Condom Water Boiling Fail

by Erich

Thought you guys would get a kick out of this.

Today I was experimenting a bit more with the condom water bottle I made in the last article and was thinking to myself, “what would happen if I forgot or lost my water disinfection tablets to help clean the water I collected in the condom?”

So I came up with the idea of boiling it over a fire.

After all, you can boil water in a plastic water bottle without issue so why would a condom be any different? And in fact, just to quickly test it I took a water-filled condom and took a lighter to it. Sure enough it didn’t burst or melt even though I put the flame on it for around 30 second.

With that initial test complete, it was on to the field test…

Here’s my pics of my field test:

First step: I set up a tripod and hung the water-filled condom off of it:

Second step: Set up a fire under the condom (you can see the flames hitting the condom without issue):


The water began to bubble slightly after around 7-8 min of direct fire contact but then suddenly the condom started to contract and suddenly burst, putting out the fire…fail!


Here’s my thinking as to why this experiment failed (and maybe you can give me your thoughts as well):

Since the condom did not start to deform (contract) until the water temperature reached near-boil, the warmer water-temp must have allowed the external latex to reach a hotter temperature that was enough for it to become too weak to hold the water and eventually burst.

If you’ve ever boiled water in a plastic water bottle, you see a similar behavior. When the water is cooler, the bottle does not deform. Only after you get the water temperature to approach the boiling point does the plastic start to deform a bit. However the plastic bottle must have enough plastic to still maintain its integrity to hold the water allowing you to boil and purify the water inside.

Definitely try it out yourself. Perhaps I’ll give this another go but this time not fill the condom with as much water. Maybe then it will still hold the water even when the water reaches the boiling point.

Be sure to get out there and experiment yourself! Practice and experimentation is so important for preppers. After all, the more we do, practice, and fail now the better we will be when thing really go south.

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Comment by Marty Akers
2012-08-20 22:40:02

It’s made out of latex. What made you think it would work?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-20 23:01:48

Hey Marty,

I’m an experimenting freak. Gotta try it…

Comment by Sherry
2012-08-20 22:48:14

I think it burst because of the latex as stated already plus it expands and it was boiling hot. I think it would be a better idea to empty the water in a pan and boil the water. Condoms really are meant for preventing STD’s and preventing a pregnacy..

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-20 23:00:12

Hey Sherry,

Again it didn’t actually expand. The latex contracted…

I think it just got too weak. It was worth a shot, now I know what NOT to try 🙂

Comment by Duckie
2012-08-20 22:53:53

I agree with Marty. It’s latex, not plastic. It might be waterproof, but it’s not burstproof.

Have you considered trying to suspend an OPEN condom filled with water over your fire? I think it *might* give you a little more time because the steam can escape and won’t cause it to expand as much and burst.

I would still have to wonder what the water tastes like after boiling in latex.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-20 22:58:18

lol, remember guys, this is last resort… 😉

Keep in mind the latex actually contracted and not expanded so the bursting happened because the wall got too weak. Thanks though for the suggestion on keeping it open though…

Comment by David O
2012-08-20 23:00:56

I’ve successfully boiled water in brown paper bags before. The tops of the bags will burn down to the water line and some water will splash out but not enough to put the fire out.

Duckie’s idea of leaving the top of the condom (or balloon) open may work, but I don’t really like the idea of drinking water that’s even been heated up in latex or plastic much less boiled in it. I understand why you wanted to try though.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-20 23:04:17

Hey David,

Good to hear from you!

I agree, paper bags work great (so do paper cups).

I just had to see if it was possible. If it was a choice between Giardia and latex/plastic for the short term I’d have to go with latex or plastic.

Comment by Carol
2012-08-20 23:18:52

I really like your site and have learned a lot, look forwarding to your emails, but as soon as I saw this one, all I could think of, its latex, it melts, or even worse breaks when it not suppose too… Keep trying….

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-20 23:29:10

lol 🙂

Comment by Jim
2012-08-20 23:35:34

I watched this on “Dual=Survival”, I don’t remember the whole idea, but he held it to the side of the fore. Also, I believe he put it in a sock.

Comment by Karen
2012-08-20 23:35:58

Yech…I guess if you are going to try this, use a plain one.

