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Homemade camping fire starters put to the test!

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Maggie, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Maggie

    Maggie Guest

    We made two firestarters for our last camping trip, and the campground gave us one when we bought wood so we decided to do an in-the-field comparison of all three. We saved the scientific test for the last day, which was good because we got a lot of dew that morning and the kindling and newspaper was all damp and didn't want to catch!

    Firestarter 1: Wood chips and wax

    The campground gave us starters made out of woodchips and wax, housed in those tiny paper cups they give out medication in at mental institutions.

    Results: The lip on the paper cup made a good wick, so the starters caught fire right away. They burned steadily and didn't go out. I did wish they made more of a blaze, though, since everything was so damp.

    Firestarter 2: Toilet paper rolls and dryer lint

    These firestarters were fun and easy to make. Simply save up your dryer lint and empty toilet paper rolls, stuff the lint into the rolls, wrap in newspaper and tuck in the ends.

    Results: Maybe these would start faster if we had used newspaper and not graph paper (apparently we don't know what's going on in the world but what we do know we like to chart). But either way, I had the same conclusion as with the wood chip starters, which is that the lint didn't make much of a blaze, so I had to tease the flame with bits of this and that to get it going.

    Firestarter 3: Egg cartons and crayons, or "Fire Kisses"

    Our friend Samantha turned us on to "Fire Kisses" - the firestarters she made in the Girl Scouts. These are egg cartons with saw dust and wax (or old, broken crayons) wrapped in wax paper. We did a version of these with scraps of paper and wax bits, and we stuck them in a very low oven to melt the wax.

    Results: As Samantha predicted, these worked the best! You break them off one by one and use them as needed. The egg carton cardboard catches really fast and the combination of cardboard, paper and wax made a flame that was big enough to get our damp, morning fire going. Go, Girl Scouts! (And thanks to Samantha. )

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  2. TABL

    TABL Explorer

    Oh hey! Thanks for these!
    I have tried the toilet paper roll/ dryer lint trick... it works, but not as well as I'd like.
    I'll have to try that last one. Seems like it would be fun for the kids to make too!
    How cool that you were able to do a comparison!
  3. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...I do simple things like using the toilet paper cylinders too. I cut them into three, [or leave them as they are] fill them with cotton balls, [or lint from the dryer] smear them with petroleum jelly [or not] and walla instant starter. I also use facial pads - one on the bottom, petroleum jelly in the middle, add another facial pad and I have a fire cookie.

    REMEMBER to have a good roaring fire you need "guts" that's the stuff that goes between the logs to keep the fire bright and burning and a whole lot less smokey. :)

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  4. Alexandoy

    Alexandoy Survivalist

    In the olden days, scouting was fun and challenging when it comes to starting fire. The boys would be divided into troops for a sort of competition. I remember using the egg tray although the usual winner was the group that used old newspaper. Crumpled into the shape of a long cylinder, the top end is lit which makes the cylinder looking like a torch. Until now, the good old newspaper is what we use to light up the charcoal for barbecue. That's what we're going to do this coming Sunday. I hope not to forget in taking pictures of our barbecue.
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