire starters!” That’ll teach her to judge!

Seriously though, there are many used for personal hygiene items and the one huge one that I didn’t touch on yet is that they will be wonderful barter items. When SHTF, people need to feel normal sometimes. That means that they want to be clean, they want to be hygienic and they just want to feel like a human being. If for no other reason than their barter value, I recommend stocking up on this stuff.

Did I miss anything? If so, tell me about it in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Do you have a list of things that you recommend having if you were going to prepare a bug out bag. I am new to this but I do want to be prepared.

    • Tim, you have some questions to answer before you can go too far with the bag. What is your goal or purpose for the bug out bag (BOB)? How good of shape are you in and what kind of weight could you carry? Is the BOB just for you or will you need to take items for others, also?
      Many people refer to a BOB as a 3-day survival pack. So with that in mind, think of what would be absolutely necessary for you to survive for three days, on your own and without the ability to resupply (other than finding sources of some food and water).
      Get a decent quality pack and there are many to choose from. Get one with multiple pockets so that you can arrange items and stay organized. You will need at least one way to start fires, two different ways are better. One could be a lighter and the other one a fero rod. Learn to use the fero rod as they are not always as easy as you see on videos. You will need a first aid kit to cover basic medical needs. You must have a container to hold water and a container to boil water and cook in. The pot does not need to be very big, but should be able to handle around 32oz if possible. You will need some form of shelter and this will depend a lot on where you live. It could be a small tarp with sleeping bag to a couple large garbage bags with a wool blanket. You will need some cordage, such as paracord. This has multiple uses. Pack some sustainable and light weight food. Have a good knife and maybe a small saw or hatchet. If allowed where you live and maybe even if not allowed, you should have a firearm and know how to use it. A small fishing kit could be handy to have if you are in an area with lakes or streams with fish.
      Other items: a map of your area, a compass, small mirror, tissue or toilet paper, sunscreen and bug spray, moleskin for blisters, good shoes or boots for hiking with good quality socks, hat, gloves, a bandana, and other similar items.
      That should get you started.

      • To Mike F and others…toilet paper is a good way to end a job but having a Handiwipe helps to clean up the completion of the BM in a more sanitary fashion. Also, having a garden trowel-type shovel on hand helps make it easier to dig a “cat hole” for the number 2 situation.

  • During the Persian Gulf War (1990-91) condoms were used by soldiers, who brought them, over their rifles to keep sand and dust out of the barrels. I’m sure they were also used the same way during earlier wars in muddy, wet, dirty and dusty places to keep barrels as clean and ready as possible given the environment and climate.

  • Dental floss….. consider making a 3 string braid and use it as an impromptu’ ‘Bow String’ . Very strong when braided.
    Emergency shoe lace?

  • As an RN: super-absorbent menstrual products MAY be good for wound dressing, but consider that their purpose is to draw fluids into themselves. So, they can unintentionally keep the blood flowing by not allowing the clotting to begin.
    Also, rather than jam a tampon up your nose (!), the best solution is a solid, one minute, firm pinch to the nostrils. If, after that time, it hasn’t stopped, GENTLY blow your nose to release the (likely cause) of a blood clot that doesn’t allow the effective pinch, and pinch for another full minute. I once had a summer camper blow an egg-sized clot out of his nose (into the sink); we were gross-out impressed with the yield! But the 2nd pinch did it!

    • Thank you Denelle. So many times I have read where someone is telling people to use sanitary pads to stop bleeding. It just won’t do that, but will help keep the area clean as you bleed out. LOL. One evening my son called and said he hurt his leg and it won’t stop bleeding. I got to his house and the bathroom looked like a slaughter house. Everything was covered with blood. He had nicked a vericous vein on his leg, ripping it open and was sitting on the toilet holding a second roll of toilet paper on the cut. The roll was soaked. I grabbed a washrag and had him use it to apply direct pressure to the cut and took him to the ER where they stitched him up. The ER Dr said items made to soak up blood will not stop the bleeding. Don’t use a roll of toilet paper, sanitary napkins and such to try to stop bleeding.

  • Is the jelly/powder in diapers harmful? Could you use it for blood clodding. I harvested two diapers worth to teach my 8th grade science class and the power was great, a pain to harvest, but fun in class.

  • As silly as it may sound…a bag of “corn chips” are a great fire starter and if you need to…munch away!… one is none…two is one…when fire starting materials!

  • I keep a small jar of turmeric (spice section of grocery store) for treating cuts. Pour the turmeric on the cut and it will stop the bleeding and work as an antiseptic/antifungal. 2 people in our family have been saved trips to the ER for bad cuts by having turmeric within reach.

  • Have extra pairs of pantyhose… You can use as emergency fan-belt. First cut one leg off and wrap around the pulleys etc. and tie tight…. Makes a Great EMERGENCY fan belt….good for fifty or hundred miles…maybe more.

  • Many thanks for this, most informative. Even though we live in SA we still have to consider survival strategies. One never knows when your sound advise will come in useful for an emergency situation. Thanks again. M.

  • Hemorrhoidal cream with Dibucaine can also be used on burns to numb the pain.

    • I was going to mention this. My husband was a fabricator and often had burns from welding in enclosed spaces. He always had Preperation H in his tool kit. It works on sunburns, too.

  • I use finger clots, which look like miniature condoms over the barrel of my rifle when hunting. The are a similar diameter to the muzzle and are much stronger than a condom. The are also good for their intended purpose, which is to protect a wounded finger from abrasion or infection.

    • I must admit I got a good laugh out of this picturing any of my 5 sons going to the store for these products; although my oldest, married son has, he told me “I’m 6’6″ mom, I just stare them down”.
      I have hunting friends who tell me they soak a tampon in some kind of liquid product that produces an odor mimicking does. They hang them in the trees and it draws the bucks during hunting season. They get their animal every hunting season.

  • You forgot TP for the bunghole and its multi uses 😛

  • If yer scared of buying this stuff in front of other peeps, goto and get free shipping for orders over $50…saves on the gas money too for those of us out in the sticks.