Join over 220,000 people that get our organic gardening & self sufficiency lifestyle tips via email. Before I get into the details of this post, a brief history of the tampon might surprise you.
The tampon is actually regulated in the US by the Food & Drug Administration as a Class II Medical Device. Not only are these little tactical bandages packaged in a waterproof sleeve, but they are designed to be ultra absorbent – making them the perfect first aid bandage. Again, this filter will not PURIFY your water by removing biological, chemical or heavy metal threats but it will filter out sediments and particulates.
In the photo above I used the string on a tampon as a wick in an improvised candle which I made from rendered animal fat and a fresh water mussel shell I found down by the creek at Willow Haven.
The string attached to a tampon is a cotton twisted cord typically made up of several 4-6″ pieces of twine. If nothing else, this post is another lesson in the importance of looking at every day products through the eyes of a survivalist.
PS –  Was talking to another friend of mine yesterday, Bill Szabo, who happens to be a medic in the National Guard.
This article offers a great example of the kind of creativity and adaptability one must possess in order to survive catastrophic events. I can imagine that in an emergency circumstance I could easily find a public restroom that would have an overlooked cache of tampons hanging on the wall. I have not seen a wall mounted tampon vending machine that actually had any stock IN it so dont count on finding these they are pretty rare.

Those are some amazing uses, in fact I may add a few to my camping gear, but if I have to resort to using it as a blow dart component, instead of picking up a rock, then I’m probably too far removed from lucid to actually use it properly. Its true, as an Army Combat Medic, I carried tampons (and maxipads) for my med bag to substitute issue items. They do work well enough for various improvised medical purposes, and other improvised survival applications as well. Ive even used them to plug holes in the bottom of a boat when a ding dong discharged his breaching shotgun into the boat.
Used them to filter water in the manner discribed above, and to filter sand contaminated fuel.
There are tampons on the market with paper wrappers, so those wouldn’t be very water proof, but the plastic wrapped one would be fine. I arrived in Hawaii to find a man in the airport who had a terrible spill on his race bicycle.
And they make great scent wicks for hunting or mosquito deterrents when dipped in Citronella. I would not hesitate in the least to use a tampon or tampons to pack a deep wound if I was unable to control bleeding otherwise. Actually, the use of a tampon in a bullet wound is to keep that person alive until more advanced medical care can be applied.
Soaked in a little solvent and tied to a short cord they would make excellent bore cleaners in a pinch, and then could be saved as rapid fire starters.
A possibility for the wrapper would be an occlusive bandage for sucking chest wounds.kinda an advanced first aid skill but still a possibility.

The wrappers(plastic) can be used to seal sucking chest wounds and to carry small bits of tinder or keep matches dry.
The LeakGuard® Skirt provides powerful, full-size leak protection, but with a unique extendable plastic applicator Pearl Compak is also small enough to fit almost anywhere — even your pocket!
I have to agree with Cynthia, though, those dispensers are rarely stocked, and yes, make sure you get the unscented ones.
Which kind of tampon do you recommend, the one that opens like a flower, or the one that expands sideways like an accordion?
It would work even better if saturated with Duration nasal spray [or the store brand equivalent]. However, if you are raiding public bathrooms, there are probably some abandoned houses you could raid with better luck. It’s not as comfortable, but not having sterile packing for a wound would be far worse.
The tampons that open like a flower would probably work just as well, they are just circles instead of rectangles, and many of them have two layers of cotton.

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