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5 Firestarting Hacks You Need to Try

Title – 5 Firestarting Hacks You Need to Try

Starting a fire can be hard. Especially when you're outdoors without the right equipment. But you can use some everyday items to start a fire. Here are 5 hacks:

  1. Twist cotton balls into crayons, light the cotton ball and you have a makeshift candle.
  2. Grease chips with petroleum jelly, light them and you have an impressive fire-starter.
  3. Connect steel wool to a battery's terminals and you'll get a spark. Have kindling ready.
  4. Light a single Dorito, then add more and you have a roaring fire.
  5. Put a bit of hand sanitizer on your kindling and it will ignite.

Everyday Materials You Can Use to Ignite a Fire

Firestarting is a skill to be proud of! It's not hard to create a fire. Believe it or not, everyday items will help you do it. Check out these five hacks that you can use with items in your home. Let's get started!

Using steel wool and a battery

Steel wool and a battery are perfect for making fire when you're outdoors or in an emergency! Here's what to do:

  1. Take a 9V battery.
  2. And a piece of steel wool – grade 0 or 00 work best.
  3. Rub the terminals of the battery against the steel wool. This will create a spark.
  4. Once the spark catches the steel wool, blow gently on it. This will get it to ignite.
  5. Transfer the flaming steel wool to your kindling or tinder bundle.
  6. Keep blowing gently to encourage flames.
  7. Add more wood for a bigger fire.

This firestarting hack is lightweight and easy to carry. It could be the difference between life and death in certain situations.

Using pine needles and resin

Pine needles and resin are superb for starting a fire naturally. You can find them in forests or parks. Here's how:

  1. Grab some dry pine needles and some small twigs.
  2. Also, collect some pine cones or other resinous items like tree sap or resin.
  3. Create a little pile of needles and twigs, then place the resinous materials on top.
  4. Light a match or lighter and begin to burn the twigs and needles beneath the resin.
  5. Once the fire is burning well, add larger logs to build it up.

Tip: Always be careful when starting a fire. Have water and a shovel near you in case of an emergency.

Using dryer lint and petroleum jelly

Dryer lint and petroleum jelly are two items you can use to light a fire. They make a great fire starter that is easy and efficient. Here are the steps to make it:

  1. Collect dryer lint and petroleum jelly.
  2. Mix them together until the lint is coated.
  3. Roll the mix into balls or put it in an egg carton.
  4. Seal with wax paper or plastic wrap.
  5. When you need to start a fire, put a ball or egg carton section under kindling and light it.

Pro-tip: Use top-notch petroleum jelly for the best results. You can also try cotton balls or sawdust to make different fire starters.

Uncommon Firestarter Supplies to Have

Emergency? Need fire? Have the right supplies! Matches, lighters, accelerants… Common choices. But, others too. Let's explore some less common firestarter supplies. Necessary to have!

Wax-coated cotton balls

Wax-coated cotton balls are a great fire starter! Make them at home with these easy steps:

  1. Melt wax in a double boiler.
  2. Dip cotton balls in wax with tongs or a spoon.
  3. Place on wax paper or foil to cool and harden.
  4. Store in a plastic bag or airtight container.

These cotton balls are lightweight and waterproof, perfect for camping or survival kits. They burn for several minutes and can light kindling.

Here's a pro tip: add a few drops of essential oil like citronella or eucalyptus to the melted wax for natural insect repellent.

Tampons soaked in alcohol

Tampons + alcohol = great fire starter! Squeeze out extra liquid, then put in kindling. Make sure some of the tampon is exposed to catch fire. Use a lighter or matches to light it up. This fire starter is perfect for camping or outdoor activities. But be careful: keep away from kids & pets as it can be dangerous!

Magnesium shavings and a ferro rod

Gather dry kindling, tinder and Vaseline-coated cotton balls for your emergency kit! Magnesium shavings and a ferro rod are two uncommon fire starter supplies that can help when traditional methods fail.

