23 Survival Uses For Socks

These Are the Coolest Survival Uses For Socks Ever

If you’re like most Americans receiving socks isn’t a thing to inspire celebration.

Truthfully they’re one of those articles of clothing we take for granted.

Be careful though, you don’t want to overlook the utility of socks. Not only do they make your shoes that much more comfortable, they also have a variety of cool, survival uses you never thought of.

And while I don’t necessarily recommend stuffing your bug out bag or survival kit to the brim with socks; I won’t tell you to skimp out on them either.

Take a look a these 23 interesting survival uses for socks and then see where you might be able to squeeze in an extra pair or two.

Discover 23 Great Survival Uses For Socks

survival uses for socks

1 – Use them as a pre-filter for water:

If you’re being forced to get water from nature there might be a time where you’re forced to get your water from the least appetizing spots.

If the water supply has a high amount of sediment you can use a sock to filter out these bits to make it easier to drink. The tighter the weave of the sock (nylon or synthetic are better for tighter weave) the more sediment it’ll filter out.

2 – Use them as a tourniquet:

If you’re ever injured in such a way that major blood can only be stopped with a tourniquet then socks are one of your best tourniquets.

Longer socks, (3/4 length or larger) should be able to effectively wrap around the largest part of your extremities with ease. The thinner the sock’s material the easier it’ll be to tie once you wrap the area. Remember, with a tourniquet you need to be able to relieve pressure at times so the limb isn’t completely damaged, so make sure the knot you tie is one you can untie with ease.

3 – Use it to hold ammo:

If you’re traveling with ammo and don’t want to carry a clunky ammo tin with you then a sock will work well. Just dump your ammo inside and then tie the top to keep your ammo secured enough so it doesn’t spill out everywhere.

4 – Use it to make your gun sling comfier:

If you’ve got a hunting rifle with an uncomfortable sun sling you can slide an old sock over the sling to help take pressure off the sharp corners of the sling.

5 – Use them to clean your gun:

A gun needs to be kept clean if you want to make sure it works the next time you use it. An old sock makes a great gun cleaner. The best news is you don’t have to use the whole sock for this purpose.

To get the most out of your sock just cut off the top 2 inches of the sock with a sharp knife and you can use that swatch of cloth to clean out the barrel, the chamber and other components.

6 – Use them as pot holders:

Odds are if you’re in a SHTF situation you’re going to be doing a fair bit of cooking either on a campfire or in a fireplace (see my blog post on off the grid cooking techniques).

Well off the grid cooking is going to force you to handle hot items. So to keep your mitts burn-free you can use socks as pot holders. I recommend using socks made of natural threads and fibers (wool, cotton) as synthetics can catch fire when exposed to high heat.

7 – Use them as a hot pack:

If you hurt yourself and need a hot pack to help ease the pain then a sock can help. Take a sock made out of wool or cotton, stuff it full of dried beans, or small pebbles and tie off the end. Then place it about 12-18 inches from a fire, just far enough away to where it’s being heated by the fire but isn’t being pelted with sparks.

Let it sit there for a few minutes, long enough so the beans or the rocks start to get warm and then grab it by the tied off top and gently test to see if it’s so hot it’ll burn you. When it’s the right temperature then you can place it on your injury to help with all natural, heat therapy.

8 – Use them for the base of shoes:

If you have some duct tape, and some socks, you have a pair of shoes. Mind you they’re not going to be the best shoes on the planet, but you can use them for a moderate amount of use. Just put your socks on and then tape the bottom of the soles several times over.

Don’t wrap the socks completely in tape. Just take strips long enough so they wrap over the sole of your foot (width wise) and then meet on the top of your foot. Leave about an inch or so of sock on the top of your foot exposed so you can get back out of it when needed. If you’re worried about the sock falling down then pull your socks up as high as they go and then take a strip and tape it around your ankle to keep them from falling down.

9 – Use them as an acorn sieve:

I wrote about acorns being an incredible survival food some time ago. Turns out one of the things you need to help make acorns edible is a sieve.

