Pine resin has multiple uses for survival. This sap is produced by the pine tree to seal up cuts or damages to the tree. If you ever find yourself lost in a wilderness environment, having a pine tree in the area is one of the best case scenarios you can hope for. There are many different species of pine trees but they generally prefer open and sunny areas. They are found abundantly throughout North America, they are also found throughout Central America, Europe, North Africa, in the Caribbean region, and in some places in Asia.
Native Americans used pine sap for medicinal purposes. The resin is either chewed on or made into a beverage by mixing with water. It is known to be very effective in treating stomach ulcers and rheumatoid arthritis. Modern medical experts have not verified the medicinal benefits of pine resin though.
Look for the damaged part of the pine tree because that will be where the resin secretions are. The resin will be dry and hardened but can be softened with heat. Look for damaged or fallen limbs first before you purposely cut into the pine tree’s bark for the sap. If you have to damage the tree, do it in a small area on one side only. Also, take only as much resin as you will need and leave some on the tree to protect the cut from boring insects.
The Survival Uses Of Pine Resin
1. First aid.
When you’re outdoors camping or in a survival situation, cutting accidents will almost always happen. Pine resin can be applied directly over the wound to stem blood flow almost at once. The resin will also inhibit the growth and spread of bacteria because of its sticky nature which denies the bacteria the moisture it needs to survive. Just leave the resin in place until it dries out and then peel it out. The resin will close the wound up the same way stitching it up would. You may reapply resin as needed. There are many instances where wounds have been stemmed using pine resin, like this shared by Scott in his site, Bug Out Survival.
You can also use the sap to treat blisters, burns and abscesses.
2. Use the resin to make shoes and other items waterproof.
Heat the resin to liquid form and then apply it to the material you want to make impervious to water like the lower half of your hiking boots. You can also use resin to seal seams, repair holes in shoes, boats or structures to prevent leaks. When heating the resin, use a deep container to keep the sap away from open flame. Pine resin can ignite easily.
3. Light and heat.
Pine resin can be used to make a lamp. Look for a stone with depression, a can, a clam shell or anything that can be filled with resin. For a wick, use some twisted cloth. Fill the depression with the resin, lay the wick on top and ignite the wick. The wick material will ignite the resin which will burn like a candle. Feed more resin to maintain the flame.
To use the pine resin as a heat source, get a metal container and punch holes in its side. Place it over the ignited resin. The metal will absorb the heat and conduct to the surrounding area. This will not heat a large area but you get enough heat to warm hands and feet.
4. Make glue out of pine resin.
Heat the resin to liquid form. While the pine resin is heating, crumble some charcoal from the fire to fine powder (or as fine as you can make them). When the resin is ready, remove from heat and stir in the powder charcoal – the amount of the charcoal powder should be about 1/3 of the resin’s volume. Dip a stick repeatedly in the mixture to form a ball of pitch on the end. Store the glue like this until it is needed. Heat the hardened glue until pliable.
You can form fishhooks with the glue, repair holes in water containers, repair the soles of shoes, apply feathers to homemade arrows or harden the ends of hunting spears to keep them from splintering, etc.
5. Start a fire with pine resin.
You can use a pine resin to start a fire in damp conditions. Look for some hardened pine resin and some pine sticks. You will see streaks of resin when you split the pine sticks. Lay some dried pine needles near the resin. When you ignite the resin, it will burn long enough to dry the pine needles and you can add small pieces of the pine sticks which will burn even if somewhat damp because of the resin. Once you’ve got a sizable flame going, you can start drying out other wood.