11 Ways A Condom Can Save Your Life: Multi-functional survival uses for a CONDOM.

I’ve just come out of hibernation from writing another survival book (details to come soon).  I really need a fun ‘creative’ and not too serious survival project.  I figure since my SURVIVAL TAMPON post went over so well (did you know I was featured on the OFFICIAL TAMPAX FACEBOOK PAGE – my Mom was so proud) I would keep this project in the same spirit.  Hope you enjoy.

Including CONDOMS in survival kits is not a new idea.  People have been packing them in mini survival kits for as long as I can remember – using them primarily as an expandable WATER CONTAINER.  Don’t worry, I’ll get into details later.  While a little taboo, I’ll ask that you set aside any preconceived notions you might have about condoms.  In this post, I’ll argue that as far as  multi-functional survival uses are concerned, the condom offers an incredible BANG for your buck.  Sorry – I couldn’t resist.

I’ll break down the many uses within each CORE SURVIVAL CATEGORY.


As I’ve mentioned, including condoms in survival kits is not a new idea.  They make amazing compact water containers that can hold as much as 2 liters of water if handled properly.  They are, after all, designed to be water tight.  The elasticity of latex condoms is SHOCKING.

These little suckers will stretch to sizes that will surprise you.  Check out how big this one got?

However, while it excels in elasticity, it lacks in durability.  The thin latex walls are very susceptible to sharp objects and puncture.  Especially when filled with water, the slightest prick (even from a blade of grass) will split it open almost instantly.  Then, you’ve lost your water AND your container.  No fear – there is a strategy for carrying water in a condom.  The easiest I’ve found it to take off your sock and fill the condom inside of your sock.  Not only does the sock provide stability but it also provides protection.  It still needs to be coddled like a little baby but it’s not AS delicate.  Other options are to wrap it in a t-shirt and even fill it inside a backpack or helmet.  It helps to stretch the condom a little bit first – kind of like you do when getting ready to blow up a balloon. Condom balloon animals anyone?

A Condom is easier to fill when water is falling into it versus just sweeping it through the water.  In nature, if you can find a little water fall or fast moving water it will make your life a lot easier.  Tie the mouth of the condom off around a stick about the diameter of your thumb.  This way, you can fairly easily untie it.  Just knotting it off with no stick makes it very difficult to open back up again.  You may need to use it over and over again so don’t rush it.

We sell NON-LUBRICATED Survival Kit Condoms in the Willow Haven E-Store.  Here’s the link to order: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/store/products/non-lubricated-survival-kit-condoms/

Just because you’ve collected and contained water doesn’t mean it’s OK to drink.  Once your condom is full, you must now consider purification options.  Boiling is not an option unless you have a metal container.  But, maybe you have a metal container and you’re just using the the condom to transport MORE water from point A to point B.  If so, great.  If not, you can purify the water chemically with Iodine, Bleach (Chlorine) or store bought water purification tablets.  Learn how to purify water with bleach in this POST I WROTE HERE. If you are packing condoms in a small survival kit, be sure to include a handful of purification tablets for a complete water purification system.  Need some great water purification tablets?  I sell some HERE for only $7.98.  Stocking stuffer anyone?  I can see it now, a box of condoms and some water purification tabs sticking out of a Christmas stocking.  There’s something just not right about that picture.

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The most obvious way to use a condom to aid in survival fire is to protect DRY fire tinder.  Just because the weather is great NOW doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.  Finding dry fire tinder in wet and rainy conditions can be very difficult.  Protecting dry fire tinder during inclement weather is very easy – when you have a condom.  Simply stuff the condom with your best tinder and tuck it away for a rainy day.  No rocket science here.

One condom  even protects this entire bracket fungus – which contains a load of excellent natural tinder.

