Military Hacks That’ll Make Everyday Life That Much Easier

Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

There are many things in life that are tough, and military personnel have figured out the best ways to combat them. While War History Online is by no means a “hack” website (we’re all about battles, weapons and the latest tanks), we felt we could make an exception for this: the 10 best military hacks that can be applied to everyday life… No need to thank us.

Soften your boots in water

Airman tying their boots by the edge of a pool
Photo Credit: Senior Airman Cynthia Spalding / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Service members are always on their feet, and they need to be mobile and able to spring into action at a moment’s notice. As such, they need comfortable footwear.

You don’t have to be in the military to know that new boots are a pain to work in. Thankfully, the military has a surefire way to soften them, so they’re easier to walk and run in. By soaking the footwear in water for about an hour, the material becomes less stiff, preventing blisters.

Duct tape can prevent blisters

Hand holding a roll of duct tape
Photo Credit: Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images

If your boots aren’t soft enough after an hour of soaking, you might end up with blisters on your heels. Luckily, service members have a solution for this, too: duct tape!

Surprisingly, the product can serve as a guard or pad to prevent shoes from rubbing against areas where blisters are more prone to occur. By sticking some duct tape there, you can avoid the pain.

How to properly tie boot laces

Side profile of a tan-colored boot
Photo Credit: PEO Soldier / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Along with the feel of the footwear, properly tying boot laces is integral to the comfort of your feet. After soaking them and/or applying duct tape to your heels, you may find your boots still feel a little stiff when you actually walk in them. If that’s the case, this old military hack can serve as a quick and easy solution.

When lacing up your boots, avoid the holes up by your ankles. By skipping these, you’ll allow for more natural mobility around where the boot creases when you’re in motion.

Powder wounds with sugar

Teaspoon of sugar held over a larger pile
Photo Credit: Luis Ascui / Getty Images

Wounds are one thing military personnel face during their careers. Depending on their severity, some can be treated with sugar. As it turns out, the sweet stuff also serves as an anti-bacterial!

By powdering wounds with sugar, you can temporarily stop any infection from spreading. This shouldn’t replace anti-bacterial medications, but can provide some aid in a pinch (pun intended) until conventional methods are applied.

Vaseline can start fires

Tubs of Vaseline on a store shelf
Photo Credit: Newscast / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Who knew petroleum jelly was flammable?

This all-around moisturizer has been a first aid kit essential since the First World War, and not only can it ease burns and treat cuts, it can also start fires! All you need to do is dip a cotton ball into a pot of Vaseline and light it with a lighter or match. The soggy material will easily catch fire, and it can act as either a fire starter or provide a bit of light and warmth, if necessary.

A surefire way to keep shirt tucked in

Military enlistees lined up on a street
Photo Credit: Anthony Potter Collection / John Vachon / Getty Images

Have you ever dolled yourself up for a night out, only for your shirt to look all disheveled halfway through the night? Well, this military hack will ensure you’re always looking your best.

The secret is to pinch the bottom edges of your shirt and fold them backwards before tucking the garment into your pants. This will give you peace of mind that your top-wear won’t billow out on you.

Maxi Pads can stem blood

Maxi pads and tampons placed on a white table
Photo Credit: Annette Riedl / picture alliance / Getty Images

Despite what you may think, maxi pads are a great item to have on hand during battle. In an environment where wounds happen easily and frequently, this menstrual product is great at doing exactly what it’s meant to: absorbing blood.

This goes beyond the battlefield, as well. Maxi pads are great to have on hand while camping, in the workplace or even just at home. In case there’s a wound that needs dressing, one taped in place can actually stem blood flow.

Fix threads with fire

American flag patch on the arm of a US Army soldier's uniform
Photo Credit: Noam Galai / Getty Images

Service members always look well put together, as loose threads have no place on military uniforms. When a thread does come loose, they know better than to pull it. Instead, they grab their nearest lighter and burn it. Not only does the flame destroy the length of the thread, it prevents any snagging.

This is a handy hack that works for any clothing, as long as you’re careful.

Change your diet to beat jet lag

Airline passengers sitting in their seats
Photo Credit: PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Getty Images

We’ve all been there: you plan an exotic vacation and, while you’re ready to immediately jump into your adventures, that dreaded jet lag takes effect, making you too tired to do anything. It’s something we’ve grown to accept as a part of traveling, but what if we told you there’s a way to combat it?

This military hack is something we never expected, as it involves our diet! It’s reported that service members will participate in what’s known as the “Argonne diet” four days before they’re deployments, which involves protein- and carb-heavy meals on the first and third days and light meals on the second and fourth.

Supposedly, it keeps you feeling good upon arriving at your destination, despite the time change!

Make your bed every morning

Backpack hanging off the side of a bunkbed
Photo Credit: Soeren Stache / picture alliance / Getty Images

Barracks are notoriously tidy, and making the bed is one of the first things ingrained in service members during training.

This military hack has less to do with the making of your bed and more to do with the actual act. By accomplishing this small task every morning, it encourages you to complete other items on your to-do list. Troops make their beds each morning to prepare for the day ahead

Making yours is quick and can motivate you to be more productive throughout the day.

Use socks to keep water cool

Socks filled with water bottles hanging from a fence
Photo Credit: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

There’s little worse than sipping hot water on an equally hot day. Service members often struggle with this, especially when they’ve been deployed to environments with arid climates and hot temperatures.

Thankfully, there’s a military hack to keep water cool. All you have to do is take a sock and soak it in water. Then, place a bottle inside. The wet sock will act like a refrigerator and keep the water within the bottle nice and cool.

A cure for athlete’s foot

Illustration showing the effects of athlete's foot
Photo Credit: DEA PICTURE LIBRARY / De Agostini / Getty Images

We don’t necessarily recommend this next military hack, but it is known to work. If you’re suffering from athlete’s foot, peeing in the shower can actually help cure the condition. Urine contains urea, an anti-fungal. By peeing while you’re in the shower, you’re essentially washing your feet in urea, which can reverse the infection.

More from us: Six Authoritarian Countries Where Democracy Is Virtually Extinct

Again, we’re not saying we recommend you do this, but if push comes to shove, there’s always peeing in the shower.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!