My Bug Out Bag Has A Secret…

Feature | My Bug Out Bag Has a Secret

That’s right, the secret weapon in my bug out bag is pantyhose. Er, maybe I should call them “man-tyhose.” But after you stop laughing you might want to read on to see just why I keep these in my bug out bag. You may just find yourself grabbing a few pairs afterward.

If you are heading out for a weekend camping trip or a disaster is on its way and you need to hoof it on foot to get out of dodge, make sure you always have a few pairs of these in your bug out bag list. It might not be a very manly thing to carry, and I get a few funny looks when I step up to the counter at CVS with a pair of pantyhose, but this is survival planning and you looking manly is trumped by being prepared.

Bug Out Bag | Survival Uses of Pantyhose

Bug Out Bag | Survival Uses of Pantyhose | My Bug Out Bag Has a Secret



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Practical and Functional

Not only are these affordable to buy, but there are dozens of alternative uses for them. They also take up practically no space. Check out the list below for a small sampling of what these can be used for:

  • You can wear pantyhose as an extra layer beneath your normal clothes to keep warm in cold weather.
  • Use pantyhose to prevent bites and stings. Wear pantyhose under your shorts or pants to protect against chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects.
  • If you are going to be trekking through water, wear them to protect yourself from jellyfish stings and leaches.
  • Stretch a pair of pantyhose over a “Y” shaped branch or stick and use as a skimmer or a fishing net. You won’t catch a 10lb catfish in this, but you may be able to pick up a few smaller fish to eat or use as bait for a larger fish.
  • Use pantyhose to secure bait while fishing. Place bait in the pantyhose and secure it to a tree or anything sturdy in order to keep from losing bait while fishing.
  • Use pantyhose as a pouch or bag to carry things.
  • Use pantyhose to fasten or bind things together instead of twine or bungee cords.
  • You can use pantyhose as a belt to keep your pants hiked up.
  • In first aid, you can utilize pantyhose as a tourniquet or to hold and/or secure a bandage or hot and cold pack.
  • Use pantyhose as a first-round filter to strain any collected water. The water will still need to be treated or boiled but this first line of defense will help to clear the water of any large particles.
  • Use pantyhose to prevent blisters. I saw a lot of comments in one of my previous articles about using pantyhose to keep your feet blister-free and I just wanted to highlight it again here. Cut the feet off of a pair of pantyhose at the ankles and wear them under your socks. They will help cut down on the friction between your shoe and your foot, thus reducing the risk of blisters.

Pantyhose look terrible on men, plain and simple. They were never designed for us. But the great thing about them is they are extremely stretchy and most have a sizing guide so you can take a guess at the size you should buy.

I’m not saying these should be worn on a regular basis, but in a survival situation, the benefit of having those in your bug out bag checklist outweigh any blow your pride may take when purchasing them. And if you really can’t break down and buy a pair of them for yourself, I’ve actually seen a few places that sell them in camouflage for the real manly man.

Check out these top 10 forgotten bug out bag items by Survival Know How:

These are just a few examples of what a little ingenuity can bring you in a survival situation. If you have the extra cash you can always buy under armor, but when you can get 10 pairs of pantyhose for the cost of 1 pair of under armor, I would rather save my money for something else.

Are you man enough to include pantyhose in your bug out bag? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Up Next: The 6 “Unbreakable Laws Of Survival” You Need To Know

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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86 Responses to :
My Bug Out Bag Has A Secret…

