Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Candle in the Dark

I'm not a Luddite by any means. In fact, I'm the opposite; I love technology and the better living it gives us. For a prepper, though, there are lots of times when it is worthwhile to trade shiny new technology for proven stability and dependability, and the humble candle is a fine example of both.

Candles have been around in some form or another for most of recorded history, and without any massive changes in that time. Their simple nature makes them an ideal emergency staple for preppers -- Chaplain Tim wrote an excellent article on the basics of candles through the years. They're also multi-purpose, which is one of the first things I look for in my prepping supplies.

The primary purpose of a candle since their invention is to banish the darkness. They do that job as well today as they ever did. While not as bright as electric lights, oil lamps, or other sources, the candle is always ready and doesn't require fueling. It can also provide ready light while other light sources are prepared.

A long, thin candle like a taper works wonders for lighting other things like fires and hurricane lamps. Once lit, a candle provides more flame than a match while keeping your fingers from being burned.

While candles are not an ideal heat source, a few of them together can provide enough heat to keep a small space bearable against the cold. They also provide enough heat to warm foods. During Hurricane Matthew, a friend of mine in Florida (not Erin) lost power. She was able to make tea, soup, and a couple other things in a coffee cup held over a candle, and therefore had hot food even in very nasty weather.

The little bit of light and heat a candle provides also come with a psychological boost. When everything is going rotten, that little dancing flame warms the soul along with everything else.

Candles are also wonderfully cost-effective, with an indefinite shelf life. This means that there is no real risk in buying a bulk pack of votives or tapers and just having the on the shelf. Keep a lighter or box of matches beside them, and you're ready and able when darkness falls.


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