Skip to Content

16 Paper Clip Uses in Survival Situations

I bet you have a lot of survival gear that could potentially save your life. What would you say if I told you that a simple paper clip could do the trick? There are numerous survival paper clip uses.

Paper Clip Uses

Paper clips are metal, easy to bend but sturdy enough so you can apply some pressure and they will hold shape. This is what makes them such an effective tool when it comes to survival.

In this article we are going to look at 16 paper clip uses for survival. Don’t throw away that fancy survival knife. Instead, pack 100 paper clips in your backpack.

Adaptability in Survival

The paper clip is a simple little piece of metal that serves its purpose. However, in the eyes of an adaptable survivalist, a paper clip can be a lot of different things. You see, one of the keys to survival is being adaptable in all things.

As the situation changes, you must change with it. Your ability to adapt to a survival situation quickly could be the difference between life and death. Having survival gear is important, but a humble paper clip can save the day, too.

In this article, you will see what an adaptable mind is capable of when it comes to the many paper clip uses in a survival situation. But first make sure to pick up a cheap assortment of paper clips:

1. Fix a Zipper

Whether we are talking about the zipper on your rain jacket or one of the zippers on your tactical backpack, one of the easiest and best paper clip uses is to pry the end of the paper clip out a bit and then thread it through the crown.


The pull tab portion of the zipper is what often breaks off. The paper clip, when threaded through the small hole or crown portion of the zipper, can create a brand-new pull tab.

2. Clear a Clogged Spray Bottle

A clogged spray bottle can contain many different types of things. Maybe it is a spray cleaner or deodorant. In the survival sense, it is likely to be one of two things. The first is sunscreen. The second is bug spray.

Pry the end of the paper clip into a straight line. Remove the cap from the spray bottle. Insert the paper clip into the front of the spray bottle. If it has a tube that can be removed, you can also remove the tube inside and try and clean that area out with the paper clip too.

3. Repair Eyeglasses

If you have good eyesight, then you cannot understand just how bad eyesight can get. Without contacts or glasses, people with bad vision have virtually no hope of finding their way to safety or even keeping themselves alive if they are lost in the woods.

The most commonly repaired part of the eyeglasses is the temples. These are the parts of the glasses that slide over your ears. To be clear, it is usually the screw hinges that fail, and the temples fall off.

Eye Glasses Repair Is One of the Many Paper Clip Uses

You can create a necklace of linked-together paper clips to hold your glasses around your neck. These paper clips can be easily clipped to the hinge on either side or even one side to create more stability.

If you only lost the screw to the hinge, then you can simply pry a paper clip end up then run it through the hinge. I cannot think of much more paper clip uses as important as retaining your sight!

4. Reset Electrical Items

Most electrical items have a small button or hole just big enough for the end of a paper clip to be inserted. This is one of the most important paper clip uses because when you have nothing else to do this with it can be such a pain!

Imagine if you have to reset a GPS when you are lost!

5. Clean Your Nails

Good personal hygiene is critical to your health and well-being. In a survival situation, there is no difference. Infection is always a concern when you are in a survival situation.

Cleaning under your fingernails with a paper clip is a great way to keep up with the dirt that gets underneath them.

Dirty Fingernails

Did you think personal hygiene would be one of the many paper clip uses?

6. Emergency Hem Holder

Hemlines can tear, or the stitches can come out. Clothing is certainly not what it used to be. When it is damaged, you can use a paper clip – or several – to hold something like a hemline together. This can be very effective if you have paper clips that are nice and small.

7. Home Security

This is a neat trick, and one of the coolest paper clip uses. You might not think of a paper clip as something that could affect home security. However, if you stick a paper clip in the door as you close it when you are leaving the house, that paper clip should be in the same place when you return.

If it fell out, then you know that someone is either in the home or has been in the home.

8. Hold the Scarf in Place

In the harsh cold, one of the best paper clip uses is to hold a scarf or shemagh in place. This could be protecting your neck or even your face, head, and neck. If it is windy and cold, you might want the extra support to help keep things in place.

9. Lock Pick

Your skill in picking locks has a lot to do with how effective you can be with a paper clip lock pick. All that said, simple locks can be picked using a paper clip or two.

Picking a Lock

10. Compass

By charging a straight open paper clip, or just a piece of one, with static electricity, you can create a compass to find north. Simply place the charged piece of metal in still water on top of a leaf.

The magnetism should spin the leaf in the water and show you north.

Charge it by rubbing it in your hair vigorously.

11. Fishing Hook

Since a paper clip can be bent in any direction once it is unfolded, you can get really creative with it. One of the best survival paper clip uses is to bend the clip into a J shape and make it look like a fish hook.

You can sharpen the hook end on a rock to get a nice point. I like to bend the top portion over to create a space where I can tie the fishing line to the hook. Like a simple hook eye.

12. Finger Splint

If you experience a finger injury in a survival situation, you can buddy tape your fingers together or you can create a simple splint using some medical tape and a couple of paper clips on either side of the finger.

Finger Splint

There is a couple of medical paper clip uses worth mentioning. The other is you can relieve the pressure from that damaged finger if it was smashed and broken. You can heat up the paper clip and use it to push through the fingernail to relieve pressure.

13. Open a Locked Bathroom Door

Those simple bathroom door locks can be unlocked from the other side by poking into the hole in the handle. This is another of the many paper clip uses.

The metal is sturdy enough to get in there and depress the lock. When you need to unlock a bathroom door, this can become one of the most important paper clip uses of them all!

14. Makeshift Antenna

Communication through radios might be the way you get yourself out of a wilderness survival scenario. If your radio’s antenna has been damaged, then you can use a folded open paper clip as an antenna or an extension of the current antenna.

15. Bypass a Blown Fuse in your Car

This is not a long-term fix, but you can bypass a blown fuse in a car by running a paper clip that goes from the working fuse over the blown fuse and into the next one in succession.

This can be a real lifesaver, and all you need is a paper clip. It is one of the most Macgyver-type paper clip uses.

16. Threading Tool

We talked about hems in clothes, but what about just plain old holes? The simple wear and tear that happens with clothes can require true repair. Shoes and boots can require repairs with thread, too.

Jeans Holes

A paper clip can actually be a pretty effective threading tool. With your paper clip threading tool, you will be able to make simple repairs using thread.

Wrapping Up Paper Clip Uses for Survival Situations

As you can see, there are so many survival paper clip uses that you can learn and employ. I would recommend playing around with some of these at home. It is never good to be doing something for the first time when the stakes are high.

The other great thing about paper clips is how cheap they are. A box of around 100 paper clips is only going to run you around $5.00. You could wrap the whole box in duct tape to keep them from falling out and then you will have some extra duct tape and paper clips in your survival kit.

For more information about everyday items useful for survival, check out 29 Everyday Items You Can Use as Survival Items.