10 Ways to Repurpose an Aluminum Can for Survival

I love repurposing items because it keeps the mind sharp and ensures that the items on hand are used to their fullest potential. 

repurpose an alumnum can

Trash is found around the world throughout nature. And aluminum cans are among that garbage. So, whether you happen upon one or want to use these methods at home, here are 10 ways to reuse an aluminum can.

10 Ways To Reuse an Aluminum Can

1. Emergency Stove 

There are several different designs out there for this purpose and one of my favorites is the rocket stove. But to keep it simple, poke some air vents along the bottom and cut out some tabs around the top. Instant camp stove. 

Check out our detailed review on the best survival stoves on the market.

2. Collection Container

What is an empty soup can if not a small bucket? Use it to collect and transport water, food, bait, tinder, etc. If you poke two holes around the top you can even create a fancy carrying handle. 

3. Knife 

After opening a can of soup have you ever cut your finger when attempting to remove the lid? Yeah, I have. Those edges are sharp! A little flattening, rework, and a handle may be in order but the lid can be made into an effective cutting tool.

4. Arrowhead 

Survival Bow and Arrow

As I just mentioned a soup can has some pretty sharp edges. With the right tools, a simple arrowhead can be created. Though due to the soft metal it may only be good for one-time use. 

5. Fishing Lures

There are all sorts of lures that could be made from this material but the easiest would probably be a simple spoon lure. A spoon lure is a shiny piece of metal that spins when it is pulled through the water. This will create flashes of light that attract larger fish. 

6. Portable Insect Repellent

Insects like flies and mosquitos can be pretty annoying. But in large numbers, they can severely interfere with the task at hand. The best insect repellant I have ever found is smoke from a fire. An aluminum can provides a way of transporting fire anywhere. When the insects come out, throw a few green leaves into the fire canand watch them quickly disperse. 

7. Cooking Pot 

I do not think this use requires much explanation. If you find yourself without a proper cooking pot, use an aluminum can for boiling water, making tea, or for creating a fine stew for dinner. 

8. Fish Trap 

This would work best with a larger can but a smaller soup can will work as well. Use a pair of cutters to create individual tabs around the top. These tabs can then be pressed inward and left at an angle, creating a funnel. Anchor the can in a water source and when small baitfish swim in, they cannot swim out. 

9. Security System 

A very simple early warning system can be made with an empty can, some rocks, and a bit of cordage. Puncture two holes opposite each other at the top of the can. Thread some cordage threw and anchor the line off in the area you want to be monitored. Place a few rocks in and you are done. When something comes along and disturbs the line, it will move the can and rocks around creating, creating a very distinctive sound. 


Digging by hand or with a stick is not much fun. And to be honest digging with a soup can is not that much fun either. But in the absence of a proper shovel, an aluminum can is better than the first two options. This works best in snow, sand, and with softer soils.

Check out reviews of the best survival shovels.

Wrapping it Up

Next time you see one of these empty cans, you will now have ten different ways to look at it. Thank you for reading and if you have an interesting way of repurposing an aluminum can let us know in the comment section below.

Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021. Read more of Bryan's articles.