  1. Richter says:

    Great Idea, I see that a Suggestion I made years ago to one Survivalist leader, has made it’s Rounds, So I take no credit for it. A womans Kotex or Tampon, Has a great many uses. from First-Aid to Fire Starter,Water Filters, Torches, Smug-pots, Wicking for Alcohol Stoves & Heaters, Cami-Face paint Applicator, Washing,In place of rag, Sweat-bands, Bleeding Bandages, Puncher-wound, In-certs(Tampons)or use the Plastic tube for,”Air-way tube”,As well as making Fishing Lures.
    As with the pantyhose, There are Many things that a Tampon can be used for, Your only limit is your Imagination.
    ———————————————————————— Guys, NEVER Forget, That Gal your with, May be Carrying a big purse, Great!! DO NOT Toss it aside, Everything inside that typical Purse has a Host of other uses, Including the purse itself! For Example, Lip Stick, is great for Chapped Lips, Perfumes can be used as a Lure for trapping or Escape & Distracting an Enemy. Pens Galore, Have multi- uses. Tissue = fire Starter, Make-up kits contain mirrors. Those Wire or spiral notebooks, The steel wire can become a Life Savor, if you know how, as well as a weapon for taking life!
    A Funny Note just accrued to me,The TSA = Those Stupid Asses, Let millions of women fly every day, While Not Knowing that each woman is a walking, breathing, arson-el?!( My spelling is off I’m sure),
    ON Average,1 Woman + 1 Purse = Nearly unlimited Weapons of DEATH! How’s that for our MALE PRIDE, Just Don’t Allow the women in your life to know these truths, or you’ll never hear the last of it!!

    1. Rick says:

      We used large feminine pads with long strngs to clean M79 genade launchers. They sere a great fit to the barrel.

    2. Quester55 says:

      Richter, Not a common name, these days, Great advice, Sounds like some of my own that I gave to a much younger Richter, many years ago.
      Ever live in Michigan?, it’s a great state for putting ” Survival Practice ” too work.Have you’ve ever tried to make a Bolo out of p-hose ?, I did when I was younger. Works darn well at catching Rabbits, or scaring off other dog packs, from time to time.
      I once had family in Barryton, but lost all track.
      Have a great Bug Out When it comes.

    3. Wanda says:

      No judgment here. Do what you have to do. I salute the military and what they give for our country everyday, so if a few pairs of pantyhose will help keep all soldiers (male and female) safe, then hell, I’ll send them some.

      Oh and how many things have we as women been confiscating from men for years. I personally love big men because with big men come big shirt that I get to snuggle in. Men’s socks cover more leg and remember it was not females who started wearing jeans, I believe we got that from men as well. So, if all we as women can give are a few pairs of panty hose for safety and protection, then that’s a small price to pay for the wonderful wardrobe you’ve given us.

    4. Michael says:

      I use something very similar to the nylon hose fabric when scuba diving in a wetsuit, called a Dive Skin Jumpsuit, and under my cross-country ski suit, when cross-country skiing, to reduce friction and prevent skin rashes, especially under the arms and in the crotch. Anyone who is a fan of Dr. Strangelove, circa 1963, would probably remember that nylons and condoms, among other essential items, were part of the Air Force, Strategic Air Command, Survival Kit.

  2. gena says:

    Hey guys, if you don’t feel good buying pantyhose yourself, get the wife, daughter or girl friend to buy them for you. Women who care will understand. And we could probably pick the right size for you better than you could, since we buy them all the time.

    1. Steve Thomas says:

      Ya, and it will help make up for the times we men have had to buy tampoons etc for the wife. Especially because thay always call for a price check.

  3. janey says:

    Well I hope my old man doesn’t read this. I have a hard enough time keeping him out of my pantyhose as it is. Just give him more of an excuse, and I will never find a pair to wear.

  4. Sean says:

    This is actually an old field trick we used in the infantry, and it certainly works against chiggers, ticks and such! It’s still a sound tip today, so good post Joe. Most people don’t know about it, but then how many grunts are going to tell you they wore pantyhose from time to time? Avon’s Skin So Soft is also effective at repelling many annoying insects. So don’t be ashamed of a few “girlie” products in your field pack!

    1. Irish-7 says:

      You beat me to it, Sean. Grunts have used nylons for decades, even before I enlisted in the Airborne Infantry in 1980. Nylon creates friction, generating heat. It also dries quickly after you sweat. Some ground-pounders claim that nylon prevents blisters, too. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Ray Johnson says:

    Going horse riding? Pantyhose will prevent chafing, wear them under your pants, no body needs to know. The inside of your legs can become red raw and the pain is dreadful, wear pantyhose, problem fixed.

