The CandlePot aka a campfire in a can... a spiritual how to journey...
First off, let me start by saying I by no way invented this thing. It's been done for awhile. But in the absence of being able to find solid information on the intrawebz on how to make them, I figured a tutorial is in order...
What's the %&*# is a candle pot?
I was introduced to the candle pot by a friend that had a buddy bring one on a GC trip. Legend has it was initially built out of a pressure cooker so it could be sealed up against water and snuffed out quickly should the need arise. She built her own out of an ammo can (i.e. the CandleCan).
Imagine a vessel containing cardboard oriented vertical. The vessel is filled with parafin wax up to about 1/4" away from the top edge of the cardboard. The cardboard serves as the "wick".
How do I use it?
Once it's built, you simply have to set the top on alight to get it going. I use my "big match" to get it raging quick, but if you get a corner going with a lighter, you can tip it side to side to get it going across the entire top. The secret is to replenish the wax as it burns off. Just throw another brick of parafin wax on the candlecan, it will melt and maintain the level.
How do I make one?
Glad you asked!
1. Find a vessel. You can use anything really, but shallow is better as you dont need the depth. I found a shallow frying pan for my large one, but also used a old military first aid kit for a trip down the Gunny.
2. Pack it full of cardboard strips. I use a drywall T to cut long strips and then pack em in.
3. Melt wax. I use a sacrificial pot for this but they clean up fine. It can take a bunch of wax to saturate the cardboard and fill it up. Buy in bulk of the intramanet as you'll be using blocks to maintain it during use.
Care and Feeding your Candlepot
Yes, you need to bring wax with you. Keep and eye on the wax level and throw another block on when it gets low. More "wick" exposed gets you a bigger flame, less "wick" and it lays down more. Make sure you give it time to cool before you rig it. The heat can transfer through to the vessel. Try to keep it dry-ish. The splattering of the water sucks... You can add citronella oil to make it a bug candle. I rig mine by running a strap through the lid handle and pot handles andtighten it up. Keeps it dry enough...
I don't know where this sits in the burn restriction school of thought. I sure when the stakes are high, it's a no go, just gather around your lantern or blaster. It throws no sparks and puts out pretty good heat and it extinguishable immediately when you put on the lid. When we showed it to the ranger at the Gunny Chukar during a burn ban, they said it was fine. I dont recall the stage/restrictions, but I do recall no campfires was the theme.
It will never replace a real campfire, but it works for us when we dont want to deal with humping in wood and out ashes. It does a great job of setting the evening ambiance though.