16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

by Todd Walker

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance | TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Scavenging resources in a wilderness survival situation can turn up life-saving stuff. That’s why developing a possum mentality is vital!

Our ancestors walked our woodlands and learned to use the resources most modern outdoor enthusiast overlook. Essential woodland resources seem to be invisible to the modern eye. The stuff you’ve got packed in your woodcraft/bushcraft kit or bug out bag are consumable. You’ll eventually use up that roll of duct tape… or, more than likely, you forgot to pack it.

Not a problem. Pine trees produce a sticky substitute with superior benefits!

Learning to identify and use natural resources has gotten me out of many sticky situations in the woods. Pardon the play on words as we explore the many uses of this tacky, amber-colored pine sap I call Jewel of the Woods!

Collecting Sappy Jewels

Pine trees secrete resin as a defense to close wounds from insects or other forces. The sap provides a protective layer or sealant over the injury . The sap hardens forming an amber glob which turns dark in color over time. On fresh wounds, you’ll notice a whitish layer of sap covering the damaged area. With time, large clumps form making it easier to harvest.

Harvesting fresh resin can become a sticky situation. The fresher the glob, the more sticky and pliable. On dedicated Jewel of the Woods harvesting trips, I carry a grub knife, one I don’t mind getting covered with resin. To remove sap from my good blades in the woods, I use a bit of Everclear (190 proof) from my flask on a piece of cloth.

For hardened resin, poke a sharp object (grub knife or sharp stick) into the base of the glob and pry it loose. It’ll break off and fall into your hand or container underneath. That’s when you’ll notice the crystalized form inside which resembles a beautiful piece of amber stone.

For hard-to-reach spots high in trees, my friend Joe at Feral Woodcraft shares his clever resin harvesting tool.

Now that you’ve gathered a fair amount, what’s this sticky stuff good for?

A.) Self Aid

  • Pine sap properties include: antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
  • Treat wounds – apply it to cuts like you would super glue. Follow first-aid protocol for cleaning/flushing first.
  • Stop bleeding – apply a soft glob (heat if necessary) to help stop bleeding.
  • Treat skin rashes and eczema with ointments,tinctures, and salves. For tinctures, use 190 proof Everclear since resin won’t dissolve with watered down alcohols.
  • Chew softer sap straight off the tree like a gum for sore throats and colds. You could pre-make “gum” with these ingredients: bees-wax, pine sap, and honey.

B.) Glue/Epoxy – Pine Pitch

  • Turn pine resin into pitch sticks.
  • Hafting arrowheads, fletching arrows and gluing other primitive tools and weapons.
  • Waterproof boot seams, canoes, and containers.
  • Patch holes in tents and tarps.
  • Pretty much any thing you need to glue or patch in the woods, pine pitch is the product.

C.) Candling Device

  • Place globs of dried resin in a fatwood torch to extend its burn time.
  • Pitch sticks, described above, can be used as a makeshift candles.
  • Melt sap and soak a cotton bandana or rag wrapped around a stick for a torch.
  • Melted or liquid sap poured over a dried mullein stalk works as candle/torch.

Mullein torch

D.) Fire Craft

  • Fire is life in a wilderness survival scenario. Even on weekend camping trips, fire offers core temperature control, cooking, and hot cocoa! Resin is your secret weapon to starting and keeping a fire going in wet conditions. Anyone who’s used resin-rich fatwood in rainy conditions appreciates its important role in fire craft.

  • Resin is highly flammable. Once lit, you can dry marginal tinder and small kindling.

16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance | TheSurvivalSherpa.com

  • Harvest liquid sap into a container from a fresh cut in a pine tree to add to a makeshift torch. Secure the container under the exposed bark to collect the sap. Use this liquified sap as torch fuel.

