Camp Fire Light v Simple Oil lamp

As we are approaching the winter solstice with the nights drawing in earlier & earlier, turning down the wick on the last remnants of splendid autumnal colour, we turn our attention to our own means of lighting, helping to extend our day further for those intricate evening tasks around the camp.

574Limitations of writing after dark in front of a camp fire

Working in front of the camp fire is a wonderful joy, providing not only heat, and light it is a tool for an array of endless tasks.

For detailed work it is however not without its limitations and not all woods are great at producing light, many hardwoods are less suited to producing light when compared to resinous soft woods and these may not be available to you.

577Awkwardly adjusting the pad to capture light to write in the dark.

Firelight with its rhythmic dancing of flames as they climb gracefully upwards in a hypnotic display can  be an inconsistent supply of light as it jumps and dances around. Having a dedicated consistent light source will enable a greater focus of concentration on the task in hand.

Campfire light is generally a fixed point at ground level, which presents its own problems. Sitting in front of the campfire on a stump or woodland chair, working in front of you, the work piece will be in shadow. Moving the work piece to counteract this by presenting it to the light of the fire can lead to awkward & uncomfortable working position, so this could cause us to work on the floor in front of the fire in an attempt to work below the light source to improve visibility but at the cost of comfort. Most of us at this point would simply reach for their head torch, but the light is harsh compared to the gentle warm light from a lamp. Artificial light does little for your night vision either should you need to leave camp at any point.

581Small clay pot lamp with Rosebay Willowherb wick.

Using a small pot lamp can help address many of these issues. Having a simple lamp enables you to manipulate your light source more conveniently, enabling you to position it to allow light to be cast on to your work. The lamp below is supported on a sturdy hazel stick hammered into the ground to the desired height for writing. It also provides a constant light helping you to work with greater efficiency.

579Elevated light source enabling comfortable note taking.

Using a fire for light to work with over the course of the evening requires continual subtle adjustment & refueling whilst a little lamp can happily burn for well over a hour depending on the size of your reservoir, giving you more time to your task & less time spent foraging for firewood.

Next time we will look at how we can make a small clay pot lamp to use around camp after dark.


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