10 Ways to Use Cotton Socks for Survival Prepping

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. 

Ways to Use Cotton Socks

This article will be a fun one because I am going to focus on finding multiple ways of using an item that most people wear. Cotton Socks.

 Socks are an important piece of footwear for keeping your feet protected. Some of the following uses may weaken the integrity of the sock or may cause them to be unusable. So you will have to weigh the decision of how to use your gear. Without further ado, here are ten different ways you can use cotton socks.

10 Ways to Use Cotton Socks for Survival

1. Water Filter 

Being able to filter water in the wild can be a bit tricky. But a simple method is to hold an article of clothing, like a sock, over the opening of a water container. Fold the sock over as many times as possible to create layers. This will help to filter out large debris and other sediments. 

2. Water Collection 

Cotton is highly absorbent. It can be used as a sponge to collect water from shallow pools, vegetation with dew, and wet rocks around a natural spring. Soak up the water and squeeze it out into a water container. 

3. Washcloth 

Keeping yourself clean provides several health benefits as well as a boost in morale. A cotton sock is really no different then most washcloths other than possibly being a little smelly.

4. Improvised gloves 

Cold fingers do not like to work properly and sometimes you need to put a little distance between your hands and some object. In these scenarios, a pair of socks could be used as light duty improvised gloves. 

5. Fire Tinder 

On a pair of very dry socks, use your fingertips to pick at the material along the surface. If you do this enough you will be rewarded with a small amount of lint that can be used as fire tinder. 

6. Charcloth 

This use will certainly ruin part of your socks and it works best if you have a metal container with a lid. But cotton can be used to make charcloth which is a very useful fire starting aid. 

7. Bandanna 

Hopefully, you are not wearing ankle socks because longer ones will be needed for this. A sock will not provide full coverage like a bandana but if wrapped around your forehead, it will prevent sweat from running into your eyes. 

8. Bandage

A sock could be cut up to produce several bandages to be used in first aid applications. However, this is probably not a good idea unless the sock is clean, to begin with. A dirty sock could introduce foreign debris and bacteria to a wound. 

9. Signal device 

White socks or brightly colored ones can be tied to a tree or the end of a stick to be used as a signaling device. They will greatly stand out against the natural background. 

10. Fill with rocks 

Sometimes it is helpful to weight the end of rope or cordage for heaving purposes. Fill a sock with rocks, tie it off, and voila! Instant weighted line. 


As you can see socks aren’t just for your feet but can serve you 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.