Have you heard about the Swedish torch log, aka Swedish torch candle, aka Canadian candle? It’s a really neat camping hack that has been around for a while but has recently gained popularity. Making your own Swedish torch is easy to do. Read on for simple step by step instructions for how to make a Swedish torch log.

Items You’ll Need to Make a Swedish Torch Log:

  • dry log, roughly 3ft tall and 1ft wide (bigger log will burn longer)
  • chainsaw
  • kindling or lighter fluid
  • matches or lighter

Step 1: Prepare Your Log

You don’t want your burning Swedish torch to be unstable! Examine the ends of the log. You want the cut to be as perpendicular as possible so that the Swedish torch log will stand upright. You also want a perpendicular surface on the other end, especially if you plan to cook on top of the fire. If the ends are not perpendicular then recut your log. Don’t skip this step!

Step 2: Make Vertical Cuts

Stand the log upright and make two or three crisscrossing, vertical cuts down the log. For a long burning fire make sure you cut down about 3/4th’s the length of the log. A shallower cut will result in a fire that doesn’t burn quite as long.

Step 3: Light the Log

Now it’s time to light a fire and begin turning the log into a Swedish torch log. You can squirt some common lighter fluid or kerosene into the cuts in the center of the log to get it going. Another good method is to soak something combustible like paper or cotton balls in vaseline or oil. You can push these down the cuts and they’ll light very easily and burn for a while. Alternatively you could also just use duff and small sticks to build a small fire on the flat top of the log. As the sticks burn down the hot coals will fall down into the cuts.

You want the inside of the log (the cuts) to catch on fire and start burning. All the cuts allow air to enter and keep the fire going. Your Swedish torch log will actually burn from the inside out!

Step 4: Enjoy Your Swedish Torch Log!

Now that the work is done you can sit back and enjoy your Swedish Torch log. If you cut the top nice and flat you can throw on a cast iron pot or pan to cook up an excellent campfire meal. You could also make that campfire classic s’mores. Or better yet, do both!

If you want to try this on your next camping trip but just don’t happen to have access to logs or a chainsaw, you can just buy a precut Swedish torch log on the internet. Hey, no one is judging… most of us don’t own chainsaws. Just get out there and have fun!

If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s an excellent video tutorial on how to make a Swedish torch log.

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