In the fall of 1964 a group of tourists were shipwrecked on an island in the south Pacific. When they realized that no rescue was coming, they worked toward surviving on this small remote island.
What was supposed to a short 3-hour tour turned into a dire survival situation!
One passenger on the ship, who had been a professor, was able to use coconuts and bamboo to create many tools and resources to help the group survive. In fact, he even used coconuts to create a radio and a car!
OK, while making a radio or car out of coconuts might only happen on Gilligan’s Island, you can still use the helpful resources that the coconut tree provides to survive if you’re in a real emergency situation.
Coconut trees are very plentiful and grow in many parts of the world. A typical coconut tree produces about 50 coconuts each year and can be used for cooking, hunting, transportation and more. Check out these ideas on how you can use a coconut tree to survive in the wild because you never know when your tropical vacation could turn into a survival situation.
Small Hunting Spears
The center spine of the coconut tree leaf is very stiff and can be very useful for hunting. Strip the leafy parts of the spine. You may need to cut a more refined edge onto the coconut spine. The spine will be stiff enough to stab fish or other small wild game however it probably won’t be stiff enough to pierce a shell or exoskeleton.
Coconut tree lumber is unique in that the densest part of the tree is on the outside and the wood’s high silica content gives the tree elasticity. Because of that coconut timber can be used to make structures that are durable in the face of weather.
As you’re probably well aware, coconuts often contain water (aka coconut milk) that can keep your pallet wet. Inside an immature coconut is a liquid that is slightly sweet and contains a lot of nutrients. According to Union County College, the water inside a coconut is so sterile that it was sometimes used as a replacement for glucose in IV solutions for wounded soldiers in WWII.
Back in the day coconut leaves and trunks were often used as firewood due to their dry substance and fiber content. In fact, in some parts of Asia, people still use charcoal made from coconut made from coconut shells.
Ladles and Cups
The coconut shell can be used as a dish. Simply cut the coconut in two and use either side as a dish. It should hold a good amount of food or water. If you cut a hole in the bottom of one of the sides, it will also make a great funnel.
Bags and Mats
The leaves of the coconut tree grow to about 17 feet long and are extremely versatile. They can be used to create woven baskets, bags, hats or mats. You’ll want to find the leaves when they are pretty green because dried leaves will become stiff and won’t be able to weave very well.
The hard outer shell of the coconut is a natural fiber material and is great for composting. Strip and break the material as much as possible. The more you break down the material the faster it will decompose and become great compost material for gardening.
The trunk of the coconut tree also makes a great sea-bearing raft. Pacific Islanders have used the tree for thousands of years to create simple water vessels. Try and find the straightest tree possible and chop it down. Hollow out the center and balance out the raft by attaching another floating trunk to the side of the vessel.
What Ideas Do You Have?
Have you used coconuts for another purpose? Comment below to tell us what you have used coconuts for and help others learn too!