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Old November 11, 2009, 11:42 AM   #1
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Alchohol Hand Sanitizer in your survival kit...

I thought I'd share this little tid bit with everyone.

At work they passed out these bottles of hand sanitizer for everyone for the flu season. Some how or another we had the idea to see how well it burned. a nickel sized drop on a small piece of metal burned for about 5-8 minutes. Instantly I thought that it would make a great addition to any survival kit. It's a low blue flame that ignites extremely easily and burns a long time. and the little bottle wouldn't add much weight at all.

good luck and stay safe,
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Old November 11, 2009, 12:04 PM   #2
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That gel is probably a 75% alcohol mix.

Have you actually tried to start a camp fire with it or are you guessing it is good stuff?

I had some hand gel like that in my rigging shed at work a few years ago. Tried to light a piece of white pine 2x4 with it and it wouldn't work.

Your gel may have diffrent ingredients than mine. Just make sure it will start a camp fire before you put faith in it. Watching it burn on a piece of steel doesn't tell anything.
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Old November 11, 2009, 12:31 PM   #3
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If it burns then it can be used to start a survival fire. You may not be able to go from gel to 2X4 but you can certainly go from gel to toilet paper or dryleaf to pine needles to dry branches....
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Old November 11, 2009, 12:33 PM   #4
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Believing that everything I carry in the bush should have at least two uses, I tested hand sanitizer years ago, both as a fire starter and as a primer for my trusty Optimus 8R stove. Alas, it doesn't really burn hot enough for either use. Just a piddly blue flame that dwindles quickly to nothing... it might work on dryer lint, if you kept it really dry, but otherwise, no.

On the other hand, you can buy a little bottle of alcohol-based stove primer that will for sure sanitize the heck out of your hands.
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Old November 11, 2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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I would think a half-pint of some Bacardi 151 would both sanitize, help start a fire, and provide some assistance in relaxation while watching the fire. I'm not sure if it is available in "airplane bottles" size.
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Old November 11, 2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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a half-pint of some Bacardi 151
If a half-pint works, I'm thinkin' 1.5 liters will work better!
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Old November 11, 2009, 01:25 PM   #7
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Old November 11, 2009, 01:44 PM   #8
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It's not exactly the same thing, but a neat science trick is to take a $20.00 bill and soak it in isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Then light it on fire. It will burn pretty and blue, but the bill will come through unscathed. The water in the solution soaks into the paper and protects it from burning and the alcohol just burns on the surface. Try it. With a $1.00 bill if you think I'm joking .

I'm not sure of the concentration in most sanitizers but it may be that the inert gel ingredients form a barrier between whatever you are trying to start burning and the burning alcohol. Could be the reason it doesn't work so well.

In my survival kit I have a plastic tube stuffed with petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls. I also have 3 different methods for starting a fire. Lighter, matches, magnesium block/striker. I also have hand sanitizer but I've never tried to get it to burn.

The cotton balls with petroleum jelly are also useful for sealing small cuts, treating chapped lips or dry cracked skin exposed to the elements. It will also insulate your nose/ears/face and prevent frostbite if you don't have sufficient cloth to cover them.
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Old November 11, 2009, 03:40 PM   #9
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Just bring a small bottle of lighter fluid.
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Old November 11, 2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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Hand sanitizer with alcohol (or any regular alcohol) is an excellent survival item to have...disinfects, lights as easily as any other flammable liquid out there (the trick is to place items into the flame to light them; don't douse the item you want to burn with the alcohol), and it can be used to cool you off much more quickly than water since it evaporates so quickly (think desert environment).

Bacardi 151, as mentioned, or pure grain 200 proof alcohol since it will not leave a sticky residue like 151 rum will, may even better for obvious "calming" reasons, as long as you don't abuse it where it is clouding your judgment or senses (very, very dangerous in a survival situation) or making you feel artificially warm & leading to hypothermia.
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Old November 11, 2009, 03:55 PM   #11
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I have a special type survival kit. It helps me load deer or hogs in the truck. Gets me warm clothes if I get cold. Feeds me if I get hungry. It even rescues me in an emergency. It's called a cell phone. If any of the above are needed I just call my wife, or neighbors and "Presto" it's done. Of course I'm never more than a mile or two from the house. In some cases only a short walk. God it's great to live and hunt in the sticks.
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Old November 11, 2009, 03:56 PM   #12
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I have gone camping with a little stove that burned alcohol.
I carried a bottle of Mexican 192 proof "Golden Grain," made from sugar cane.

