How to open a can without a can opener





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Published on Sep 15, 2011

I learned this trick in Cody Lundin's book "When All Hell Breaks Loose."

*Update 7-30-12*

Hello, fellow Lifehackers! Thanks for watching. First, let me say this was a big surprise. This was just something simple I recorded some time ago in a single take during a lunch break to show two of my friends what I'd learned.

Out of all the videos on YouTube that illustrate this technique, I don't know why Lifehacker picked mine. There are definitely better-quality videos with better explanations of how to do this. If I ever had any idea 150,000 other people were going to see this, I'd definitely have done some things differently. I'd have found somewhere quiet. I'd have used a better camera angle. I'd have had less rambling dialog. I wouldn't have used a knife at the end. I'd have had John Williams score the soundtrack. And I'd have had Seth Macarlane create animate characters to lead us through this journey of discovery. Girls on trampolines would have been nice as well.

I'd like to address the most popular question: Why not just use the knife?

Safety is the big reason. Leveraging the blade against the metal is dangerous. A lid cut free is sharp as well. Even being careful, accidents can happen. If you're in a situation where this is something you need to do, odds are you don't want to be taking any risks when it comes to the possibility of cutting yourself.

Simplicity is another reason. In an emergency, being able to take charge and delegate tasks is important. Scrubbing a can on concrete or a stone is something you can let a kid do while you go build a fire or put together some sort of shelter.

Some other questions:

What knife is that?
A Leatherman c55b. It's a good knife, but I now carry a Leatherman Skeletool.

Would having a knife with a can opener be a better idea?
Of course! Originally, I did have such a knife. Years ago, I'd bought a Leatherman k502x. It had everything the c55b has plus some additional screwdriver bits and a can opener. I managed to break the pin that held the top of the knife together. Leatherman has a 25-year warranty on their knives. When I sent it in, they sent back a c55b. No, the c55b isn't as nice of a knife but it beats a broken k502x hands down.

What if you don't have concrete in the jungle?
How often do you find yourself in the jungle now? Odds are, should you find yourself in an emergency, it's going to be close to home or somewhere like it. I have plenty of concrete there. How about you? Should you find yourself in the woods, look for a stone or rock. Flat is easier to work with but anything should do.

What if something gets in the food?
A little limestone or steel dust probably won't hurt you. I'm sure you've eaten far, far worse things. If you actually bother to try this, you'll see it's very easy to wipe the top of the can off before opening it.


That's it for now. Again, thanks to all you viewers and Lifehacker for my 15 minutes of internet fame. Out of curiosity, should I do any more videos?

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