Fire Starter Aids
Fire Starters and Helpers
Burning stuff is fun, so what better excuse to burn stuff than to do research on making fire starters?
It's also fun to make fires in primitive or interesting ways, like with the sun or by friction or with sparking tools. But, for those times when you just want a good fire and you want it fast, you should have some items handy to help make that fire fast. Here's a list of some fire starters and helpers that you can find or make. Have fun!
These things should be kept in ziploc baggies to keep them dry and to keep the rest of your gear clean. Some of them can be messy and sitting in your backpack in your car in the sun will melt wax and other stuff.
- Birthday Candle - easy to light, little weight and space, waterproof, long burn time, use multiple times.
- 'Trick' Birthday Candle - even better, this one is great in wind and rain.
- Dryer Lint - the fuzz that wears off your cotton clothes makes great tinder. Keep some in a film canister or baggie.
- Snack Food - Just light a Cheetos cheese puff or Pringles potato chip and see what I mean!
- Vaseline - rub into cotton balls and keep in a film canister. They will start with a spark.
- Wax Sticks - commercial version of the homemade wax and woodchip starters.
- Fire Lighters - pressed wood and wax with a match tip.
- Fire Paste - looks like a tube of toothpaste, this fire starter gel smells terrible, weighs a bit, but burns great.
- Purell - The hand sanitizer evaporates quickly because it is 66% alcohol. A squirt of this on tinder ensures a quick light from any flame. Be careful because the alcohol flame can be invisible.
- Pinecones - Pick up dry ones under pine trees. The high pitch content really burns. They are natural fuzz sticks.
- Fatwood - the pitchy parts of pine knots or heartwood. Prepare this as small sticks of kindling and keep some in a pouch.
- Wax and Woodchips - make these yourself. They take up a little space and weight, but are fun to make yourself.
- Melt wax in a double boiler. This prevents fires from overheated wax.
Pot with water in it
Second pot inside first.
Wax melting in inner pot.
- Fill dixie cups with wood shavings. I used pine guinea pig litter this time. I filled some completely and some less than an inch. There is no need to put more than an inch in each cup - that burns long enough to get your other tinder and kindling going. The two on the left are filled with rolled up cardboard and I crimped the tops to keep the cardboard from unrolling.
- Pour hot wax into chips. It works better in warmer temperatures, not on cold winter days because the wax cools too fast. Here are the finished fire starters.
- I also dipped fiber rope into the extra wax to create fire starter candles.
- Here is one of the shorter 1 inch fire starters burning. It lit immediately and then burned for over 6 minutes even though most of the wax melted and flowed away because I took it out of the cup. It was also a very windy day which caused it to burn faster. If you wrap the bottom of the cup in aluminum foil, it will burn much longer since the wax will fuel the flame.