When my buds and I (I guess you might call them "mates?") sit around a campfire or gather at someone's house, we like to play a game we call Whatayagot? Someone tosses out a tool, piece of gear, even trash. Then the rest of us try to think up uses for it that might be handy in the bush where resources may be limited. For example, I'm tossing out an empty tuna can. It's circular, made of thin steel, about 4cm high and 8cm in diameter. Most non-bushcraft type people would throw it away without a thought.  I can think of 8 or 10 uses and there are, no doubt, more. Some might be considered lifesaving in the right circumstances. I'll give one use to get the ball rolling.

1) By polishing the bottom with sand, fine clay, a cloth, perhaps a piece of hard wood, one can create a signal mirror capable of attracting attention in an emergency, or communicating with someone over a long distance by coded flashes.

We find this game both fun and useful, because it gets us in the habit of seeing beyond the obvious which is always useful. In addition, every now and then someone will think up a use for something so clever everyone will remember it and use it from then on. If we think of this forum as an electronic campfire we're all sitting around, what uses can you come up with for an empty tuna can?

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2) You could cut up the can (with sharpish rock) and turn the bottom into a knife by sharpening it with the same rock. ( Apparently villagers in the Andes cant afford proper shears and shear their Alpacas with a sharpened lid of a Sardine can...)


2a) use it as a storage container for the tuna you just cought with your shoe lace line and safetypin fish hook!


1) As a small cooking pot. Could be used to purify a small amount of water or cook a small amount of rice in a pinch

2) if you had an injury and you were too weak to yell constantly you could make a fair bit of noise to attract help if you kept banging it on a rock

a very small billy,

put kero etc in and use as a burner

could be used as a sort of digging/scrapeing tool

sharp lid as a cutting tool.

An obvious one is to use it as a cup... or you could use it to transport a glowing ember to light a fire in your next camp. A candle holder, a rain hat for your small gas cooker, You could use two of them with a string to make a telephone system... It will keep the kids amused. You could boil or fry an egg, use it as a cookie cutter. You could scratch a message into the bottom to leave a clue for LSAR members searching for you to find. It could be a windshield for your candle and if polished could be a reflector for the candle (I often use my S/S plate for this).

Uou could use it as a small bailer if your boat was sinkng or one of those small caps that some religious people wear (Jews?). If you could cut a circle, fit a stick as an axel fitted to a forked stick you could have a pizza cutter. 

Fold one side of the can in and you have a spoon or scoop.

Ha ha... great idea for a game - I will use it, Thanks.

Wow! you guys are very clever! You've thought up a couple of things we didn't! Two more uses I've put a tuna can to are 1) Set the legs of your folding camp cot in the cans. Then, pour a bit of kerosene or motor oil in each can. I don't know if you have scorpions or ticks or other nasty creepy-crawlies in your part of the world, but we have a lot of them and this trick keeps them out of your sleeping bag. 2) If you're sleeping or working under a tarp and you want to raise the headroom a bit by lifting the tarp with a stick, put the can over the top of the stick to keep it from ripping or otherwise damaging the cloth.

By the way, I apologize, I see I should have listed this under a different topic than newcomers. Now that I'm a bit more familiar with the way this website is set up, I'll be more appropriate in the future.


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