How Your Purse Can Help You Survive During An Emergency

Female preppers are more equipped and readier than they thought to survive a crisis that can occur without warning. Their purse and the items within it can become valuable assets during a survival scenario. Here’s how to equip your purse to get out of trouble when you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A natural or man-made disaster will often occur with little to no warning, and those unprepared will have a hard time coping with the aftermath of such disasters. While a lot of people have begun to prepare for such scenarios in the last 5 years, we also must acknowledge that all the preparations and resources you’ve gathered will not be in your possession if you don’t find yourself in your “safe place.”

Some preppers do carry supplies in a survival bag (get home bag, survival car kit, office kit, etc.), and they have a few necessities on them during their daily commute, but that’s not the norm for most of them. Only a few carry around a pack that’s full of survival gear and keep it in reach.

Women with their ever-present purses have a certain advantage over us fellows since it’s always hanging from their shoulders and it’s always in reach. A purse, even if it’s not a prepped-up one, can supply a vast majority of survival items.

Using your purse as is and the items within it properly

Using the bag

using the bag

Before we look at the contents you can find in the handbag, how about using the bag itself? The way you carry your purse using the straps can provide a few ideas on how to use those straps for other needs as well. In general, a purse will have a single long strap that allows an easy over-the-shoulder carry and two short straps designed to carry the purse hanging in the bend of the woman’s elbow.

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The long strap is perhaps the most useful one since it’s removable in most cases and has many survival uses. Even if you can’t unclip it from the bag, it can be torn or cut off with ease. The length of such straps can vary from 3 to 5 feet in length, and they can be successfully used as tourniquets to stop blood flow in case the carrier or someone else is injured.

The strap can also be used to set a broken limb or perhaps as a sling to keep your arm immobile to rest a sprain, dislocation, or even a fracture. It can also be used as a weapon if you tie a rock or something heavy to one end. You could use it as a whip or long-range defensive/offensive weapon.

The short straps, on the other hand, can be used similar to cordage for small jobs. Cutting or unfurling the straps will allow you to use them for tying off finger splints, or perhaps you want to tie and secure a pocket knife to an end of a broomstick and use it as a spear. If you don’t cut the straps, you could place a few heavy items in the bag and swing the purse to bludgeon an attacker.

Besides its obvious, intended use to carry and store your everyday items, in case needed, the purse can be used to carry items you’ve scavenged/foraged, or perhaps you can improvise a container from a plastic sheet and use it to carry water.

Items within the bag

In a survival scenario, your mind plays a crucial part since it will help you adapt to the situation and improvise tools/solutions for your survival needs. Your ability to identify and use items from your purse as substitutes for survival tools are two key factors that will help you survive. Do you know which items within your purse can help you survive?

If you are a smoker, you probably have a lighter or a box of matches in your bag. Both these items are of great value when you have to create fire in an unknown environment and use that fire for your survival needs (warmth, purifying water, cooking, drying clothes, signaling for help, etc.).

A water container can be found in pretty much any purse. Some women carry a disposable one, while others have their preferred branded water bottle. These containers serve as a vessel for storage, but if the container is made of metal or glass, it can also be used successfully to boil water for sanitation or to make various hot beverages.

water bottle for the purse

Some women carry their favorite snacks (cookies, protein bars, etc.) or have candies or chewing gum resting at the bottom of their purses.  Such items not only can provide a burst of emergency and nutrition, but they can also do wonders for their morale.  For example, chewing food (or gum) during a stressful situation helps the person relax since their brain associates eating with times of peace and enjoyment.

Women also carry items to deal with inclement weather, and a disposable poncho or a small umbrella can help you stay dry but can also be used to improvise a shelter or improve the one you manage to put together.

But these are just a few of the items you can find in a woman’s purse, and there are many others that can be used for entirely different purposes, or perhaps they already have survival uses you’ve probably never thought of so far.

For example, a tampon or a maxi pad is one such item with multiple uses. Both items are sterile and can be used successfully to stop the bleeding from an open wound. The pad can also be used as a face mask if needed. The tampon, on the other hand, has much more survival uses, it can be used as tinder, as a filtering material for an improvised water filter, and the cotton end can be used to improvise a candlewick.

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Women carry a few makeup items, and their makeup sets include a mirror. Such mirrors can be used as signaling devices or to start a fire using the power of the sun. Makeup mirrors are concave to focus light inward and magnify the object, and they are ideal to start a fire.  Lipstick, on the other hand, can become an excellent substitute for a marker and used to trace/mark trails, leave notes for others, and even start a fire if they are petroleum-based.

Nowadays, almost everyone carries a bottle of disinfectant gel, and besides its intended use, the gel can also be used as a fire starter or to build a fire extender/torch (using a branch and a tampon).

If there’s a condom or two in the bag, such items have a multitude of survival uses, and they can be used for water collection and transport, waterproof containers for electronic items, for carrying foraged items, and even for improvising all sorts of straps for various needs. You can use a condom even to improvise an effective slingshot.

Even the keys on the keychain can be used as a weapon if needed. Hold the keys in your fist with the sharp ends protruding between your finger, and punch anyone or anything that might attack you.

Upgrading your purse

upgrading your purse

There are no two women’s purses alike, and the content of a purse can greatly vary from one woman to another. However, while most items you can find in a woman’s purse can be mirrored to be used as survival items, it’s always smart to carry a prepped-out purse.

There are all sorts of survival items that can fit in your purse, from mini survival kits to pocket pistols. You don’t have to limit the contents of your purse to everyday items that could serve double duty, and you can prepare as you like and carry some other items as well for your safety and peace of mind.

You have the element of surprise on your side, and the items you carry in your purse should come in handy if you need to face an assailant. For example, there are many purses with a secret compartment in which you can store a handgun, a taser, or pepper spray. There are numerous fashionable purses with various compartments for such purposes. The perpetrator will assume you’re just holding tight your purse to stop him from stealing it when in reality, you could face them with a deadly surprise.

You have to think outside the box and store items in your purse that would make your life easier regardless if you find yourself in the office or an unknown environment. Do your homework and get lightweight, multi-use items and supplies that would increase your chances of survival in case of an emergency situation. Since the purse will always accompany you everywhere you’re going, think of what items will be nice to have to keep you safe and calm when it hits the fan.


A woman’s purse is an item filled with mystery and unexpected items, and men do not care too much about it. This accessory can become a lifesaver used as is or if it’s packed with items the carrier knows how to use in a survival situation. The purse is ever-present in the life of women, and they carry it everywhere. So, why not make it your survival ally?

This article was submitted by Amanda Peters.

Resources you might need:

The only survival tree you should grow in your backyard

Do you know what happens when you take expired medicine?

How to build an underground cellar for less than $400

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