Zip or cable ties come in all colors and sizes, but I would recommend always packing a hand full in your bug-out bag just in case. They are not all created equal, and quality ties may cost a bit more.
Below are some practical uses that may prove useful to survive.
Make-shift Cleats For Slippery Conditions
In winter ice and snow can accumulate on sidewalks, trails, and other places where you may need to go. While not a permanent fix, you can attach 3 or 4 cable ties around your shoes to give you extra traction on very slippery surfaces. The larger and thicker zip ties work best for this.
Use a couple of cable ties to lash your survival knife onto a branch or sturdy stick. Cheaper ties may not be the best this, but if you are in a pinch they will do a job. Make sure to pull the ties as tight as possible so that you don't lose your knife!
Handcuffs and Hand Restraints
A popular use for cable ties is as hand restraints and many law enforcement agencies around the world now use them for this purpose. Take 3 zip ties, make two of them as loops, big enough to fit hands in it, then secure them with the 3rd. The end result will be a diy pair of handcuffs.
Check out this great video by SensiblePrepper:
Making A Belt
If you have lost or broken your normal belt and do not have any paracord to use as a backup, zip ties work well as a temporary fix. Slip a tie through a belt loop then secure it to another. Tightening them shouldn’t be a problem, but they will only work for one use as you will need to cut them off in order to release them.
Colored zip ties can help mark your trail or locations of danger and importance. Simply find a location that stands out and use a cable tie to identify it. If traveling in a group and scouting an area, this can prove to be very helpful if members of the party get split off.
Secure Loose Clothing
Ties can be used to secure the sleeves of your jacket or trouser legs to prevent wind, water, snow, or bugs from making it into your clothes and onto your body.
Emergency Shoe Laces
If you are in the middle of nowhere, in a hurry, or if you used your shoe laces for cordage, then zip ties can help. Run a couple through several holes on your footwear and secure tightly, leaving a little wiggle room for continued circulation.
Lash Items To Your Bag
Connecting a series of ties together can help secure a sleeping bag or other gear onto your backpack. Much easier than having to carry it in your hands or making space so you can stuff it inside your bag.
Zip ties are a really versatile piece of kit for any prepper and should always find a way into your bag. Just remember to invest in higher quality ties that can do the job in any situation and always pack more than you think you will need. Don't forget – they are usually one use only!