  6. 1) Put a garbage bag over each leg
    2) put on pantyhose
    3) Instant Waders!

  7. CW says:

    Pantyhose material makes excellent paint strainers. Use a large funnel and clothes pins.

  8. cindy says:

    This isn’t for survival per se, but I’ve always used strips of pantyhose to tie plants to stakes in the garden. And, to tie vines w/ heavy fruit like melons and those ginormous Butternut squash to the mesh fence. Great post! I’ll remember that as I declutter to make room for our preps, to keep the pantyhose I no longer wear!

    1. Toni Smith says:

      who says that is not survival Cindy. growing your own food sure is as one of its most basic levels

  9. janey says:

    Good greif. Have we forgotten the biggest use of panty hose. What do you pull down over your face when you rob the bank to get the money to buy your survival goodies.

  10. Rick says:

    1. Have you ever heard of using these to keep fallout out of engines after radiation events or Nuclear explosions. If the engine gets irradiated then servicing the engine could get problematic. Put it over the air intakes for engine and passenger area.
    2. Use panthose to keep volcanic ash out of auto engine. Put it over the air intakes for engine and passenger area.
    3. Use for covering mouth and nose. Also a bandana can be used for the face.

    1. Kate says:

      I ran a taxi company in Washington when Mt. St. Helens erupted. We kept the ash out of our engines by wrapping panty hose around the air filter canister.

    2. Stef says:

      A mechanic friend of mine told me to keep a pair in my vehicle to use as an emergency belt if I have one to break. Has to tied tight but will work in a pinch.

  11. Dave says:

    How about using them to catch crabs?

    Meat, the more rancid the better, goes inside. Place it into the water, pull it up periodically. The crabs come to investigate the bait, and the fabric holds the claws long enough to pull them out of the water.

  12. EM says:

    They sell knee high hose in queen size that work well with socks tokeep yeet warm. we would put on a cotton sock, the knee high and then a wool sock, when we were going duck hunting.

    1. WS says:

      Do you not find that this makes your feet slip too much inside the boot? I found some knee-highs that were nylon on the outside, and slightly fuzzy on the inside. Thought they’d make a good no-bulk layer to prevent blisters, but they slipped around so badly inside the sock I put over them that my footing was compromised… which is sort of an issue when you’re taking closeups of rattlesnakes on an unstable scree slope…

      1. Dienekes says:

        Your footwear does not fit properly. Consider insoles or orthotics for correction.

  13. WS says:

    Urban survival — Panty hose can serve to temporarily replace a broken belt in an engine — maybe for long enough to escape the zombies and get to someplace where you can scavenge a real belt. 😉 Seriously, though — it can save you a lot of trouble in a middle of nowhere winter breakdown, even if only to be able to run the engine intermittently for heat, or to charge a battery.

    1. Lynne says:

      The V-belt on our RV broke while on the interstate. My hubby thought I was crazy when I took of my pantyhose and tied them around the pulleys! Changed his tune when it got us off the interstate to an auto parts store!
      Also once used a bobby-pin (hair pin) to temporarily replace a broken cotter pin on the clutch linkage.

      1. JOHNNY says:


  14. Tony says:

    Used these all the time in the Army on long ruck marches to keep blisters off my feet.

  15. destiney says:

    great tip and i’m still laughing picturing my hubbs in fishnets… lol not the same thing but im bad like that

  16. sandy says:

    Thanks for all the good tips for using panty hose. They are the best tings for emergencies. Just would like to add that I broke a belt on my car once and used panty hose to make a belt. They worked real well and 2 days later were still working until the mechanic put a new belt on. He said that he would have never thought of using panty hose. Would like know if you have ever tried this. Send me an e-mail.

  17. Debi says:

    This is not really a survival hint for panty hose but when i buy a large bag of onions i use my old panty hose to store them in. I drop one in down to the toe and tie a knot then add the next onion, tie a knot and so on. Hang to store in a cool place and when you need one cut one off starting at the bottom, working your way up.

