I’ve been out playing in the Wasatch mountains of Utah and found your e-mail when I got back. You mentioned several people had asked about my note on the significance of carrying large paper clips in your backpack. Ah, where have all the Boy Scouts gone?
If you think of all the things you can do or make out of a 5-inch long piece of bailing wire you will get your mind going in the right direction. Some of the uses for a heavy duty paper clip in a wilderness survival situation are; make a fishing hook, make a fish or small animal spear using a stick, make a crude small animal trap or snare, make a needle for sewing, mini soldering iron, pick locks, make a compass, use to start a fire, cauterize wounds, hang meat/fish over a fire, fix various objects, fasten items, etc.
If you go on the web and Google something like, wilderness survival paper clips, you will find page after page of sites listing the various uses, sites listing paper clips in their survival kits, or sites willing to sell you survival kits with paper clips. There is a lot of information out there to weed through. For those interested, I’ve included a few hyperlinks to sites that go into detail on some of the more practical uses such as making a compass or starting a fire instead of writing the directions out here.
Paper clips are something most everyone has around and they are lightweight, small, and have a ton of uses. I can’t count the times I’ve used them over the years for a wide variety of reasons. They’re pretty close on the list to a small spool of duct tape.
One of the other things I was going to mention pertains to using trash bags for waterproofing items such as backpacks or anything else you don’t want to get wet. Trash compactor bags work much much better. They are made of a heavier gauge plastic and are square at the bottom. They fit perfectly in most backpacks or day packs because they are rectangular. They work really well for storing or protecting most anything that has dimension. Also, great for an emergency rain poncho because people are not flat like normal trash bags but have a tendency to have some width to them. Trash compactor bags are not to be confused with Contractor trash bags.
Hopefully this answers some of the questions or at least directs people to where they can find more detailed information. The links are listed below. Take care, – Sharon