One of my main tips for budget travel is to stay out of bars. A single night in a bar in most places of the world can easily flush an entire week’s (or more) worth of travel funds right down into some dirty pisser. I enjoy drinking, it is a good mechanism for social bonding, [...]
One of my main tips for budget travel is to stay out of bars. A single night in a bar in most places of the world can easily flush an entire week’s (or more) worth of travel funds right down into some dirty pisser. I enjoy drinking, it is a good mechanism for social bonding, but I try to stay away from bars. Rather, I buy my booze from a grocery or liquor store and drink on the beach, in the mountains, my hotel, the woods, in a field . . . anywhere besides a bar — where you pay for existing rather than just drinking.
But how, you may ask, with all of this transport and movement and hiking are you to keep your drinks cold?
I found the solution when a group of American geology students offered me a beer at a campsite in Iceland. I, of course, accepted. I was handed a bottle of premium Icelandic micro-brew that had wet toilet paper stuck all over it.
F’cking gross, no?
“Why is there toilet paper all over your beer?” I had to ask the students.
“Oh, that is to make it cold,” one of them answered. ” The wet toilet paper causes evaporation which cools the beer.”
I grabbed the beer that was handed to me. The toilet paper was dingleberried all over the bottle, but it was cool. I popped open the beer and took a drink. It was, by all accounts, cold enough to enjoy.
We were camping, without refrigeration, and I was drinking a cool beer in the middle of a field in Iceland.
Why this works
When a human sweats it is not the excreted water — in and of itself — that cools you. It is this liquid evaporating on the surface of your skin that lowers your body’s temperature. The water — in this case, sweat — requires energy to evaporate, and it takes this energy from your skin, essentially stealing its heat and lowering its temperature in the process.
Apparently, this same principal also works for warm beer or other beverages. Just wrap up the bottles in a blanket of wet toilet paper (or another material that retains water but also allows for it to dry) and wait for the water to evaporate a little. The drier the paper gets (the more the water evaporates) the cooler your beer should get.
So the next time someone whines about how their drinks are going to get cold if they accept your invitation for a toast on a mountain top, just tell them not to harbor any worries: if you have a roll of toilet paper, some water, and a little time to wait, you can have cool beer anywhere.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3678 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
July 28, 2011, 1:22 pm
Ingenious. Whooda thunk?
July 28, 2011, 5:37 pm
One night in a bar costs you a week of travel (or more)? I don’t know where you’re travelling, but I don’t see even a blind drunk night at any bar I’ve been to anywhere in the world could cost you that. Maybe if you were drinking in Moscow at a club, and travelled through Thailand. That’s it.
Good beer tip though!
July 28, 2011, 5:58 pm
Did anyone ever think that the ambient temperature of *ICELAND* was maybe helping the process out? I’m going to have to test this in the high desert of Las Vegas
July 28, 2011, 6:58 pm
This is a retarded lie.
July 29, 2011, 9:03 am
Wade, you’re surprised this went viral? There is no money in “culture”. There is lots of money in vices. If you REALLY want to become rich, figure out a new way for men to kill other men.
Still, I think taking the high road is still the best way to live.
As for the beer, first time I have heard of using toilet paper. Towels, paper towels, brown paper sack, etc sure, but toilet paper sure is messy. But if it is all ya’ got…..
July 29, 2011, 10:14 am
A tip for high temperature climate campers: If you find yourself with beverages that are now too warm to drink AND you have some time, burying your drinks can and will bring the temperature down. It will get them out of the light and the temperature 1-2 feet down will be considerably cooler. This is great if you have a campsite that you plan on returning to after a days hike.
July 31, 2011, 10:13 pm
Here’s the proper way to chill beer without electricity. (No toilet paper needed.)
August 1, 2011, 7:11 pm
Wade you are my new hero! Will def try this!
August 4, 2011, 4:04 pm
i saw this post and knew i had to read. i’m going to try this soon. thanks man.
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