Have you ever used a canteen to catch your next meal or purify water? In this post, we cover 22 different survival uses for canteens.
Our canteens carry a lot of responsibility. It’s got a lot of weight on its shoulders. Their main priority is to hold our water (or whiskey) securely and for extended periods of time, without fail. The success of our water containers holding their own could be the difference between our survival and not.
However, there are also dozens of other survival uses for canteens, which is what we’re going to cover in this post. Here’s the table of content of the different ways you can use a canteen.
Here's What We Cover In This Post
Survival Uses For Canteens
- Water Container
- Signaling device
- Weight at the end of a rope
- Target Practice with Survival Slingshot
- Irrigation Syringe
- Trap Wild Game
- Cooking Container
- Ice Pack
- Heating Pad
- Improvised lantern
- Use it as a drum or other instrument
- Irrigation syringe
- Emergency Bottle
- Improvised Fishing Line Bobber
- Message in a bottle
- Dry Storage
- Makeshift Bushcraft Alarm System
22 Water Canteen Uses For Survival
So make sure you have quality. Get one of the best survival canteens that money can buy.
I’ll mention the obvious one first. Yes, the main function of a canteen is to carry the one essential resource that is mandatory for our survival.
The ability of the canteen to do this one function is the main priority and a canteen should only be considered if it will effortlessly perform that function for us for the long run.
Everything else is “nice to have”. Some other functions could be great. But carrying your water is the priority.
Can’t read your survival knife in time?
Grab your canteen which is probably conveniently located outside of your person hanging from a strap around your shoulder and now you have a killer weapon in your hands.
Sometimes even a cold steel object is better to use as a pillow than to have no pillow at all.
Signal for help by attaching it to some cordage and swing it around to try and get rescuers attention. If you don’t have any cordage, wearing a paracord survival bracelet is perfect to have for this reason. You would have over 5 feet of paracord you could use to attach the canteen with. This will depend on the colors of the canteen mostly. You could bring a bright colored cover for the canteen strictly for this purpose.
Weight at the end of a rope
Attach it to the end of some rope and now you have a weapon or a weight to hold something in place.
Target Practice with your survival slingshot
Put a few rocks or sand in the canteen and it makes s a perfect makeshift target for practicing with your survival slingshot.
What better entertainment could there be in the wilderness than using a water container for a football. Especially if it’s a heavy jugg nade out of steel.
Need a clean a wound and you don’t have the medical supplies with you? Use your canteen to act as an irrigation syringe.
Trap Wild Game
You can use a solid canteen as a hunting trap. Primarily for insects. Imagine being able to get a canteen full of critters to eat.
Now that you caught your wild game with your canteen, now you can use the same canteen to cook it. Even if you just caught critters, insects, and bugs. You can still boil them.
You can use your canteen to cook with, depending on the canteen you have. Which is one of the reasons to invest in a quality, maybe even military grade canteen. One that’s stainless steel.
If you have a plastic canteen that you got at the dollar store for $1, cooking with it might not work so well.
Cool off your canteen by letting it absorb cold exposure. Then you now have essentially a “cold pack” for a period of time. Which is usually just enough time to apply the cold to the back of your neck and forehead to instantly cool off your body during the scorching hot summer months.
If you’re too cool, perhaps it’s still rather cold on your camping trip. Use your canteen to turn it into a mini heating pad.
You can boil water in it to turn up the heat and then apply it where you wish. Also, if you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, put the canteen down by your feet in your sleeping bag and never suffer cold feet again.
Improvise and make a makeshift lantern. A candle or just a lantern is just enough light and produces just enough heat and warmth to make a positive impact for your body if you’re in a cold environment.
Use it as a drum or other instrument
Canteens are a perfect shape for using as a hand drum.
An awkward scenario, but sometimes you need a container to use.
Above we talked about how you can cook with your canteen. Well, it only makes sense to mention that we can also use it for boiling water.
The ability and resources to boil water is one of the most crucial. That means we can heat up water for a multitude of different reasons to have hot water. But we can also purify water by boiling. Huge advantage.
Personally my favorite, Use it to carry your whiskey or drink of choice.
If you’re thinking about what to carry your water in if we’re filling up our canteens with alcohol. Valid thought.
My solution? I pack two canteens. One smaller for the alcohol. The heftier robust one for water.
Improvised Fishing Line Bobber
Need a heavy-duty bobber for your fishing expedition? Using a canteen works well. It’s got the floating capability and the weight to cast your bait out further than you’ve ever cast before.
Message In A Bottle
Perhaps the last resort for sending a survival signal. Write your message, put it inside the canteen, throw it out to the waves and hope.
Probably the second best function behind holding water would be to keep something safe and dry. You can use the canteen to store and keep foods dry.
You can also keep your tinder and matches dry and safe.
Depending on what kind of canteen or water bottle you have. You can use it to start a fire.
The same way you would start a fire with a magnifying glass or start a fire with binoculars. If your container is clear. You can use it as a lense to channel sunlight directly on to tinder.
You can also start a fire with a metal canteen by bouncing the light off of it onto the tinder.
Makeshift Bushcraft Alarm System
Keep yourself safe with your canteen when staying out in the wild. Having an alarm system to defend your home is one thing.
But how many people do you know who can make an alarm system in the wilderness on the spot? What you want to do is have the canteen make a lot of noise.
One method for doing this is to put small rocks inside the canteen. Now just craft a trip wire near where you’re sleeping. The canteen falls, makes enough noise with the rocks to wake you.
Watch this video by The Art of Prepping go through different ways to survive with a canteen.
To recap this guide on all the survival uses for canteens. Make sure you have a quality canteen if you don’t already. Get one of the best survival canteens that won’t break or dull.
Buy cheap matches. Don’t buy cheap water bottles or canteens.
How many different ways have you used a canteen to survive?