Monday, May 21, 2018

Rubbing Alcohol in a BOB

Isopropyl ("rubbing") alcohol is something that most preppers will have in their kit in small quantities -- perhaps a few wipes in their first aid kit -- but it always surprises me how underutilized it is in a  bug out bag.

In addition to being a way to clean wounds and sterilize tools, it's also an emergency fuel source.

Rubbing alcohol is like lighter fluid but more useful. The only disadvantage that I have found is that it will not burn if the conditions are actually wet. If you want to start a fire when it is wet, you are probably best off using something like fuel tablets.

How To Use It As a Fire Starter
My preferred method is to pour a quarter to a half of a 500 milliliter bottle onto some kindling, and toss on a match. Even if it is slightly damp, or not small enough to catch easily, it will burn, at least for a small while. If the only problem is that it is slightly damp, or that it is a little larger than ideal, it makes a dandy way to get a fire started in a hurry. It does a dandy job of drying out the kindling as it burns, so long as it is not saturated.

(As a note: I have taken to using rubbing alcohol in place of lighter fluid. Please tell me why I am wrong and am going to die in the comments.)
When I am using pre-moistened wipes, I like to pull one out and twist it around a twig or similar, before placing it into a pre-made “tepee” of kindling. I have had success with that, even in windy or somewhat adverse conditions.

Ways to Store It
I keep rubbing alcohol in a standard plastic bottle like the one it comes in from the store, complete with plastic seal. I keep it in my larger bug out bag, and I keep it handy in my first aid kit as a liquid form.

But if you have to have a smaller bottle (due to weight and space considerations), I have found that small flasks can be bought on Amazon or at Wal-Mart. Small travel-size plastic bottles can also work quite nicely.

I also keep some on hand in the form of wipes, pre-saturated, and kept in a foil pouch.

Keep isopropyl alcohol in your bug out bag. It can save a lot of hassle.

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