    1. JES says:

      Debi: That is the best KITCHEN tip I have EVER heard for storing onions!
      THANK YOU!! BTW, I consider anything that will help improve storage of onions for cooking a survival tip as well. Gee, I guess I’d better go through all those old pantyhose and knee highs in that overcrowded drawer and select some for my bug-out bag. Since nowdays I only wear them for weddings and singing on stage, there are undoubtedly lots that could be scarfed up for prepping. And, well, this is not a survivalist technique, but we cut them off and use the legs for filtering out any lint from the exhaust of the clothes drier. It helps keep the amt. of lint down to a manageable level and when too dirty, you can just throw the piece of stocking away and use the other leg!

      1. Peggy says:

        Jes is missing the boat big time, save the lint filled panyhose for firestarter, makes excellent tinder. Lots of cool ideas here.

        1. Maxilyn says:

          Stuff the lint into each compartment of a cardboard egg carton, cover with melted paraffin. When cool, cut the compartments apart. Stick one under your kindling and touch a match to the cardboard. Great firestarter.

          1. J.S. says:

            No paraffin you can use Vaseline instead, messier ….yes, but same effect ….also use TP rolls if no egg carton ….
            Nothing better than brainstorming preppers 🙂

      2. JOHNNY says:

        @ Jes. All that magnificent LINT can be used for making petroleum jelly fire starters.

      3. Susin April Tippie says:

        Oh, don’t throw that lint away. You can use it as a base to make fire starters. Cardboard eggcarton stuff with lint, leave a small piece up like a wick and fill with bees wax, candle wax or parrafin wax. Let dry. Lint is easy to start with sparks from any fire stick.
        Or fill an old onion bag with dryer lint and hang from a tree. Birds love soft nesting material.

        1. at2 says:

          I have heard this before, but when I investigated it further I discovered that dryer lint can be dangerous for birds – especially baby birds – and the advice is not to use it.

      4. Mary says:

        This storage idea also works well for potatoes, yams etc… and apples

    2. JOHNNY says:

      We have used this trick for years when harvesting onions from the garden.

      It allows them to maintain the proper humidity level, and reduces mold issues.

  18. Lee says:

    Kind of a different area of use, but still valid in a bug-out situation. I always carry a pair of panty hose in my vehicle in case I have a belt on the engine break. If tied tight around the pulleys it will take you a long way to get help. I actually had to use them once, it sure was nice having them.

  19. Chuck says:

    While not a panty hose use, the Marine Corps experimented with using anti-prespirant on feet for long marches. While it did not eliminate blisters 100%, it did significantly reduce foot blister occurrence significantly. I used that technique on a week long march around Mt. Fuji, Japan and found that while I would have hot spots on my feet at the end of the day, I did not develop blisters on the 350 km/6 day hike. It is important to used anti-prespirant and not deodorant. Deodorant will just make your blisters smell nice.

  20. Quester55 says:

    Hose, can be made into a 2 or 3 ball, bolo, great for hunting or protection.

    1. J.S. says:

      Second mention of a bolo n I have not a clue…
      Can someone elaborate plz? 🙂

      1. Koekie says:

        Bolo, or bola, is a hunting device comprising of 2 or 3 balls on a long piece of rope . . . designed to capture animals by entangling their legs. Can also be used as self-defence weapon.

  21. Chip says:

    I guess if I can buy Kotex (or equivalent) for my BOB as inexpensive trauma bandages I can buy some pantyhose. :o)

  22. GrouchyJohn says:

    Another use for Panty Hose…. ever broken a rib – or as I did several of them – and need to bind them up to help the pain? Panty hose would work well. They are long, stretchy, and tie easy. If the standard elastic wraps aren’t available, grab a set of panty hose.

  23. Joseph Couture says:

    Back in the late ’60s, a lot of us used panty hose under our jeans when skiing. Elastic pants were not prevalent then and the panty hose kept your jeans from sticking to your legs when they got damp, making movement MUCH easier

    1. JOHNNY says:

      I recall doing that, while we were at Ft. Lewis, Washington. We got the “ski bug,” and most of the time it was a light drizzling rain while we skied.