Once you learn to identify this sticky life-saver, you’ll find it difficult to walk past a pine tree without scanning for this Jewel of the Woods!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, First Aid, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , , , | 89 Comments

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89 thoughts on “16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance

  1. Pingback: 16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance | Modern Homesteader

  2. Pingback: Prepper News Watch for February 5, 2015 | The Preparedness Podcast

  3. rondennis303

    I thought that you might find this of interest:


    Thanks for your wisdom.


  4. Pingback: Survival Food Storage Blogs - Highlights Feb 5th - Bulk Survival Food

  5. Doug Sell

    Great tips! Here’s just an editing note though…..ointments, tinctures, and slaves? HAHAHAHAHA, that was just too funny!


  6. Thomas

    Another page of Todd’s that i will be saving for future reference. Thanks man.


  7. Here in the north of Sweden we make a traditional healing salve from fir tree sap and tallow. Great stuff for healing deep, infected wounds. I’ve used it successfully, but nervously, on a bone deep, infected operation wound to my knee that wouldn’t heal. It’s gotten to the point where I hardly ever return home from a trek in the woods without a clump of sap.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Be Anti-Fragile: Prepare Modern but Practice Primitive | Survival Sherpa

  9. Pingback: Sticky Pine Sap - Wilderness Survival - The Emergency Survivalist

  10. Amber

    My husband collects sap for fire starter, he will be pleased to know its medicinal properties as well. Thanks!


  11. Pingback: How to Make Primitive Hot Glue Sticks | Survival Sherpa

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  13. I have started collecting pine sap into old Altoid cans. They are small, light, and somewhat strong. Your site is the best I’ve came across for prepping and survival! Thanks again….. Jim


    • Many thanks for your kind words, Jim! I really appreciate it!

      That pine sap is such a great resource to collect and use. And those tins, I collect them to use for all sorts of things. Containers aren’t given a second thought until you don’t have one.

      Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-reliance!


  14. Carol

    I don’t have anything to add as I’m a novice at present but I’m really grateful that you’ve shared your knowledge with all of us. I will be collecting this and using it from now on. Cheers, Carol


    • Welcome to the journey to self-reliance, Carol! So happy to hear you’ve gotten started and you found this info helpful.

      Keep in mind, in a true survival scenario, I’d drink untreated water to avoid dehydration. Most symptoms show up over 72 hours later. The typical lost hiker or hunter is located within the first two days or so.

      Keep doing the stuff, Carol!


  15. Pingback: A little Q & A from some survivalists for when the SHTF. | bunkersgalore

  16. Great and amazing tips that’s very helpful. I also watch the v ideo and it’s kinda interesting. Thank


  17. Pingback: 16 Survival Uses For Pine Sap - SHTF & Prepping Central

  18. Pingback: 7 Secrets for Burning Sticks in the Rain | Survival Sherpa

  19. jason

    I was always getting stung by hornets when i was young, and that stuff works great, pull the stinger out too if you use a bandage over it for 24 hrs.

    in the woods, i will use willow leafs and pine sap for bandaids


  20. Steven

    Can be used to remove slivers as well. Soften and form over the embedded sliver. Allow to harden then pull away. Got this from Michael Moore’s Mountain West herb book.


  21. Reblogged this on Patrick' s Bushcraft and commented:
    Good info here on the uses of Pine Sap / Tar


  22. Pingback: 16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance | Rifleman III Journal

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  24. Pingback: 16 Survival Uses For Pine Sap

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  28. Dee sevilla

    I use pine sap for arthritis I mix it with wd 40 I put little bit of sap in an spoon and spray some wd 40 on it and hold it over the fire to melt and blend together let it cool some then rub where the pain is


  29. Pingback: Kako odstraniti smolo z avtomobila?

  30. Pingback: 10 Essential Medical Resources You Can Get From Nature | Survivopedia

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  33. Pingback: 12 Survival Uses of Pine Sap - Survival Frog Blog

  34. Pingback: How to use sticky pine sap to survive in the wild: treating rashes, starting fires and more - Us Politics Info

  35. Russell

    I have a question about using it to glue plywood together with 11/4 x11/4 boards to build a pirogue ? I want to use natural materials instead of modern epoxy I also plan to waterproof the whole thing with a pinetar mix used by the Vikings. would like your thoughts
    Thanks Russell


    • I’ve never attempted a water vessel. Sounds like a great project! I would think you’d need something stronger to hold the plywood together. Batches of pitch glue can become brittle if the right ratio is not there. Scott Jones, my primitive skills mentor, mentioned once that sweet gum sap in the mix makes it more pliable. I know that’s not much help. It’ll be interesting to hear what you come up with for adhesive. Keep us posted, please sir!


