10 Reasons You NEED Zip Ties In Your Bug Out Bag

Survival uses for zip ties

Preppers Do you Have These in Your Bug out Bag: Zip Tie Survival Uses

Often times called cables ties, zip ties come in various colors and sizes but keep in mind the colored ones weaken faster when exposed to sunlight. Black appears to hold up the best, but you might want a variety of colors that can be used as markers. Have a variety of colors and sizes stored in your bug-out-bag, camping supplies and make sure you have plenty around the home.


1.) If you find yourself out on an icy trail, take the time to attach two or three cables ties around each of the bottoms of your boots to grip the ice. They can be a lifesaver but keep in mind this is a temporary fix. Cleats for walking on ice are widely available and you should consider a set, for your bug-out-bag, one set for your vehicle and one set for around the home.

2.) Use to lash a knife to the end of a stout sapling for a makeshift spear. Use heavy-duty ties for this because they will need to be drawn extremely tight to hold the knife in place. In fact, use the pliers on your multi-tool to pull the cables tight. Cheap cables cannot withstand this type of use so spend the money to get quality ties.

3.) An obvious use of course is for hand restraints. In certain situations, you may need to restrain individuals and cable ties are ideal “handcuffs”. However, the cheap ties can be manipulated and a person can break free. So once again, quality products pay off in the end.

4.) Lost your belt, or are you using it for something else, well no need to use up valuable cordage use a zip tie. Slip a tie through a belt loop and then secure to another loop a few loops away and draw tight to keep your pants up. You will of course have to cut them off later on.

5.) Use as trail markers and this is where the colored ones come in handy. Simply hang on a branch or bush and use colors that would stand out in your environment. Blazing trees is a common practice for marking trails, but not everyone is familiar with this practice but a red zip tie dangling from a bush is recognizable. It is always prudent to plan for such things so everyone in your group knows what to do if separated, and knows what to expect.

6.) Use to lash tarps or ponchos together to make a larger shelter. They can also be used to lash saplings together to form a teepee. Select three poles relatively the same length and lash two together loosely with a large tie while they lay on the ground. Spread the poles slightly, raise them up, and while doing so slip the third pole into the loose tie and stand the poles all the way up. Once the tripod can stand on its own, tighten the tie.

7.) Use to lash splints to a limb that has a broken bone or to any limb that must be immobilized. Leave loose for the first few hours to account for swelling of the limb.

Caution: Some websites recommend using zip ties as tourniquets. This is not recommended and it may do more harm than good in some cases. The ties would be too restrictive, and would cut into the muscle and flesh, and once tightened they would need to be cut off with a knife or wire cutters and this would be difficult if not impossible to do so without creating damage to the limb.

Caution: Some people have used zip ties to secure walking sticks to their hands thinking this will prevent them from losing the stick. This practice however is dangerous, because if you fall and the stick is lashed tight around your wrist this can break your wrist or at the very least cut into the skin.

So-called dummy cords should be loose around the wrist and you should only use cordage. Many times people simply attach 550 Paracord for the looks and do not know why a lanyard is needed. If done properly lanyards prevent the hand from slipping up the handle to the cutting edge. Use them correctly with machetes, knives and axes, and never use zip ties.

8.) Use to secure your pant legs to your legs or ankles to keep pest from crawling up your pant leg. Secure above the boot or otherwise as you walk the pant leg will want to pull up and this get annoying quickly.

9.) Emergency shoes laces if you had to use your laces for cordage. Slip a small tie though several of your boot eyelets and secure.

Reminder: Once drawn tight zip ties have to be cut off so make sure you have the tools such as a knife or wire cutters available to remove. Some of the larger ties that are quality made will take some effort to cut away.

10.) Lash items to your pack, you can even connect a series of ties to together to secure a sleeping bag, tarp, tent or sleeping mat to the outside of your pack. Use to secure items to an ATV as well. Plastic crates that are available practically anywhere make ideal carrying baskets that can be easily secured to an ATV, bicycle or even motorcycle in some cases using zip ties.

More Uses

Color code pack pockets or any container/compartment to remind you. Blue is water (purification tablets, filters) and red is fire (magnesium sticks, matches, lighters) and yellow is signaling devices and so on.

Use to secure lockers, bug-out-bags and other compartments. Unless someone is clever enough to replace your zip tie with the exact one you used, you can tell if someone has been into your locked box or even bag of supplies because the only way to remove a zip tie is to cut it.

Secure lanterns and other lighting devices overhead. Loop a tie around a limb or tent pole and hang whatever you need to. You can also secure food bags up high to keep animals out of your supplies.

Slip a small tie through a zipper loop to make the hard to grab zipper pulls easier to grab and pull.

Let your imagination take over from here, because there are literally thousands of uses for zip ties.