      “Real” ski clothing wasn’t easy or cheap to come by so we skied in jeans which were almost always wet! For me, it was waffled long underwear, loose fitting pantyhose, under blue jeans.

      In 5 years of skiing the Cascades I never saw any powder, only wet snow or ice. I didn’t get to see/ski on powder until I went to Colorado.

  24. Tom says:

    Pantyhose are still in use by many in the military to prevent blisters and chafing while on long ruck marches. It is a sound tactic and works best when layered under your boot socks. The socks rub against the pantyhose instead of your skin, helping to prevent blisters.

    I use pieces of pantyhose all the time to fish with. It is a great way to hold bait together that otherwise might dissipate in the water. Catfish and other large game fish will come after bait tied up in a piece of pantyhose and placed on a hook. It also prevents the need to periodically pull up your line to see if your bait is still on the hook.

  25. Mike says:

    I’ve used pantyhose in my shopvac over a compromised filter that was falling apart. And if you don’t wanna be recognized or need to protect your head or face, put them over your head.
    I love the auto belt suggestion. Very helpful, as are all the other suggestions!

  26. Dale says:

    i have also used panty hose as an emergency alternator belt as well….

  27. Alan says:

    I pull the foot over the front of a rifle scope to cut down on glare and avoid giving my position away.

  28. Erika Rigling says:

    Caught in the snow…had chains, but the rubber cords were missing.. Climbed in the car and removed my pantyhose. Tore up the panty seams…two pieces of legs….twisted them tight, put one on each chain on each tire…Got home safely… They are strong…and give enough just like the rubber cords would have.

  29. J.A. Austin says:

    This is the best thing I’ve ever read. Some fantastic ideas. Thank you.

  30. Tundrapunk says:

    Excellent suggestions all around. But I would like to challenge you on the bug protection. As a lady who regularly finds herself in the woods in high heels and hose, i can attest that the mosquitoes of the great Canadian North have iron proboscis and poke right through.

    1. J.S. says:

      I was thinking the same, I’ve been bitten by skeeters thru jeans so ….yeah

  31. lisa millett says:

    one of the things that i have used panty hose for was to hold the soap when we washed our hands you tie it to the faucet if you have one or to the handle of a jug used to wash your hands.

    you put the bar of soap in the leg of a pair of nylons and voila soap on a rope survival style.

    1. Susin April Tippie says:

      An old Scout trick. Thanks for the reminder.

  32. tom42 says:

    Another use for pantyhose is to put fish heads and tails into, then twist them up tight over a bowl. the meat remaining on the fish parts squeezes out of the weave and no bones or scales.
    This is how they made gefilte fish years ago

  33. Walter says:

    Another use is as an emergency fan belt for a car. Push in the alternator. Twist the panty hose into a rope, tie tightly, then push out the alternator as far as possible. It will last 5-10 miles which should get you to the next gas station.

  34. J.S. says:

    Awesome ideas, thanks everyone… I will get a few pair for the car and the bob

  35. Lauri says:

    Female here. FYI pantyhose can save your ass if you happen to drive an older Volkswagen Beetle. I broke my drive belt on a stretch of highway late at night out in the middle of BFE, and just happened to be wearing a dress and hose that evening. I wrapped the hose around the two pulleys, tied it as tight as I could, and I made it into the next town babying it. Nothing beats a great pair of LEGGS, IMHO. I keep them around for other situations as well…tying loads when I forget my straps, etc. They don’t have to be top quality for some uses either. Go to your local dollar tree and grab some. You’ll be glad you did!

  36. Ms Zip says:

    You have the right idea when advising to use hose to prevent blisters, but you can’t cut them off at the ankles and expect them to stay up. You would need to leave whole or buy knee highs.

  37. Kath says:

    Tights are even better….stronger and warmer and they don’t run as easily. Thanks everyone for all the great tips, I hope to never need to use them.