Use a hacksaw or sharp knife to shave off magnesium from the block. Place shavings on top of tinder pile. Use ferro rod to create sparks. These should ignite the magnesium and tinder. Blow gently on the fire to help flames spread to the kindling.

Pro tip: Vaseline-coated cotton balls are a great fire starter – just store them in a waterproof container!

Building a Fire with Natural Materials

Wanna start a fire? Natural materials like sticks, leaves, tinder, and kindling are all you need! Through friction, air, and heat you can create a spark. Let's explore 5 hacks for firestarting – give them a try!

Finding dry tinder in wet environments

Finding dry tinder in wet situations is a must-have skill for any outdoor lover. Here are 5 fire-starting hacks to help you spark a flame with natural items, even in damp conditions.

  1. Scan for dry, dead branches and twigs in the tree's canopy. These are usually shielded from the rain. Peel bark off and break them into smaller parts to use as kindling.
  2. Birch bark is great. It's water-resistant and full of flammable oils that make it easy to light.
  3. Collect dry grasses or cattail fluff for a fire starter. Lightweight and easy to move and store.
  4. Resin-rich pine cones are also good. They burn hot and fast and make awesome fire starters.
  5. Carve feather sticks from dead wood with your knife. These thin shavings create surface area, making kindling easy to light.

Pro Tip: Always bring a small bundle of kindling and tinder with you in your backpack, stored in a waterproof container, to help you ignite a fire quicker when you're in a wet place.

Using fatwood from trees and stumps

Fatwood is a special firestarter. It comes from the heartwood of pine trees and stumps. It has lots of resin which makes it burn easily. It's great for outdoors.

Here's how to use it:

  1. Collect sticks, leaves and twigs for kindling.
  2. Split a piece of fatwood with a knife or hatchet.
  3. Use a lighter, matches, or ferrocerium rod to light it.
  4. Put the kindling on top.
  5. Slowly add bigger pieces of wood to build your fire.

Always practice fire safety and never leave a fire alone. Here's a pro tip: Store fatwood in a dry, airtight container.

Building your own bow drill

Constructing a bow drill is one of the most traditional and primitive methods for starting a fire with natural materials. Here's how to make your own:

What you'll need:

  • A spindle
  • A fireboard
  • A bow
  • A bearing block
  • A knife


  1. Cut a notch in the edge of the fireboard with the knife.
  2. Put the spindle perpendicularly to the notch and turn it between your palms to generate friction.
  3. Use the bow to rotate the spindle faster while applying pressure downwards.
  4. Use the bearing block to keep the pressure and to collect the ember created in the notch.

With practice, you can become an expert in the bow drill method. Pro tip: Make sure to select the right type of wood for each component to avoid any harm, ensure the right friction and create a successful ember.

The Importance of Kindling When Starting a Fire

Starting a fire in the outdoors can be tricky. Some steps are needed. Collect dry kindling and tinder. Kindling? Small twigs or sticks. They start the fire and help move from tinder to larger logs. Let's talk about why kindling is important for campfires. Plus, five great hacks for starting a fire – you gotta try 'em!

Why is kindling important for campfires?

  • Kindling is essential for starting a fire because it is small and dry, and therefore can easily catch fire quickly and create heat.
  • It helps to ignite your logs or fuel wood and provides the necessary heat for combustion.
  • Without kindling, the fire will struggle to take off and may eventually fizzle out.

Five great hacks for starting a fire:

  1. Make firestarters using dryer lint, old candle wax, and cardboard egg cartons.
  2. Use a magnifying glass to focus the sun's rays on the tinder, causing it to ignite.
  3. Use hand sanitizer or petroleum jelly as a fire starter.
  4. Use the battery and steel wool technique to start a fire.
  5. Use a fire piston which compresses air to ignite a small piece of tinder.

