You might have been saving the good stuff hidden away in your flask to help you unwind by the campfire, but there are a few other benefits to having a bit of booze on the trail.
Here are a few of liquor's uses that may surprise you.
Just like in the movies, alcohol can be used to prevent infection — but it should never be poured directly into an open wound. The antiseptic is potent enough to kill healthy tissue, which could further delay the healing process (and sting like a mother). Use alcohol, instead, to clean the area around the wound and only in cases where clean water or other disinfectants are unavailable. You can also soak equipment like knives or tweezers in liquor for about 20 minutes to sterilize them before operating on yourself or others.
Taking care of poison ivy
Rubbing alcohol has been known to wash away urushiol oil, which causes that infamous rash when poison ivy comes in contact with skin. But since it's less likely you'll have the cleaning product on hand, liquors with a high alcohol content, like vodka and tequila, should do the trick. Pour some over the affected area immediately after contact to prevent that itchy rash.
Since alcohol kills bacteria responsible for body odor, dabbing a little of the good stuff under those sweaty pits can actually be quite effective on the fly. You can also use liquor as mouthwash to vanquish morning breath, if you so choose. If you're applying the booze to your skin, however, just make sure the drink is unmixed — unless you prefer sticky underarms.
Starting a fire
If you're caught in a downpour and unable to get a spark, try soaking wood in an especially flammable liquor before setting it ablaze. Look for liquors that have a proof of 80 or higher. The measurement indicates alcohol content, with a 100-proof bottle being 50 percent alcohol. The higher the proof, the quicker the liquor will light. We recommend Bacardi 151 rum, which boasts a proof of — you guessed it — 151. Just be careful to wait a few minutes before striking your match lest you create a fireball.
A (new) side of Flamin' Hot snack chips: Chips like Cheetos and Doritos can come especially in handy when you need to start a fire quickly. Like many other varieties of chips, both contain fat, oils and chemical compounds that make them flammable enough to use as kindling when no other material is available.