Whether you’re camping at the lake ten feet from the car or you’re up high in the mountains surrounded by tall trees, knowing how to start a fire is essential. Knowing a few good fire starting hacks can make this process a breeze and are a great way to impress your fellow campers.
Everyone has their hacks that they live by and practice every time they head out into the woods. If you haven’t got any fires starting hacks of your own, here are a few of our favourites that are sure to impress your camping crew.
Dryer Lint & Toilet Paper Roll
You know that fuzzy pile of lint you extract from your dryer after every use to prevent a spontaneous combustion? Yah, that fuzzy stuff that wrecks havoc when it sticks to your freshly washed black clothes. Rather than throwing it away in the garbage, save it in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. This is an incredible fire starter and when paired with a cardboard paper towel roll, can save the day at your camp.
Simply stuff some dryer lint inside the cardboard toilet paper roll and place it in your fire. This is a great alternative for kindling and keeps the lint and toilet paper roll out of your household waste.
If you’re short on toilet paper rolls but you’re an egg lover and have plenty of egg cartons, use these instead. As long as the egg carton is dry, it will work just as well as the cardboard toilet paper roll.
Pine Cone & Dried Wax
If you live in a region where pine cones are abundant you’re in luck! These sometimes pesky nature remnants are surprisingly useful when it comes to fire starting.
Dry your collected pine cones in the oven on a cookies sheet at 150 degrees. This should take between one and two hours but watch them closely. You’ll know they’re dried once they open up.
While the pine cones are drying, you can melt some wax in a double boiler. This is a great way to put old candles to good use and clean up your junk drawers.
Once the pine cones are dried, using a pair tongs, simply dip the pine cones into the wax so that they are more or less covered. Let the excess wax drip into the pot before placing the wax covered pine cone on some foil to dry.
It’s crucial to ensure the wax covered pine cones are stores in an airtight place so that they remain dry. Grab a few batches for your next camping trip and you’re ready to impress your friends with your fire starting skills.
Cotton Pads Dipped in Wax
You know those little cosmetic cotton pads used for removing nail polish or eye makeup? They’re cheap and easy to find at most department stores and with a little wax, make an excellent fire starter.
Melt old candle sticks in a double broiler until fully melted. Using tongs, similar to the pine cones, dip the cotton pads in the wax until they are full covered. Leave the cotton pads to dry on some foil.
Once they’re all dried, divide your collection into a few handfuls and store them in an airtight container. Voila! You’ve got handy, easy to use fire starters ready for your next trip.
Wine Corks Soaked in Alcohol
This hack is for the wine lovers. You now have a another excuse to pop a bottle after a long day of work but don’t forget to keep the cork. First things first, buy yourself the bottles of wine that use real cork and not the plastic corks. Next, invite some friends over and get drinking, in moderation of course and ensure you either have a safe way home or a bed to sleep in.
Once you’ve accumulated a couple dozen wine corks, toss them into a jar with an airtight lid with some rubbing alcohol and let them soak. Now you’ve got yourself a jar of fire starters!
This is a great activity for after a large party or gathering at your home. Put all those corks to good use.
Wax Dipped Mop Threads
Basically anything dipped in wax will be a great fire starter. For this hack, we are taking threads from the mop head and dipping them into wax. This will be the same process as the pine cones and cotton pads dipped in wax. Mops are generally pretty cheap and can be purchased from most department stores so put those old candle sticks to use and get melting!
There you have it, our collection of fire starting hacks. If you’ve got some of your own, feel free to share them! Next time you get assigned as the designated fire chief, you’ve got the tricks to impress the crowd.
So you’ve forgotten paper, kindling and any other form of fire start but you’ve got a bin full of food. It’s time to sacrifice your treasured bag of Doritos to the fire gods and use them as a fire starter. That’s right, Doritos can get your fire going.
Ranch, sweet chili heat, you name it, there’s more to the orange, triangle-shaped chip then you thought. Toss a handful of Dorito chips into your fire as a replacement for paper and kindling and let the cheezy snack do its magic.
Use Fire Starting Tools
Matches don’t work as well once they get wet so do yourself a favour before it happens, and keep a few packages stored in an airtight container or a mason jar. If the striking strip has seen many trips of use, stick a piece of sandpaper into your container or stick it to the side of your match box. This works well and will make striking any match a breeze.
If you’ve forgotten the matches and the lighter, there are other fire starting tools to do the job. Light My Fire is a brand that does exactly as it’s name says; it lights your fire. They carry multiple products including a Tinder-on-a-Rope which can be used to cut off small pieces of kindling. There are also many kits which include a FireSteel which allows you to create sparks to start your fire. The FireSteel creates a spark similar to the way two rocks hit together create a spark.
FireSteel 2.0 – Scout
Before building a fire in nature it is always crucial to be aware of your environment and the fire hazard rating. When the ground is too dry and there is a fire ban in effect, it is never okay to create a spark no matter how small. Forest fires can become a serious hazard and it is our duty as outdoor enthusiasts to respect nature. We have a role to the earth to do our best to take care of it, so don’t be silly and don’t play with fire.