As any fan of Survivor knows, fire runs a close second to water when it comes to surviving any outdoor environment. Besides warmth and a sense of security, watching a fire is better than just about any movie ever made!
There are a lot of commercially available fire starters, and a lot of them are great. But there are some things that you might have at home, or even in a basic first aid kit, that could get a fire going on a wet, rainy night.
Campfires are a staple of the camping experience.
Here are three fire starting hacks you have to know for your next camping trip.
First up, we found this great Instructable on how to make water resistant fire starter kits that can easily fit into any sized pocket.
Start with a drinking straw, and add a cotton ball rolled in petroleum jelly. This petroleum product will ignite easily and burns fairly slowly with enough heat to ignite even damp kindling.
You need: straws, petroleum jelly, camping matches, cotton and sand paper.
Add two “strike anywhere” matches. Yes, it matters! The sulphur tips on most modern safety matches will only ignite if rubbed along a striking surface that contains phosphorous. So without the box, you’re up a creek.
Camping and survival matches have the red and white tips, indicating a mix of both sulphur (red) and phosphorous (white). Enough friction along any dry, rough surface will provide the needed heat to start a flame.
Add a small strip of fine grain sand paper to the straw, then seal the remaining end using the pliers. Melt the end shut with a match or lighter to protect your fire starter and seal out water. These will keep indefinitely.
Clamp the straw with the pliers and heat the end to seal.
Next up, a twist on the petroleum cotton ball that will burn under almost any conditions. Before rolling in petroleum jelly, soak your cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, then seal the alcohol in with a good coat of petroleum jelly.
Soak cotton in alcohol before adding a coating of petroleum jelly.
These can also be carried in small old-school film cannisters, or similar containers typically sold where you get camping supplies.
Empty film canisters make great holders for fire starters and more!
Our third fire starting hack takes a bit more preparation and might not be your best option if you need to get something going while in the field. You’ll need to make these first starters in advance of your trip, and will need three basic ingredients.
First, that big ball of dryer lint you have been saving is going to come in handy – finally! If you’re not already a lint collector, scrape the lint trap in your dryer after a few loads and save your findings. Your spouse or mother will thank you and you’ll have the perfect fire starting ingredient.
Collect enough dryer lint to fill a medium sized bowl.
Next you’ll need candle wax. This can be from used up candles, or cheap utility candles for sale in any grocery store. You can even use melted down crayons. You will want enough to fill the same sized bowl you used for your lint.
Coat a microwave safe dish with oil to prevent sticking and place the wax pieces inside. Remove any metal from the candles before microwaving. Melt the wax thoroughly on high until it is soupy.
In a cardboard egg carton – not styrofoam please! – place a large lump of dryer lint in each cup. Pour wax over the lint. After the wax firms a but, press the mixture down with the back of a spoon so that each cup has a lump made of wax with lint inside.
Use cardboard egg cartons to form your fire starters.
To start your fire, simply cut one cup away from the carton and place it under your kindling. Light the cardboard, which will catch quickly and the wax/lint fire starter will burn steadily and with enough heat to set your kindling ablaze.
- Fire Tube – Drinking Straw Hack
- The Amazing Cotton Ball Fire Starters
- Waterproof Dryer Lint Fire-Starter