As a life prepper and survival expert in the high desert there are certain things that I center on when it comes to my families safety, comfort and survival. The concentration for todays article is on DIY light.

Contrary to popular myth the high desert of Arizona and New Mexico does not always have a full moon to light the way. There are times when there is no moon and it is inky black, sure the stars provide a little light, however, inside ones house there is a distinct feeling of being buried alive without some form of lighting.

To fix this issue with one simple solution I chose to concentrate on easily procured 10 hour votive scentless candles. The supplies needed for this solution to both heating and lighting concerns are listed below.

  • Ten hour scentless votive candles (I purchase mine by the case lot of 72 candles using Amazon® Prime – 21.99 per order) if you do not have a prime account you can shop around and find a good price, scentless is essential for several reasons.
  • Left over tin/ steel food cans (2 x 28 oz. can) (2 x 14 oz can)
  • Steel awl, punch or a triangle edged can opener lastly in a pinch you can use a knife, just be careful!
  • Deluxe edgeless can opener or a medium sharpening stone (You can find a good priced can opener on Amazon® here.) you can also use a medium sharpening stone or in a pinch a piece of concrete sidewalk.
  • The last item is your imagination, this part is entirely up too you.

Some people choose to fill the cans with water and freeze them prior to putting the design in the sides of the cans, however, because a freezer is likely not something you have in a SHTF situation, there are other options. I usually hold it firmly in one hand while pressing with a slow steady grip into the can. If you do this slowly you can easily make patterns or simply place holes as desired for light. If you want to place it in the center of a room, put holes around the entire outside of it, however, if it is going to be on one side lighting the rest of the room enhance the light by placing holes along one side only and aim that side into the room. One or two of these will quickly bring light into your house and a ten hour candle will allow you to enjoy a game or two of cards.

There is an additional benefit to these light types, they can be used as cooking stoves as well. Use the larger cans and after placing holes in the smaller ones you can fill the larger cans with water and set them gently on top of the smaller cans. They will boil based on your elevation within 10-20 minutes or so. I keep one or two cans in a nesting situation within my go bags along with candles. Nest the cans one inside another and place two or three candles in each set up, I usually tamp them in with some type of multiple use fire-starting material and or hygiene material. They are light weight and inexpensive.

Obviously there are many other uses for empty tin food cans and I encourage you to expand your minds and be creative. After all, this is a quick and inexpensive way to recycle materials in a survival situation. You will also notice in the pictures that I date my supplies, this is to tell me the expiration date printed by the company. I rotate my stock regularly so that I always have the longest amount of time available.

Free the mind and the body will follow.

This is a guest post by Jesse Mathewson.  Jesse is a friend, and lifelong prepper.  Jesse Mathewson is an individual who believes in Freedom, Non-Aggression, Self-Defense, Self-Ownership and a Free Market without state interference it is his firm belief that we should all be better students in life.

He is also the author of the popular blog, and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity. As a voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Feel free to email him directly at [email protected] – make sure you put Individuals Talking Back in the header or it may be mistakenly deleted as spam. You can also view what he does at Liberty Practical Training.  Thank you all for reading and hope to hear from you soon.

Jesse’s Blog can be found here:


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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.