Fire --how to make

Mathces… pfffft. :grin:

Actually… The cotton balls get lit with a ferro rod… Matches are a pain to carry. A ferro rod can get wet, dirty whatever.

GasOline! Whoosh!!!


Especially when combined with road flares… :sunglasses:

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This is beginning to remind me of my sometimes misspent youth. Somehow no property was destroyed and no kids were damaged beyond repair.

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In my experience, most guys like big fires and they cannot lie (apologies to Sir Mix-a-Lot). And they like’em fast, hence the general fondness for petroleum enhanced boosters.

Some years ago I was at a multi-family picnic in a big local park. It had taken a couple of hours to get everybody’s food unpacked and sorted and the large barrel grills set up and meanwhile, the many kids (mostly boys) in attendance had scattered to the four winds over the hills and among the trees and around the nearby pond.

As grub time approached a couple of dads were about to take off to try to round up the strays when I suggested that we simply take all of the remaining starter fluid and create a fireball on the third grill, which had yet to be lit. We piled the charcoal with a bunch of paper and plastic trash and thoroughly saturated it with at least a quart of incendiary fluid, then stepped waaay back as one of the cooks crouched with outstretched lighter and set it off. The flames shot up in a spectacular display, taller than the adjacent picnic shelter – within minutes we had over a dozen boys (our own crew and a few from other picnickers’ groups), moths to the flame, crowded around the conflagration and poking the briquet stack with sticks.

Per the comments that “when I’m cold, I want a fire quickly” being a reason to eschew the non-accelerant tinder/kindling route: when I was a backpacking guide I found the best way to deal with a group of chilly (but not yet hypothermic) campers I was shepherding was to send them out to collect branches, pine cones and duff for me while I built the classic fire-starting tipi. Constructing the fire base and coaxing the initial ignition warmed me up too. And I usually could get the fire going faster without a crowd lingering (and often trying to “help” – tolerance for “man-splaining” is a requisite for any female trip leader.)

Oh dear you got me… I carry a fire starting kit to annoy women.

Seriously though… “when I’m cold, I want a fire quickly” was not what I said. But I’m a man trying to explain something… leaving now.


I’m a huge fan of igniting birch bark with a ferro rod. Peel it into the absolute thinnest layers possible and then rub them together to get some powder mixed in, or spend a few minutes scraping it with a knife to make a little ball of shavings, and they’ll go up in just a strike or two. I always grab any little pieces that have fallen on the ground near birch trees when I’m out and about. Another neat one for you guitar players out there is that the guitar picks made of cellulose are very flammable (although Tortex or nylons are not very good). Use the same scraping I mentioned on the birch to make a little fluff pile still attached the pick, and give it a spark.

I used to use the magnesium block shavings, which instantly burn white-hot, but it takes a little more effort to make a decent quarter-sized pile, and you have to have a pile of fresh tinder immediately available as the shavings go out in just a few seconds.

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:smiley: we called them ‘pup tents’ and in the military we called them shelter halves. You can make a hammock out of one of them, using a stick to hold apart the 2 sides. Run paracord above it, then hang a poncho on top of that. If weather gets bad, you can pull up the ends, enclosing you.

Dago, we used shelter halves in basic training.
I’m too tall for them ,so I had damp feet.

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anyone use any of those optimus 8r stoves? This topic got me wondering if one of those wax/sawdust ketchup containers can do the same thing, tho not as efficiently. A plus would be no need to carry gas.

I don’t know who gave you that information but my experience is one will burn for about…IIRC, 45 minutes with a good sized flame for about half of that.

For me, they are mixed use–in case I need a quick fire and there isn’t anything to burn or for a quick way to get the bigger pieces of sticks burning while I’m doing other things. A lot of the time I’m solo, so I ain’t above using shortcuts whenever I can.

A vas cotton ball will burn for about 5 min. Thus, they are a fire starter not fuel. Info comes from years of use.
It works when there is no maple, birch, insert favorite starting wood here. As long as its about the size of a pencil lead and not green, bring 2 handfulls and you will have enough fire to start damp kindling. 2 handfuls of that will start coals and small fuel wood

Matches or a lighter…easy peezy

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Yes, I am also a fan of the easy peasy ways of doing things. I’ve worked hard enough in life to make things harder than they need be these days. Heck, I don’t remember the last time I used a screwdriver–I have an impact for that!

Got it. I thought you were talking about the sawdust and wax thing.

My newest winter tent is floorless! Tipi style and it has a wood stove. My next tent will be a larger version of the same tipi style tent, without a floor.

If you’re going to all of that, are you going to also bring some pallets or something to put down?

No, this is more of a backpackable tent, or more like a kayak and canoe packable tent. The one I have now is about 7 pounds including the stove, which breaks down and stores flat. I have got a half liner for when that works but basically an inflatable sleeping pad is the way to go. Possibly some snow shoveling before hand. Way smaller package than my -20 sleeping bag.

got a link to the stove?

3W Tent Wood Stove (Medium Size Titanium) for Backpacking – Luxe Hiking Gear (

Lux hiking gear. Their 3W tent stove and the minipeak xl tent… The stove is titanium and folds flat.
My next setup is going to be a bigger tent and stove from seek outside. Lux is a Chinese import, seek outside is American made.

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