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Survival Skills: How To Make A Torch

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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.” ]]>