December 20, 2012
Survival Gear: 5 Uses for High Proof Alcohol - 5
by Tim MacWelch
Moonshine seems to be all the rage again, thanks to some interesting documentaries and one very popular Discovery Channel show. Besides drinking some white lightning for recreation, there are several practical reasons to keep alcohol in mind as a survival commodity.
Here are my top five survival uses for high-proof hooch:
1. Stove fuel: Maybe you have an alcohol-burning camp stove, or your made one like the beer can stove in our survival by beer gallery (link). For that type of stove, you’ll need some very high-proof liquor (like Everclear, if you can legally get it where you live) to efficiently cook your food and boil your water. It burns slower and cooler than most other stove fuels, but it’s not a permanent mess if it spills in your backpack or vehicle. Alcohol evaporates very quickly. If it’s only going in the stove, you can buy denatured alcohol at the hardware store. This blend of alcohol is cheaper, legal, readily available, and it burns very well.
2. Wound management: It’s going to hurt, but alcohol could be used as an aggressive disinfectant on topical wounds. This is a pretty rough way to practice field medicine, but it is on the table as a last resort.
3. Pain management: From broken legs to broken hearts, lots of folks find solace in a sip or two of the good stuff. It’s not a perfect pain killer, but it may be all you have in a pinch. Just make sure your booze is the drinking kind. Denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol, methanol, and many other alcohol products are toxic.
4. Bartering: Whether you drink alcohol or don’t, there will always be plenty of folks around who will want some. In the event of a prolonged disaster, alcohol (along with cigarettes and caffeine) could be a very valuable trade good.
5. Gear disinfectant: You could disinfect your gore-covered knife, the dirty drinking hose to your Camelback, or a host of other filthy things with some high-test booze. Think of it as hand sanitizer for everything else.
Ever had a shot of whiskey for pain, poured vodka on a wound, or made a beer can camp stove? Let us hear about it in the comments.