It’s just about impossible to be prepared for every situation and while we all know that it’s important to keep emergency lights and candles in every bug-in and bug-out kit, sometimes you come up short and need a little light in a pinch.
From crayons to sardines there are a lot of ways to add light to a situation in an emergency. These five are a sampling of the ways you can get some light when you need it. Have a way that we didn't mention here? Leave it in the comments below.
1. Flashlight + Water Bottle
If you have a small flashlight like an LED keychain light, you can amplify its brightness by simply shining it into a clear jug of water.
Water paired with the plastic of the jug is a great way to diffuse the direct beam of light into a slightly dimmer but more spread out light. You could also strap a headlamp to a jug of water for the same effect.
With this, you now have a light that gives an entire room some visibility instead of a 1-2 foot circle.
2. Solar Walkway Lights
Solar lights for landscaping have grown in popularity recently and with as many of them in yards and gardens as there are, these are great at giving you some internal lighting in an emergency. Just grab the top off of one from outside and bring it in. Most have an off switch so you can only use them when necessary.
Leaving the lights outside all day and bringing them in at night will give you a near limitless source of powered light.
While the first two entries in this list require some form of power, the last three are all about adding a little light via flame. When a real emergency hits the chances of you always having batteries and something to put them into are pretty slim, so having a few of these up your sleeve are a good idea.
Sardines are a great survival food. They’re high in protein and fats, store very well, and have a pretty small footprint. Once you’ve eaten the fish in a can of sardines, you can use the leftover oil to make your own oil lamp.
Place a natural fiber wick, lick a string from a cotton mop into the oil with a small piece of wick hanging out the corner. Make sure the entire wick is soaked in oil and give it a light. You’ll get a candle that will burn for however long there’s oil in it. If you need it to last longer, add a little more cooking oil and it should burn indefinitely.
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Candles are just wax with a wick in its core. A crayon is colored wax and no wick, but that doesn’t stop them from making a great makeshift candle in an emergency.
Using a crayon as a candle is about as simple as it gets. All you need to do is light the top and watch it burn.
If you want to get inventive, remove the wrappers of 3-5 crayons and place a natural wick in the center, securing them together with bent paper clips Three crayons like this should last you 60-90 minutes. Make sure to secure the bottom of the crayon somehow so you don’t start an actual fire. Melting the bottom and sticking it to a plate is a perfect way.
This is probably the most interesting emergency candle out of the group. Basically all this entails is a large tub of Crisco and a natural fiber wick like the mop thread we mentioned already.
Using a stick, press the wick down the center of the Crisco, then remove the stick. Rub a little Crisco into the exposed portion of the wick and give it a light. A full-sized tub of Crisco has been reported to burn up to 30 days continually. Really makes me think twice about eating the stuff ever again, that’s for sure!