Not Saran Wrap, I’m talking about what is commonly referred to as pallet wrap. I thought there was no way possible that something as versatile and useful as stretch wrap could have been overlooked in the survival community, but after hours of searching it certainly looks that way. I’ve only found a few vague references to other possible uses for it. Today I hope to enlighten you and further prepare you for TEOTWAWKI.
Firstly, it’s a lot of bang for your buck. You can pick up an 18 inch wide roll of stretch wrap that’s 1,500 feet long for less than $15. That’s over 2,000 square feet of material! You can also find them in 5 inch wide rolls, 12 inch wide rolls, 20 inch wide rolls and 30 inch wide rolls. Unfortunately I have yet to find 1 inch or 2 inch wide rolls which I believe would be extremely useful, but I can cut up the bigger rolls on a lathe. So now you have a 1,500 foot long roll of stretch wrap right? Well technically yes but do not forget the name, “Stretch Wrap”. Your 1,500 foot roll can almost triple its length. You actually have about 4,000 useable feet. That’s the better part of a mile out of just one roll. It is extremely compact if you consider how much you’re getting out of such a small package.
Now let’s move on to its possible uses.
The first and most obvious use we all know. Securing loads. Many of us wouldn’t think about using stretch wrap to do that though. We use rope, Bungee cords and tie downs most of the time. Depending on the weather we might use a tarp as well. I’ve found that stretch wrap a lot of the time does a much better job at helping secure loads, as well as keeping them weatherproof. I always keep a roll behind my seat now.
Another great use that I’ve found that’s not related to survival is use as a packing material. To be honest I have not done the math cost wise to see if it’s cheaper than regular packing material. It sure beats dealing with peanuts and packing paper though. And it does an excellent job keeping delicate items from breaking during shipping. In fact whenever pallets get delivered to my company, I save the stretch wrap for use as packing material, so a lot of the time it’s free.
Now I’ll cover its uses as a great survival tool.
One of the most important things for survival is shelter. We all know this. You can actually within a matter of minutes make a quality survival shelter with nothing but stretch wrap and whatever you can find lying around. If you’re out in the woods you can wrap it around a few trees and then make a roof by wrapping it over the walls you just made. You can find a few branches and make a teepee and wrap that. I’ll get into this later but you can make rope to secure the top of the teepee by twisting the stretch wrap up. If you’re in the city you can make a shelter out of almost anything. A bus stop, a few signs, a porch, you can even use a couple cars as supports for a shelter. Your imagination is the only limit. You’ll also get a natural greenhouse effect for warmth with a stretch wrap shelter.
One of the other most important things for survival is water. And believe it or not stretch wrap can be a very important tool in acquiring water. Firstly I did a test to see how well water clings to stretch wrap. It doesn’t. Poor a little water on some and you’ll see it shed off like water on a ducks back. This is useful if you are in an area that hits dew point a lot. You can set up a frame at an angle and wrap it. When the stretch wrap reaches dew point temperature you’ll see moisture collect much like you do on the windshield of a car. All you have to do is set up a water collection device at the lowest edge of the frame and catch it. You can also use a framework wrapped in stretch wrap to channel water that naturally drips from trees or anything else into a collection device. You can also use it for water de-salinization. With nothing more than a bucket, a cup, a rock and some shrink wrap you can de-salinize salt water. I won’t get into its design as you can easily find it on the interweb. I’d rather stay on subject.
Next is rope. I did a quick test with a 30 inch wide roll of stretch wrap to see how well it holds up as rope. I unraveled 4 feet of wrap and twisted it about once every 6 inches for a total of 8 twists. Then I stretched it out. Interestingly it will stretch to 3 times its length when twisted up and stay there. I turned a 4 foot piece of makeshift rope into a 12 foot piece. It held up to 100 pounds of force without breaking. Now think about that 1500 foot roll as rope or lashing material. That’s 4,500 feet of it.