  38. Scott says:

    I can’t beleive leaching is not listed in any of the comments here. Howm many wild edibles need to be boiled or leached to become edible or palatable? Acorns are edible but need to be leached or boiled to avoid an upset stomach. For this example, shell and crush the acorns then let them sit in a creek overnight, they will be better in the morning when made into cakes and cooked.
    Credit: Man Woman Wild when Ruth did this with her socks.

  39. Amanda says:

    Do not wear pantyhose against your skin to prevent blisters!!!!! It does not work! They are so ‘smooth’ they slide and rub causing extra heat, which is what causes blisters. Maybe between your socks and the shoe would be the right place to stop friction? Tried this once and we dealt with more blisters on that hike than we ever thought possible.

  40. erin says:

    nylon knee highs are good to use on your feet and as water strainers

  41. WesTXGurl13 says:

    If you wash and air-dry a pair of pantihose that have “runs” in the legs, you can cut many hairbands just from one leg. Snip across horizontally, 3/4″ to an inch wide, and you will have hairbands that don’t pull hair as badly as some elastic hairbands do.

    Also, I saw this mentioned in the comments already, but use the same cutting method, but then cut through all the loops in one spot, and you have awesome ties for tying tomato plant branches to keep them from drooping and breaking! The pantihose material lasts through an entire gardening season, and has that little bit of “give” needed to keep from damaging the plants.

    Love all the ideas! Keep ’em coming!

    1. WesTXGurl13 says:

      Sorry–meant “has” runs, not “have” runs.

    2. RB says:

      A friend of mine told about the tomato plant use for pantyhose. He also grew cantaloupes and put the young fruit in pantyhose sections to suspend from the garden fence to keep them from falling off the vine before they ripened.

  42. Paul Henry says:

    How are pantyhose used as a food dehydrator?

  43. Rachel R. says:

    As a woman, I think ALL of these are better purposes for pantyhose than their originally-intended purpose!

  44. Susie says:

    My dad worked outside 10-16 hr days . in the winter he wore pantyhose under his long johns. He also would cut the legs off knot where the hole was and wear them on his head under his hat. Kept him toasty. He did when hunting to.
    We as kids never thought anything about it.

  45. Rosalee Cunningham says:

    Great article on the different uses of panty hose. And any man afraid to go buy them has more issues than just pantyhose. But if you must, get your wife, girlfriend, sister or such to buy them for you. You’ll be glad you did.

  46. Dawn Lueders says:

    This is not a survival tip but… if while working in the garage you knock over that can of screws, nails or nuts & bolts and don’t have a magnet on a stick…put the foot end of a knee high over the end of your shop vac and secure with rubber band or a piece of the nylon itself, and start sucking. The nylon keeps the items from going into you vac and you just remove a handful at a time from your vac stick until they are all picked up. Also works for women who have dropped an earring or other precious piece of jewelry that might have rolled under the bed or night stand or you just can’t find. Vacuum the area and be surprised at how many things you actually did lose.
    Love the idea’s everyone has come up with and can’t wait to try some myself.

  47. BigDoug says:

    Keep up the good work, Joe. I have a “get home” bag in my car that probably needs updating.

  48. A. "Wyatt" E says:

    Pantyhose does NOT prevent bug bites. It will keep your legs warmer in cold weather. Not worth the ridicule though…. So, it’s not something I would personally use. Thanks for the info.

  49. Kelly Meacham says:

    I had invited this girl out on a date when i was younger and my truck blew a fan belt so i asked my date for her panty hose and used it to get me to a service station she never went out with me again maybe i should have replaced them

  50. PJ Tiger says:

    Hey !! I have used knee high hose to hold even up to watermelons in a ” secret ” garden..cantaloupes, etc…GREAT space saver.And almost ANYTHING will grow up given half a chance.
    Duh..long term survival…if ” lucky ” enough to survive long enough TO garden.
    Thanks for info…..manly be demmed..survive is the important part

  51. James Anderson says:

    I worked with a guy who was a Vietnam vet. He claimed that pantyhose were the only solution to keeping leaches from getting into your pants and attaching to areas where no man wants to ever think of having a leach stuck to.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Rob a bank with them over your face.

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