Camp Hack: Why A Trash Bag Should Be In Everyone's Pack

The humble trash bag. Commonly overlooked and mistreated, just a means to store and transport garbage without having to touch it.

But the trash bag is much more. It actually has many uses. This article by Craig Caudill over at talks about how a trash bag can come in extra handy in a emergency or survival situation, and it isn't just to put your trash in.

The versatile trash bag should be an item in everyone's pack.

Why Trash Bags are Great for Survival Kits

I don’t know about you, but when I’m deciding whether something should go in my already packed out survival kit, it’s almost always gotta be lightweight, affordable, and multi-use. There are other criteria, durability for example, but these three are important to me.

One of the most useful and versatile items that satisfies these criteria is a simple garbage bag.

But NOT all garbage bags are made the same. So let’s first take a quick look at the types of garbage bags and then consider some uses for them.

How to Select the Right Size and Thickness

Garbage bags are often measured by both the number of gallons they hold and the thickness of the garbage bag wall. You can easily find bags that are 55 gallon size or larger and that is what we recommend.

Now, you can certainly use your regular kitchen bag if that is your only option. But the larger sizes will be able to serve many purposes.

Trash bag thickness is measured in mils. Cheaper bags will have walls 1 mil thick or thinner. This means they won’t last long. So for survival purposes, we recommend a minimum of 2.0 mil – 3.0 mil thick bags (which are often marketed as contractor bags), because the thicker bags can last a LOT longer with minimal care.

Trash Bag Color Matters

There are basically 3 color choices in garbage bags. Black, white and clear. Black bags are usually the ones most readily available in thicker 2.0 mil – 3.0 mil plastic. However, clear bags are best for some water collection tasks. So because of the small size and weight of even the thickest trash bags, it’s not a bad idea to carry one or two clear AND black garbage bags.

For 7 survival uses for trash bags, click here.


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