To build a basic torch is a reasonably simple task for the average person, and can be very handy in certain situations requiring light when there is none. Dependent upon circumstances and available materials, torches can be very primitive or a bit better constructed to last longer and provide greater light. Torches are also an excellent way to light bonfires safely, and can cut down considerably on the number of bug bites received when “roughing it”, as the fire and associated smoke is a good deterrent. The most important aspect of making a torch is that it is used in a safe manner, only outdoors, by adults with great caution to prevent a potential accident from occurring.
A simple survival torch can be nothing more than a bundle of dry grass tied to a stick using a wet vine to hold it together. A forked stick about 3 feet long works best for this, and the burnable material can be anything from dry leaves and grasses to small dry twigs that are broken and woven together. Several torch heads can be made at once and when the torch dies out, simply remove it from the stick and tie another to it using a new piece of vine. While this won’t provide a great deal of light for very long, it can be a real life-saver in an emergency outdoor situation. No matter where an individual is located, they can usually find the materials necessary to create this type of emergency torch light.
A better and longer lasting torch can be made from cotton fabric such as a t-shirt, torn into 2 to 3 inch wide strips and tied to the end of a stick. After fastening the cloth to the stick repeatedly until it has a depth of 3 inches, soak the end of your torch in a flammable liquid such as kerosene or gasoline for five minutes, to allow the cloth to absorb the fuel. This type of torch can burn and give very good light for a reasonably long period of time (up to an hour or so), the drawback is that materials are required to make it. Cork is also an outstanding material to use to make a torch head if soaked in a flammable liquid, and is great for keeping bugs away as it creates a good deal of smoke as it burns.
It is imperative when making any torch to remember to keep safety as the foremost thought in your mind. Especially when using gasoline or kerosene, even a minor spill or a few drops upon clothing can result in tragedy or death. Never let children use of take part in making torches – it is serious business with potentially horrible consequences for those who are careless.