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Given the many uses that fire has out in the field, it might be called a multitool. It heats us on cold nights, and it dries us off when we are wet. It boils water to make it safe for drinking and makes our food more delicious. It lights up the night in order to keep the boogeyman away.

Pixabay photo

There is also a strong psychological component. It is important to be able to light a fire in difficult situations. This gives you a sense that you can control situations that could otherwise feel chaotic. This skill is crucial as it can give you an advantage and turn the tide against fear and helplessness.

There are many tinder products that you can buy and they all work well. Fastfire cubes by SOLKOA Survival System are my favorite. There are other options that work equally well and they are infinitely more affordable.


This is a great option for parents who want to include their children in projects. You only need twine, jute, cotton or paraffin. You can buy string at any hardware shop if you don't have it in your kitchen or workshop. For a few dollars, I find a Goodwill box containing paraffin. You could also use old crayons in a pinch. You can use old crayons, but stick to brand-name ones for better wax quality.

With just a few commonly found components, you can make a large quantity of great fire starters.

Melt the wax in a clean soup can, so you don’t get wax all over your cook pot.

Soak the string in the melted wax for a bit.

You should take care not to inflict the fury of your family cook. A soup can you have washed and assembled a double boiler is a great idea. Heat three inches of water in the saucepan. The wax should be broken up into small pieces. Use crayons first.

The water should be kept at a simmer to prevent the can from bouncing around. To stir the wax, use a small twig. This will help break up any chunks that are left. You can also cut a few lengths from the twine while you wait for the wax to liquefy completely. Each one should be about a foot in length.

Dip the twine in the wax, and then use the twig to push it down. Slowly pull the twine out. Let it drip for a moment into the can. Then lay it on waxed paper to dry. Continue with each length.

Lay the string out on waxed paper or an old cutting board to cool and harden.

Light the string and it’ll burn for at least a few minutes.

Each length should be cut into three-inch pieces. These can be stored in the mint tins that survivalists and preppers love to keep their firewood and other supplies. They are almost waterproof because they are covered with wax.

You can use it by separating the ends a little to make it easier to handle, and then turning on the light. It will continue to burn for several minutes. You can also twist and reverse twist the twine in order to make it thicker, before you dip it into the wax.


This is an oldie, but it's a great one. It's also very simple. You will need to use cotton balls, petroleum jelly and a sandwich bag. Begin by adding a generous amount of petroleum jelly to the bottom of your bag. Start to mix it all. You want to infuse each cotton ball with the jelly.

Attach the string to the first cottonball in the case, and you can pull up what you need quickly.

Fastfire cubes from SOLKOA Survival systems are great store-bought fire starters. SOLKOA Survival Systems photo

You can now consider it complete. It's easy to throw that bag into your kit. But, it's possible for the bag to tear and petroleum jelly to get all over your gear. An inexpensive option for storage is to buy a match case. They are waterproof so nothing can leak out. My favorite thing to do is to tie a string to each cotton ball, and then toss the rest. The string should be long enough to reach beyond the case. When I need a cottonball, I simply open the case and pull on the string. The stack will then be pulled upwards. No muss, no fuss.

These fire starters are easy to use. To increase the surface area of each one, fluff it and then light it. Each one will burn for a long time, making it easy to light the fire.


Sometimes you may find yourself without the right fire-starting materials. It is possible to learn a few improvised techniques if that happens. It is important to stress that improvising is not a good idea. This means that you shouldn’t bring any of these items just to light a fire. These are items you might keep around for other purposes that can help you light a fire when you're in a pinch. The MacGyver solutions can be used to save you from losing the right gear.

Try some of these to see how they light up and how long they last.

Hand Sanitizer

You'll find hand sanitizer in almost every vehicle these days. It also comes in purses and other bags people regularly carry. You'll notice that some bottles have a warning on them. It warns you not to keep the sanitizer in direct contact with your hands after application. Don't apply the sanitizer all over your hands and then light a cigarette. Hand sanitizer is made up mainly of alcohol which is highly flammable. Although it evaporates quickly from your hands, if you place a small amount of it on a flat surface it can burn for several minutes.

Hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol, which is very flammable. Pixabay photo


Duct tape is a key component of any good tool kit. It has many uses. You can also add fire starting to this list as it is hot. You should also consider that depending on your location, you may be able salvage duct tape from nearby areas. You can likely find some to light your fire, given how often it is used for repair work. Be aware, however. It melts as it burns. If it gets on your hands, it can be very difficult to remove. This could lead to severe burns.

Add fire starting to the list of uses for duct tape. Pixabay photo

Duct tape burns hot, but be forewarned as it gets very sticky when it melts.

Snack Chips

You can grab the chips that you packed for lunch if you are certain you will need the fire more than the calories. Most of them, including potato chips and nachos have enough oil to heat for several minutes. You can light them if you have baked chips as an alternative to the original ones, but that might not work.

Pack chips for a snack and you’ll have a way to get a fire going in a pinch. Pixabay photo

Potato chips have enough oil to burn well and get your fire started.

Feminine Hygiene Products

These are mostly made of cotton, and they burn very well, from pads to tampons. Particularly tampons perform better in this role, than they do in first-aid situations. It will be more efficient to fluff up the cotton before it is lit.

It is essential to have a reliable way of lighting a fire. A survival necessity is to have a few fire starters in your kit.

Add a loop of jute twine to your lighter so it won’t accidentally lose fuel; plus, you’ll have a bit of tinder to use.



You probably have all the tinder you need if you own a clothes dryer. Every year, there is a reason that dryer exhaust and lint traps are urged to be cleaned. Lint can be very dangerous.

However, lint must come from natural fibers like cotton. Synthetics won't burn; they melt. However, synthetics can be used to lighten fires by linting bath towels, blue jeans and flannel shirt.

Chances are that your lint will contain some fur if you have pets. This can cause a unpleasant odor to the lint when it burns, according to some people. Despite having several cats and dogs, I have not noticed this. If it's a real life-or-death situation, I think I would be fine with some stinkiness for a few moments.

Editor's Note:

This article was first published in American Outdoor Guide Boundless' August 2022 issue.

American Outdoor Guide's first article, HOMEMADE FIRE STARTTERS, appeared first.


By: amit.kumar
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2022 14:06:12 +0000

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