Firemaking tools in tough conditions?

Another Commercial Product
Mautz Fire Ribbon, made by the Mautz Paint Company. The stuff smells like something you’d use to put a finish coat on wood, which shouldn’t be surprising.

This stuff has been around for decades, and it works really well. You get a lot fuel in a compact container. It’s a gel in a “toothpaste tube” so it’s also good for use as a stove primer in cold weather.

Not just Canada, but …

– Last Updated: Feb-06-16 10:56 AM EST –

... they are a northern tree, especially the paper birch, which is the one people are normally talking about when they mention this. They are fairly common here in southern Wisconsin, but here, they mainly grow on damp and slopes that face away from the afternoon sun, a sign that we're pretty near the southern edge of their range. We have them in abundance up north.

Years ago when I was in the BWCA, all the birch trees within easy walking distance of each campsite had been pretty well stripped of bark.

Thanks again!
Some ideas here I will try. The big idea is to take a lot more firestarting aids next time.

Thanks, all.


Check your bic lighters before a trip
older ones may just stop working after awhile after exposure to humidity.

Have a backup system or item.

Good stuff and easy

– Last Updated: Feb-09-16 10:31 AM EST –

I carry a few of these fire starter squares in a zip lock. They also work great starting coals in my Big Green Egg.

Dick’s Sporting Goods sells …
…“Coughlin” (sp?) brand firestarter kit for $7.95. It utilizes magnesium chips lighted with flint/steel spark. Unless you’re camping underwater, this will work. Option two is a one quart aluminum bottle filled with gasoline, and a butane lighter. Heavier, more dangerous, but a sure thing. Hey, it isn’t rocket science. Fuel + oxygen + spark = fire.

Liquid Boy Scout
I use Liquid Boyscout.

Fire starters
For home made fire starters, I’ve had good luck with cotton balls impregnated with Vaseline. You can fit a bunch in a film canister. Another good, inexpensive fire starter is to buy a Duraflame (or similar) log and make shavings or cut 1 inch squares from it. One $6 log will provide enough fire starters for years of camping.

There are also fire starter sticks sold by nearly any camping supply store that are useful, though expensive (when compared to the above). They are basically made out of the same materials as Duraflame logs, but a small bag will cost you a few bucks.

Finally there is the fire starter gel. It is generally sold for camping stoves (such as MSR) that need to be primed with heat before starting. The gel also makes for a good fire starter.

mag block NOOOOO!
I am doing wilderness training and have been testing ways to start a fire. The mag block is a joke. It took 20 min. to scrape off enough mag flakes the package suggests.

a 1\8 in. deep quarter sized pile. Try that hypodermic in the wind. the dust is gone.

I am for worst case I dumped and lost my canoe and gear. I just had a long swim in ice cold water. Its cold and very windy and pouring rain… I’m wet my hands are going fast. Hypothermia has set in.I need a fire quick. My hands work like mittens. Matches and lighters are out. Put your hands in ice water and try to use them. or just put on mittens. LOL

My testing so far leads to a flint stick a hack saw blade to strike it and a cotton ball with Vaseline. Instant large flame. One strike every time in the wind.I have tested in 20 MPH. I heat seal the cotton balls in small packets with a brightly colored paper. I make a tray out of the paper it catches the Vaseline that liquefies from the heat and burns much longer I keep them in my vest. From there it is just a matter of making kindling.

The mangrove sounds like a very hard wood. Can it not be made into kindling or a feather sticks. I think most any wood split into small enough strips will make good kindling. I agree heart wood from standing dead when raining. Many good idea’s but don’t forget to plan for worst case.

I am trading 100 cotton packets for entry into my next wilderness training outing. The wilderness trainer that has gold credentials that go on and on is going to trade for them.

I have some equipment from and old venture. That I can rip them out quick on.

If anybody would like some cotton Vasiline packets. Let me know. They pack well.

Lots of great fire starting Idea’s but how many will work in the worst case? Counting on an untested way could turn a bad day deadly.


Bicycle innertube, will light and burn
even when wet. makes a bit of smoke and smells but will hold a high enough thermal level to get most tinder going. It’s easy to carry, doesn’t deteriorate, and simple to get.

Bacardi 151

you might have river birch down there
River Birch

White or Paper Birch

As a bonus you can make birch syrup from either, similar to maple syrup.

That to! Has multiple uses.

A couple of thoughts:
Not sure if anyone mentioned the 9-volt battery & steel wool pad trick. Highly effective in getting a fire started. (Learned this from watching Man, Woman, Wild.)

For keeping the fire going, I carry some hand sanitizer because it has a lot of alcohol which can be used as an accelerant, once you have at least a small fire started.

Being a quilter, I keep a small box of fabric scraps (stuff I used to throw away) because I found that fabric burns very nicely, and seems to burn longer than paper and dryer lint.

All the different fire making methods are fun to play with (I’m tried a lot of them)and in my Living History camping, I use a flint and steel a lot. For modern, simple, cheap, and sure fire fires, I carry multiple Bic lighters on me and in my pack and multiple military surplus trioxiline tabs. Those things will literally burn when floating on water! Just don’t use then inside your tent,the fumes are nasty.


Weber fire starter cubes

They are inexpensive, come pre-sealed individually (just cat a few off and throw them in a ziplock). They work when wet, and are non-toxic. I use them to start my charcoal grill and have used them for campfires. Each cube burns for a minute or so.

You can get them anywhere they sell Weber grills (Home Cheapo, bLowes, etc.)

I had no idea
About hand sanitizer. Will test it.

I carry cotton balls with vaseline in my lifevest. The issue for me in the Everglades was having enough of anything to sustain starting balky kindling. I like the idea of cutting up a Duraflame log, also the squeeze tube of fire ribbon, and those cubes of solid fuel (including Army surplus).

I have a lot of heart pine around inthe woods and think next time I may take split sticks of it instead of shavings.

I can’t be using butane or gasoline. But rum would sure cheer me up!

Magnesium Shavings or Road Flare
I carry all the usual fire starting stuff for normal use (such as Vaseline cotton balls) but for a do-or-die emergency fire I carry a road flare and/or a film canister packed tight with magnesium shavings (purchased from ebay.) I’ve never needed either, but I like to have them with me in the early spring.

Forgot to mention
in my previous post:

I made a nifty little “candle” by rubbing ChapStick into a paper napkin and rolling it up. It burned quite well.

I suprised
Nobody mentioned WetFire yet. You can put it in a puddle and it will burn.

I like using the cardboard egg crate, lint, and Perrin wax.

Newspaper cut in strips then dunked in the paradin then rolled works good too. You can rip strips off of the roll or use the whole roll to start a fire.

If you cook with alcohol stove, wad up some tp and sprinkle with alcohol. Dip stick in bottle of alcohol. Light stick so you can light TP.