10 Survival Uses for an Aluminum Can

One of the biggest challenges of any survival situation is overcoming the limited gear or items on hand. Being able to think outside of the box and to find multiple uses for a single item will be a very helpful ability. 

Uses for an Aluminum Can

This article will be a fun one because I am going to focus on finding multiple ways of using an aluminum can. Aluminum cans can be found as trash that is unfortunately found throughout nature. If you happen upon one of these, here are ten ways that you can repurpose it.

1. Lantern

It is a good idea to pack a candle into every survival kit that you have. But having a way to carry it and to collect all of the wax can be tricky. Cut the top off of a can or into the side to create a candle holder or lantern.

2. Water collection

Water, water, water. We all know that water is absolutely critical to survival. But having a way of collecting and transporting it is also just as important. Clean out the inside of a can and use it for these purposes.

3. Pot

Now that you have collected water, you need a way to boil it in order to make it safe. An aluminum can provides a way for you to do just that. It can also be used as a very small pot for other cooking purposes.

4. Signaling Device

A shiny piece of metal that reflects sunlight can be used as an effective signaling device. Use any kind of abrasive material that you can find, sand, or gritty soil, to polish up those metal surfaces.

5. Fire Starter

Yes, aluminum can be used to start a fire, although it is not easy and it requires a lot of patience. Use any abrasive material that you can find, sand or gritty soil to polish the bottom concave portion of the can. When positioned just right, the can will collect and reflect sunlight onto a tinder bundle. Much like a magnifying glass.

6. Fish Hooks

With the right tools and a lot of patience, the pull tabs on the top of a can, can be fashioned into light duty fish hooks.

7. Fishing Lures

The side of an aluminum can be fashioned into spoons. When attached to fishing line, these shiny pieces of metal can be used as lures to attract fish.

8. Contain Fire

Fire safety should always be on your mind. In extremely dry regions the upmost care should be taken when having a fire. Use the can as a means of containing the fire and hot coals. It can also be used to transport coals to a new fire site.

9. Cutting Tool

With the right tools and materials, the sides of an aluminum can, can be fashioned into a cutting tool or a tool for carving.

10. Collection Container  

Picking up insects for a snack? Find some fire tinder along the path? What about a nice cache of wild blueberries? Some items are not all that great to carry in your pockets. Cut the top off an aluminum can and use it as a container to carry items you find along your journey.

Wrap Up

As you can see, aluminum cans are not just for holding a cold beverage that can be used in several other ways. Thinking outside of the box will allow you to use the items you have to their fullest potential.

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.