Let’s talk about Swedish Fire Torches: Schwedenfackel or Schwedenfeuer. Known by several other names (i.e. Canadian Candle), the torch is a unique campfire technique because it uses just a single log as fuel that, when prepared properly, can sustain heat for two to four hours. Sound kitschy? Think again. The method is nearly 400 years old, developed in 1618 by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years’ War. Firewood was apparently sparse across the Roman Empire, so the wood they came upon needed to be carefully spent. The fire torch proved an effective way to conserve wood but still met their needs for cooking and light.
How does this thing work? Here’s the shorthand instruction:
1. Split a dry log into quarters. Use a hatchet to make fringelike cuts on the inside — this will act like tinder inside the stove itself.
2. Set the logs upright, wrapping twine or wire loosely at the base.
3. Add tinder and kindling to the preformed chamber from the initial cuts.
4. Light bits of kindling atop the surface.
5. Once the fire has been started, air is able to freely circulate within/between the gaps between the split log, providing oxygen to the flames.
6. Eventually, the fire is self-feeding. The flat, circular top provides a surface to place a kettle, or pan for cooking, boiling liquids, etc.
I was initially skeptical of (a) how much heat this torch could really put off and (b) its practical application — why use one log when we have what seems like a half dozen cords of firewood laying around the yard for a “real” campfire? Fifteen minutes into prep and assembly, I was eating my words.
The torch was not only incredibly easy to make, but the fire was hot. Hot enough to boil the base for a campfire toddy (see recipe below). For many, this DIY will be a backyard novelty, but if for some reason I’m stranded with one log and one match, I’m telling you… I’ll be glad I can make this sucker.
Get Campfire Hot Toddy Recipe And Watch Video: Here