Alcohol Swabs – tinder in your wallet

In my study of firecraft, I’m always trying different materials and combinations of materials to create fire. I’ve used deodorant sprays as well as hand sanitizer gel, which eventually led me to alcohol swabs. Alcohol swabs contain 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and can be purchased at a local drugstore or superstore. A box of 100 swabs only costs around $3.00 and are small enough so that you can store a packet in your wallet, glove compartment, survival kit, or wherever. A swab can be ignited by using a spark or flame, and burns for about 1 1/2 minutes without coaxing… but can be stretched over 2 minutes. When using sparks, open the packet to form a pocket so that the alcohol can gasify and help facilitate ignition. Before igniting, pull out the inner pad about 1/4 inch or so to make a wick. Of course, the more you expose the wick the larger the flame will be, and the quicker you will run out of fuel, so depending on your use, you can be conservative or generous on your flame size. For fun, you can try different configurations of wick exposure or packet opening for efficiency or effects you desire. This portable tinder could make a difference on a damp day.

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7 thoughts on “Alcohol Swabs – tinder in your wallet

  1. This is one of those things that is so simple but lots of people might not think of in an emergency situation. Great post Ken.

    – Zak

  2. I have three 100% alcohol wipes in my “fire” tin and again in my pocket survival tin.

    Should I need to make a fire on a windy, wet day they catch light very easily with a just spark from my fire steel or the ‘sparker’ from a cigarette lighter.

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