When camping, fire-starters can be a great way to help get that fire going quickly and easily. It will help you get food going faster, get warmer, and will help when the wood is damp or wet. Here are tips and ideas for making fire-starters. Most of these will burn for quite some time, making it much easier to get your fire going.
A basic formula for a fire-starter uses a container that will burn, some tinder, and melted wax. Possible containers could be egg cartons, paper cupcake holders, condiment cups, paper cups, or any other similar container. Ideas for tinder to use include charcoal briquets (can use whole, or crush into smaller pieces), pine needles, dryer lint, sawdust, and wood chips or shavings (if you don't have these, you can get them from a pet supply store, where they are sold as nesting material). Put the tinder in the containers and pour the melted wax over the tinder, or mix the tinder with the melted wax and then pour the mixture into the containers. Let cool and store (zip-lock bags can work well). When ready to use, place in fire-pit, and light the container. You might also put a cotton string in the container before pouring wax in. The string will be like a candle wick that you can light. It should be easy to get your fire going with these.
When melting wax, always use a double boiler to prevent the wax from getting too hot and bursting into flames. If you don't have a double boiler, use a #10 tin can in a pot of water, with something to hold the can off the bottom (like the jar rings used in canning). Be very careful you pour the wax so that you don't burn yourself or others. If using a #10 tin can, it may help to use pliers to create a spout.
You can also make fire-starters by pouring melted wax over pinecones, or by rolling up 1 inch strips of newspaper, tying a string around, and dipping in melted wax.
Save your leftover candles to melt down to make fire-starters, or you should be able to find paraffin wherever food canning supplies are sold.
Petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) can be used instead of wax to create fire-starters. Roll 100% cotton balls in petroleum jelly until completely covered. Store in a zip-lock bag. When ready to use, take one ball and stretch it out, and light.
Scott Carey has many hobbies and interests, including outdoor cooking. See http://www.outdoorcookingmagic.com for outdoor cooking tips .
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