The condom ITSELF also makes excellent fire tinder.  With an open flame such as a match or cigarette lighter, a latex condom will ignite almost instantaneously and burn furiously for several minutes – allowing you plenty of time to build your fire.  Below is a quick video I shot to demonstrate how well a latex condom burns:

But what if you don’t have an ignition source?  Fire requires 3 elements: IGNITION SOURCE (HEAT), FUEL and OXYGEN.  If you don’t have matches or a ferro rod, then I guess you can fill the condom with water and use it as a magnifying glass on a sunny day like this guy did:


Anyone ever tried this?  It’s fall here in Indiana and the sun isn’t hot enough this time of year to make it work but you can guarantee next summer I’ll try it.  But, I’m not going to let NO SUN stop me from getting a fire by using a condom so I resorted to a more primitive method – the thumb loop hand drill.  The hand drill is probably the hardest of all primitive fire starting methods.  Without practice, it can be very difficult to get the right combination of pressure and spindle speed to generate enough heat to create an ember.  However, thumb loops really help facilitate this process.  Thumb loops allow the user to apply more pressure on the spindle and also spin their hands in pretty much one place.  Below is a video of how I used condom thumb loops to help generate a coal with a hand drill set.

I also used a handful of condoms as a engine for a traditional Bow Drill Fire Set.  Notice in the video below that the condom engine replaces the typical BOW in BOW Drill.  I call this  the CONDOM DRILL FIRE by FRICTION SET:



Any other ways you can think of to start a fire using a condom?

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Seriously, how can a condom provide you with survival food?  In more ways than you might think actually…

I’m a huge fan of sling shots.  I’ve been working on a small game hunting post featuring sling shots for several months and this was the perfect opportunity to test out an idea I had – the Condom Small Game Hunter Sling Shot.  Sounds funny, right?  Condoms aren’t that much different from the latex bands that come stock with most small game hunting sling shots.  Remember, your ability to improvise is your most valuable survival skill!

I started my build with a natural tree fork.

After a little detailing and carving I ended up with a nice little pocket sized Sling Shot Frame.


Next, I used 3 condoms on each fork to provide the force necessary to kill small game.  I put the condoms inside each other with a little wad of cattail fuzz at the bottom and used duct tape to hold each condom band on the frame.  The wad of cattail fuzz prevents the condoms from pulling out of the duct tape.

I decided rather than launch imperfect rocks with a leather pouch, I would use a loop of bank line as a anchor point to nock a hand-carved mini dart.  I wrapped the other end of the condoms around the loop of bank line and again duct taped it in place.

Below is a maple branch I used to carve some of the mini dart projectiles.

As you can see, some of the darts are tipped with a Honey Locust thorn using Pine Pitch.  It’s not necessary, but I’m really digging how deadly these darts look, aren’t you?  To see how I make an all natural Pine Pitch Glue, read THIS POST.

Those are some sick looking little arrows aren’t they?  I know what you’re thinking.  Cool looking sling-shot, but there’s no way you can actually kill small game with it in a survival scenario.  Oh, ye of little faith.

In the 1 minute video below, you can see the condom sling shot in action.



Worse case scenario, a condom can be used as a crude rubber glove while dealing with any first aid related issues.  It will protect the wound from your nasty hands as well as protect you from the wound if you’re dealing with someone else.




Protect Your Muzzel

I’ve heard 1st hand accounts from soldiers who’ve attended courses at Willow Haven that they used condoms to protect their rifles while serving in the Middle East.  They would cover the muzzle of their rifle to prevent sand/mud/water from getting inside – very simple and effective.

Fishing Bobber

While there are many natural options for a fishing bobber, a make-shift condom bobber is pretty darn effective.  I’ve found that rather than just tying off an air bubble in the condom, it works a little better if you stuff in some cattail fluff (called ‘cattail down’) instead.  Cattail down is naturally buoyant and also water-resistant so it’s the perfect bobber filling.  Did you know that life-jackets used to be filled with cattail down before synthetic materials were invented?  You may need to know that if you ever want to construct a survival life-jacket!  The cattail down adds a little weight to prevent your bobber from just blowing around in the wind.


Anyone ever seen CAST AWAY with Tom Hanks?  Remember his little buddy WILSON?  I’ve got a survival companion too.  I just call him Lil’ Cody.  He debuted in the sling shot video above when I put a mini-arrow through his face.  He’ll keep you company when you are alone, starving and freezing in the woods while trying to make a Condom Sling Shot.

I have to say, I did feel a little pressure to perform when he was watching me carve out the Condom Hand Drill set below. I always do better in front of an audience anyway.  I think there’s something to this “WILSON” idea.


