Lighting sources may not be at the top of your list of survival necessities, but they shouldn’t be ignored as much as they are. Having seen more and more Exotac gear being used by my friends and survival students lately, I couldn’t pass up the little Exotac candleTIN when I saw it at a recent gun show. Especially since it boasts a 30-hour burn time. But would it measure up?

There are actually four versions of the Exotac candleTIN: small and large sizes with either slow-burn or hot-burn wick choices. The slow burn will provide long candle life, while the hot burn will generate enough heat to boil water. I bought the large, slow-burn option. The weight of the large-size candle turned out to be a little heavier than the manufacturer’s info stated. I measured the candle with lid at 6.5 ounces (versus an advertised weight of 4.2 ounces).

The American-made 100-percent beeswax candle is dense and the tin-plated steel canister is reusable–it’s the perfect size for a tinder can or char cloth burn box. One of the three wicks burned nine and a half hours for me, so the three combined burns ought to get you pretty close to the 30 hours promised. You can light all three wicks for maximum heat and light, or burn just one or two at a time to regulate your cooking, warmth, and light.

The large-size candleTIN that I tested has an MSRP of just $9, which makes this handy candle a great deal, too. The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that the candle actually smells good. Being pure beeswax, it smells an awful lot like honey, which isn’t going to help matters if you’re starving and without anything to eat. I should point out now that the beeswax candle is not intended for human consumption.