Five Survival Uses for a Chair

When I began to write my book Unprepared, I didn’t yet know all that I would put my character through. All I knew was that she was going to be completely unprepared for any kind of disaster. When she ended up outside after an EMP, she had nothing in the way of emergency supplies. She had to start from scratch and make her surroundings work for her. This forced me as the author to get creative. What would someone find along the way and how many creative uses could she get from it? By the time I was done writing the book I had thought of some survival tips that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. For example, in several other apocalyptic type novels, the main characters have already been preparing for some sort of disaster. So when the disaster finally hits, they just throw on their bug out bags and survive comfortably while everyone else struggles. That always made for a great story. But what about the rest of us? What are we going to do? I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to have to get creative.

In the spirit of getting creative, then, I thought I would do a series of articles on at least five alternative uses for various items. Of course, I’ll always try to come up with more than five. But five would be the minimum. This article will focus on some creative uses for chairs in a survival situation. Of course, there are a lot of different types of chairs out there, so we’ll review a few uses for each type of chair. And by uses I don’t mean just sitting on them or using them for firewood. Those are the obvious ones. I hope to think outside the box a little and find uses that no one would have thought of until they became desperate.

To get started, let’s talk about a basic kitchen chair made out of wood. The seat could be taken out of it and used as a type of sled to get down hills quickly, or to load something heavy on and slide along the ground. Or someone could pull apart the legs and jam them in the ground and then place something flat on top in order to make a table. With the right kind of chair, the chair back could be cut off and used as a frame for a homemade backpack. If the chair has round dowels they could be removed and used for rolling up a map, or for rolling up string. Or, it might require a few tools, but a person could also remove one of the legs and add the slats from the chair back to one end, making a paddle. The slats could also be used as splints to bind up a wound.

Metal chairs offer a different set of possibilities. If there is one long tube part bent around from the left back leg to the right back leg, it can be unbent and used as a long pole, possibly for walking or fishing. If the metal seat is a solid piece it can be turned over and used to hold water, or as a tray of some kind. The little plastic foot pieces can be pulled off and used to hold very small items, such as seeds. Any screws, nuts or washers can be removed from the chair to be used elsewhere. On a card table chair that folds up, you could also remove the front legs and put them together on one of the sliding hinges to create a small A frame that opens and closes. This could be used as a bi-pod for steadying a site.

Cloth chairs provide material that can be used for bandages or for cleaning a wound. The cushions can be used as sponges to soak up water where another tool might not work. Depending on how much wood is available in the chair, the various pieces can be taken apart and reassembled to make a rough shelter on which to spread a tarp. Whatever the need is, the entire chair should be looked at, and each piece analyzed as to whether it can help or not. Once we stop seeing it as a chair and start seeing all the various pieces, it becomes easier to find alternative uses.

I hope this has been helpful. Nearly everyone has chairs in their homes. So if things go badly, we can always find a chair and adapt it to our needs for the moment. I would love to hear other ideas on creative uses for a chair in an emergency situation.