Ok, so what did I miss?  What other survival uses for a condom can YOU think of?  And, what’s NEXT?  What is another product we can brainstorm for survival functions?

If you like my posts, you will also like my book.  Check it out on AMAZON here:  Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


PS – Buy non-lubricated & no spermicide condoms.  These can be hard to find.  We sell them here: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/store/products/non-lubricated-survival-kit-condoms/


  1. OMG!! I laughed myself stupid reading this! Even better, should a seen my daughters faces when I ask for tampax and a box of Trojans for Christmas. OK, gotta breath now. But seriously, many great ideas I am going to try later. Keep it up,Creek. This post is why your my favorite site!

    • Creek Stewart says:

      Thanks Chris. I'm now picturing TAMPONS & CONDOMS in a stocking. Too hilarious! Thanks for the message. Creek

    • Suzanne Thibault Sullivan says:

      Panty liners would also make great tinder. Though I severely doubt they could show as many uses as tampons or condoms.

      • Jon Tillery says:

        As long as you get plain panty liners, (non scented, no gel inserts or whatever), they are actually very useful. Aside from tinder, they make great wound dressing, placed in a bottle for water filtration, wrapped around a condom as a makeshift water bottle, insulation… to name just a few. The panty liner is humble but highly useful.

  2. Great post. The sling shot video permissions are set to private.

  3. just as the condom stood in for rubber tubing in the sling shot design, it could stand in for rubber tubing as a tourniquet. Also if you filled one with insulation material it could be an emergency cold-weather glove or sock I suppose… also, that is a SWEET sling shot!

    • Creek Stewart says:

      Love those ideas! I see an update coming… Thanks Daniel

    • Jacques Lourens says:

      In the event you need a Tourniquet…will you have time to quickly make such a device? The strength needed to stop arterial pressure is a fair amount & I wouldnt trust my life on something that can so easily break!

  4. Creek…you creative guy you! Great Job!


  5. Do non lubricated condoms even exist? Can you name a few brands so it’ll be easy for me to buy them here in India? And BTW, I’ve used condoms to protect my wallet and mobile phone from the rain.. They are really good in keeping water away from things.. For example, a single condom can be pulled over a medium sized dopp kitt if the backpack is not really water proof. If nothing else, they can be used for shrinkwrapping *everything*..

  6. These are some awesome ideas. Now if only I wasn’t allergic to latex. Hmm. Maybe I will pack them and just have someone else handle them, or just wear gloves.

  7. Thanks Creek for another awesome post. I appreciate your time and effort to write these up thereby increasing everyone’s capability.

    Hey did anybody ever tell you that you look like Hercules (Kevin Sorbo)? I hope your wife looks like Xena! LOL! Hope she doesn’t kick your a** either! Ha! Thanks Creek!

  8. Thanks for all the info, this is all really great stuff that truly helps when we have all bug out. Just a tip for all of us to help out it would a big help to keep a zip-loc bag with a dozen or so butane lighters, a few newspaper come in handy for starting fires(don't take up much space and also act as an insulator in cold weather), a magnifying glass, 8oz bottle of Betadine Solution (a few drops goes a long way), a few tiny rolls of first aide tapes, needle and threads for stitches(dental floss works good too and more resistant to bacterias). I could go on and on,(via flints, fish hooks and line, sterno, paraphen, lets have a bug out bug in session?

  9. Fill it with moss and/or cattail fuzz to make a pillow?

  10. Who knew there were so many handy uses for a condom!

  11. A very unfamiliar use of things but can be helpful.

  12. smart and funny!

  13. Arent condoms usually lubricated, i dont have any first hand knowledge about buying condoms. What are the best to buy?:-):-)

  14. If they are lubed, can you just turn them onside out?:-):-)

  15. A condom would be a great place to keep matches dry.

  16. anonymous says:

    You could always put blow up a condom then use the air pressure to power a blowdart.

  17. Jeremy Schrieber says:

    You sir are a genius. In Trojan"s sensitivity pack they include bonus condoms in travel packs called Trojan2go protective condom cards. These are hard side trays with a soft top they are about the same size as a regular package condom but they are rigid. If they fit in your kit they may be a little more durable than a standard soft sided condom package.

