Your Ultimate Guide to Opening Beer Outside

There's a six-pack of cold ones waiting for you at base camp. The only problem? No bottle opener. Thankfully, we're here to help.

Sep 8, 2014
Outside Magazine
beer how to open in wilderness

Campfires are just not the same without a good brew on hand.    Photo: RobertHoetink/Thinkstock

In the final mile of the day's lung-busting, quad-munching climb, you realize you've made a fatal mistake: You have six craft IPAs waiting on ice back in the car but no way to liberate them. 

Ruefully, you picture your boyhood scout leader—looking like an overstuffed chipmunk in his undersized adult uniform—muttering the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.


Sure, you could try to pry the bottles open with your teeth, but if you're looking for a less pirate-y option, read on. Below are our favorite ways to pop the top off a cold one, no matter the gear or the activity. Learn these hacks and you'll never be left high and dry (well, mostly dry) again.

Hack #1: The Paddle

Method: Slip the narrowest edge of your paddle underneath the bottle cap. Wedge it as snugly as you can between the bottle and the bottle cap. Use your thumb to push down on the lid while you twist the paddle upward—the cap should pop right off.

Hack #2: The Snowshoe

Method: Turn your snowshoes over so the crampons are facing up. Slip one of the crampons underneath the lip of the bottle cap and pull up.

Hack #3: The Beer Bottle

Method: Use one beer to open another. Hold one bottle upright and the other upside down. Use the inverted beer's cap to pry the cap off the right-side-up bottle. Pro tip: This is not the time to be a gracious host. If you serve yourself last, you'll be left with one beer and no way to open it.

Hack #4: The Skateboard

Method: Master the sickest stunt of all by using the screw that hold the trucks onto your skateboard to pop open your beer. Wedge the screw under the cap and twist the beer up. 

Hack #5: The Compass and the Map

Method: The baseplate of your compass actually works well as a bottle opener. Wedge the plate under the cap, then pull up.

Even your map can do double duty in a pinch. Fold the map lengthwise as many times as possible, then fold the map one last time width-wise. Catch the folded end of the map under the bottle cap, then pull up.

Hack #6: The Carabiner

Method: Hold the carabiner sideways in your hand, with the gate underneath your index finger. Place the beer so the back of the carabiner holds the bottle top in place, then push the gate in to where it catches on the bottle cap. Hook one of the teeth on the end of the gate under the cap and push up, using the backside of the 'biner to provide leverage.

Hack #7: The Pedal

Method: SPD and Crank Brothers pedals are perfect bottle openers—it's almost like they were made for it. Stick the beer where the lip of your cleat would normally enter the pedal, then pull up.

Hack #8: The Trekking Pole and Hiking Boot

Method: Your trekking poles and hiking boots can both do double duty as bottle openers. Plant the trekking pole point side up on the ground. Wedge the point under the bottle cap, then firmly bring your fist down on the bottle.

The lace hooks on your boots also work. Slide the hook under the cap and pull up.

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