From Babies Butts to Bonfires

Don’t toss out that baby wipe, it could save your life!

I feel it safe to say that most of the really cool discoveries happen quite by accident. One such discovery presented itself during a four day pack trip into the Eagle Caps.

One of the items I like to carry in my saddlebags is a packet of baby wipes. They come in handy for washing up before lunch on the trail or as a bedtime sponge bath when you can’t quite make yourself jump in that cold mountain stream for a much needed bath.

The problem I’ve found with baby wipes is they dry out between trips. You might use a dozen or so out of a pack and the rest dry up like a popcorn fart, wasting product and money. Not anymore…

I pulled a dried up wipe out of the package and frowned; an almost full pack…useless. Cold frigid creek, here I come! I tossed the dried out sheet into the campfire on my way to the creek. I figured with as dry as it was, the wipe would spontaneously combust into a pile of ash. Not so. The wipe caught fire immediately and began to burn like a slow burning candle. Instead of ash, the wipe turned into a tar like substance that continued to burn. I picked up a twig and twirled the burning “tar” around the twig like a torch. Wow…that’s pretty cool. The now black goop clung to the twig and continued to burn for several minutes.campfire

I used the dried up baby wipes to start the campfire the rest of the weekend. It never took more than one wipe and one match to get a fire going.

Upon arriving home, I had an idea. I wonder how easy it would be to start a fire using a baby wipe and flint and steel. I’m no Bear Grills. Starting a fire with flint and steel can be challenging. I’ve used all sorts of material from dryer lint to brittle pine needles soaked in pitch. Eventually I manage to get a flame going – but am often left staring longingly at the box of matches and can of lighter fluid nearby.

I sat cross legged in front of a baby wipe shredded into small squares – flint and steel in hand. One strike of flint on steel sent a spray of sparks over the pile of baby wipe and…instant combustion! The wipes immediately ignited and proceeded to burn into a flaming black goop akin to tar. I twirled the ooze around a twig and carried it to the burn barrel containing a week worth of personal documents and junk mail…because yes, I am that paranoid.

Bear would be proud, however, I’m left to ponder another question: What the heck are we putting on our baby’s bottoms?

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