This Hack Makes Flashlights So Much More Dependable When Camping

A flashlight is an important tool for any camping trip, especially for those moments when you could use a little extra light — like during midnight trips to the bathroom, when entertaining the kids with shadow puppet shows, or when participating in activities like night fishing or stargazing. However, when packing quickly, it's easy to accidentally grab that one flashlight that only works when you shake it. Luckily, there's a quick fix to get that flickering flashlight up and running in no time, and all you need is some aluminum foil.

In fact, by taking a folded piece of aluminum foil and placing it between the battery and the pad or spring in the flashlight battery chamber, you can solve the flickering flashlight problem once and for all. This works because the foil will prevent the battery from moving inside the flashlight while also not impeding the flow of electricity from the battery to the device. While aluminum is not the best conductor of electricity, it works well enough and it's something that most people tend to have with them. In a pinch, you can even use a gum wrapper or other used foil as long as it is dry and clean.

Using foil to make a small battery fit

Besides fixing a loose battery, aluminum foil can be used to help get your flashlight working again in other ways. In fact, aluminum foil can even allow a smaller battery to work inside a device that typically requires a bigger battery. This is especially useful if you accidentally bring the wrong backup batteries with you to the campsite. According to Pop Science, this works with alkaline batteries (size AAAA through D) because they all have the same voltage despite being different sizes. This means an AAAA battery is technically able to power a device that requires an AA (or even D) battery, the only problem is that it doesn't fit.

To solve this problem, we can turn again to our trusty friend aluminum foil. Simply fold the aluminum foil many times until you have a piece that is thick enough to fit between the small battery and either end of the battery chamber. The aluminum will need to securely hold the smaller battery in place to work. While this method is great in a pinch, it is important to note that a smaller battery will run out of juice faster than a larger one. This happens because smaller batteries, despite having the same voltage as their larger counterparts, don't hold as much power and will, therefore, die faster.

How to use foil and a battery as a fire starter

Besides helping you with your flashlight, bringing aluminum foil and batteries with you to the campsite has another important use — an easy firestarter in emergencies. In fact, you can use just a small piece of foil from a gum wrapper and any sized battery to make a fire starter with just a few simple steps. To do this, first, cut your piece of foil into a strip that is long enough for each end to touch either side of the battery. The strip should be thinner in the center to create a point for the electricity to gather. However, it cannot be too thin or the heat will burn through the foil. If using an AA battery, the center of the foil should be around two millimeters wide while the parts that touch the battery should be around twice the width of the battery itself.

Once your strip of foil is ready, simply touch each end of the aluminum to each side of the battery and wait for the center of the strip to glow orange with heat. When you touch the glowing aluminum to your fire starter, it should go up in flames immediately and you can place it under your woodpile to get the fire started. However, as you will need to hold each side of the aluminum to the battery for this to work, you should make sure to wear insulated gloves to protect yourself from electric shocks or burns.

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