How to Make a Camp Light in a Pinch

What do you do if you break your light or your light’s energy source becomes depleted?  Well, you could just sit in the dark and wait for daybreak or you could make your own emergency light.  While there are several different ways of doing this, the one I am going to describe utilizes things you can find in your camp kitchen.

The first thing you will need is a glass jar with a metal lid.  For my sample lamp, I am going to use a glass jar that was leftover from the Italian spaghetti dinner I made the night before at camp.

After I gathered the jar, I washed it out along with the lid. 

The next item I needed was some liquid oil.  Any kind will really do.  Once I had that, I tore off some of my cotton t-shirt for a wick.  While this step may sound very simple, there really is a trick to this step.  The “wick” needs to be long enough to make it into the jar.  Yes, having it reach the bottom of the jar would be great, sometimes this is not possible.  The best approach is to make sure you have some dangling inside the jar.  This will extend the life of your light.

Once you have your “wick,” the next step is to create support for your wick.  This comes from the lid.  To make this support, simply poke a hole in the center of the lid.  Now, test out your wick in the lid.  If you have trouble getting it into the hole either reduce the width of the wick and/or make the hole bigger.  After you have had a successful dry run of your wick, you can remove it from the hole and place it in the oil.  Allow it to sit there for at least 10 minutes.

The next step requires you to run the wick through the hole.  Once that is done you are ready to light but…………as simple as this light is there are a few cautionary rules that one needs to follow.  First, never leave this light lit unsupervised.  It does not take much to knock the light over and once that happens the oil will pour out.  This equates out to a spreading fire.  Also, never use this light in your tent.  It is only designed to be used outside.  Finally, since this light is made with oil, it will smoke a little bit when lit compared to traditional lights.  In doing so, do not be alarmed when you first light it.  The black smoke will dissipate over time.