The Super Survival Fluid

What if I told you there was a type of “Super Survival Fluid” that could supply you with healthy edible calories, help you start a fire, protect against chapping, or even run a diesel or jet engine? Sounds unbelievable, right? But such a substance exists.

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Put five or ten drops of it on tinder or even kindling, and a spark from a ferrocerium rod will make it flame. It is the most calorie-dense food you can get per unit of weight, and you can put it in anything from coffee to oatmeal. The brain can directly metabolize it, which means it will give you a mental energy boost. A light coat on your knuckles will keep them from chapping. The fresh, clear edible form is perfect for use as biodiesel.

This “Super Survival Fluid” is also known as medium-chain triglycerides, or MCT oil, and in this article I will show you many ways to use it.

First, in an emergency you can just drink it. Don’t drink too much at a time, or like any oil it might cause some digestive issues. I like to use it as a supplement in other foods, especially oatmeal or peanut butter powder.

For fire starting, put a few drops of the oil where you expect the sparks from the ferrocerium rod or friction pad to hit, then proceed normally.

To keep the oil safe while in the pack, put it in a strong Nalgene bottle and put the bottle in a plastic zipper bag. There are roughly 260 calories per ounce, so six ounces of MCT oil will render 1,560 calories, or half a day’s calories on a 3000-calorie/day reduced-ration diet.

12 ounces will get you another day further along. The best way to use it is to mix it in with regular food earlier in the trip, and cut down on portions of regular food to maintain the same calorie content. That way your food will last longer and you won’t need to be chugging pure MCT oil at the end.

MCT also comes in a powdered form. NOTE— the powder is NOT lighter on a per-calorie basis, it is heavier. Why are many powdered foods like eggs and powdered milk more calorie-dense than their liquid counterparts, while powdered MCT oil is less dense? That’s because milk and eggs are made into powder by removing the water, but since MCT is pure oil there is absolutely no water in it. The only way they can make it into powder is to coat tiny droplets of it in vegetable fiber, and that fiber has no caloric content. The only advantage to powdered MCT oil is that it’s somewhat more convenient and a bit less messy to transport.

While it won’t run a diesel or turbine engine, powdered MCT oil is still good for starting fires, just don’t mix it with water ahead of time. Simply sprinkle some powder where you will make the sparks go.

My favorite way to use MCT powder on the trail is to mix it with powdered peanut butter and powdered stevia. Each serving can go into its own little zipper bag and poured into your cup for preparation, then just mix it with a little bit of water. If you don’t mind the extra weight, you can put each serving into its own tiny plastic container, which saves clean-up. The neat thing is that it’s all powder until you add water. Throw in some trail mix for a little bit of crunch, or scoop it up with crackers, chips, carrots, or whatever.

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