Basically you stuff acorn meat into a sock and then set it in a body of moving water to help strip them of their bitter tannins.

10 – Use them for self defense: 

A sock that’s got a heavy rock in the end can serve as an instrument of self defense.

This is easy. Take a long sock, longer than 3/4 length, and put a 5-9 oz. rock in the end. Then swing it as hard as you can while creating a whip like motion to deliver a powerful blow to your assailant.

11 – Use them as emergency markers:

Have you ever gone in the woods and started wandering around for a bit only to find yourself lost momentarily?

Well carrying bright socks with you is a great way to ensure you can find your path. Using bright colored socks like orange, red, yellow, or pink you can cut small slivers off of the sock and then tie them onto trees to mark a path. Doing this you can find your way back to camp and/or help mark the location of something you want to find at a later time.

12 – Use them for fire starting:

You can use some of the fibers from cotton socks to help catch a fire. This of course is a last resort, but if you needed a fire to start quickly and can’t find dry tinder but have a dry sock this will work quite well.

If you happen to find some pine resin you can rub your sock with that to help keep the sock burning a little longer. Cotton and wool are better than synthetics for this use.

13 – Use them for containers:

Like I mentioned above in the bit about holding ammo you can also use socks to hold other items. This could be batteries, flashlights, food, etc. Socks make great containers and since they can be tied off they’re quite secure.

14 – Use them as TP:

If you’re in the wilderness and need to take care of business the remnant of an old sock can help with that. If you want to use the sock again and you’re near running water you could wash the sock out.

If not then it might be game over for your once beloved sock.

15 – Use them as mittens:

Obviously socks are great on your feet, but if you have an extra pair you can use them to keep your hands warm too. Fingers do much better when they’re touching one another, and a pair of socks on your hands can do wonders to help keep frosty conditions at bay.

16 – Use them as a pillow:

If you have a pair of socks then you have a neck roll or a pillow. Just put the socks together and rest your weary little head.

17 – Use them as a snare:

If you don’t have any cordage around you can use the cut up length of a sock as a snare. To see how to make a snare follow this link to a blog post I wrote on the subject.

18 – Use them as sweatbands:

You can either cut a portion of the socks off to create sweatbands around the wrists, or you can tie a sock around your head to keep sweat out of your eyes.

19 – Use them to repair ripped clothing:

That’s right, you can unravel lengths of your sock and use the threading to help repair other clothing items. If you’re using synthetic socks for this purpose you can ‘reseal’ the sock by burning the end of the thread back to the sock so it melts back to itself.

20 – Use them for pets:

If you have pets traveling with your group you can use the socks to protect their paws. While it’s preferable you wear the socks to protect your feet first, you can still do the same for them.

21- Use them to keep arms warm:

If for some reason you failed to pack long sleeve clothing, or just want to keep your arms even warmer, you can cut two slits in the bottom of your socks that’ll act as sleeves and help your hands stay extra warm. One slit will serve as a thumbhole, the other slit will be for the rest of your fingers.

22 – Use them as boot gaiters:

Socks on the inside of your boots makes sense, and socks on the outside make sense as well, especially if you’re trying to keep things out of your boots. Just cut the bottoms off of socks and then you can pull the socks over your boots and pant leg which creates a nice, tight seal to prevent rocks, sticks, and critters from getting in your shoes and up your pants.

23 – Use them as a dust mask:

If you’re in an area that’s got a lot of dust, smoke, or ash in the air then wrapping a sock around your mouth and nose can make breathing a little bit easier.

By no means an emergency rated air filter, it’s still better than nothing.

What Other Uses Can You Think Of For Socks?

If you can think of any other survival uses for socks don’t hesitate to include those in the comment section below.

One thing I wanted to point out has to do with tip #23.

While using socks as an emergency air filter might be a good idea in an improvised situation, socks don’t have nearly the protective power as items designed specifically for the job.

I recommend everyone have some kind of disaster rated air filtration on hand.

The air mask featured below is great if you want to keep safe from things like Ebola, airborne toxins and more.

Click here or on the image below to discover why this is essential survival gear.

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