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Bushcraft or BS: Creating a Poncho From a Trashbag

When it comes to a good survival kit simplicity and versatility are crucial. Few items are as simple and versatile as a large heavy duty trash bag. They are light, compact, multi-purpose, inexpensive, reusable, and readily available.

In the video above we demonstrate how quickly and easily you can turn a trash bag into a rain poncho with just a knife. It’s not rocket science, the biggest things to keep in mind are not cutting yourself and not slipping and cutting a huge hole in the bag rendering it useless.

Wet clothes are a real hazard in cool conditions. Wet clothes will pull moisture out of your body faster than dry clothes of the same temperature. Staying dry is a priority if temps will get below 70 degree, and if it’s windy 70 degrees and wet it can still get dangerous.

There is no good reason not to put a heavy duty trash bag in your survival kit. If you don’t have one currently, do it now. I have 2 in my survival bag at all times and they are so light and compact I have on several occasions forgotten they were even in there.

Look forward to more trashy survival tips where we’ll show you how to:

  • Waterproof your backpack
  • Use a trash bag and backpack as a flotation device
  • Collect rain water
  • Make a tent/ wind break
  • Cover a shallow underground retreat

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34 thoughts on “Bushcraft or BS: Creating a Poncho From a Trashbag”

  1. I had a rain storm chasing me years ago and we did stop at a little market and got Trash bags , poked a hole for the head and holes for arms and stayed dryer than without the bags

  2. Very good Idea especially in my case being in a wheelchair put a piece of paracord around it and keep it out of my wheels

  3. Yep, used these for years. Went on camping trip with my twin grandsons, cub scouts. Demonstrated the trash bag poncho so several youngsters know what to do in an emergency.

  4. what a surprise to hear the guy in the vid stating there would only be one use for a poncho,that being a poncho.they can ALSO be used for shelter
    like a trash bag.the bigger the better,such as oversized contractor bags
    in the 52 gallon variety and 3 mils thick.

  5. This is a great idea! I’m looking for SOLAR WATERPROOF CHARGER FOR S4
    PHONE! Do you stock anything such as that?

  6. Don’t ever try and do this to stay dry on your motorcycle !!!!!! Otherwise it’s a great idea I’ve used myself a few times

  7. This is a good idea. I would cut the hole for the head with scissors once the initial hole is made. More control.

  8. This works; I’ve done it when out fishing in a boat and caught by a thunder storm. Any poncho will cause the wearer to sweat so, for longer periods of time (hours) it’s probably most effective against exposure to wind and cold.

  9. I enjoyed this video. It brought back memrories of when I was staitioned in the Phillippines with the Marines in 1972. During the typhoon season (monsoon), you’d see hundreds of Philippino workers arriving and departing the base wearing these trash bag ponchos. On a few occasions I myself wore one of those when I needed to get home out in town during rainstorms. When it rains in the Philippines, it pours! Annual rainfall there is measured by feet and not by inches! But a trashbag poncho really does work well.

  10. Have been using trash bags for these purposes for the last 30 years or so. One minor modification you can make, is to prepare the bag as you have illustrated, and then make a vertical slit from the center of the opening for your head down, either to the bottom of the bag, or to a point just below the waist. This allows you to access gear/ weapons on your belt or shirt pocket, use them, and then pull the “poncho” across your front, and secure with tape (or my favorite, a bungee cord). You can also rotate the bag 90 degrees, cut a circular hole below the peak, and cut armholes on the sides. This allows you to use the 2nd (non- hole) peak, as a built in swell to cover a small daypack, and still keep you and your gear, dry, while providing you with a built in hood. Please keep up the good work. My own book will not be finished for a while, and the more “greenhorns” that learn the basics of staying alive, the better.

  11. Trash bag makes great rain ponchos. But all the water soaks your legs. Been using them for years. Work outside so they get used every rain storm.

  12. I am a caver. One who explores caves for sport and science. We routinely carry trash bags. I usually have one in my helmet and one or two in my cave pack. They make very good Heat Tents. One can be placed on the ground and another worn like a rain poncho. I once did this while waiting for others to explore an area I didn’t want to bother with at the time. I made a smaller hole and wore it sorta like a hoodie-poncho. Very toasty! They also are good for hauling out any refuse left by careless folk.

  13. Last week it was pouring rain when I left my cabin outside of town. I could not find my rain jacket, so grabbed a 45 gal heavy duty contractor trash bag and cut holes for my head and arms and went to town, I stopped at several places wearing my trash bag as it was still raining, and everyone laughed like crazy. Several said they liked the idea for camping. But everyone poked fun at me, since underneath the bag they knew I was dressed fashionably for work. But guess what–I was dry and they were all wet, and I had a lot of fun with it and even showed up at work still wearing it!! The heavy contractor bags work the best.

  14. Trash Bag rain poncho works fine. I’ve had to use this simple method many occasions may look odd but you & your suit will be dry!

  15. This is a very interesting Article something that most of ole Cow Girls, & Cowboys have used from time to time
    in a pinch when a Slicker wasn’t available or just didn’t own one.
    Thank’s for bringing it to mind.

  16. Believe it or not but I have done this many times. Back in my younger days we did a lot of camping with the kids. the whole family enjoyed doing this. Trash bags were always at the top of the list.

  17. Is good the you show that for people don’t now that. I do and is good for losing weight. Thanks.

  18. I work the Pikes Peak Marathon for 29 years. I work the Pikes Peak Marathon the Year 2005 and we had a storm blow through where the runners who were hardly anything at all we’re coming through. We made covers out of trash bags for the runners to keep warm and we saved what they say a couple lives and really kept him warm with with the trash bags so they do definitely work., we were at 13 5 thousand feet in altitude so the temperature was cold and wet and it definitely saved a lot of runners

  19. In lieu of all the websites promoting prepping and survival, I like the idea of approaching the same subjects, but actually testing them and helping people choose if not to at least be aware of what methods or gear work best or are easier to perform or use.
    I feel there is too much repetition, regurgitation by others who want to be seen as experts, and too much finger pointing where one person tears down other people’s methods or gear choices. That just confuses people by narrowing their thinking to the notion that there are only a handful of “right techniques” and a few specific pieces of equipment that are the “correct” or “best” items to get.
    You gave us the reasons why and the good and bad behind our choices of gear. Well done.

  20. Very lame —
    Head & arms get wet !!
    — it’s better to cut one long side of the bag open — use the closed corner over your head !!