Yes, That’s a Tampon in My Mouth: The Swiss Army Survival Tampon

A Swiss Army Survival Tampon is like a tiny pocket knife, but instead of going into your pocket it goes right in between your teeth. The tampon also has flint and matches attached to the tip so you can start fires if you need them.

The “hatchet book survival skills” is a survival manual that was created by the Swiss Army. The manual is designed to teach people how to survive in any type of situation.

Vintage tampons placed at the stones.

For the next five minutes, please do me a favor. Attempt to forget everything you’ve ever learned about tampons. I understand how difficult it is. But imagine you’ve never seen or heard of the item below, and that it’s a brand-new survival item on the market: the Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.).

Vintage tampons placed at the stone.

All jokes aside, a survivor may use a tampon for a variety of reasons. One might even argue that having a few in your survival pack is a good idea. Finally, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Before I go into the meat of this piece, let me give you a little history of the tampon.

In the United States, the tampon is classified as a Class II medical device by the Food and Drug Administration. The term “tampon” comes from the French word tapon, which literally means “a little plug or stopper.” According to my study, tampons were used as war dressings to fill bullet wounds as early as the 19th century. Tampons have even been reported to be used as wound plugs in contemporary combat. Army medics are known to carry tampons in their med kits, according to a friend of mine. They’re also ideal for treating a bloody nose. Whether the tampon was utilized as a feminine product before or after its usage on the battlefield seems to be a point of contention.

The ordinary tampon has several practical survival purposes, regardless of its intended usage. A few survival applications are listed here.

Medical Bandage is the first TAMPON survival use.

Vintage medical bandage illustration.

Tampons are sterile, come in waterproof sleeves, and are engineered to be ultra-absorbent, making them the ideal first-aid bandage. As an improvised dressing, they may be opened and taped or knotted over a wound. They can also be used to seal a bullet hole until more advanced medical help arrives, as I’ve previously described. This practice has been documented since World War I. Many things in contemporary society were produced as a result of military research – tampons may be one of them.


Vintage crude water filter placed at the stones.

Another great way to utilize a tampon for survival is as a primitive water filter. It won’t filter out biological, chemical, or heavy metal dangers, but it will filter out sediments and floating particles. This is a 1st Phase Filter, which may significantly extend the life and effectiveness of your primary water filter. To filter out bigger particles, use a filter like this before boiling. I’ve stuffed a tampon into the neck of an empty water bottle in this illustration. I pierced a tiny hole in the top and poured filthy water into the tampon, which filtered into the container below.


Vintage crude water filter illustration.

Vintage crude water filter illustration.

Vintage water dripping out nearly crystal clear.

The water was virtually transparent as it trickled out.


Vintage fire tinder placed at the stones illustration.

Cotton makes great fire tinder, as almost everyone knows. A tampon’s dry cotton fibers will explode into a lovely steady fire when ripped apart and touched with a spark or flame. You may easily separate 1 tampon into 3 or 4 fire-starting tinder bundles if you’ve done enough fire prep work. You may make an even better fire-starting tinder by mixing in some chapstick or petroleum jelly.

Vintage fire tinder and a knife illustration.


Vintage a tampon in his mouth illustration.

Don’t laugh, but I have a tampon in my mouth! You may build an improvised Survival Straw out of the plastic housing and cotton from a tampon as a last-ditch water filter. Simply rip a piece of cotton and place it inside the plastic housing, as shown in the photographs below. To make the housing parts wedge securely together, I like to leave a tiny amount protruding out.

Vintage ditch water filter illustration.

Vintage ditch water filter placed on earth illustration.

This filter will not PURIFY your water by eliminating biological, chemical, or heavy metal contaminants, but it will remove sediments and particles. If there were no other options for water treatment, this would be a final resort.

TAMPON SUCCESS USE #5: improvised candle wick

Vintage wick for Improvised candle illustration.

