Gear Hacks: 5 Useful Ways to Reuse Empty Chewing Tobacco Cans
Turn one man's trash into your treasure
If you or one of your buddies can’t live without your “Vitamin C,” then you probably have a solid collection of empty Copenhagen tins lying around. That means you have an ample supply of handy containers that can be packed nearly anywhere. If your lip-dip comes in the plastic cans, then you’re especially fortunate. Here are five uses I’ve come up with for the indispensable chew can.
1. Emergency Cord Dispensers
These cans make a great container and dispenser for 15-20 feet of paracord. Nearly every hunting or camping trip I take finds me in need of paracord, and this is a great way to pack it. It takes a little patience to get one started, but it’s worth it. Take a length of cord and begin coiling it carefully inside the can from the outside edge in. Once you fill the can, the tail end will be in the middle. Cut a slit in the lid and pull the end through. I usually run electrical tape around the can to hold the lid on. Pull lengths of cord as needed from the top of the can without tangling or making a mess of the rest of it.
2. Tackle Box
If you’re a mobile fisherman who doesn’t like to be bogged down with vests and bulky tackle boxes, or you want minimal fishing gear to hit a few creeks when the hunting is slow, you can fit a surprising amount of fishing gear in one Cope can. Pack it with a few swivels, sinkers, spinners, flies, leader, and just about anything else you can jam in it to get you through a day of minimalist fishing.
3. Fire Kit
Every hunter should carry an emergency fire kit on their person. Snuff cans are great for this. You can keep everything you need to start a fire right in a single easy-to-reach pocket. I used to just keep fire-starting tinder in mine, but I’ve found that you can fit a small flint or some storm-proof matches, with the striker glued to the inside of the lid. I like to keep a few chunks of carbide in a sealed bag in there as well. When it’s really wet, the carbide comes in handy. When you need to get a fire going, set one or two carbide chunks down and pour water on them. This causes a reaction that gives off acetylene gas that lights with a spark, and will continue to burn for a surprising length of time. This allows you to get even damp tinder to catch fire.
4. Podiatry Kit
Mountain hunters know the value of taking care of their feet. Every night while sheep hunting, I use foot powder to help dry out and sooth my sweaty, achy, worn-out feet. Sure, the little bottles of powder work fine, but they don’t fit in your pocket quite like a Copenhagen can. Punch some holes in a pattern on one side of the can, then cover it with tape that you can peel off, and stick back on. Fill the can with foot powder. You now have not only a mobile foot-care kit but also a poor man’s wind detector.
5. Possibles Kit
On any hunt, it seems like there are always small spare parts that can come in handy. Use the snuff can to store extra screws, clips, tie wire, an extra traditional bow string, a small chunk of string wax, and anything else that you can think of that will fit. Consolidating these small necessities makes them easy to find and minimizes the parts and pieces scattered around in ziplock bags.
These are just a few ways I’ve found to use my empty cans to make my packing more efficient. What are some of your ideas?