Picture this. You're going through your bug-out bag (for the millionth time, if you're anything like me), making sure you've got all the necessary supplies and that they're all accounted for and in working order.
Flashlight? Check. Emergency rations? Check. Firestarter? Check. First aid kit? Check. Lip balm?…
What's that? You don't have lip balm in your bug out bag?
Maybe you should.
Lip Balm as a Survival Tool
— Survival Life (@SurvivalLF) April 29, 2016
Surprisingly enough, lip balm can come in handy in a variety of survival situations — and not for the reasons you might think. Here are just a few of the many reasons you should consider keeping some on hand.
1. It's flammable.
In a pinch, lip balm can be used as an emergency firestarter. Smear a little of it on gauze, cotton, lint or other tinder, and it will ignite quickly and burn slowly, saving you precious fuel and matches. You can also use a tube of chapstick to construct and emergency candle — check out the video below to learn how.
2. Medical uses.
Not only will lip balm be a lifesaver for your lips in dry climates, it can also protect other exposed body parts like your fingertips and tip of your nose. In addition, it can be used to seal minor cuts and scrapes, and be rubbed on heels and soles of feet to keep them from blistering when walking long distances.
3. Fix your zippers.
Sometimes, especially after long periods of use, the zippers on backpacks, sleeping bags, etc. can get worn out and stop working like they should. Running a little bit of lip balm along the zipper can make it much smoother. Click here to learn more about fixing zippers on the go.
4. Keep knives from rusting.
Lip balm is a great waterproofing agent. Rub a little on your finger and (carefully!) run it along the blade of the knife. This will protect your knife from water and keep it from rusting, so it stays smooth and sharp.
5. Waterproof Ziploc bags and lids.
Spreading a little chapstick along the zipper of a Ziploc bag or the edge of a lid will add an extra layer of protection from the elements.
6. Use it as sunscreen.
Chapstick won't work as well as regular sunscreen, but in a pinch it can be used to protect your face and other exposed areas from the sun's harmful rays.
7. Lubricate screws and nails.
A little bit of chapstick on a screw or nail will make it easier to drill or nail them into place.
8. Clean your glasses.
Rub a dab of chapstick on the lens of your glasses, then polish it off with a thin, soft cloth. This will not only clean your glasses, but keep them from fogging up too.
9. Protect your leather.
Rub chapstick on your leather straps, sheaths or shoes to protect them from the elements and keep them somewhat waterproof.
10. Hide cash.
That's right, you can make a mini safe out of a chapstick tube. Just remove the chapstick, clean it out really well and put some rolled-up bills inside.
11. Reduce glare.
If you're in a bright area, such as a desert or a snowy place, dip chapstick in black ash and rub it under your eyes. This will protect you from snowblindness.
These are just a few of the reasons you should be carrying lip balm/chapstick in your B.O.B. Can you think of more? Share them with us in the comments!
And if you live in a dry climate (or plan on visiting one) and want to know how to keep your lips from getting dry and cracked, check out these tips from our friends at Makeup Tutorials.