Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Homemade camping fire starters put to the test! (hint: the Girl Scouts win.)

Kettletown, CT State Park provided these handy little firestarters
We made two firestarters for our last camping trip, and the campground gave us one when we bought wood so we decided to do an in-the-field comparison of all three. We saved the scientific test for the last day, which was good because we got a lot of dew that morning and the kindling and newspaper was all damp and didn't want to catch!

Firestarter 1: Wood chips and wax
The campground gave us starters made out of woodchips and wax, housed in those tiny paper cups they give out medication in at mental institutions. 

Results: The lip on the paper cup made a good wick, so the starters caught fire right away. They burned steadily and didn't go out.  I did wish they made more of a blaze, though, since everything was so damp.

Firestarter 2: Toilet paper rolls and dryer lint

We used graph paper because we didn't have any newspaper
These firestarters were fun and easy to make. Simply save up your dryer lint and empty toilet paper rolls, stuff the lint into the rolls, wrap in newspaper and tuck in the ends.

Results: Maybe these would start faster if we had used newspaper and not graph paper (apparently we don't know what's going on in the world but what we do know we like to chart). But either way, I had the same conclusion as with the wood chip starters, which is that the lint didn't make much of a blaze, so I had to tease the flame with bits of this and that to get it going.

Firestarter 3: Egg cartons and crayons, or "Fire Kisses"

"Fire Kisses" in the making
Our friend Samantha turned us on to "Fire Kisses" - the firestarters she made in the Girl Scouts. These are egg cartons with saw dust and wax (or old, broken crayons) wrapped in wax paper. We did a version of these with scraps of paper and wax bits, and we stuck them in a very low oven to melt the wax.

Results: As Samantha predicted, these worked the best! You break them off one by one and use them as needed. The egg carton cardboard catches really fast and the combination of cardboard, paper and wax made a flame that was big enough to get our damp, morning fire going. Go, Girl Scouts! (And thanks to Samantha. )

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  1. Fire starters come with the wood--fancy! We might just have to try out the girl scout one with the bag of broken crayons I have in the cupboard. :)

  2. @Christy, I know! They were like, "Do you want fire starters with that?" and I was like, "DO I?!" ;)

    1. That Is a pretty good idea what we do is us fuel to light the fire since we are campers that ride motorcycles and atv but that is a pretty nifty idea.

  3. Wish I would have seen this on Friday! We tried the toilet paper roll + lint starters this weekend with little success (although I must have missed the step about wrapping in newspaper...that probably would have helped!)


  4. My family just got a new camper from http://www.bigdaddyrvs.com and my daughter wanted to try some of the homemade firestarters she found on pinterest. Needless to say they didnt work very well thats wy I was searching for more ideas online. Found your blog and tried the Firestarter 3: Egg cartons and crayons, or "Fire Kisses" and we are so happy to say it worked like magic! The girls loved making them and they work so well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Very nice blog for camping, thanks for sharing

  6. these ideas are great! what a unique way to use interesting items to create a campfire. Nice job girl scouts!

  7. What a interesting post! it is always valuable to find new and unique ways of starting a campfire... Nice job girl scouts!

  8. I like cotton balls soaked in Vaseline, or just birch bark. Apparently dryer lint is really flammable but ive never used this this (might start clearing out the dryer a little more often tho!)

  9. Interesting and funny-written blog with beauftiful pictures.
    Thumps up :)

    Gretting from Agnes Kmety http://www.campinggate.de/

  10. Great ideas! I have used those with Girl Guide (scouts). This blog seems full of nice posts and pictures so I'll be back. :-)

  11. I like how the paper cups keep everything together in one easy package although I am pretty sure those cups have uses other than giving out meds in mental institutions ;)