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Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Survival: Lost with...Only a Bottle of Whiskey

Put that hooch to good use with these tips for starting a fire, treating water, and even signaling for help.

by: The Backpacker Editors

Use that bottle of whiskey to save your life!
Use that bottle of whiskey to save your life!
A whiskey bottle can hung from a tree to signal for help.
A whiskey bottle can hung from a tree to signal for help.
Start a fire using whiskey.
Start a fire using whiskey.


Treat Iffy Water
Early settlers in Canada’s Red River area who mixed a little whiskey into their drinking water had fewer incidences of waterborne illness than their counterparts, reports BACKPACKER columnist and wilderness-medicine expert Buck Tilton. Add a shot to your liter of water, then wait 20 minutes. You want dead—not drunk—giardia.


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Re: "Lab grade alchohol/ethanol" - please do not drink this. It is easy to get the azeotropic mixture of 95% ethanol through conventional distillation, but you have to add chemicals like benzene or acetone to get 200 proof ethanol. There is still residual (carcinogenic) chemical in the final product.

Ken
Jan 27, 2012

You can start a fire with hand sanitizer that comes in those little bottles... The stuff is 62 to 64% alcohol.... just squirt it on your wood chips, twigs, etc.. and light it with your lighter, etc...

Works well for trying to get damp twigs to start a fire...

Just DON`T RUB IT ON YOUR HANDS AND THAN TRY TO USE A LIGHTER WHILE YOUR HANDS ARE STILL WET... YOU`LL BE DISAPPOINTED WITH THE RESULTS..LOL...

xanadu
Dec 11, 2011

Sorry but this article is a total joke written by someone who has never even been camping. 1.Whisky as a signaling device? STUPID waste of time. 2.Start a fire? NEVER. 3.Care for cuts? Urine would burn less!!! 4.Treat water???? So that you will get more dehydrated from the alcohol!!!!!!???????

Tom
Sep 13, 2011

After reading this, and the comments below, I tested Wild Turkey 101 Proof and Crown Royal 80 Proof and both lit up in a blue flame with a bic lighter after only a second or two! I would take the 101 proof with me, not only cuz it's more flamable but cuz I'd carry less to catch a buzz. If only I could get my hands on some of that kentucky moonshine!

RICHARD
Jul 21, 2011

I AM AN AMERICAN AND IT'S WISKEY TO ME AND OTHER AMERICANS

David
May 14, 2011

I'm curious where you're getting this 180 proof whiskey?
The whiskey I drink (Jack Daniels) like most bottled alcohol is only 80 proof. Now 80 proof means it is only 40% alcohol - you half the proof for % of alcohol.
I could throw burning matches in it all day long and never get a fire. The 60% that's water and rye flavor overpowers the burning capability of the alcohol.
I could use it to put out a fire but not start one.

muddpuppy
May 12, 2011

well if i had to choose between freezing my but off in a snow storm or sitting by a toasty fire, im gonna dump every last drop of wat ever flammable liquid i can get ahold of. i can start a fire with natural tiner and a flint, but if ive got whiskey and im freezing its fire starter first, then its ok to sip.

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