With Memorial Weekend passing it means that once again for most of America it’s ‘camping season’ again, with all the good and bad that comes along with it. Admit it, you’ve been there – struggling to get a campfire started, feeling emasculated (maybe I should get a kitten and write poetry instead of doing this outdoors crap??) quickly realizing that if you were a neandrethal you’d be part of Darwin’s proof statement (and for bonus points you’ve got kids whining how they want smores in the background). Maybe you forgot newspaper (do those still exist??), or your hatchet so you can’t shave your logs for some kindling and any dead/dry needles and moss on the ground you were banking on are slightly damp? Regardless, it’s frustrating when you just want to kick back, relax and sip a beer around the fire.
Solution: something flammable. I had a buddy that used to always bring a can of white gas (aka Coleman fuel), and while that works it burns quickly and thus takes quite a bit to get a consistent fire going. My emergency go to that are in every pack I own, cotton balls soaked in Vaseline and stored in a 35mm film canister, are lightweight and damn good at getting a fire going but can be a bit messy (not a problem in a survival situation, but sometimes you just want something a bit cleaner). Of course if you’re like me you don’t have cotton balls or Vaseline around the house on a regular basis so you go to option #3, these easy to make waterproof firestarters made with stuff you’ve already got around the house. While it’s 8 steps below they really only take a few minutes, in fact I made these ones inbetween packing the cooler for the weekend.
Old candle or other wax source
String or dental floss
Put old candle bits and pieces in a mason jar, and put mason jar in a pot of water. Bring water with jar in it to a boil to get wax melting.
While the water is heating taking clumps of dryer lint and stuff it into your egg crate. More dryer lint = longer burn time.
Steps 3 – 5:
Cut out each individual egg cup, fold top edges over, and tie a string around to hold it closed. Make sure your string is long enough to reach the bottom of your mason jar easily as it’ll be hot and you don’t want your hands too close to the mess.
Grab your dryer lint dumplings by the string and dunk them into the hot wax. Depending on how deep your wax is you may have to tip the jar sideways or shake it around to splash the wax around inside it. Note that the jar will be damn hot so you’ll want to use a silicone gripper mitt or similar.
After each dunk place your freshly waxed balls onto a paper towel and let them sit til the wax hardens.
Burn, thump chest and feel manly.
Note: While these are great for car camping they wouldn’t be my firestarter of choice in potential life/death situations, in which case I’d go with the Vaseline cotton balls – not only could you have fire/warmth but you could get in one last wank to lift your spirits on your way out.