  36. Hello, and greets from the middle of the Great bear Rainforest…. In this area we can gather and even tap resin. I’ll try the borehole method because it’s standardised and known to cause minimal insult to the tree, and yields a clean stream. I’m wondering what you can tell me about using the Woodpecker method to induce some resin flow that we can let dry and go back and snap off the bark later as it dries into short strands and small globs. There’s plenty of ground here that won’t grow a straight board but is wonderful open exposure for a resin tree.

    Duncan Crow
    GBRWorkers on FB


  37. Pingback: 10 Essential Medical Resources You Can Get From Nature – The Prepper Dome

  38. Michael Gralal

    Extra dry pine sap will polish a violin bow with its crystals making it sound more lush…
    #17 of good uses.


  39. Mae

    Would you be interested in putting some of your info in a magazine? Our friends are publishing a Bear Essential Life mag, and like to use stuff like this. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153744566567134&set=pcb.1815196138755272&type=3
    I hope the link worked, Mae


  40. Pingback: 16 Uses of Sticky Pine Sap for Wilderness Survival and Self-Reliance  — Info You Should Know

  41. Pingback: 16 Survival Uses For Pine Sap | The Survival Skills.com

  42. Pingback: 7 Trees Preppers Should Include in Their Survival Garden

  43. Raechel Crocetta

    Hi, my son and I have noticed that there are 4 very distinct colours, can you please explain the process or why this is so and if there are any special uses for each colour ( other than your above explanations? We collected bright red ( the colour of blood) white – fresh and soft, orange and an in between ( amber). Any feedback will be appreciated . Thanks


    • jason

      I normally collect the soft freash white stuff but it will darken with age. The soft freash is best for small wounds and insect bites, the old harder stuff can be melted down in an old pot on the fire and would be used with string soaked in the sap to caulk canoe leaks


    • I do believe the different coloration comes from the different ages of the resin. A lot of white I find is very brittle and not very useful in the process. The best I’ve find is the orangeish, softer resin. It may have to do with your location as well.


  44. Nathan

    I just climbed a pine tree. It’s was really cool and the wind moved me and the tree around. It was a great experience with all that including climbing to the top and going back down. I then realized after a minute that pine sap was stuck to my military tight long sleeve shirt. So I’m here and really interested in all these cool survival tips with pine sap! If you want message me back some info and I would like to see more unique ideas of survival tips with pine sap! This is really interesting to me and like it a lot!


  45. Merle schoelkoph

    Lots of good stuff. Just one more thing, it is also good for patching tires. Went for a 4 day hike and someone iced picked all 4 tires. I used welding rod stubs and pine tree sap to plug the holes and drove home, it also helped to have a 12 volt air pump.


  46. Michelle



  47. If you would be so kind.Can you please site your sources I’m kind of desperate to know how reliable these information are for research purposes.


  48. Donna



  49. How do I remove it from clothing ? It is very sticky and my wife won’t let me use her washing machine ! I scraped most of it off but there is still deep set residue there . Thanks.


    • jason

      Cold water and add a few drops of dish soap with laundry detergent if it is small amounts, if you have just small spots.

      If your jeans are covered, just throw them out


  50. Peanut

    Peanut Butter! Rub some peanut butter on it the wash normally…


  51. Miera Scarlet

    Hey.. Thanks for sharing this great post. It’s very useful and straight to the point. I didn’t know that pine sap can be used for medical purposes. Very interesting.. I’l keep that in mind and if I come across a pine tree, I’ll be sure to try to do some experiments with the guidelines you mentioned here XD. It’s important to familiarize ourselves with any survival skills as preparations. We can’t predict the future.

