Lip balm, by any other name, is still a useful product in the outdoors. Go shopping for some and you’ll see dozens of choices on the store shelves, offering what may be an overabundance of variations. But more importantly, lip balm can be one of those odd little items that help to steer you back on track if your outdoor adventure starts to go sideways. If you think you’re too tough to use lip balm, then check out these seven survival uses and carry some anyway.
The number one use for lip balm in an emergency is fire building. Most lip balm is made from a greasy combination of waxes and oils. Both of these substances burn great, when they are soaked into some kind of fibrous tinder. Cotton balls are an excellent choice, if you thought to bring them from home. Bark fibers and other natural tinder can work just as well, when gathered in the field. To make your lip balm light a fire, wipe some onto the best tinder available and then apply an open flame to the sticky mess.
Pick a lip balm with an SPF rating, and it will keep your lips from getting sunburned. Use it on your nose, cheeks and other exposed skin too, during those sunny winter days.
For many applications that require a lubricant, try a little lip balm. Wipe it on cold, or melt it so that it soaks in. I’ll often use lip balm as the lubricant for the top socket on a bow and drill fire kit. It works great.
Your hatchets, saws, axes and knives can all benefit from the wax and oil of lip balm, to help prevent rust or to keep it from getting worse. Wipe the tube of lip balm directly on the item, or use a small bit of cloth to wipe the balm around on the metal surfaces.
Apply lip balm to dry cracked skin to facilitate healing. It’s also effective at sealing off abrasions, scratches and small cuts to hasten skin repair.
While it doesn’t exactly smell like food, many lip balms have a sweet aroma that could be enticing to a hungry animal. Maybe that fruity lip balm wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Form and shape a small chunk of the balm around a hook to simulate a salmon egg, grub or any other locally popular bait. This is probably a single-use opportunity for the glob of lip balm, but it might just land you a fish. Then you won’t have to eat your tube of lip balm (which is generally not considered edible).