some time back Tamia wrote about .....

… fire starters . She mentioned cotton balls rubbed with petroleum jelly . We made some up for a test pretty much right away . One spark off a flint stone immediately set it ablaze and it lasted awhile too .

Been using them ever since . I get carried away and stuff three or so of them into a damp twig new fire takeoff . One is more than adequate for a dry twig kickoff . Great idea and great fire starter (keep them in a zip baggie) .

Just thought I’d bring it up again for any who aren’t aware of them . Doubt I’d ever head out again without them , I’ve been spoiled .

you can stuff a bunch
in a plastic film canister, old boy scout trick.

another container option
Not many folks buy camera film anymore (I’ve been hoarding my old film cans) but another good option for compact containers for such items as the firestarters is the flip top skinny 4" plastic tubes that M & M Minis candies come in. I’ve carried wooden matches with a chunk of emery striker in one for a while with no leakage, also handy for small repair parts or a mini-first aid kit with tweezers, antiseptic wipes and bandaids. They have some advantage over film cans: the cap is tethered and you can open it with one hand. Plus they come in cool colors and there’s chocolate inside!

Other fire starters?
I never carry any in Balsam Fir country. Just tap a stick into a blister on a trunk and you have instant natural fire starter.

Sap also makes a decent Band Aid.

I am blessed with white birch galore too.

Most places I go…
…lots of Spanish moss and pine pitch. It makes a great fire starter (perhaps, unfortunately). I usually make sure I take some home with me for when I go the other places. I just carry it in a heavy zip-lock bag.

I guess most everyone …
… sets up a camp fire in about the same way … I guess .

I’ve always collected the smallest twigs as the beginning kickers cause they ignite quickest (kindling) , then graduate up in size to finger roundness , to 1" or so stuff , and when burning well start in with next larger stuff , hardwoods as available and so on until it’s ready for the big stuff (if available and/or advisable) . It’s always nice to have a stock of dryed 1/8-1/4 split hardwoods you either bring from home or aquire local along the way somewhere . (packing/carrying some split hardwoods is a pro/con thought with me , but I’ll go either way depending on how portable I’ll need to be) .

So that’s about my take on the camp fire … other than every camp needs a camp fire if at all feasable . Starters sure make it easier to kick one off . One thing about those cotton ball petroleum jelly starters is they are very successful when all the kindling is soaked from rains … seems they have enough burn time to kick off wet twig kindlings .

So , camp fire people … if you’re like me , a camp fire makes camp … well , officially camp .

We took 6 days a week ago (leighrobin and I) to hang out up on the upper Potomac (canoe-fish-hike-camp) in the GreenRidge forest … the fire hazzard was a 3 (high) the first couple days , reducing to 2 the remainder … as always when it’s so dry and winds are around , I’ll watch every single little redman that flys away from the campfire to make sure he’s not got a mind to build his own fire somewhere else .

It would be really neat to hear what
people from various areas use for natural firestarters.

I have had the mininalgene(1 oz) with vaseline soaked cotton balls but never had to use them yet.

Lichen on old dead lower limbs is an excellent starter even when wet. Plus the white birch( peel off the inner layer for best results) and fir sap. I am in the northern forest.

Packing in firewood illegal in some area
Packing in firewood is illegal in MN due to concerns for introducing non-native pest species etc. All state parks, NPS, and FS campgrounds require locally obtained firewood.

there’s a long thread on another board

Another Boy Scout one and my favorite.

– Last Updated: Sep-23-10 9:43 AM EST –

Stuff a paper egg carton with drier lint and soak it with melted parafin.One egg pocket will make a fire in most conditions.

We have a
clothes dryeer with a lint trap and each time we dry clothes the lint is cleaned out and deposited in a bag kept for this purpose. Take the bag along when camping. A bit of lint, which otherwise is throw away makes a great fire starter and its free!

I sometimes wonder if the cost of making the cotton ball/petroleum jelly starters is more expensive than the fire starter sticks a Wally World. I usually break the sticks up into 4 sections and the cost of starting a fire then becomes pretty inexpensive.


Wat weez in de reform school…

– Last Updated: Sep-23-10 9:53 AM EST –

Junior Joisey Mobsters used ta use ta build aar campfiyrs.... highway flares (an' ah' ain't kiddin')


Illegal in Illinois too and I think Wisconsin too.

Bill H.

Another paraffin type
When your candle tapers have burned down to an inch or two remaining, you can save them for a longer lasting fire starter. Melt some paraffin or another old candle. Soak strips of newspapers in the melted wax and then wrap a strip around each stub of a candle and let harden on a sheet of aluminum foil. A little messy to prepare, but they do last a long time. wd