11 Survival Soda Bottle Hacks

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If you want to be ready for anything, then you need to find alternative uses for everything. The best survival objects are everyday items that can be repurposed in create but useful ways. The 2-liter soda bottle is one of the most useful items. While it can be used to store water, it can be molded into many different items. This includes a water purifier, a split, and can even be spun into a strong rope.

The 2-Liter soda bottle is everywhere. If you are outside, you will find them in almost every trashcan. And unfortunately, even just discarded on the ground in camping areas. They’re so useful, I believe that when stocking up for emergencies, you should buy some extra soda just to get the bottles.

Make Rope

One of the most essential items in your kit is cordage or rope. While you should always carry plenty of rope with you, there may be a time where you don’t have enough.

And should you find yourself in such a situation but have a 2-liter bottle and a knife with you, you can make a surprisingly strong rope.

This is such a cool hack, it’s almost like a magic trick. Just be careful when making this because you will be using your knife.

However, if you’re bored on a rainy afternoon, I believe this would make for a fun way to kill a few hours. Perhaps you could even set up a small Etsy business selling this stuff as a way to make some cash and save the planet too.

Watch this video to see this in action:

Make Spoons

I discovered this one while reading my favorite survival book - Creek Stewart’s Survival Hacks. Stewart’s book is full of clever tricks to turn ordinary items into useful tools.

And unlike many bushcraft skills, you can find these lying around the house.

Also, I believe many of them will find utility even in urban environments.

However, this hack is my favorite. Even though I’m not sure why you would ever use it. And I don’t have a rational reason why I like this hack. Other than, I also like whittling.

Not that I’m any good at whittling (yet :) ) but it’s cool to carve useful tools out of blocks of material.

In this case, if you look at the bottom of your Coke bottle, you will see shapes that look like spoons.

Take a knife or scissors and just carve a set of spoons out around these shapes.

Solar Water Distiller

As you know, being able to make water safe to drink is an important skill to have while outdoors.

That clear mountain stream is full of invisible things that can make you sick.

A discarded 2-liter bottle can be used to make a solar still.

With a solar still, you cut open the bottom of the bottle. Then fold the end up so that it forms a lip to hold the water. This will be your water collector.

Make sure the bottle has its cap. Otherwise, you will need to use your Gorilla tape to seal it off.

Then place the bottle in a mud puddle or over a cup containing the water to be made safe to drink.

While this does require a full sunny day to work, what will happen is that the sun will heat up the water. The water will start to evaporate. The evaporated water will collect at the top of the bottle and then will drip down into your collector.

The water in the collector is safe to drink.

Rain Collector

Rainwater is another great way to get clean water to drink.

However, collecting it can be a chore, in particular in the field.

Your empty 2-liter bottle can be a great way to collect rainwater. What you need to do is to cut off the bottom and then you slice open the bottle so that it looks like a flower.

And then spread out the leaves.

This provide more surface area to trap water for collection.

Catch Fish

Fish are some of the best ways to obtain meat in a survival situation. This is why you should always bring along some fishing gear with you. In particular, fishing hooks.

You can create your own fishing line and a stick can become a fishing pole.

However, it’s very difficult to create your own fishing hooks. So this hack isn’t going to be about making fishing hooks out of discarded Dr. Pepper bottles.

Instead, by cutting the top off your and inverting it, you can build a fish trap. Put something the fish (in particular minnows) will like to eat to entice them to come into the trap.

You can see a demonstration here:

Grow Plants

This is one of those hacks that could be a fun project to do on its own.

And that is to grow your own plants using an empty 2-liter bottle.

One of my (many) things I want to learn more about is indoor gardening.

I’m not worried about having access to food, as much as I like to have activities that I can see actual results. My day job is very abstract. I’m good at it, but there’s rarely concrete physical results.

It’s why I like to do survival skills. Not that I believe in the doomsday prepper stuff, but having the knowledge to be ready in a disaster. Plus it’s fun.

And gardening is similar.

In simple terms for this hack, you will cut the bottle and invert the top into the bottom. This way you can use the bottom as a water reservoir.

And then put potting soil and seeds in the top.

You can read more about it here.

Flotation Device

When you’re out hiking, you will eventually come across streams and even some rivers that you need to cross.

While you should always look for the safest route to cross and ideally a bridge to walk across or borrow a canoe, these are not always available.

So you may have to hike and sometimes even swim it.

You can leverage your empty bottles to be used to help keep your body or even your pack afloat.

And with some rope and sticks and basic lashing skills, you could even fashion a raft out your empty 2-liter bottles.

Now that would be some serious upcycling.


First Aid skills and equipment is very important in the field.

This is why when people ask me what skills they should learn first when they want to learn survival skills, I always say First Aid.

The reason is that for most people who go camping, you’re not going to go to a campsite without at least the basic equipment. And they will have a vehicle.

So if the sleeping bag isn’t warm enough or it’s raining too hard, just get in your vehicle to stay warm and dry. And in the worst case, go back home.

But if someone breaks an arm, you’re going to need to treat it there.

Which is why you need to take a Wilderness First Aid course.

An empty bottle can be cut open and form an improvised splint.

Safety Goggles

You need to protect your eyes in the field. If you cut 2 inches out of the middle of your empty Coke bottle and then make another cut so that it will open up. And of course, you need to make a notch for your nose.

You can even shape the arms of the goggles so that they will taper like a traditional pair of glasses. And then finish it off with some tape or string so that it will be more comfortable to wear.


You can fashion your water bottle into a scoop.

You can use a scoop to collect water to feed into a larger water container such as a Platypus bag.

Or you can use it to dig a trench to store your waste.

Or in the absolute worst case, you could use the scoop to collect ants, termites or grubs to get some insect protein.

Store Water

Last but not least, we can use our empty 2-liter bottle to do what is designed for.

Here in the South, did you know that our generic term for soft drinks is not “Soft drink” nor “Soda pop”, but “Coke”.

Such as “Hey Mark, do you want a Coke?”


“What kind?”

“Dr. Pepper.”

This a prologue to talk about how you can use your empty 2-liter bottle as water storage. Just remember to keep track of which bottles are being used to store clean water and which ones are storing water that needs to be made safe to drink.

And that if you put not-safe water into a clean water bottle, that bottle cannot be used to store potable water anymore. It’s safer to assume you will always need to filter the water or purify that water at that point.

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