Making Fire Starters | Fire Hacks

Fire hacks

Campfires are a big part of the camping experience.

Here are a couple fire starting hacks you have to know for your next camping trip, plus are fun for the kids to make.

Make Your Own Water Resistant Fire Pack

Start with a drinking straw, and add a cotton ball rolled in petroleum jelly. This petroleum product will ignite easily and burns fairly slow with enough heat to ignite damp kindling.

You need:

  • Straws
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Camping matches (Strike Anywhere Type)
  • Cotton ball or pad
  • Sand paper

Add two “strike anywhere” matches. Yes, it matters! The sulphur tips on most modern safety matches will only ignite if rubbed along a striking surface that contains phosphorous. So without the box, you’re going to go without a fire.

Next place a strip of fine grain sandpaper into the straw, then seal the end using the pliers. Melt the end shut with a match or lighter to protect the contents of your fire paack.


  Cotton Balls Will Burn Under Almost Any Conditions

Next up, a variant on the petroleum cotton ball that will burn under almost any conditions.

You will need:

  • Cotton ball
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Empty film canister/small container

Before rolling in petroleum jelly, soak your cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, then seal the alcohol in with a good coat of petroleum jelly.

Empty film canisters make great holders for fire starters and more!


Wax-Based Fire Starter Pods

Our third fire starting hack takes a bit more preparation and might not be your best option if you need to get something going while in the field. You’ll need to make these first starters in advance of your trip.

You will need three basic ingredients:

  • Dryer lint or Jute twine
  • Wax- Candle or Paraffin Wax
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • Double boiler or Candle warmer

Collect up the big ball of dryer lint, enough to fill a medium sized bowl.

Next you’ll need candle wax. This can be from used up candles, or cheap utility candles for sale in any grocery store. You can even use melted down crayons. You will want enough to fill the same sized bowl you used for your lint.

Coat a microwave safe dish with oil to prevent sticking and place the wax pieces inside. Remove any metal from the candles before microwaving. Melt the wax thoroughly on high until it is soupy.

A double boiler well work as well to melt the wax.

In a cardboard egg carton –NOT styrofoam! 

Place a large lump of dryer lint in each cup. Pour wax over the lint. After the wax firms a but, press the mixture down with the back of a spoon so that each cup has a lump made of wax with lint inside.

Use cardboard egg cartons to form your fire starters.
To start your fire, simply cut  or tear one cup away from the carton and place it under your kindling. Light the cardboard, which will catch quickly and the wax/lint fire starter will burn steadily and with enough heat to set your kindling ablaze.

Another variant on these would be to add jute twine and or fine sawdust into your wax and pour into egg carton as mentioned above. The video below shows a simple way to make folding stove fuel tablets and will work for any combination of egg carton fuel blocks.