Torch Making in the Woods: 3 of the Best Ways

For first-timers out there who are thinking of going for their ultimate outdoor experience, this article will teach you how to make your own light in the middle of the forest.

Congratulations! You have just gathered all the courage to put details on your camping trip. I’m so proud of you. 

Now, you have to start making a list to prepare for your adventure in the middle of the forest. The first item on your checklist is knowing how to make a torch in the woods.

We all have been taught in Science class how to make a fire without fuel or a lighter. We were all amazed and thrilled that we did. So, now, what?

Aside from having a light, there are different ways where a torch can be helpful. It is useful for when you need to sterilize water, prepare food, signal for help, protect yourself from different wild animals and provide light and warmth.

Let’s jump right into it and make a DIY torch you can use on your nature trip.

1. The Primitive Way

primitive torch

Hundreds of years ago, humans built early-day torches out of a piece of wood, and the process of choosing the right kind of wood took a long time for them. Types of wood determine the burn duration in the same way they did in the past.

It is best to use moist or green branches such as cattails or river cane since they have a far lower burning chance than dry wood. A torch’s base may be sturdy by wrapping several wooden sticks together.

You can build a torch using any wood type, so don’t worry if you have to use an unsuitable sort of wood. Resourcefulness is the key to surviving in the woods. Using whatever material you know available for you can be a great fire starter.

Making mistakes is essential for great learning and growing, so don’t be scared to make them!

Wrapping a piece of wood with something that will burn is the next step. Cotton cloth is the most common choice, but there is an alternative if you don’t have any on hand. Don’t start ripping out your clothes just yet. You need your clothes to survive too.

You can find and use a birch bark attached to the top of a torch if you can locate some of it. To that end, you’ll want to pile grass, leaves, or other flammable materials within the birch bark circle.

To start a fire, you’ll need to use some chemicals that will do the job. Those can be oil, animal fat, tree sap, or pine pitch.

Of course, you can use specific flammable liquids, such as gasoline, for your torch. But supplies like those will not always be readily available and in stock for you. The chemicals I’ve mentioned are helpful when you don’t have access to anything else except natural resources.

In addition, do not be concerned if the fire does not ignite instantly. It may take up to a minute for natural resins to ignite and emit flames. Make sure to start a fire before sunset so you’d still have visibility as you build your torch.

This how-to is a quick and straightforward approach to start a DIY torch that may burn for many hours. A basic understanding of making a simple torch can significantly enhance your survival chances, especially on scaring away wild animals.

2. The Minimalist Way

minimalist torch

If you can’t locate any cattails nearby, this is a good alternative.

The primary concept behind a minimalistic torch is to use any stick as a base and any burning substance as the torch’s head. To construct a long-lasting torch, you should add a flammable liquid to this cloth. 

Even if you don’t utilize gasoline, oil, or any other particular liquids, a torch will still generate light, but it will burn out quickly. The wick-making technique is essential since you’ll need it to make a torch hold fire.

Getting a stick is usually the first step. Make sure it’s at least two feet long and two inches thick. A green branch stick or moist branch is preferable similar to what I have mentioned in the primitive method. 

After this, you should create a long-lasting wick. And then, a cotton shirt or birch bark can form stripes for your torch. You can cut any of these materials into 2 foot long, 6 inch wide strips.

 Next, you can use a rope or thread to secure the material to the piece of wood so that it doesn’t fall off.

I know you have listed the survival EDC (Everyday Carry) pack on your list, and paraffin is one of the items in that kit. It’s essential to have one, so you can use the paraffin to soak a wick in a flammable liquid. 

Use edible fuel like oil from corn and soybeans. You can also use other oils like palm oil, cooking oil, peanut oil, cottonseed oil, safflower, linseed oil aside from fat from animals or tree sap in the absence of ready-to-use flammable liquid items. 

There is no need to use an ignition source with a birch wick since it includes natural flammable ingredients.

When using this DIY torch, make sure the material is completely submerged in oil, gasoline, or another liquid to prevent the wick from being consumed. As oil burns, the wood handle must be intact.

3. The Survivalist Way

survivalist torch

Simple and efficient, this pine pitch torch is a must-have. If you live on the US West Coast, where birch trees are scarce, this is a better option than the previous methods.

The procedure is quite similar to making a fire with the primitive or minimalist torch ways. You’ll begin by splitting the end of a greenwood stick in half to hold your wick and burn fuel.

Then, find and collect resin from a pine, spruce, or fir tree, which you may use to make a fire. When a branch falls off, trees secrete resin to protect themselves. Resin often appears where you remove the bark. You can remove this soft resin from the tree with a knife.

Don’t worry. You will not harm it in the process.

To form a wick for your torch, you can use a pine cone, a cattail, or an old pair of socks.

To make a fire torch the survivalist way, or may I dare say the professional way. First, just like the previous two methods, you need to have a secure handle. Plant the stick handle into the ground with the splayed end facing up.

Then, you can use the sticks to keep open the handle’s spread ends for a short time. If you remember to pack a pair of gloves, you may use a repurposed tin can or similar object to melt your resin. Once the resin has melted, dip your wick into the tin can to coat it.

If you don’t have access to a tin can for melting, you may still use the resin by smearing it directly onto the wick of your choice, although the results may be less than optimal. Then make sure you have inserted the wick into the handle’s split ends.

To better fasten the end, remove the sticks holding it open and fire up the wick after adding extra resin to it using your fingertip or a spoon.

Last Words

With no campfire or flashlight for lighting, anything can happen to you at any time in the forest. That’s why it’s crucial to be able to build a fire and make a torch while you’re out in the wild. 

A flashlight is a must-have if you get lost in the woods or want to hike at night. But batteries aren’t going to last very long, especially if you are planning to stay in the woods for a long time.  Making torches is one of the survivalist skills you should learn to survive in the wild.

To better equip you on your outdoor exploration, here are some survival and preparedness articles that will be useful for you:

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1 thought on “Torch Making in the Woods: 3 of the Best Ways”

  1. When I first read the title, I thought “torching making in the woods” sounded like a movie title or something! 😀 It’s pretty exciting and undoubtedly informative and highly useful. I learned a lot!


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