Some women carry small convenience stores on their shoulders. With a place for eyeshadow, emergency snacks, rain gear and reading material, a woman's purse is a treasure trove of useful items.

Most women will (let's hope) never find themselves stranded in the wilderness, but if the situation arises, Bear Grylls , a survival expert and host of Discovery's Man vs. Wild , says women are better prepared than they realize. "So much of survival is just about common sense," Bear says. "They say necessity is the mother of all invention and just thinking literally, so many of us carry everyday things that actually can save your life."

Before a taping of The Oprah Show , Bear rummaged through a few volunteers' purses to see what would come in handy in an emergency situation.

Tampon: Bear suggests removing the absorbent cotton from inside a tampon and using it as kindling. It may seem like a small amount, but Bear says it's enough to start three or four fires.

Condom: Thanks to its leakproof construction, a condom is ideal for water storage. Bear says the average condom can hold 1.5 liters of water.

Camera film: If you haven't gone digital yet, you can use film to ignite a fire. Bear says the highly flammable material burns like rocket fuel.

Lipstick: Beauty goes out the window in an emergency situation…literally. If you're stranded in your car, Bear suggests using a tube of lipstick to write SOS on your windshield or roof.

Dental floss: In a pinch, a strong strand of floss can be used to bind pieces of a makeshift shelter together.

Mirror: A small mirror can be used to signal to airplanes and rescuers. In one case, Bear says a stranded man used a mirror to attract the attention of an airplane from more than 100 miles away.

Have a great survival tip? Leave a comment below.


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