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Easy Fire Starter : Starting a fire in all seasons

posted Jan 23, 2011, 5:04 PM by Eric Diamond
Guest Author - Colleen O´Brien

Some may argue that it is easier to start a fire in the fall when the ground is dry and the leaves lay vulnerable to become kindling. Some may argue that it is a hot day in the summer that could start a fire without any effort. I argue, that given the right tools and a little patience, a fire is easily started by anyone in any season. Ideally, we would all like a heavy Firelog and a pile of newspapers to start a fire, however, as I have learned there is another way, a lighter, and equally as easy way for us backpackers and hikers to have an enjoyable fire to complete the camping experience.

What do you need? Waterproof matches, one candle from your birthday cake supplies, two empty film canisters, a few cotton balls, a tub of Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly, and some lint from your dryer. Fill the first empty film canister with the lent from your dryer, it can hold more than you think, so when it seems full, keep trying to stuff more in, I assure you it can hold a few laundry loads worth of lint. Next, things will get a little messy, take the cotton balls, dip them into the Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly and make sure that they are good and coated before you stuff them into the second film canister. The canister should be able to hold four or five well coated cotton balls. Now that you have prepared your fire starting tools, you can get your candle and waterproof matches out.

If it is cold outside you will need to take the cotton ball out, lay in the center of your fire pit, and place a bit of lint on top. Because of the cold weather it will take a few moments for the Vaseline to warm up and be able to burn and the burning lint will provide it with that heat. As soon as the cotton ball ignites you will have three to four minutes of a large flame that you will slowly feed with small sticks and leaves.

Next, in warmer weather you can leave the lint at home and bring only the cotton balls (just in case of a rain storm that would wet your fire wood and kindling, it provides the extra burning time to dry out the moisture), candle, and matches. In pleasant weather you should place the candle in the center of your fire pit, lite it and slowly feed the small fire with sticks. Make sure to form a teepee shape around the candle as to avoid extinguishing the small flame.

The cotton balls and lint should bring you through trying weather and the candle should suffice for the remainder of the time. But remember when starting a fire we add a level of toxins into the atmosphere so it is always more environmentally friendly to cook on a small camping stove and forgo the camp fire.