  18. Put a condom on over your socks and another pair over them to keep your feet dry in the wilderness.
    also you can put a small arrow or sharp stick inside 3 condoms pull back and spear small game or fish. a bit faster than making a sling shot if time is important. I wish I could post a video for you, with several more ideas.

  19. Margo van der Leeuw says:

    When our sons were teenagers we would put condoms in their Christmas stockings. Who knew our gifts could have been useful for so many things? Very interesting suggestions. Thank you!

  20. WIN!

  21. DENNIS OGDEN says:

    I had never thought of those uses.It still amazes me how many household items that can be used for survival. The fact that you don`t have to order a bunch of expensive items from a site that is only there to make cash, is awesome. I am glad I seen this link from another real survivalist. look forward t future posts

  22. I’m really surprised you didn’t discuss the issue of spermicide! Very dangerous if food or water is stored in a condom; and you didn’t mention turning the condom inside out, but that is not an easy thing to do.

    !2th way a condom can save your life …. blow one or several up and tie them to naked tree branches so you can be found and rescued!

  23. I have one more for you. I have used this one for meany years.
    To cover your electronics (phone, walkie talkies, etc) and protect them from the water.

  24. Hoy Arukasa says:

    reading this or even by just looking at the photo it made my day to look like this one, 🙂

  25. Mike Kerkado says:

    great ideas here..could anyone tell me if all this can still be done with expired condoms? how about the free ones that are available through the heal dept? would it work as good as trojans?

    • I don’t see why not Mike – for both.

    • I wouldn't trust expired condoms in a survival situation, for the same reason you wouldn't trust them as sexual protection. Expired condoms tend to get brittle and could possibly break at a bad time. Always use "fresh" ones and replace them from time to time as they expire. However, I don't think the brand name would matter too much. Health Dept. freebies should work just as good as, if not better than, Trojan. Just get standard ones, not the ultra-thin, "barely there" kinds.

  26. What are the boots you’re wearing in that last picture? Do you have any boot recommendations?

    • Those are actually a North Face brand boot. I personally like the Vasque brand a lot and have had great success with the several pair that I own. Hope this helps man. The Vasque Sundowners are my favorite.

  27. omg

  28. Jenette Smith says:

    A diaphragm turkey call from a condom, a can and some first aid tape.

  29. They did not cover this in the wilderness survival primer I took 😀

  30. Not useless..if it's all you have to work with, then its all you have and you make do … if you can kill even a squirrel with it then its done its job.. then you can make something better from the squirrel to kill something bigger… so forth and so on… the Indians used to use the intestines as thread for bow strings… really… perhaps you should bother to learn before you open your mouth and show everyone how ignorant you really are…

  31. You can cut them into pieces to use for smaller things, like makeshift o-rings for a fire piston… as for lubricated condoms, just wash them as best you can.. they will still get the job done..

    I wonder if there is anyway you could weave them or knot them together to make a makeshift bow string for a self bow…

  32. You know we had a quote at church one day that hard work is easy work that could have been done earlier. I just wonder what they did teach you at Simi Valley High School? Probably that condoms were only useful to help stop getting girls pregnant. I, personally, think that as funny (or stupid if you think that way) it has certainly put inspiration into a product one normally slings away after it has been used to do the deed. You just have to be clever enough or self-controlled enough not to use them willy (no pun intended) nilly.

  33. Dominic House says:

    Tom Hanks had Wilson in the movie Cast Away. Now we can have Woody!!!

  34. Multi tasking at its best

  35. Coopaloop says:

    You can also put them on your wiener to protect against STDs.

  36. Cianan Josiah Tsali Puckett says:


    No, wait…


    (because Trojans = People of Troy)).

    Yeah, I know, exceedingly lame joke. Cut me some slack wouldja?

  37. All of this sounds great for a small person like me, when I like to just get out for a getta way.It's hard to carry more than a couple bags ya know.Thx.

  38. Jack Carpenter says:

    Why wouldn't you just use a balloons? Thicker rubber and no spermicide.. Ok… I guess…

  39. This is some really good information, I never would have thought a condom could be so useful.

    Thank you!

