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How To Use Bamboo For Survival

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Bamboo is cheap, awesome, and invasive. And it could save your life in an emergency situation.

I would consider planting some before it’s too late! And while you’re waiting for it to grow, let’s look at ways to use bamboo for survival.

Bamboo 101

Bamboo is one of the greatest finds in a survival situation. People have been using it for thousands of years to accomplish many useful tasks.

That’s why it’s important that you understand a little more about it and learn some of the things it can do.

Bamboo is a species of grass. It grows no different than your grass on your lawn and is very easy to grow in a container or in the ground.

Whether you buy them in clumps from the garden center or grow them from root or seed, they are so simple to grow and take care of.

If you buy bamboo from a garden center in a clump, all you need to do is take the clump out of the container and, just like with grass, divide a piece out and either plant the divided bamboo in another container or just plant it directly in your yard.

Bamboo is an invasive plant. So, if you plant it in your yard, you have to be careful to contain it. Otherwise, it will spread like wildfire.

Bamboo prefers all day, full of hot sun, but just like your grass in your garden, they can handle some shade too.

Bamboo likes good soil, but if you have clay soil, just add compost to the top and then plant your bamboo, and they will do just fine!

When you plant bamboo, make sure you dig about 3 inches. If it’s a root, make sure the soil covers it, but the sprout is out of the ground.

Types of Bamboo

There are 2 types of bamboo:

Running Bamboo

This is very invasive, and if left unchecked, it will take over your yard pretty quickly.

Clumping Bamboo

They stay together in a clump, hence the name. Basically, they look like a tree coming up and don’t take over your yard.

As a side note, if you plant the running species, you will have to make sure not to plant it near a park, a neighbor’s backyard, or a waterway.

If left unchecked, the seeds can end up anywhere. In the city, this may not be a great thing!

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Ways to Use Bamboo for Survival Situations

If you have a fair amount of land, either at home or at your bug out location, I would highly recommend planting bamboo.

I will let you decide which type (running or clumping), but it has so many uses, it’s just pure madness not to utilize it.

If SHTF and you have a fair amount of bamboo planted, you will have an advantage over other preppers that do not grow bamboo. Here’s why!

1. Fire

Bamboo is awesome to use if you want to make a fire. You can make a bamboo fire saw in just a few minutes.

How to Make a Bamboo Fire Saw

To make an effective bamboo fire saw, split the largest standing dead piece of bamboo in half and start to scrape off the powdery dead coating.

Once the majority of the powder has been removed, increase the pressure on the bamboo. You will notice shavings starting to build up on either side of your knife. Keep these shavings, and make sure you have 2 bundles about the size of an egg.

Now it is time to prepare the “fireboard.” Start drilling a hole with your knife from the inside of the bamboo piece to the outside.

When you can start to feel your knife on the outside, you have gone far enough. Now carefully bore out the hole on the inside, and be careful not to go through the other side.

Then turn the bamboo over and score a groove or notch over where you drilled the hole. Place your 2 tinder bundles directly on either side of the hole you created. Hold them in place with a bent piece of ripped bamboo skin.

Now take the other piece of bamboo and put an edge on one side of it. We are not looking for a razor-sharp edge; just think of a butter knife edge. This is how the magic happens!

You’ll want to align the notch you made on the other piece of bamboo with the edge you made and run the bamboo up and down over the edge; this creates friction.

How to Use the Bamboo Fire Saw

For best results, lodge the end in the ground and the top of the bamboo in your belly/belt area.

Make sure your movements are long, sweeping motions going the whole length of the bamboo. When you have created the right amount of heat, you should have a lot of dust that will ignite and become your ember.

Once you see smoke, go for the gold, increase pressure, and speed up a little, reducing your stroke. Once the bamboo with the tinder bundle is smoking on its own, aerate it into flame.

2. Water and Food

Bamboo is a great tool to have when you need to boil, carry, or store water.

Since bamboo grows in sections, if you cut above these sections, you will have a portion of bamboo that you can either make a hole in the top or side and store your water in.

Likewise, in a survival situation, you can make a bamboo cup so you can boil water straight in the fire.

How to Make a Bamboo Cup

To make a bamboo cup, find live bamboo (make sure it’s green) and cut it above one notch. This will be the bottom of the cup. Go ahead and chop or saw below the other notch, and you’ll have your bamboo cup.

Place water from wherever you can procure it and place it in the bamboo cup. Note that when the water boils, it may boil and spill into your fire.

Put it out. As a result, don’t place too much water in the cup, or try to make the biggest cup you can.

Place the bamboo cup of water directly into the fire. Boil for 5 minutes, so you know that if there are any bacteria or nasty parasites, they are dead. You now have clean water to drink.

You can also use this method to cook food. Get a live bamboo, split it in half, and use the other half as a cooking vessel. It can also be used to make razor-sharp cutting utensils and spears to hunt with.

Bamboo is great for making fall traps, where you dig a hole and have sharp bamboo at the bottom of the hole, and you wait for game to walk over and impale themselves on the bamboo. 

Be aware that this would only be a great idea in a real survival situation. Knowing your luck, a human will wonder, fall in, and die!

3. Construction

This is one of the main reasons why I want to grow bamboo for survival in my bug-out location. Bamboo is strong and lasts for years and years, thanks to its cylindrical and reinforced, notched makeup.

I won’t bore you and do another step-by-step tutorial on how to build a bamboo shelter, as there are far better ones out there than I could ever write about or make a video on.

The same rules apply to making a shelter with bamboo or sticks. It’s not rocket science, but if you are looking for strength and rigidity, bamboo far surpasses sticks.

You can use bamboo to construct a semi-permanent or even permanent shelter relatively easily.  Another great thing about bamboo is that it normally grows pretty tall and thick, and it is far easier to cut down a 9-foot bamboo stalk than a tall tree!

This saves a lot of calories if you were in a survival situation, making you less fatigued. You can save those much-needed calories by finding food, starting a fire, or searching for a way out.

As you can see, there are a few ways you can use bamboo for survival. So, get some seeds and plant bamboo on your property today!

Bamboo is cheap, awesome and invasive. And... it could save your life in an emergency situation. I would consider planting some before it's too late! And while you're waiting for it to grow, let's look at ways to use bamboo for survival.