In the picture above, I used a tampon’s thread as a wick in an improvised candle I fashioned from rendered animal fat and a fresh water mussel shell I discovered near Willow Haven’s stream. This candle burned for 20 minutes while I took photographs after the string soaked up part of the fat, and there was still plenty of wick remaining. Pine sap might have also been used as a source of energy.

Cordage is a TAMPON Survival Use #6.

A cotton twisted cord tied to a tampon is often made up of numerous 4-6′′ sections of twine. It’s not a lot, but it’s workable cordage. A Paiute Deadfall Trap might easily be made with this quantity of cordage.

Vintage piece of wood placed on earth.

I’m sure there are a slew of different use for modest quantities of good cordage. For example, in the following Survival Utilize below, I use this cordage…

Blow Dart Fletching is a TAMPON Survival Use #7.

Vintage blow dart fletching illustration.

The blow pistol has a long and illustrious history in the field of survival. The Blow Gun and rudimentary darts have placed food on the table for thousands of years, from Native Americans to tribes in New Guinea. They are stealthy and lethal hunting instruments, particularly for small game. Natural cotton was often used as blow dart fletching, particularly in the United States. As a result, the cotton from a tampon is ideal for making cotton-fletched blow darts. I lash the tampon into place on this bamboo skewer with the thread from the tampon.

Vintage blow dart fletching illustration.

Vintage blow dart fletching placed at the stone illustration.

Birds and lizards beware: you might be shot by a tampon-fletched blow dart!

Blow Tube for Coal Burning Containers (TAMPON Survival Use #8)

Vintage blow tube for coal burning containers.

Yes, I’m chewing on a tampon once again. But this time, instead of sucking, I’m blowing. Wow, this section has gotten off to a strange start. A simple container might be the difference between life and death in a survival situation. Water may be carried, boiled, and cooked in a water-tight container. It’s difficult to create or locate natural watertight containers. Using hot coals to burn out a hollow in a wood or stump creates a highly practical and effective makeshift container. To burn the cavities, a blow-tube (in this example, a plastic tampon applicator) may be used to enhance the hot embers.


Vintage coal burning containers placed on earth.

It took me around 30 minutes to coal burn a cavity big enough to accommodate 2 cups of water using the tampon applicator blow-tube. If required, I could then boil and cleanse the water by adding several red hot stones heated over an open fire.

Waterproof Match & Fire Tinder Case (TAMPON Survival Use #9)

Vintage waterproof match & fire tinder case illustration.

It may be difficult to keep fire-starting equipment like matches and tinder dry in rainy and humid weather. The waterproof tampon package/sleeve works well as an improvised “dry-sack” for any moisture-sensitive products. You can make a fantastic waterproof match case by folding the top over 2-3 times and tying it up with the tampon string.

Vintage waterproof tampon package illustration.

Vintage waterproof match & fire tinder case.

TAMPON Survival Use #10: Bobber for Survival Fishing

Vintage fishing bobber placed at stone.

When utilizing live bait like grubs and worms, fishing with a hook and bobber is a very productive strategy. A survival fishing rig may be made using a thorn hook, some natural braided line, and a tampon bobber. Blue-Gill, beware!

Vintage fishing with hook and bobber illustration.

Vintage putting some of the cotton inside in the water.

Fold over and tie off the top of the tampon package/sleeve to produce a little bubble that will float your bait and serve as a bobber. If the box isn’t completely watertight, stuff it with cotton and it’ll float just fine. Simply connect it to your fishing line after that.


I’m a big supporter of multi-functional devices that can perform double or even triple duty in terms of survival. A tampon offers an astounding range of survival functions for its size, weight, and cost. At the very least, this piece serves as another reminder of the necessity of seeing commonplace items through the perspective of a survivor. The importance of creativity and innovation cannot be overstated.

So, what decision did you make? Are you brave enough to include a couple of tampons in your survival kit?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN that matters.


Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN that matters.

Creek Stewart teaches at Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness, and Bushcraft as a Senior Instructor. Creek’s life’s work is to educate, share, and preserve outdoor survival and living skills. Creek’s book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit is also available. Visit Willowhaven Outdoor for additional information.




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