How To Make A Survival Torch In The Wild

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By Bryan Lynch •  4 min read

Knowing how to make a survival torch can be helpful in many ways. 

It can be a means of transporting fire, signaling for help, keeping insects and predators at bay, used in night fishing, and of course providing a light source when it is dark. 

Survival Torch

Depending on the type and amount of fuel used, torches can have a burn time of under a minute to fifteen plus minutes. It all depends on the fuel and the surrounding conditions. 

Making a torch in a survival situation is not always the easiest thing to do. If you need to make a torch out of fire here are a few safety tips to keep in mind. 

Fire Torch Safety

Remember all fire safety rules when using a torch. They include:

Making a Survival Torch 

Now that you are aware of the torch safety rules, here are two ways that you can make a torch in a survival situation. 

The Fuel Torch 

Extreme care must be taken when using this type of torch as working with combustibles is inherently very dangerous!

I call this one the fuel torch simply because it works best when there is a combustible fuel source available. 

Generally speaking, this fuel is going to come in the form of gasoline, diesel, or oil that could be obtained from a broken down vehicle. 

You are going to need four items for this torch to work. A fuel source, a fire source, a pole, and a highly absorbent material like a cotton t-shirt. 

The pole can be anything but a branch from a tree is probably going to be the best option available. The pole should be several feet long and the diameter doesn’t matter as long as it is comfortable in the hand. 

Take the absorbent material (cotton t-shirt) and wrap it around the end of the pole making sure it is tightly secured. Then allow this end to soak in the fuel for at least several minutes to ensure the material is properly saturated. 

When removing the torch always keep the end of the torch pointed down and away from you to avoid fuel running down the pole. Using a fire source, carefully light the end of the torch and point it away from the body. Be aware that this can be a dangerous method as burning fuel can drip from the end.

Traditional Torch 

A torch primarily made from biomass is generally the kind most people picture and it is the most realistic option.

This torch will require four items. A pole, fire source, biomass fuel, a chopping or cutting tool. 

The best option for the pole will again be some type of branch. It should be several feet long and have a diameter of a few inches. 

Collect biomass fuel such as pinecones, cattail fluff, small pieces of wood, etc. 

Use the cutting tool to split the end of the pole by making two cuts perpendicular to one another. Jam two small pieces of wood into the cuts to open them. Fill and pack the cut with biomass fuel and light on fire.

Video Tutorial

Check out this video on step-by-steps:

Wrapping It Up

A survival torch can be a great tool to have in a survival situation but please remember to use them safely and responsibly.

Have you ever made an outdoor torch? If so, sound off in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! 

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.