One thing most people love about camping is having a campfire. A campfire is great for relaxing around and warming up at the end of a good day of activities or exploring. Not only that it seems to be a place to talk. I know that I have certainly had discussions around the campfire with people that I may not have otherwise had. Whether it’s talking about that day’s activities, reminiscing on past adventures or planning new ones, getting your family and/or friends around a campfire sparks some great conversations.
The other great thing that helps people come together and chat apart from a campfire is food, and what better way to cook food than on the campfire. Below we have listed our top 10 homemade fire starters, that are easy to make and will have that fire going in no time at all.
But, firstly, we need to ensure that we are having a campfire safely and I would suggest that where possible you have your campfire contained in a firepit. I know that many people like together their stones and make there own little firepit while away and that is ok in some cases if you know what you are doing and fires are permitted in the area you are visiting.
Using a firepit helps to reduce the risk of wildfires and where possible these should be lit on gravel or stone or at least have some protection under them to help prevent the risk of fire spreading should embers fall from the pit. REMEMBER – the grass may look lush and moist and unlikely to catch fire but there can be dry grass underneath that would only too happily take light if given a chance. And, hopefully, this goes without saying, never leave a fire unattended and always make sure it is extinguished at the end of the night.
So now let’s get on to making these fire starters. These are great, cheap and non-toxic firelighters that can be made at home, in advance and stored for when needed. We enjoy making ours in the winter and turn it into a little craft night making a few different kinds at once. We like to make in bulk as we not only use them for our campfires but also our BBQ and garden log burner too.
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Many of these firestarters are made using melted wax. Saving scraps of wax from old candles is great for making these firestarters if you have none some cheap unscented tealights will do. Just remove the aluminium case and wick before melting.
To melt the wax you can use an old tin that has been rinsed to melt the wax in. Simply place your tin of broken wax into a pot of water on the stove and heat until melted. Be careful that the tin doesn’t fall over, tongs may be useful if you need to hold it upright.
If you have an old pot you don’t use you can also use that too. We use an old mess tine from years ago to melt ours as we find it easier to dip our items due to the mess tin having a larger surface area.
Our Top 8 To Make
1) Drier Lint
The fluff or lint that gathers in your drier is great to use when starting fires and if you really want a no-hassle firelighter you can simply collect it and store it in a ziplock bag or airtight tub and use when needed. You can simply use it in its raw form.
2) Waxed Toilet Roll Tubes
These were one of the first firestarters we ever made. This was due to having saved loads of toilet roll tubes for a craft that eventually weren’t needed.
For this, you are going to stuff 1 toilet roll tube with lots of others then soak in wax. These burn for a while and can also be quite heavy when made so it may be best to cut all the tubes in half before you start.
You take one tube to use as your outer shell and then 1 by 1 start to fold or roll up you other tubes placing them inside the main tube until you can’t fit any more in. It will surprise you how many it holds!
Now to soak it in wax. Melt your wax and soak the tube in it. If you can try to pour some wax into the tube so the wax gets down into any little space left and soaks in too.
3) Cotton Pads Soaked in Wax
This is another super easy and quick to make fire starter, that only uses 2 ingredients. Cotton pads and wax. Simply dip your cotton pads into some melted wax and let cool on some greaseproof paper. Once the wax has set, simply store them in a tub or bag.
4) Cotton Pads & Vasaline
Another thing that can be added to cotton pads to make a fire starter is vaseline. You can simply smear a cotton pad with vaseline and place inside a ziplock bag. These are good little fire starters but can also be used if needed for first aid should you need them so they are a 2for1 kinda fire starter.
5) Pine Cones
Pine Cones are free to collect once they have fallen from the tree and make ideal fire starters once you have coated them in wax or cooking oil. There are many types of pine cones and any of them will make good fire starters as long as they are open. The idea is to make sure the wax or oil soaks right down into all the little crevices where the seeds would have been and use these little pockets to store what will help fuel your fire starter. We tend to coat them in wax, let them dry and add them to our collection. If you would like to soak them in oil you can simply place them in an airtight jar with some cooking oil and store them until it is time to use them.
6) Tortilla Chips
This is one you have probably seen across the internet before but it actually does work. If you have some tortilla chips with you on your camping trip they can be used to help start your fire as well as for eating. You will be glad to hear it is not only Tortilla chips but any crisp can be used although tortillas seem to burn that little while longer than some of the others. This is due to the mixture of chemicals and oils used to make these tasty snacks being a great combustion combination. Simply great a little pile of chips 8-10 should do to get it started well, light and then start to add your kindling.
7) Soaked Drinks Corks
This is one we have included as we have seen them used but ones we have never made ourselves. Simply because our drink of choice doesn’t use corks so we never have any of them laying around to use. If you do have corks or are know of someone who may save some for you these are super simple to make. Simply place the corks in an airtight glass jar, a jam jar is fine as long as it has been thoroughly washed and dried. Then add some rubbing alcohol in with the corks and screw the lid on tight. Let the corks soak up the rubbing alcohol until it is time to use them.
8) Fire Starter Parcels
We have saved these until last as they take the longest to make and when we make this we see it as more of a craft than simply knocking out quick fire-lighters. We do make them from time to time as they are quite cute and sometimes we have extra lint we want to use. For these, you need an empty cardboard egg carton, lint or fryer fluff, wax, string, and scissors.
You only need the bottom part of your egg carton, so you can cut the top and flap off before you start.
- Take your lint and make little balls and place them into the bottom of the egg carton.
- pour some melted wax over the lint and let dry.
- cut your egg carton so you have your individual pots filled with lint and wax.
- now it is time to fold in you top corners until it forms a little parcel like shape.
- Now you can tie up that parcel with your string. (you can also use floss, twine, wool or any other material that would suit this job)
- this little parcel will burn on its own but if you want to give it a little boost, you can go for a second coat of wax, this time taking the whole little parcel and dipping into your melted wax. You will probably need to re-melt it since you have spent time wrapping up your parcels.
Storing Your Fire Starters
Now that you have made your fire starters it is time to store them ready for when you need them for those all-important campfires or BBQs.
We typically store ours in a plain old zip lock bag or lockable storage tub. It really depends on how many we make. If you are going to try the soaked drinks corks or soaked pine cones these will remain in the jars you use until it is time to use them.
Why Not Give Them a Try
We hope that these have given you an idea of just how easy and cheap it is to make your own fire starters without all the nasty and foul-smelling chemicals that some store-bought ones have.
You will be king of the campfire when you get the fire going quickly and safely, first time using your own homemade starters. Or even better when you can help out someone else who just can’t get theirs going.
Why not make your fire even more magical by using a sachet of Mystical Fire on your next outing and have everyone wishing they were sitting around YOUR campfire. You can buy these sachets online from both Amazon and eBay for a few quid.