You never know when you might find yourself stranded outdoors. A simple hike can turn into a quest for survival given the right set of circumstances. A sudden change in weather or simply losing your way can lead to numerous days and nights of no one knowing your whereabouts. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, people can survive in the wilderness. Start with learning to make a torch in the wild.
1. Take “The Ten Essentials” with you if you plan a hiking trip or another type of trip outdoors, which include a map, compass, flashlight, first-aid kit, pocket knife, extra food, extra clothes, sunglasses, waterproof matches and a fire starter, and always be prepared for an unexpected turn of events.
2. Add other important common sense items that can help save you in an emergency situation as well, such as water, a whistle, insect repellent, chapstick and sunscreen. Keep these items in your car, too, in case of breakdowns in remote areas (but don’t leave matches in your car due to fire hazard.) Let someone at home or work know where you are if you plan a trip (even short day trips).
3. Realize that although you may not plan to be outdoors, you could end up in the wilderness due to certain unexpected situations, such as a transportation accident, and you’re without supplies of any kind. Make a torch in the wild to help you survive.
4. Know you’ll need basic materials to make a torch in the wild. Use a fairly thick branch or stick and tie a piece of cloth (from the bottom of your pant leg or a piece of your jacket if necessary) around it at one end; find some sort of slow-burning fuel if possible, such as tree sap, animal fat or even chapstick if you have it with you.
5. Make a torch out of bark from a tree instead if you can’t find fuel to apply to a piece of cloth. Look for a bark that peels off in sheets, such a birch, so that you can wrap it into a long cone. Use other types of bark, such as hickory or poplar, also. Combine dry and green bark strips. Utilize other materials like river cane or bamboo if you can’t locate good bark to make a torch in the wild.
6. Bind a bark torch tightly with pieces of string torn from clothes; long roots of plants; long flexible vines; or strips of pliable bark torn from sticks. Leave space inside of the torch to allow airflow. Stuff the bark torch with dry grass, leaves and small pieces of broken bark as long as you have some sort of fuel to saturate it with or something to decrease the burning speed.
7. Keep in mind that some types of bark burn well without kindling inside, whereas other types need to be filled with kindling (and fuel preferably) to keep torches burning. Make a couple of torches if possible; although a good hand-made torch will last a while, you’ll likely need another one ready to go.
8. Tend your campfire and keep it burning if you’re stationary so that you can easily light the torch when needed. Use rock or stick rubbing techniques to make fire, or a lighter or a fire starter of some kind if you don’t have matches. Remember you can hold a piece of glass above kindling to concentrate sun light on it to start a fire, too.