Primitive Survival Skills : How To Use a Coconut Tree To Survive on an Island

If You are off to an Island for a Survival Trip , Whether it be for fun or a disaster which forces you to go on a Cast Away without Tom Hanks, One thing You will find on every Island Coasts is Coconut Trees. Coconut is in itself a multi use Survival tool. From food to shelter or weapon , there are many uses of coconut. Let's First see what is a coconut actually.


The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only species of the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm or the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning "head" or "skull", from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.
coconut fruit, used for survival and emergency
Coconut Fruit

Natural Habitat

The coconut palm grows on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall (1500 mm to 2500 mm annually), which makes colonizing shorelines of the tropics relatively straightforward. Coconuts also need high humidity for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. However, they can be found in humid areas with low annual precipitation such as in Karachi, Pakistan, which receives only about 250 mm of rainfall per year, but is consistently warm and humid.

Coconut palms require warm conditions for successful growth, and are intolerant of cold weather. Some seasonal variation is tolerated, with good growth where mean summer temperatures are between 28 and 37 °C, and survival as long as winter temperatures are above 4–12 °C; they will 
survive brief drops to 0 °C. Severe frost is usually fatal, although they have been known to recover from temperatures of −4 °C . They may grow but not fruit properly in areas with insufficient warmth, such as Bermuda.
coconut trees are found in saline areas such a coastal shoreline

The main limiting factor for most locations which satisfy the rainfall and temperature requirements is canopy growth, except those locations near coastlines, where the sandy soil and salt spray limit the growth of most other trees.

Use of Coconut in Survival Situation

Food for Survival

Coconut is rich in fat and carbohydrate as well as micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. If you are hungry then a single fully grown coconut fruit can keep you full for many hours. Many survival experts say that in a coastal survival situation , you can rely on coconut water for your thirst and hydration. This water can be found inside a immature coconut fruit.

Primitive Survival Shelter

Building a shelter is one of the most important milestone for a emergency situation as It protects you from harsh weather conditions. broad and dense coconut leaves can provide you a effective cover for your shelter.You can make your shelter between two nearby coconut trees so that you don't have to use extra pillars. if you can manage cutting a tree, you are lucky to find a trunk, you can also use it as a lumber for your shelter.
coconut leaves are used to make shelter

Use as a rope

In countries like India , Coconut ropes are quite popular and widely used. you can also make rope using green coconut leaves as they are long and can be drawn into thin wire like strips. These ropes can help you build a strong shelter and joining and binding things together.

Coconut shells as dish

Hollow coconut shells can be used as dish for eating and drinking. If you can manage making a hole in the shell tip, you can also use it as funnel.

Fuel and Tinder

Dry fiber of a coconut fruit are considered as one of the best Tinder matter for starting fire. On the other hand dry leaves and trunk of the tree have been used for centuries as fire fuel. So start collecting the coconut leaves as soon as possible if you are stuck on a lonely Island.

Self Defence

Middle branch of the coconut leaf is very hard and if you can sharpen the front end of leaf, It can serve as a primitive spear. you can hunt for small animals or you can keep intruders off your territory.

Emergency Raft 

If you are struck on an island, you can't stay there all your life. Also you might not get help from rescuers , if your luck isn't favoring you. So, if getting out of the island on your own is the last solution , coconut trunk can be used to make a emergency raft. You want to go little deeper to catch fishes or something like that, this raft will be your reliable companion.

   These are some uses of a coconut tree as I presume. If you know any more uses of a coconut tree and fruit, do tell me in comment section. Your feedback always inspire me to write more. If you have reached this far, then You should check my other articles too. Happy Hiking | safe hiking | adventurous Hiking

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