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10 Ways To Use Alcohol On Your Camping Trip (Other Than Drinking It)

This post was updated on April 23rd, 2024

Turns out, alcohol is good for more than just drinking. Booze can be used in numerous ways to survive while you’re camping too. Sure, you won’t have as much leftover to make cocktails. But when you’re out in the middle of the wilderness, using your liquor in case of emergencies may just save your life. For example:

1. Use it as an antiseptic to clean wounds

alcohol uses

A few shots of vodka can make you fall and scrape your leg, but it will also keep your wound from getting infected. The key here is that the alcohol needs to be highly concentrated, so you won’t want to use beer – but rather the hard stuff for this (140 proof / 70% ABV or higher).

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2. Get your campfire going (and the smell out of your clothes)

alcohol uses
Photo by Pexels/Unsplash

Can’t get your campfire going? A quick spray of vodka should do the trick. On top of that, a spray of vodka/water solution can get the campfire smell out of your hair and clothes the next day. (Read more ways to do that here.)

3. Disinfect items

alcohol uses
Photo by LifeHack

Alcohol won’t only keep wounds free of germs but it can also clean items like tweezers, needles, etc. Pour a small amount of highly-concentrated alcohol onto a paper towel and wipe off anything you need to be sterile.

4. Relieve the symptoms of poison ivy

alcohol uses
Photo by SWMNPoliSciProject on Wikipedia

If you’ve come into contact with poison ivy, try pouring vodka directly onto your skin that was affected. The alcohol will wash away the urushiol oil from the plant that causes the itchy, uncomfortable reaction. Not sure if it’s poison ivy? Check out our guide here on how to identify the plant.

5. Stop bug bites from itching

alcohol uses

Alcohol’s a solution for almost all things itchy. If you have a mosquito bite, try washing it with water and splashing vodka over the sting. The alcohol component will absorb the toxins, help dry it out and keep it from getting infected.

6. Use it as fuel for your camp stove

alcohol uses
via Youtube

Alcohol stoves can be ideal for saving space, especially if you’re backpacking. Ethanol alcohol – like vodka – works best for fuel, but you can also use denatured alcohol.

7. Kill mold in your RV

alcohol uses
Photo via Tales From The Sharrows

You don’t even need the good stuff for this. It’s actually better to use cheap “bottom shelf” spirits, because they’re usually less filtered than top-shelf bottles.  Spray it directly onto mold in your RV, or if you don’t like the strong smell of alcohol, you can also try diluting it with water.

8. Make a DIY alcohol lamp

alcohol uses
Photo via Andytangtsk on Instructables

Simple to make, these alcohol lamps are a great way to add more light to your site. All you need is a washed out jar, string for the wick and vodka for fuel. Simply poke a hole through the lid with a hammer and nail, insert your wick through the hole, pour in some alcohol, put the lid back on and light.

9. Soothe a toothache with whiskey

alcohol uses
Photo by grimmlock on Reddit

In the middle of the woods and can’t reach a dentist? Whiskey and bourbon have been long known to soothe toothaches. Some people swear by taking a shot for the pain but you can also dab some around the gums or swish some around your mouth for more localized relief.

10. Make it into a flexible ice pack

alcohol uses
Photo via Trash Free Year

Since alcohol doesn’t freeze in regular freezers, it’s a perfect “gel” for a makeshift ice pack. Pour a cup or two in a plastic bag and keep it in your freezer (or cooler).


You may also like: Ways To Upcycle Beer Cans When You’re Camping