TrailTime Tips: Emergency Candle

You're miles into the backcountry and after the sun sets you realize that you forgot to change the batteries in your headlamp. Relax, here's a really colorful idea for a simple emergency candle. This candle will burn for over 20 minutes and provide a two inch flame, which is plenty of light for you to organize your things at camp, take care of a quick emergency or even to read a chapter in your book.

emergency Crayon

A Colorful Idea for an Emergency Candle

Did you know you can use a crayon to make a quick emergency candle? Crayons are lightweight, take up very little room in an emergency kit and they easily light and provide a large flame. Simply hold a lighter to one end for a few seconds and it will catch fire. Be careful of a few drips of 'hot wax' that will form just before the crayon lights, it will burn you. Once the crayon catches fire hold it upright and you should have a two inch tall flame.

In my first test, I was surprised how well the crayon burned and how much light it gave off. I burned it for 8 minutes and was less than half way through the crayon. You could expect a crayon to burn up to 20 minutes to provide enough light for activities around camp.

crayon Candle

Other ideas for using a crayon candle in an emergency include:

  • Starting a fire with wet pine needles. The long burning flame could be helpful in starting a fire with hard to light tinder. Avoid burning your thumb on the lighter by first lighting the crayon.

  • Cooking? We haven't tested this but you might be able to warm up a small pot with a crayon candle. Give it a try and let us know in the comments below how it worked.

What other ways can you think of to use a emergency crayon candle in the backcountry? Do you see enough value in this to throw a crayon or two in your backpack? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Why Would You Bother With This?

We've all seen backpacking hacks that are more hassle than they're worth or require you to bring along extra gear that you won't need. So what makes a crayon candle a good idea? It really does give a good amount of light and a crayon weighs less than an extra set of batteries. If you've ever carried an extra set of AA batteries just in case, you could have saved that weight by just throwing in a crayon.

More Great TrailTime Tips:

Easy Camping Hack For A Hassle-Free Meal
Keep Your Sleeping Bag Dry
Fill Your Bottles From A Shallow Stream
Easy Way to Stake a Tent on Rocky Ground

TrailTime Tips: Emergency Candle
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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