As survivalists, we love finding new uses for existing tools from our bug-out bags. After all, knowledge weighs nothing, and if you've already got the gear, why not make the most of it? This trick creates diffuse, ambient light using two items you're almost guaranteed to have with you: a flashlight and a transparent water bottle. It may be seemingly obvious, but we're surprised how many people have never tried it.

A simple plastic water bottle works well, even if you find it in a recycling bin.

A simple plastic water bottle works well for this task, even if you find it in a recycling bin.

A flashlight (or headlamp) on its own is great for illuminating a a targeted area, but it's not ideal for lighting up a 360-degree space. For that task, we have lanterns, but they tend to be bulkier and fewer people carry them on the go. So, how do you turn the focused light of a flashlight into the widespread light of a lantern? Simple—shine it into a water bottle.

Here's an example of how it's done, via YouTube channel Smell N Roses:

The technique can be used with virtually any clear bottle and any light emitter. Cell phone flashlight and a soft drink cup? Sure. Nalgene and a headlamp? Yep. Fish bowl and an LED strobe? You'll look silly, but knock yourself out.

If you'd like to plan ahead more, you can even get a water bottle that has built-in LED lights and a solar panel charger in the cap. Pretty nifty.

Water bottle lantern 02

The Davis LightCap water bottle has built-in LEDs and even a solar panel for charging.

No matter what option you choose, remember that your ordinary water bottle can make a great lantern in a pinch. It's useful knowledge that can make a dark campsite a lot more livable.

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