9 Survival Uses For Zip Ties

Survival minded people look at gear differently than other people. Packing gear that has multiple uses is one driving force behind how we choose what we do. Items that are versatile help to shed weight and save space in a pack.

survival uses for zip ties

Zip ties are one such item. They are cheap, lightweight, compact, versatile in their uses, and durable. These handy little items can often be overlooked which is why I present to you these survival uses for zip ties. 

Crucial Survival Uses for Zip Ties

Firepit Tripod 

In the absence of cordage, a simple zip tie can be used to create a tripod over a fire. A tripod can be used to hang cookware from and makes adjusting cooking temperatures easier.  

Making one of these is very easy. Simply grab three wood poles, stand them upright, and use a zip tie to secure the tops.

Collect Water

Some sources of water can be difficult to collect water from. An example would be a natural spring that is seeping from a rock wall. Often in this scenario, there is no good place to set a water container. Instead here is a handy way of redirecting the water. 

Find a crack in the wall where the water is running over it. Take a zip tie and insert it enough into the crack so that it will be held in place. Then bend the zip down and into the opening of a water container. Some of the running water should be redirected along the zip and into your container. 


Having shelter is one of the most important aspects of a survival situation. In the absence of cordage, a couple of zip ties can be used to secure poles together to help lay the framework for a variety of different shelters. 

Carrying Handle 

Whether it is on a pack or another piece of gear, I have had several straps break on me over the years. A couple of zip ties used together can create a new strap or handle to make carrying gear easier. 


While they will not be as effective as crampons, a couple of zip ties could give enough traction to help in slippery conditions. Secure several zip ties in a series around the tops and bottoms of footwear. While this is not incredibly effective, I have used it a few times with some success. 

Fix a Broken Knife Scale

Years ago I had a scale break off on one side of a knife that I was using, which made it very uncomfortable to use. I did not have a spare knife on and I was not in a position to get another one quickly. But I did have a few zip ties in my pack. 

I replaced the broken scale onto the handle and tied several zip ties tightly around the handle. While the knife was still uncomfortable to use, the zip ties provided a temporary fix so that I could continue to use the knife until it could be properly fixed.  


Threats can come in a variety of sizes and forms. A few zip ties can be used as a means of restraining a threat until such time that safety can be determined. 

Lanyard Loop

A lot of outdoor gear comes with pre-drilled lanyard holes. By threading some cordage through these holes, a loop can be created to help in holding onto a tool or as a means of hanging it up. While not as effective as cordage, several zip ties can be tied in a series to create a similar loop for keeping gear close and organized. 

First Aid Splints

A pair of finger splints can be easily made from tongue depressors or a couple of sticks laying on the ground. Place the splints where they need to be and use zip ties to secure them in place. Caution! Over tightening the zip ties can lead to cutting off circulation or difficulty removing the splints. Snug them up just enough to hold the splints in place.

Wrapping It Up 

From setting up camp, first aid applications, to simply holding your shoes together, zip ties can have a lot of survival uses.

Sound off in the comment section below and let us know some of your favorite uses for this versatile piece of gear. Thanks for reading!

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.