Introduction: Improvised Emergency Handwarmer / Firestarter
The winter months are approaching, and for those of us who live up North, this means that we must prepare ourselves for frigid temperatures and lots of snow. Now, regardless of how much we prepare, believe it or not, sh** happens. Your heater might fail during a blizzard, or your car might die on the highway in the middle of nowhere, etc. There are numerous things that can happen to you that would put you in an urban or rural survival situation.
Don't believe me?
Well, here's a quick example: Last January, my area got several feet of snow, and I was lucky enough to NOT be one of the hundreds of motorists stranded on Lake Shore Drive (in Chicago) for more than six hours. Hypothermia was a real threat for those people, and if the rescue workers hadn't gotten to them in time, they would have all perished, and some of them did.
Now, I am going to show you how to make a quick and easy MacGyver-like contraption that will keep you warm long enough to preserve your life, if you are to ever find yourself in a survival situation with minimal supplies.
Step 1: Materials
All you need to make this is chapstick, some sort of porous material, and a flame source.
1) To my knowledge, any type of lip balm will work, whether it is based from petroleum, beeswax, or shea butter. I don't know about you, but I carry chapstick with me when it's cold outside. And if you don't, then now's a good time to start.
2) The porous material could be anything from paper to a piece of clothing. Cotton works best, but anything is better than nothing.
3) The flame source can be a lighter or matches; this is another thing you should always carry with you. A small book of matches will easily slip into your wallet, and you won't even realize that it's there until you need it.
Step 2: Make It
What you are basically doing is making a rudimentary candle: the piece of paper or cloth will act as the wick, and the lip balm will act as the fuel.
1) So, first, you need to coat the "wick" with a thick layer of lip balm. Leave a short section at the top un-covered
2) Then, tightly roll up the wick, and twist the end shut.
3) Now you are done; all that is left is to light it. The burn time will depend on its shape and size.
Step 3: Use It!
You can make this into whatever shape suits your needs -
Make a short cylindrical shape, like a tea candle, to act as a heater in an enclosed space (but don't burn it for extended periods of time for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning). You should place this on a non-flammable surface, like a piece of metal.
Or, if you are in an outside environment, twist it into the shape of a birthday candle, and you have yourself a little torch to start trash or brush fires. This can be held in the hand.
I hope you will never have to use the knowledge you gained from this Instructable, but if you do, good luck to you. Stay prepared, and stay safe.
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How long do these things last?