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It is possible to catch fish with a hook and dental floss, and the flies can just be stored stuck in the brim of a hat or very small tin and then one improvises a rod from a stick.

The advantage of taking dental floss is that it could be used for flossing in addition to catching fish but how does it compare strength wise?

  • Clarifying question, are you going to reuse the dental floss every day? If so what are the health concerns? If not how are you going to catch fish when you have used up your dental floss? – James Jenkins Aug 31 '18 at 14:59
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    @JamesJenkins The one time I saw this done, I think the person had the little dispenser with 40 yards of floss, so I don't see that as an issue – Charlie Brumbaugh Aug 31 '18 at 15:45
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    Fishing line is significantly cheaper. For the cost of 40 yards of floss you could buy 1500 yards to fishing line. – ShemSeger Aug 31 '18 at 19:54
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When it comes to survival gear in wilderness scenarios, one needs to consider A) the utility of the equipment, and B) how difficult it is to find or craft the equipment from materials in the field. Using this framework to consider dental floss and fishing line as survival gear, the main uses that are difficult to craft in the field are as general-use low-impact rope, or as fishing line. In both cases tensile strength is important, and resistance to decay is another factor. Lastly, storage / weight is an important consideration.

I presume fishing line easily surpasses floss in tensile strength, but it may not be as easy to store loads of it. I don't have data on this though, perhaps a better answer will come along with some. Anyway, given my experiences with bushcraft and minimalist camping, I would opt for fishing line as a more reliable substitute for rope than floss, and as a more adequate...fishing line...than floss. Think of what you need rope for: lashings of all kinds, providing a supporting surface to hang things from or rest things upon, stitching things in a pitch. In all those cases, I'd rather be working with fishing line than floss, as fishing line feels sturdier and less prone to fraying or decay. Then comes the use of line for actual fishing: safe to say fishing line would work better.

As for dental hygiene, items which serve this function are relatively easy to find or craft in forests (yellow birch twigs is the local example which comes to mind), and in any case this is a low priority need in a survival situation. So, floss doesn't score much points in this comparison.

  • I completely agree with this answer, but i'd just like to add that dental floss, (in a dispenser) is packed sterile, so makes a better substitute for sticking wounds if the needs arose. plus your wound would be minty fresh! i would still bring fishing line instead of floss and just sterilize it if i needed to but thought i;d point that out – Blade Wraith Sep 3 '18 at 15:11
  • Good point @BladeWraith and that's part of what I meant when giving credit to floss as being easier to pack/store. On that note, how would you sterilize fishing line if using it for a suture or something? A soap and water rub down? Gentle warming with a lighter? – cr0 Sep 3 '18 at 15:56
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    Most fishing line can withstand being dipped in boiled water, so long as its not submerged for too long, so a few short dips would make it sterile enough to use, maybe not as good as the floss, but enough that the risk of infection form it would be negligible. – Blade Wraith Sep 3 '18 at 16:13
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    Dental floss is also an effect fire tinder thanks to its waxy coating. Many survival kits contain a small roll of it. – Darren Sep 28 '18 at 10:58

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