Emily Thornton

Emily Thornton

The weather has been wreaking havoc on individuals who want to go camping. A lot of wood is wet and the wind isn’t helping individuals who want to have a campfire for warmth or cooking.

Wet wood creates an inhospitable environment for someone who is trying to create a fire. There are a few options that one can purchase, but experience finds that making your own fire starters is a cheaper option and they work even better.

Here are a few of the options that are popular for bug out bags and camping:

Cotton Balls

What you need: Cotton balls, vaseline, carrying case (plastic bags or Altoids tins)

Grab a handful of cotton balls and put them in a bowl. Take a large spoonful (around 1 tablespoon) of Vaseline and drop it in. If you don’t want your hands getting covered in Vaseline, use gloves or a spatula to coat the cotton balls.

When the cotton balls are sufficiently covered in Vaseline (some people like a more gooey cotton ball), place 10-15 into a plastic bag or Altoid tin. Clean off the outside of any excess Vaseline. Place it into a bug out bag or camping equipment for future use. It is recommended to double bag the contents, just in case one bag leaks, the rest of your equipment is safe.

To light: Use a flint or lighter to catch your cotton ball. It lights very quickly, please do not light it in your hand.

Dryer Lint

Dryer lint is extremely flammable. Keep a bag of it in your bug out bag to start a fire. Some people like to coat in Vaseline as well, but it works well on its own.

Wood Shavings

What you need: Wood shavings, empty cardboard egg cartons, wax, a pan you can destroy, sheet tray or wax paper to put under the cartons.

Place the wood shavings (or lint or both) into the sections of the egg cartons. Don’t pack very tight to allow for the wax to get into the crevices.

Melt the wax until it becomes liquid. Once it becomes liquid, turn on low so it doesn’t boil. Pour oil into the egg sections. Depending on how hot your oil becomes, it may make sizzle a little. Put enough wax in to cover the contents. It’s OK if it leaks a little bit (wax paper is there). Let dry completely.

Cut the sections out and place in a bag for future use.

To light: Flint or a lighter will catch the contents. This method is also wind- and water-proof. It helps with wet wood because of the wax melting over the tinder.

Give each of these options a try. Some campers prefer one over the other, it all depends on preference. This is the perfect time to test these out because of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Most people go camping or have cookouts. Practice fire safety by only lighting in the proper area.

Emily Thornton is currently working on her masters in communication at Idaho State University. She enjoys writing, racing after her son and playing games with her husband.