Nature thoughts

Kalie Swails


If you’re lost in the woods, abandoned in the Arctic or marooned on a desert island, you better hope you’ve got a jar of coconut oil with you. You read that right. Naturalists and survival experts are crowing about the seemingly innumerable uses for it, some of which just might save your butt if you find yourself sprinting toward an episode of I Shouldn’t Be Alive.

Cooking and Eating 

Food grade, virgin coconut oil has great flavor and is the healthiest cooking oil available. It is also calorically dense, making it ideal wilderness survival food (especially during the winter). Prepare a snack in advance by adding dried fruit and nuts to liquefied coconut oil and allowing the mixture to solidify or keep a jar on you to dig into for a source of quality fuel in a pinch.

Fire Starting 

Speaking of fuel, coconut oil is an excellent one. Soak cotton balls or dryer lint in liquefied coconut oil, store them in your pack and you’ll always have an excellent fire-starter on hand.

Body and Personal Hygiene 

Coconut oil is about 50 percent lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that acts as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral when processed by the human body. Apply coconut oil to cuts and scrapes to protect yourself from bacteria and viruses, or use its antibacterial properties to eliminate body odor or add a little baking soda and use it to brush your teeth.

Skin Salve 

Your skin will dig it. The softening agent in coconut oil works as an extremely effective body lotion and lip balm. It also acts as a comfort to dry, blistered or chafed skin, and is a great lubricant for massaging muscles sore from climbing mountains, searching for fresh water or assembling your own personal yacht out of driftwood.

Insect Repellent and Relief 

Sometimes the most maddening thing about the outdoors can be the small, pesky inhabitants. Coconut oil works well as a natural insect repellent when combined with a little peppermint oil extract. Coconut oil can also relieve itching and burning sensations when applied directly to a bug bite, as well as hasten the healing process.

Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, making it easy and mess-free to carry. You can pick up a jar at any health food store and, increasingly, many grocery stores.

Stay nutty — and alive — my friends.