    When speaking about survival, it reminds me of one of my favourite survival book. It’s really easy to understand and very useful in so many ways. It contains so many survival guides that most of us don’t even know of. My favourite part of the book is that it helps the readers to learn making their own medicine using medicinal plants that most of us don’t even know that it can be use for that purposes. The book teaches how to identify and prepare the plant for medical uses. But that’s just a small part of it. There are so much more survival guidelines in that book.

    If you’re interested in that book, you can go HERE: https://tinyurl.com/ycsvbxe7

    Thank you again for sharing this wonderful information. I really appreciate it : )


    • Michael M

      Turpentine is made from pine stumps. I find what we call fat pine for fire starters. If you see a rotted pine stump , they will usually have fat pine. I have a couple chunks on the hearth .


  52. Pingback: Pine Rosin – My Blog

  53. Pingback: Pine Rosin – Blind Pig and The Acorn

  54. Kael

    Awesome, can this work with Scots pine too? Is it any type of pine?


  55. Pingback: 5 Tips To Help You Handle Extreme Environments after Bugging Out | Urban Survival Site

  56. Orville McArthur

    Fantastic reading. Just thought I would add a little humor.
    I was introduced to Ponderosa Pine pitch in 1935. My mother took me to one of the hugh, well 24 inches was hugh to a five year old, pines in the area where we lived in northern Idaho. She explained the difference; real good, medium soft/hard and very hard. The very hard ones were about the size of an adults little finger tip. “Clean off the loose stuff, put it in your mouth and let I soften and start chewing. Only chew the hard stuff.” It was great. I loved the smell. Still do.
    Well one day I decided to see what the soft/hard stuff was like. After all, it was softer, it would be easier to chew. I took several bites and my teeth stuck together. I tried everything to pry my teeth apart. I went without dinner and breakfast. The stuff finally dissolved so could get my mouth open. But my food tasted like pine pitch for some days. My parents never scolded me. They knew I would never do it again
    So when I introduced my children to chewing pine pitch, I told about my lesson.


  57. Pingback: The Many Survival Uses of Pine Sap – Nicole at the ready store

  58. This is fantastic thank you for the knowledge


  59. Chelsey

    How long could you store the pine sap for? And would you just store it in an air tight container?



  60. Pingback: 9 Survival Uses For Pine Sap • Concerned Patriot

  61. Pingback: The Healing Power of Christmas: The Secret Benefits of Mistletoe, Holly, Nutmeg and More - Dollar Shave Club Original Content

  62. backpackandbushcraft

    Great Post. We love collecting this stuff!!


  63. Hello, I though I was the only one so in tune with pine wax.
    I just collected some wax from a pine tree and I only did because it smells really good. I want to be sure if is good wax to eat?
    Is it from the right pine tree?
    My wax has come out from a hole but it looks like it has come out in a exesive amount. Is not transparent orange like yours. Mine looks like white non transparent paste with red little debris from wood or tree I guess.
    Let me know if that a possible to eat it
    Thank you


    • Scott

      Sounds like it is a pitch tube the tree puts out when a pine beetle bores into the bark; the tree then attempts to push out or encase the beetle (sometimes you’ll see the bug in the pitch) by producing pitch in quantity. The little pieces in the pitch are the saw dust from the beetle as it entered through the bark. Sometimes you will see hundreds of pitches tubes on a pine tree that probably won’t survive the attack or you will find that the tree is already dead from the massive invasion. Once the beetle(s) enter the tree they tunnel in the cambium layer, lay eggs, larve then consume more thereby girdling the tree and killing the tree. If you find only a couple of tubes the tree probably won the battle.


  64. harry simon

    you haf a book -about sap?


  65. harry simon

    uses of sticky’ pine sap’ book?


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