Comment by Jim
2012-08-20 23:38:06

I should have proof read that, the + was to be -, and fore was to be fire, sorry.

Comment by Juan
2012-08-20 23:53:23

I would never think about cooking or boiling anything in aluminum, much less any kind of polymer, natural or artificial. These substances may and will leak harmful chemicals when heated. Have a stainless steel or cast iron (if you can bear the extra weight) container as part of your kit.

I’m not even going to comment on the chemical changes any polymer will suffer when exposed to extremely high temperatures and an oxidative environment, like -duh- direct fire.

Please don’t try to boil water in your hands cupped together XD

Comment by Wendell Harrison
2012-08-21 00:09:35

Try this, When your getting ready to head out into the wild, fold a piece of aluminum foil of a size of 16 in square and place in your bag. When you need to boil and you have not torn the foil, you can form into the size you need and boil away without worry (unless you place too close to fire and burn a hole in the foil. Works great with very little weight added to your bag. Try it, you’ll be surprised. Foil cools quickly around edges so you can manage relatively easy…

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 00:13:55

Great idea Wendell! I’ll definitely try that out. It may be the new addition (instead of the condom) to my EDC kit.

Comment by craig
2012-08-21 00:36:55

Don’t bring it to a boil Water is effectively disinfected at 165 degrees. You waste another 47 degrees to boiling point AND fuel and get no better results. But at the boiling point of temperature you may be getting to the destruction point of the condom. At 165 degrees you can grasp the top portion of the condom and with a glove you can pour it into a pan for cooking, a bottle for warmth or a canteen for drinking later. Reused the condom if this system works.

Comment by Jon
2012-08-21 00:54:59

I wonder if the water is starting to form steam bubbles along the surface of the inside of the container.And where the steam contacts the latex the temp. gets high enough to cause the latex to fail.

Comment by Lee
2012-08-21 01:17:17

Had it too close to the fire. It MIGHT have worked if you could have kept it close enough to heat, but not close enough to burn. Maybe, plus condoms are probably only made with 98.6 F in mind.
Great site though.

Comment by Silas Longshot
2012-08-21 07:06:21

My job in the ‘real world’ is to break things, as a testing engineer. Except machinery, not condoms!
So, I’m going to guess here, as you have put out, the thickness of the material combined with the apparent melting point at or near 212 degrees will be why it failed. The condom is almost non-existent compared to the thickness of some plastic bottles. And the material composition is also radically different. So, if it didn’t melt as the water came close to boil, then the area above the water, with no cooling effect of the water, may have melted. So, your best shot here is that you found a small, portable campfire extinguisher!
Based on other info I have seen, merely leaving the condom and water out in the noonday sun on a dark rock may have been as effective as the boil idea. Works the same as the ultraviolet light powered water purification equipment. Sunlight has a serious amount of ultraviolet light, plus the added advantage of getting the water considerably warm, say 120 degrees or so. This seems to work fine, using clear soda bottles, for instance, for disinfection. Filtering is another step, best done before the sunlight treatment.

Comment by Gary
2012-08-21 08:22:11

Wouldn’t boiling in something like this or a plastic bottle for that matter release harmful chemicals into the water? If you had some tin foil you could make an expedient receptacle to boil the water from your condom container. Or if you really want to travel light fill the condom with a litre of water then put it ino another condom, for strength. If the water is questionable pop a purification tablet into it having strained the water through a t-shirt or a bandana first.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 10:13:56

Hey Gary,

It probably would but again this would be for very short term survival if I had nothing else with me. My whole point with this is to figure out a very small, very portable container, that I can vary with me every day as part of my EDC kit. Tin foil as you and others suggested is a possible idea that I’ll test out.


Comment by Kathryn
2012-08-21 10:17:41

Water can also be heated in non-fire-proof containers by heating stones in the fire and then adding those hot stones to the water. Repeat until the water/liquid has reached the desired temperature.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 11:26:42

Hey Kathryn,

That technique works great in a burned out log or other container but the small entry of the condom might prove problematic. It may be worth a shot though. Thanks for the tip.

Comment by Ginny
2012-08-21 10:29:13

“Wouldn’t boiling in something like this or a plastic bottle for that matter release harmful chemicals into the water?”