It burned great in the stove, and only a little added to a Coke would really get you going!
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Old November 11, 2009, 04:32 PM   #13
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Save the 151 and just use Fritos. They burn like a torch.
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Old November 11, 2009, 04:36 PM   #14
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Keep in mind that alcohol is one of the coldest fire sources... If it is used in a many stage progression of fuel than it will work. But alcohol won't help much getting green or damp wood or paper kindling lit. I am fond of using paraffin wax with sawdust to make mini starter logs. Here in florida, I know how to find and identify "fat lighter" pine which will light hot in a downpour.

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Old November 11, 2009, 05:39 PM   #15
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If you can find fat pine and get it goin you can start a fire to a water soaked log. Reminds me of one Christmas.

At my pawpaw's old house he had a wood stove/fire place with a metal chimney in the living room. Well one Christmas the fire was burning and need more wood and someone threw in a knot of fat pine with the oak by mistake. The chimney was glowing orange from stove to ceiling, pawpaw had to hose it down with a garden hose to it to put it out and cool the chimney.

Mawmaw was not pleased.
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Old November 11, 2009, 05:41 PM   #16
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"Here in florida, I know how to find and identify "fat lighter" pine which will light hot in a downpour."

Glad to know someone else that knows how to find and use it.... I've been doing it since I was big enough to "go get some kindling"......
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Old November 11, 2009, 05:53 PM   #17
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I know how to find and identify "fat lighter" pine which will light hot in a downpour.
How do you identify this magic wood?
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Old November 11, 2009, 05:56 PM   #18
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Dryer lint soaked in petroleum jelly works fine as a fire starter. Don't forget the Zippo lighter though.

Add some line, a shelter half , a good knife, and a couple sandwiches and you can have a nice weekend. At least we did when we were kids.
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Old November 11, 2009, 06:16 PM   #19
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Here you go...
Some pine rots to "punk" while sometimes stumps and even down logs will "cure" to the lighter material that is heavy turpentine and water proof.
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Old November 11, 2009, 06:25 PM   #20
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The alcohol will evaporate out of hand-sanitizer after it is open long enough. It will work, but put a new one in your pack every year.

I am in the petroleum jelly and cotton ball camp, myself.
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Old November 11, 2009, 07:43 PM   #21
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While maybe not the safest thing going, a little spray bottle of REM Lube makes a serious torch with which you can melt a goodly-sized section of non-flammable tent.

Don't ask me how I know.

That same flame can be used on a lot of things. Personally, I like to have the spray lube handy for wet field conditions.
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Old November 11, 2009, 08:43 PM   #22
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I can attest to the fact that hand sanitizer's a great fire starter. I've lit fires with it several times. A LOT easier than drier lint, that's for sure.
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Old November 11, 2009, 09:12 PM   #23
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Well I've actually been in a couple of situations where getting a fire going in less than ideal conditions was absolutely vital.

My survival kit includes a disposable lighter, and a "Blast Match" AND 4 Coghlans Fire Sticks.

Because I was curious as to how dependable those fire sticks would be I once submerged two of them in a glass of water for 7 days, pulled them out, snapped them in half (to create the jagged edge that lights so well) and held a lighter to them. They fired right up. So apparently they just won't get waterlogged and ruined (very important in the back-country or canoeing).

I've also found that if you snap one in half (again, to make the jagged edge that lights easily) and then press a "Blast Match" up against it and "spark" it they will light right up, usually on the first or second try.
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Old November 11, 2009, 11:07 PM   #24
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Look at the label. The active ingredient in most hand sanitizers is alcohol.

The real problem with hand sanitizers is that they will kill off the weak bacteria, but not the strong. In a few bacteria generations, we will have created the super bacteria that nothing will kill.

When I think of the situations I've been in with a sandwich in one hand and god only knows what in the other, my body must have anti-bodies that will kill anything.

We're raising a generation of wimpy people.
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Old November 12, 2009, 12:47 AM   #25
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We're raising a generation of wimpy people.
I'll second that!!!

I took a friend rabbit hunting today, he's a bit of a city slicker... He missed every rabbit we saw. I bagged two after letting him have first dibs on everything...

Took him back to the house, started skinning them and he puked... I hadn't even stated gutting them yet... Mildly pathetic...
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