  40. Ok, so now that I’m done laughing I will say this is Great useful information.

    Thank you1

  41. ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! wasn't surprised though when you said even a little prick can split a condom, always thought so! LOL. love this page, intelligent, resourceful, useful and funny too! keep moving forward, need more, moremore!:)

  42. Having trouble finding non-lubricated survival kit condoms. No worries – we sell them here: http://willowhavenoutdoor.com/store/products/non-lubricated-survival-kit-condoms/.

  43. The best ever use of a condom is…: preventing more idiots from existing!

  44. Thanks for every other informative web site. The place else may just I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a project that I am simply now working on, and I have been at the look out for such info.

  45. John Hay says:

    You forgot number twelve. Use it when having sex with strangers. It will save your life.

  46. Lol, great post. Some time ago top gear was also showing great ways to use condom 🙂

  47. There is certainly a lot to find out about this subject.

    I really like all the points you have made.

  48. Sunnie Cravens says:

    Bought your book, and love it! I am getting my bag together. LOVE the slingshot idea, but I have plenty of rubber tubing leftover from an injury- I’m assuming it will work, and packing it now!

  49. Colleen Whittle says:

    As Hunter Education Instructors my husband and I teach our students to use balloons in many of these same ways.
    A word of caution, if you use a balloon to protect the muzzle of your gun don't leave it on over night, rust builds amazingly fast in wet conditions.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Chris, this is great stuff. For the folks in this thread who have concern about spermicide poisoning – do you realize how much spermicide you'd have to consume to have any reaction? Answer: one quarter cup plus of pure nonoxynol-9/15. Think about what you are presuming, put it into context – this is about survival, not a way of life…geezers guys.

  51. Wilson is a better companion!

  52. The dart thing is a good way to need to use it as a surgical glove.

  53. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. Cheers

  54. for those allergic to latex they also make ones out of sheep's skin.

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  56. What’s up i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due to this good post.

  57. Eddie Rhoads says:

    Could Also Be Used To Cover Food Storage Containers,,,Such As,,,Jars,Bottles,Soup Cans,Salt and So On,,,If You Don’t Have A Lid or Need To Keep Bugs Out !!!

  58. Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this web site regularly, this web page is actually fastidious and the users are truly sharing nice thoughts.

  59. Tammy Cowart says:

    lint from the dryer makes great fire starting material

  60. Explain to your wife why your buying condoms for 'survival'. We need to look at more serious problems in the world….

  61. Michael Cass says:

    Don't forget you can still use it to protect your penis from paracites if traveling through tainted waterways. Similler to its intended purpose lol

  62. Do I have to name my companion “Trojan” instead of “Wilson” in the next Cast Away movie?

  63. many things i did not think about!!!!!! thanks for the info,,will add it to my list!!!!!!!!

  64. Please ask the victom of injury if they have a latex allergy before applying a latex condom to any wound. You would not believe the horrific results of contact !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  65. We used them in the Navy to waterproof blasting caps to time fuse, which then led to C4 or Primacord. We were using them in the water of course.
    Great ideas, I saved it to my bookmarks and will try to integrate this into my mind for future use.

  66. other usage:
    1-mobile phone protection while swimming or crossing river.(put it in one tie it down reverse another for double protection. it allows you to dial and talk while swimming)
    2- garrote if u have a bad cut bleeding arm, (tied around your limb)
    3- in case of a severed finger or ear it can be a protection till hospital(double packed with snow or ice even better)
    4-usage as spring for any device or trap
    5- excellent binding material (multi use)
    6- fruit salad or ice cream bowl .(ifill with water to handball size.melt choclate and butter until soft. allow to cool then dip half way into chocloate melt. pullout and a round choclate bowl wll have formed ) o

  67. You could use it as an emergency tourniquet to stop severe bleeding. Or as a whistle to signal for help, just blow it up and let the air out in a squeal. You could even use Morse code (SOS). This also might scare away predators. I love that it comes sealed in a nice neat little package, great idea for a survival kit.

  68. Rex Crouch says:

    When I was a Paratrooper in Panama, I carried them as back-up water-wings.

  69. Haha, awesome. The companion was hilarious 🙂

  70. Brent F. says:

    Another, more soap-boxey way a condom can save somebody else’s life is if it is used for its intended purpose and prevents the birth of an insane child that goes on a shooting rampage in a school. Prevent a tragedy, put it on before you put it in.

    32 years old and brat-free.

Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on Amazon.com!