Three Simple Ways Eyeglasses Can Help You Survive In The Wilderness

Three Simple Ways Eyeglasses Can Help You Survive In The Wilderness

You might think that having to wear glasses is a handicap, but in a survival situation it’s just another tool to work with. Photo by Håkan Dahlström.

Who knew us nerds had such a handy tool resting on our face? Depending on the material of your specs, Casey Lyons at Backpacker has a few super simple uses for your eye wear in survival situations:

  1. Pry out grubs: Use the long temple parts of your frames to dig into hollow or dead logs for lunch.
  2. Make a compass: If your frames are stainless steel, you can break off a piece and magnetize it by rubbing one end against your hair. Drop it in some still water and the magnetized end will point north.
  3. Make a fishing hook: Bend pieces of your metal frame into a classic fish hook shape, or sharpen pieces of your plastic frames into gorge hooks.

Some of these tips work with regular sunglasses as well. It should be noted, however, that you shouldn’t try to make any type of blade out of your lenses. Despite the term “glasses,” your lenses are probably made out of composite plastic and better suited for starting a fire. Learn more at the link below.

How to Survive With Eye Glasses [Backpacker via ManMadeDIY]


  • So, two of these involves breaking your glasses. The last time I checked stainless steel does not float and I doubt you’d get much of a magnet out of rubbing it on your hair either! Stupid article!

  • Hi –

    having been lost for a few hours in the bush (a few years ago) I wouldn’t
    ruin my long sighted glasses unless “absolutely-positively-life-or-death” had to. If I was lost in the bush again, for a longer period (say days) I would rather spend 3 hours looking for wire or whatever useful scraps/rubbish there was (weather permitting) than snap pieces from my prescription glasses frame.

    Being lost for only a few hours on land was really unpleasant, I felt like I was on a small boat drifting away from land. I can remember it very well 🙂


  • while a couple of these might work you would be screwed by not being able to see properly and risk injury from accidentally tripping over crap

  • Some of the “survival” stuff on sites like Instructables, or for sale on sites like Banggood, AliExpress etc. would not be allowed on a plane. If you are limited in where you can carry a survival kit, you are more likely to not have one when you REALLY want it.
    If someone made “survival frames” what would you want?
    A fish hook in the earpiece assumes you are near fish-bearing water, AND have sturdy string. Lacking either of these will make the hook pointless [ie. stranded in Aussie outback]
    Looking for grubs may be need long-term.
    If you are lost SHORT term [Like StephenF, above] your biggest lifesaver will be a way to signal where you are to the search & rescue teams. Mirrored lenses might help reflect light for air based search.

    Personally, I’d like a way to build a fire – and avoid death from exposure / dehydration.

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