Jezebel magazine suggests a tampon for your survival kit.

I don't question that, if you just happen to have a tampon, you can use it. But at the end of the article they suggest even guys carry one because it's such a great survival tool. When I pack a kit, the question is not "is this good", but "is this better than the other options".

So: Is a tampon better than the potential other options for tinder, silt filtering, wound dressing, and cordage?


3 Answers 3


Most of the uses can be also accomplished with a heavy gauze pad in the same size. If you need them or carry them for their original use then it is good to have an idea of what else you can use them for.

I grew up with older sisters, both parents and no brothers. We were a very active family and I have seen them used for a great number of things. Most of which were detailed in that article.

If you don't already carry them, it isn't a bad idea to. In my tiny emergency kit I do not have any. There is no room, and they bring nothing to the table for me that something else in the kit can't already handle. However, in both my medium sized and large kits I have several of them (pads too in the large one). They are there for a many uses, but because of the size and completeness of those kits, they rarely see use other than their original purpose (except maybe to stop a nose bleed). Un-lubed condoms, however, are a different story.


I would since a tampon has more than one use. For example, this link shows 10 different ways to use one. Personally I'd rather have something that has more than one use or something that can be used as a tool than stuff that only has one use and one use only.

  • 1
    It's a good point, but I'm not sure that much in my survival kits has only one use. Jun 16, 2012 at 7:48
  • Sometimes you can't get around some items. However my preference is to have items with more than one use. Such as a machete with a serrated edge for chopping underbrush and cutting small trees. Jun 16, 2012 at 13:01
  • 2
    @OrionDarkwood that's not more than one use. More than one use is like the seat pads I take to keep pots from digging into my back while portaging, to sit on at camp, and to fan a recalcitrant fire. Jun 18, 2012 at 15:21

I wouldn't say it's necessarily better for the things you outline than the other common options. I've certainly never used one for anything!

However, after reading that article I am somewhat swayed to the fact that it may well be a good addition in an emergency situation due to its versatility - if you lose any one of the things you list, or need a spare, you could use it in its place. I can't think of anything else that can really fit the bill in that case!

  • 1
    It felt very strange writing that answer...!
    – berry120
    Jun 13, 2012 at 15:51
  • Yeah, for things with similar size/weight, it has a lot of uses Jun 13, 2012 at 15:57
  • 1
    Being married to a nurse I have also seen a sanitary towel used as a very effective dressing for a wound, providing both absorbency and protection.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 13, 2012 at 16:53
  • 1
    It is certainly uncommon, but I once provided a tampon to a girl's group that was camping nearby when they happened to run out of them.
    – Greg.Ley
    Jun 15, 2012 at 18:13

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