Yuck! I hope I never have to rely on that!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 11:24:14

Well, if it’s a choice between Giardia/Cryptosporidium and a few toxins in a short-term survival situation, hands down I’d go with the toxins.

Comment by danbntx
2012-08-21 10:43:21

I remember in grade school an experiment boiling water in a sheet of notebook paper made into a square container with paper clips. Must have something to do with the material involved.

Comment by danbntx
2012-08-21 10:44:47

Hey TI, “motivational quote of the day”

“Always desire to learn something useful.”

— Sophocles: was an ancient Greek playwright

Comment by BMAN
2012-08-21 10:48:31

First time, long time. Love the site and the many great pieces you share here. It seems to me that many of the responders didn’t read the last entry. This was a “what if” experiment. I can really appreciate what you attempted. I agree with the user that suggested pasteurization o your water rather than boiling. You have to retain the temps for slightly longer but you do not risk bursting the container. I like the idea brother, keep after it. Someone mention UV sterilization which is a good option with the condom. This process is used throughout the African continent with great success using plastic water bottles. Yes, using plastics and polymers pose a risk of ester exposure but in a short term survival situation I’d rather be exposed to a few more BPA esters for a few days than risk giardia and the resulting dehydration.

Keep up the good work brother.


Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 11:22:25

My thoughts exactly.

This was a test…only a test that I wanted to share with my readers. It helps though if they read the last article so they can get some context behind it.

My reasoning behind this again is I’m looking for something to carry with me at all times that would allow me to collect and disinfect water (ie a condom and water disinfection tablets). So the test came out of the thought that what would happen if I didn’t have the tablets with me or they got lost. Could I still disinfect/purify the water without them if I still had the condom?

I think what you and others have said regarding UV exposure would be a great idea.

Thanks for actually reading my stuff BMAN. 🙂

– Erich

Comment by Steve
2012-08-21 12:25:50

What if you boiled a pan of water &a placed the filled condom in. Then you have current use water & what is in the condom for later. Assuming you can get it hot enough to boil the water in the condom without missing structural integrity.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 14:17:30

If I had a pan though I wouldn’t bother with using a condom.

Comment by Raen
2012-08-21 13:21:54

BWAHAHAHA! I got a great laugh out of this!
You made a very effective fire extinguisher!

{hey! if we can’t have fun with this, all we’ll do is worry and be frightened!}

Comment by Ed
2012-08-21 13:24:47

Thanks a lot! After finding a box of condoms in my truck, my wife immediately went to the boiling point too. Telling her that it was simply for my protection whenever hunting or fishing just seemed to make the situation worse… before I could explain any further she already had me painted as a lowlife cheat all over Facebook! Couldn’t you have used balloons instead?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 14:15:14

lol, i’ll be sure to remember that next time. 🙂

Comment by Green Eyed Jinn
2012-08-21 13:30:14

You know…I’ve heard that it’s theoretically possible to bounce your car up onto two wheel to shoot an improvised road block in a WROL situation. Maybe your next experiment?
;- )

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 14:16:09

I’ll be covering that next week during my “using your car as an improvised weapon” series of articles. stay tuned…

Comment by Randy
2012-08-21 14:58:58

You might try relieving some of the stress by a platform. Assuming a good source of water was available, you could soak some wood to handle the heat and then leave the condom open to reduce pressure.

Comment by Dave
2012-08-21 15:15:55

Try using a water pasteurisation indicator (WAPI), which is a simple thermometer that indicates when water has reached pasteurisation temperature and is safe to drink. Since water pasteurises at temperatures well below boiling (65 deg C/ 149 deg F) point, it saves time and fule and may save the condom from breaking?

Try using the SODIS method. Solar water disinfection is a water disaffecting method useing only sunlight and clear PET bottles ( plastic soda bottles). SODIS is a viable and effective water treatment method, backed by the World Health Organisation, for household water treatment in developing counties. Expose filled bottles to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours ( or two days in cloudy conditions).

Comment by BMAN
2012-08-21 16:56:11

Dave called it Erich. I couldn’t remember the name. Check it out, it’s a solid method. I’ve seen it done with a clear garbage bag. I would guess that a Condom would work in a pinch.


Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 20:09:56

Great thoughts BMAN and Dave. Thanks!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-21 20:16:23

Good thoughts Randy. Thanks

Comment by Ronnie
2012-08-22 16:24:05


If you are in that situation i.e you dont have any other way to disinfect but you have a condom or some other clear bag to put the water in you could Use a technique called solar water disinfection. Simple put you place the water in the clear container and place it in direct sunlight for 5 hours. The sun will effectively deactivate diarea causing bacteria and other polutants. This way you save the container for multiple uses.

Comment by Don Clift
2012-08-23 00:32:02

I have only seen one response that began to explain the reason this failed. When using a styrofoam cup to boil water for instance, several things happen. First, the cup can be placed in exposed flame and the water will boil and the integrity of the cup will be maintained. But, the cup will burn down even with the water line and will continue to burn lower as the amount of water boils away. You may also notice the walls of the cup will become thinner but will not burn through as water is just on the other side of it. Grabbing the cup to remove from the fire is also not possible as the integrity of the cup will fail.
I do believe the condom boiling method failed because the water did not go to the top of the “container” and since it was suspended, burned through the “container” resulting in an “aerial fire extinguisher”.

Comment by Juan
2012-08-23 16:44:03

Free training with the “Mutant Roadkill” Android game LOL

Comment by Alan
2012-08-27 16:41:13

Vulcanization of rubber is your problem. Add to that the stretching of the rubber, which aids in cross linking the rubber bonds, helping it to crystallize. Add some heat and Sulfur from the fire and you get Vulcanization, the Latex begins to harden loosing elasticity and boom, no fire or potable agua-pura. Just my two cents worth, probably will get change.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-27 19:39:37

Thanks Alan. I appreciate the informative comments.

Comment by dan r
2012-09-03 00:31:03

Louis L’amour in one of his novels, (I don’t remember the title) purified water which had a dead animal in it by making charcoal, then boiling the water with charcoal in it. I think this was done several times until the water ran clear.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-04 10:24:12

Hey Dan,

I’ve never heard of that approach. I guess I don’t understand why he boiled it with charcoal in it (to remove poisons from the animal carcass?). Did he explain in the book what the purpose of boiling charcoal in with the water was?

Comment by Marty
2012-09-29 18:20:59

Thanks for trying anything and reporting the finding Tactical keep it up man just found your site and am really enjoying it a lot

Comment by Amanda
2012-09-30 13:07:24

I think this is a wonderful experiment, you know there are condoms that are not made out of latex now I would be interested to know how those work

Comment by Jason
2012-10-06 21:36:16

Haven’t wrote on here in so long! Just reading up on this nice condom discussion and wanted to post a thought. Altoids! Every time I think about, I think about Altoids tins and how many ways I could utilize your ideas with them.Those loveable, portable storage/char cloth makers/etc… Either a condom and tablet holder, or aluminum foil holder. I like the aluminum foil, although I do understand why you posted these. Some of us single males (and some married males who may not admit it) carry those birth-control devices in our wallets and just may lose our way back while out in the woods with our one night stand after a night of very heavy drinking. . . Come on, it’s happened to us all! I wonder, theoretically, since I know you are just using water, condom, fire, wood and rocks, how adding salt may effect this experiment. . .

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-10-07 00:25:22


Comment by C.L.
2012-10-27 03:34:20

Ok. So I kind of like the condom in your every day carry bag. It has more than one use. You can use it to tie off a turnikit. Got to love my phonetic could also use it to repair a hose as long as it wasnt hi temp.
Another idea for an emergency water container would be the hydration bladder bags. They are of a thicker plastic incase you want to boil your water. You can roll them up smaller than the cardboard tube used in toilet paper. Most have a screw on cover. You could actually take a few watter purifying tablets wrap them in plastic wrap and then tape them inside the screw on cap of the water bladder for a back up incase you loose your other tablets. Sort of a watter survival kit inside your everyday survival kit. Then take a roll of toilet paper that has less than 25% of the paper left on the roll and slide the bladder inside the cardboard t.p. roll to conserve space in your bag.
Besides its obvious use. T.p. could be used as a fire starter. Something to write on and also clean up minor wounds. So you know have a few very essential items for survival in a super compact space to hide in your everyday carry bag or in the glove box of your car or as a back up in your camping or survabg

Comment by C.L.
2012-10-27 03:41:07

Sorry to many typos. That was suppose to say you now have. And the last word was. Survival bag

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