14 Instant Lighting Hacks on Camping
Running out of batteries? Camping is fun until the lights die out. Save your flashlights for a rainier time and switch to portable DIY lights instead.
- 1. One of the biggest dilemmas of campers is that it is impossible to fall sleep with a brilliant flashlight burning inside and equally imprudent to sleep in the pitch darkness.
One way around this is to paint the inside of a mason jar with glow-in-the-dark paint. This quick-fix lantern can be used as a makeshift soft night lamp and it allows you to save on batteries.
- 2. Want to light up your entire camp with a single flashlight?
Wrap a head lamp or a flashlight to point into a translucent bottle. A gallon bottle of water will do the trick. The refractive property of the liquid will help to diffuse the light evenly throughout your tent and fill up your space with an ambient glow, without disturbing sleepers.
- 3. You can make your own inexpensive solar lanterns for nighttime adventures and bask in the wonderment of your fellow campers.
With no worries about open flame and fire, these lanterns begin to emanate radiance immediately after dusk. Take a solar stick and separate the disk from the stick. Fit the disk over the mouth of a small mason jar under the lid, to ensure an airtight fit. Not only are they clever, these lanterns are a pretty sight.
- 4. Want to build a small portable fire to toast a midnight marshmallow, or simply lend a warm flush at night?
Most campers do not deem it prudent to carry flammable liquids or gels inside their backpacks but here’s an alternative: cut some cardboard to fit the depth of a container, and pack it tightly inside, with the corrugated edges of the cardboard facing up. Pour melted wax so that it fills up the spaces between the cardboard folds, ensuring that no air is trapped inside. This burns swift and hot and you will be glad for the contraption. Leave the fire burning on a metallic tray to avoid having it tip over.
- 5. On rainy days, finding dry kindling can be tough.
If you need a quick fire, sacrifice a bag of Doritos, Fritos or any corn chips, since they are as great for kindling as they are for devouring. This gives flaming hot Doritos a more literal meaning, doesn’t it?
- 6. Want to dispose of empty egg cartons?
Save them for kindling fire. Place a wad of dry lint in empty egg cartons and fill each to the top with hot melted wax. Separate the cups when the wax solidifies, and light the torn edges of cups to get a crackling fire started!
- 7. Work up a brilliant flame inside your camp on a rainy day by smearing a cotton ball with Vaseline or Chapstick®.
The Vaseline acts like a fuel and the flame continues to blaze under any conditions. Place the ball on a small piece of aluminum foil, light it up and watch it glow. This also proves to be a surefire way of starting a fire. Caution: It is prudent to place the cotton in an empty tin can before igniting.
- 8. Are you a tea drinker?
Instead of throwing away used tea bags, keep saving them in a box to dry. Soak the dry teabags in paraffin and then saturate them with melted candle wax. Once the bags have absorbed the paraffin and the wax has cooled through, seal them in individual bags or plastic wrap, and you have your kindle ready. It’s convenient to take these packets in case tinder is hard to find.
- 9. Match boxes are prone to ruin if placed in contact with a liquid.
Matches are indispensable to building a fire and procuring them in the middle of the wilderness is next to impossible. For a foolproof backup, place all your matches in a Tupperware box and glue a piece of sandpaper to the lid, so you can light the matches without a battle.
- 10. For nighttime excursions through the wild or even making your way across to the makeshift washroom, flashlights are your best friends.
Wrong! Here’s a pocket lamp that takes only seconds to construct and burns vividly for hours on end. All you need is empty mini shampoo bottle, heavy copper wire, canola oil, a scrap of a cotton towel and a 7/16” socket. Fill the bottle with oil. Wrap the towel scrap around the copper wire, thread it through the socket and slide the socket over the bottle.
- 11. Anybody who ever tried lighting a damp match can comprehend the exasperation.
If you want to keep your matches dry, it is prudent to waterproof them before you set out on the road. Dip the head of all the matches in clear nail polish, deep enough to cover at least an eighth of an inch, and hold them for a few seconds to dry. No more wet matches!
- 12. Nothing can dampen your spirits more than a bleak murky night in the middle of the wilderness.
Here’s where your kid’s crayon kit comes in to handy. Crayons can burn up to 30 minutes and render a brilliant flame when lit up. Talk about emergency lighting! Caution: exercise care with handling crayon lights and put out when not needed.
- 13. What is the safest way to start a roaring fire with kids around?
Most campers are fretful about keeping inflammable items inside the tent, and thus tend to run low on fire starters. However, you can use a magnifying glass on a bright sunny day to ignite dry kindle. Not only is it a great learning experience for kids, but fun for adults too.
- 14. Fancy a tent that glows at night?
Substitute your tent pegs for solar lights. Not only will it bathe your tent with a warm luminous glow at night but also keep you from tripping over guide ropes in the darkness.