25 Century Old Survival Hacks

Life was harder in the old days, and people had to do a lot more to survive. Our lives today are relatively easy, and a lot of the useful knowledge from back then has been lost for most people.

Luckily, some of these old school survival hacks are still around. Today, I’ll share with you some of the survival hacks from the “How To” cards that came with Ogden’s Cigarettes over 100 years ago.

#1 Cutting Down a Tree the Easy Way

After you’ve picked what tree you want to chop down, start chopping like you normally would, but stop halfway through. Then, start chopping on the other side a few inches higher. Finally, pull the tree down with a rope.

#2 Extracting a Splinter Quickly and Painlessly

Pulling out a splinter the normal way can be painful and can even make it worse. Instead, fill a bottle with hot water almost to the top and press it firmly against the splintered area. The steam will loosen up the splinter and the suction will pull it out.

#3 Surviving a Thunderstorm Without Shelter

We instinctively seek shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm. However, standing under a tall object such as a tree can actually be more dangerous.  The safest option is to lay low in a ditch underneath some low-growing bushes.

#4 The Easy Way to Stop Your Glasses from Getting Foggy

Try rubbing your glasses with soap and then polishing them afterwards to prevent them from getting foggy. This works because even after polishing the soap off, the thin film that remains prevents condensation from forming on the glass.

#5 Making a Water Filter With No More Than a Simple Bucket

Take a zinc bucket and cut a hole through the bottom, and fit a small pipe through the hole. Add the following materials in this order: large stones, small stones, coarse sand, and fine sand. The water that flows through to the bottom will be clear.

#6 Cleaning the Inside of a Glass Bottle

Cleaning the inside of a narrow-mouth bottle can be a pain, but this simple trick makes it much easier. Add some sand and water to the inside of the bottle and then shake the bottle. Afterwards, wash the bottle out and let it dry.

#7 Build a DIY Water Fountain for Your Chickens

Building a simple water fountain for your chickens will give them a continuous supply of fresh water so you don’t have to get them fresh water every day. Fill a bottle with water and secure it against a plank. Tip it upside down and place the mouth of the bottle in a bowl filled with water. When the water gets low, the bottle will automatically release water until the mouth is covered again.

#8 How to Automatically Water Your Plants

This is a cool hack that will free up a lot of your time. Fill a bucket with water and place it above your plants. Place some strands of wool in the bucket and place one end of the wool at the base of each plant. The wool will automatically siphon water from the bucket to the soil without you having to do anything.

#9 Preserving Eggs Without a Refrigerator

To preserve eggs without refrigeration, you’ll need to use freshly laid eggs. If you raise your own chickens, you can have fresh eggs all the time. Bury the eggs in a box of dry salt and store them in a cool place. The eggs can’t be exposed to air for this to work.

#10 How to Defend Yourself Against a Dog Attack

Dogs can be intimidating, but their method of attack is very predictable. The dog will always try to get rid of your method of defense before biting, so holding a piece of clothing out on a long stick will cause them to attack that first. Give the dog a forceful kick while it’s distracted.

#11 Treating Animal Wounds

Tie a cloth tightly between the bite and the rest of your body and cleanse the wound. If you suspect the animal had rabies or another dangerous virus, cut away the surrounding flesh with a clean knife and then cauterize the wound with hot metal.

#12 Safely Removing Debris from Your Eyes

Removing debris from your eyes with your finger increases the possibility of infection. Instead, add a few drops of castor oil to your eyes and the debris will wash out. You can also use water mixed with a small amount of weak vinegar.

#13 Treating Sprains

Raise the injured joint above body level and wrap the sprain in a cold cloth. Gently rub the sprain with oil as it gets better. See our article on sprains and broken bones to discover exactly what you should do in this situation.

#14 Detecting a Gas Leak Without Risking Lighting a Match

Some people try to find gas leaks by lighting a match and watching the flame, but this method is very dangerous. Instead, mix soap and water together and spread it over the pipe you think is leaking. If it’s leaking, you’ll see bubbles forming at the point of leakage.

#15 Picking Up a Lost Trail

If you’re tracking an animal or a lost family member and lose the trail, try this technique. Treat the last footprint as the center of a circle and walk around it at varying distances. You should rediscover the trail at some point. This technique covers all the ground and helps you keep track of where you’ve been, rather than searching randomly.

#16 How to Light a Match Even in Strong Wind

It’s difficult to light a match in the wind, but it can be made easier by splintering the wood of the match near the striking end with a knife. When you strike the match, the splinters will instantly catch on fire and create a stronger flame.

#17 Curing Catarrh Without Medication

Breathe in a pinch of regular table salt through your nostrils. Then, gargle warm water while being careful not to swallow any. Do this once a day and the mucus should clear up.

#18 Building a Simple Shelter

Drive two forked sticks into the ground and lay a long stick between them to create the structure of your shelter. Then, lay additional branches against your structure to create a slanted wall. Start out with larger sticks and work your way down to smaller twigs and leaves to plug up holes.

#19 How to Rescue Someone from a Fire

Here’s what to do if you have to enter a burning building to rescue an unconscious person. Tie a wet cloth around your head so it covers your nose and mouth. Crawl through the building on all fours to stay low to the ground where there’s more oxygen. Tie a rope around the ankles of the unconscious person, and tie the other end around your chest and shoulders. Turn around and drag them out.

#20 The Top 3 Most Useful Knots

The timber hitch lifts heavy objects such as logs. The fisherman’s knot joins two separate ropes tightly together. The clove hitch gets tighter the more force pulls on it.

#21 Using Your Analog Watch as a Compass

Hold your analog watch in your hand and point the hour hand at the sun. Pick a blade of grass and lay it crosswise between the hour hand and the number 12. The end of the blade of grass will point South.

#22 Pulling Out Long Nails

Sometimes nails are too long and you can’t get enough leverage to pull them out. Simply place a block of wood underneath your nail puller and use it as leverage.

#23 How to Preserve Gas When Cooking

Gas stoves produce more heat than is needed for cooking most of the time. Instead of turning on multiple burners to heat multiple things, try this simple trick. Lay a large baking sheet across the stove and turn on only one burner. The baking sheet will spread the heat to everything else on the stove.

#24 Keeping Flies Away

Want to keep those pesky flies away? Try sprinkling a bit of borax powder on your garbage once per day to keep them from breeding.

#25 An Easy Way to Purify Water

Consider carrying a tablespoon of powdered alum with you. Simply dump it in a vat of water of up to 20 Gallons and wait a few hours. The water will then be purified.

If you want an even easier way to get clean drinking water, you need to check out this cool little filter. It’s one of the most powerful filters on the market and it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.


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