Here’s how to open a can in an emergency (this is so simple!) Tutorial in comments

In the modern world, with all its luxuries and conveniences, we sometimes find ourselves unprepared in situations where survival skills of the past might have been necessary. Camping or vacationing can bring unexpected challenges, such as forgetting essential kitchen items like a can opener. Thankfully, there are some clever tricks that can make food preparation easier even when you’re without a can opener.

In times gone by, people had to rely on hunting or foraging for food, and they had to build their own shelters using whatever natural materials were available. Today, we have the luxury of RVs, trucks, tents, and convenient food options that make outdoor living more accessible. These modern conveniences have led many people to overlook everyday necessities until they find themselves in a bind.


One common scenario is forgetting a can opener when you have canned food. Canned food is a practical way to preserve food when you’re outdoors without access to refrigeration or a freezer. However, opening a can without a can opener can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are “life hacks” that can help you open a can without this essential tool.


One such hack involves using a spoon as a substitute for a can opener:

1. Grip a spoon where the bottom of the handle meets the top of the scoop.

2. Press the tip of the spoon firmly into the can’s lid at the point where you would usually start with a can opener.

3. Firmly push the spoon’s tip back and forth a few times in small sections, working your way around the entire can until it opens.

Additionally, you can use a fork or a metal butter knife in a similar manner by pressing the end of the handle onto the can and following the same steps. The key is to use a utensil with a metal tip, as plastic or silicone handles won’t be effective. While using metal utensils is the most efficient method, if you have non-metallic cutlery, it’s still possible to open the can without a can opener; it just requires more effort.

Another method involves using a rough surface, such as a large, bumpy rock or a slab of concrete, to open the can. You rotate the can along its ridge on the surface, essentially using it as “sandpaper” until the seal wears down and breaks. Periodically squeezing the sides of the can while doing this will also exert pressure on the top seal. Before opening the can, make sure to wipe off the top thoroughly to minimize any rock or metal debris that might end up in your food.

If you have a pocketknife, you can use it to open cans, particularly liquid foods like soups. However, this method can be riskier and is more likely to cause injury than the previous methods, so use caution.

1. Place the can on a flat surface.

2. Hold the can steady with your other hand and poke the tip of the knife through the can.

3. Repeatedly poke around the lid until you can pry it open.

Alternatively, if you’re at home or in a hotel without a can opener, you can use common tools like a chef’s knife, pliers, or a screwdriver:


1. For a chef’s knife, grip the handle firmly and push the heel of the knife upright on the inside edge of the can’s rim. Ensure the bolster isn’t covering the heel of the knife.

2. Push the heel down at an angle to puncture the lid.

3. Repeat the puncturing process until you can pry the lid off.

With these creative methods, you can still enjoy your canned food even when you don’t have a can opener on hand. Just remember to exercise caution, especially when using sharp tools like knives, and prioritize safety while improvising.

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