Please Sign In

User logins have been temporarily disabled for scheduled maintenance of the site. Please check back later.
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Survival Skills: How To Make A Torch

Search this blog

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Survivalist
In your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

November 02, 2011
Survival Skills: How To Make A Torch - 4

Hollywood always makes everything look so easy. The scene opens with someone stuck in a cave, tunnel, temple or another suitable backdrop for an adventure movie. Our hero grabs up a leg bone from an expired adventurer, wraps it in rags and lights the contraption on fire to create a torch that seems to last for the rest of the film.

As someone who has tried to make a lot of torches (not with human femurs, mind you), I can tell you that there is a little more to it than that. Not to worry, though: There’s an easy recipe for making a torch and the ingredients should be lying around the house, and even readily accessible when you’re camping.

But first, a little backstory.

I have been a fanatical user of primitive lighting for years now, especially on campouts and in teaching survival classes. I’ve learned over the years that with the proper wick (plant fiber) and any oil, you can make an oil lamp. Liquid or solid oil—animal, vegetable or mineral—all are effective in making grease lamps and oil “candles.”

But having almost burned the woods down on more than one attempt to make brighter light in the form of a torch, natural plant fiber kept letting me down. Torch heads made of rope, bark strips and a host of other rustic materials would leave small burning pieces of the torch in a fiery trail behind me. I just couldn’t find the right wick. That is, until I tried toilet paper.

Check out OL's 333 best survival skills. Get the book >

Yes, humble and underrated toilet paper saves the day again. Since you probably don’t have access to the Kevlar rags and petroleum FX fuels like they use in the movies, try this recipe:

• One greenwood stick about 1 inch in diameter and 2 feet long

• 50 feet of toilet paper, any kind

• A cup containing 4 ounces of any cooking oil

Wind the toilet paper around one end of the stick, spinning it so that it resembles rope. Tuck the loose end of the paper into the torch head. The torch should now look like a giant Q-tip. By using greenwood, the torch head won’t burn the stick, which can cause the head to drop off and roll away, lighting everything in its path on fire. And yes, I speak from experience.

Now stick the paper-covered end of the torch into your cup of oil, letting the oil soak in for a good 1 to 2 minutes. Light the torch with a steady, open flame like a lighter or a campfire. It will take 30 seconds or so to light, but soon the entire torch head will be engulfed in flames. The average torch will burn for about 20 minutes.

Now you are ready to explore! Or have a luau, or whatever. Just be careful with the fire, and be prepared to put it out at a moment’s notice, in case of trouble.

Comments (4)

» Write a Comment
Top Rated
All Comments
from ghostbear 11/30/2012 at 06:56pm

use 1/2 of a roll tube and all the tighter wrap will make it last a lot longer. also you can use rolls to cook on or for heat in an emergency. light the inside of the roll (remove tube) turn the end you lit down. use small rocks limbs etc.. as a lift to get a draft through the middle. raise and lower (open and close the draft) to control rate of burn (heat output).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DanC 11/28/2011 at 08:23pm

Since I learned this, I have made toilet paper and stick torches 20 plus times, All with fantastic results. It truly is just like the movies! One trick that makes lighting the torch very easy and quick: Take your last wrap of the toilet paper and leave about an inch of the last tucked piece coming off the top of the "q-tip" like head. Pour the cooking oil or whatever all over the toilet paper, but not on your top 1 inch. Then light the top inch and presto, lights very easy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 23 11/3/2011 at 07:32am

Sounds good, I have used the heavy duty red shop rags and melted pine tree sap with great resulsts,but I do get some coals falling off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM1993 11/2/2011 at 03:22pm

We tried making one of these for the hell of it when our lantern broke...wish i read this article before we tried..can see where we messed up now.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

from JM1993 11/2/2011 at 03:22pm

We tried making one of these for the hell of it when our lantern broke...wish i read this article before we tried..can see where we messed up now.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 23 11/3/2011 at 07:32am

Sounds good, I have used the heavy duty red shop rags and melted pine tree sap with great resulsts,but I do get some coals falling off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DanC 11/28/2011 at 08:23pm

Since I learned this, I have made toilet paper and stick torches 20 plus times, All with fantastic results. It truly is just like the movies! One trick that makes lighting the torch very easy and quick: Take your last wrap of the toilet paper and leave about an inch of the last tucked piece coming off the top of the "q-tip" like head. Pour the cooking oil or whatever all over the toilet paper, but not on your top 1 inch. Then light the top inch and presto, lights very easy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ghostbear 11/30/2012 at 06:56pm

use 1/2 of a roll tube and all the tighter wrap will make it last a lot longer. also you can use rolls to cook on or for heat in an emergency. light the inside of the roll (remove tube) turn the end you lit down. use small rocks limbs etc.. as a lift to get a draft through the middle. raise and lower (open and close the draft) to control rate of burn (heat output).

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):

bmxbiz