Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to make emergency smoke bombs

Being a hiker in the bush is fun but what is not fun is getting lost and having no way to get out.
Most of us will bring our cell phone out or a flair gun but what happens when you have no signal or the battery dies? What if you are really stuck and you cannot find your way out?

Getting out may depend completely on what you bring with you and having the ability to spew out a massive jet of red smoke is a huge S.O.S for anyone to see. I will now teach you how to make a red emergency smoke bomb to keep with you when you go out hiking or are traveling in areas you may need to get help in.

Step 1

Obtain these items.

potassium nitrate (also known as Saltpeter) You can find this in the pharmacy or gardening shops.

strontium salts (found in road flairs) This will make the smoke a deep deep red

Sugar (Plain old table sugar is fine)

Pot (To cook the smoke bomb) ** Use a crappy one as this tends to kill pots!

Aluminum foil

Strike anywhere matches

Step 1.

Pour about 3 parts potassium nitrate (Saltpeter) to 2 parts sugar into the pot. Measurements don't need to be exact, but you want more Potassium nitrate than sugar or you will have a hard time lighting the smoke.

Step 2.

Apply low heat to the pot. Stir the mixture with a spoon using long strokes. If you see the grains of sugar starting to melt along the edges where you are stirring, once the sugar becomes liquid slowly mix in 1 more part strontium salts making sure it is mixed in well. Then remove the pan from the heat and reduce the temperature before continuing.

* Basically you are carmelizing sugar. The mixture will melt and become a caramel or chocolate color. Continue heating/stirring until the ingredients are liquefied. Remove from heat.

It should look like this..

Step 3.

Pour the liquid onto a piece of foil. You can pour a smaller amount onto a separate piece, to test the batch. You can pour the smoke bomb into any shape, onto an object, or into a mold. The shape and size will affect the burning pattern. ** Using a can is usually ideal.

If you aren't going to clean your skillet immediately, pour hot water into the pan to dissolve the sugar (or else it will be harder to clean). Clean up any residue you may have spilled out of the pan, unless you want mini-smoke bombs on your stovetop.

Step 4.

Allow the smoke bomb to cool, as it starts to harden stick in 4 or 5 thick wooden matches in leaving a inch of the wood sticking out the top.

That is all there is to it! Once it hardens fully you can place it in a bag or in your trunk. To set it off all you need to do is light a match and set the matches stuck in the smoke bomb on fire.
If you use a coffee tin or something with a lid on it you will have the perfect container for this!

Just in case you need different colors of smoke please refer to the chemicals bellow and switch out the strontium salts section above for whatever chemical makes the color you desire.

Red - strontium salts, most easily found in road flares
Orange - calcium chloride (laundry bleaching agent)
Yellow - sodium nitrate (common in chemistry lab)
Green - barium salts, such as barium nitrate (common in chemistry lab)
Greenish-Blue - copper sulfate (common in a chemistry lab, also found in many algicides for pool treatment) Blue - copper chloride (common in chemistry lab)
Purple - potassium permanganate (common in a chemistry lab, also used in sewage or water treatment)
White - magnesium sulfate (epsom salts, found on laundry aisle or in a pharmacy)

**** Please keep in mind this is for evergency use only or outdoor camp fun. Do not set one of these indoors or in any public area. You can and probably will go to jail if you cause a scare in a public area!


  1. for an emergency were you have time to cook :P

  2. does this actually work? is there an alternative to saltpeter?

  3. I bookmarked this but then I realized I probably wont have my computer with me when this will come in handy! lol! Will have to save it on my phone..

  4. Thats cool, love stuff like this.. Might be useful in the future.. :P

  5. Oh my god this crazy!

    Will come in useful in the event of nuclear war! ^.^

  6. Amazingly detailed guide. Will follow you for more content. ;]

  7. Definitely made these a few years ago. @Zoupic Music, oh they work. They work...

  8. Hohohoho, make emergency smoke bombs just in case :P

  9. This is awesome! I'll be sure to bring these items with me if I ever go hiking!

  10. This will be helpful when I get lost

  11. I can use this when I go robbing. :D

  12. potassium permanganate does not work for purple at all but it does mke it not stick to the pan and more like playdoh until its cooled.

  13. Make them at home.....carry them with and use when needed. It weighs less than the computer/phone and cooking utensils. (and my son said I am a dumbass, but I humbly submit to the professionals!!!)