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Survival

Survival: Lost with…Only Some Junk Food

Word up to Eric Schlosser and all you other health-food ninnies out there: A bag of greasy chips could save your triglyceride-loathing, carb-counting, GMO-bashing arses.

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Here in the world of professional backpacking, those of us who have been around the backcountry block and have seen some things—and, yes, escaped a few brushes with physical and other kinds of nearly certain death—we possess a secret survival method that’s as effective as it is unorthodox. Variously known as the Pringles Primer, the Fritos Firestarter, or the (more on this later) Fritos Firebomb, this mystery is one we reveal here only because, frankly, photographer Dan Saelinger shot a really cool picture of it. Inadvertently invented at an ’80s bonfire in southern Ohio, the technique is dirtbag simple: Flick a Bic under a greasy sliver of potato, and that all-American farm product will burn for 45 to 60 seconds (per 1.87g serving—the weight of an average chip these miserly days). The flame won’t cook the rabbit you just snared, but several blazing crisps will lick your recalcitrant kindling enough to get a real fire going. We never carry chips on trips (though we love Tim’s Cascade Jalapeño afterward), but extensive testing reveals that Fritos Scoops! is the sine qua non of incendiary snacks. As for the Firebomb, put on your pyro thinking cap and imagine a white gas marinade.