Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boil Water In A Plastic Bottle Suspended Over A Fire

Boil Water In A Plastic Bottle Suspended Over A Fire:
This particular means of boiling water is what got me started my series on alternative water boiling methods. I always see survival experts use this method or make a natural container when a metal container is not available and I wanted to explore all of my potential options for boiling water aside from traditional mediums in-case the need should ever arise for me or for anyone who may follow this blog. To utilize this alternative method of boiling water you need to build a tripod (Link HERE) or determine an alternative means to suspend your plastic container over the fire.

This particular method is usually used in backpacking for core temprature regulation by keeping the hot water bottle next to your body as you sleep. I have found that one bottle as a pilow and one wrapped up close to my core will keep me warm with just the clothes on my back for upto six hours in the late spring and early fall without a sleeping bag. Also when added to a sleeping bag near your feet and also at your core will keep you warm in the dead of winter. Other applications include hot showers and any other means you can think of for hot water.

So far we have successfully boiled water via the following mediums: Stone Boiling in a plastic container (Link HERE) and Boiling Water in a Plastic Bottle Over Coals w/ No Air Space (Link HERE). I have several more alternative ways to boil water in a survival situation to explore over the coming weeks and if you have any you would like me to attempt please let me know.

***The usual warning for alternative boiling methods: "Alternative" in and of it's self should tell everyone that this is not a preferred method to boil water; therefore, if you have a metal container use it instead of plastic. Some research has stated that plastic will leach chemicals whenever it is heated. From my experience if the water changes color (see some of the pictures below) and smells of plastic then it is ovbiously not safe to drink. In an extreme emergency when no other means to boil or filter are avaliable then this method could be used, but long-term health risks must be weighed. As always filter then boil and if in doubt that the water is contaminated look for another source.***
1) As you see above strong bed of coals is the best means by which to boil in a suspended fashion when using plastic. I always put my hand over the coals and whenever I get down to a place where I can't hold my hand for more than 3 seconds I try to position the bottom of the plastic container in that location.
2) Notice the changed color of the water in this picture... this would be evidence of a chemical changing the makeup of the water inside the container. While this would not have occurred if I had not been boiling with a metal container and it rubbed against the plastic container causing it to melt. I did this to demonstrate the issues people have described about plastic. The water obviously has changed color, it has a plastic smell and tastes like heavy plastic. If you try this method and get water that has the features above and are not going to die of dehydration please don't drink this water as it could have adverse effects on your health. As you can see from the picture I did easily get a boil utilizing this method.
3) If you are trying to boil water utilizing a flame be sure to keep the container above the flame line but not far above the flame line. If you use this method you will be readjusting the length of your string multiple times to ensure you don't melt the container. I personally would get a strong bed of coals and use the method above as just few second of not paying attention to the flame height will cause your container to fail leaving you with no future means to boil water.
 4) As you can see I was able to get a boil in the container within ten minutes without much degradation to the container. I subsequently tested this bottle by boiling it three more times over coals before it gave out on the 5th attempt to boil in this manner.

So far I would always stone boil in plastic if I have to use plastic as it is quickest and seems to do 0 damage to the container. Stay with us as next week I will try another alternative method to boil water. As always feel free to ask any questions or make suggestion in the comments!

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