Different types of kindling to collect

Kindling is essential for starting a fire! Here are a few types to collect:

  • Dry Twigs: About the size of a pencil.
  • Pine Needles: Highly flammable and burn quickly.
  • Dried Leaves: Must be dry. Don't overdo it.
  • Newspaper: Crumple it up.
  • Dryer Lint: Collect in a jar.

Collecting these will make starting a fire easier. Pro Tip: Prepare the area. Never leave it unattended!

How to properly prepare and place kindling

Kindling is a must for starting a fire when wood is the fuel. Preparing and setting it up right is key for a fast and safe blaze. Here are some tips:

  1. Collect kindling in advance – get dry twigs, small branches, and wood shavings. Avoid larger pieces.
  2. Create a small pile – arrange the kindling to let air flow through. Have enough for 10-15 mins.
  3. Use firestarters – newspaper, dry leaves or commercial ones.
  4. Go from small to large – light up the kindling from the bottom, then add larger pieces as it catches fire.
  5. Monitor the fire – keep an eye on the flame and adjust kindling accordingly.

Pro tip: Store the kindling in a dry place or use a kindling cracker to split wood.

Tips for storing kindling for future use

It's super important to store kindling correctly. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Keep your kindling dry by keeping it in an area with a cover.
  2. Store your kindling in a container to keep it organized.
  3. Place your kindling away from the ground to stop moisture from getting in.
  4. Put your kindling close to your fire pit, stove, or fireplace.
  5. Use different sizes of kindling for a better fire starting experience – use smaller twigs to light with a match and larger ones to keep the fire burning.

Follow these tips and you'll always have dry, accessible kindling for your fire.

Safety Precautions and Tips for Starting a Fire

Do you want to know a great skill? Starting a fire! Whether you're camping, backpacking, or just looking for warmth in an emergency, knowing how to build a fire quickly and safely is amazing. But before you get started, learn the safety precautions and tips.

Here are 5 firestarting hacks you need to try:

  1. Use cotton balls and petroleum jelly as kindling.
  2. Make charcloth for an easy ignition source.
  3. Fill an egg carton with dryer lint and wax for a DIY fire starter.
  4. Bring along magnesium or flint and steel for emergency situations.
  5. Use a battery and gum wrapper to create fire.

Plus, safety tips and precautions too!

Clearing the area and keeping water nearby

Safety is key when starting a fire. Be it a campfire or in your backyard, following these tips ensures an enjoyable experience.

  • Clear the Area: Make sure the fire pit or ring is in an open, level spot. No low-hanging branches or flammable materials nearby. Clear a 10 feet wide circle. Remove any leaves, twigs, or debris that can ignite.
  • Keep Water Nearby: Have a bucket of water, hose, or fire extinguisher close by. Plus a shovel or rake to help control the fire and move logs.

By taking these two simple steps, you can enjoy the warmth and beauty of a fire without any danger.

Knowing how to properly put out a fire

Knowing how to put out a fire is just as vital as knowing how to start one. Here are a few tips for effectively and safely extinguishing a fire:

  1. Water: Pour water over the fire, stirring with a shovel or stick. Keep adding until the hissing stops.
  2. Sand/Dirt: Cover the fire pit with sand or dirt and mix it with ashes until smothered.
  3. Fire Extinguisher: Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
  4. Shovel: Use a shovel to disperse ashes and hot coals. Douse them with water.
  5. Time: Wait until fire pit no longer emits heat or smoke. Make sure ashes are cool to touch before leaving.

Pro tip: Always research fire rules in your local area before starting a fire outdoors.

Guidelines for starting a fire in different settings

Starting a fire can be tough. Here are tips for a successful and safe fire:


  1. Clear away debris and flammable materials around the fire.
  2. Build a fire pit or ring using stones or bricks.
  3. Use dry firewood and kindling. No burning trash or green wood.
  4. Have a bucket of water and shovel nearby.


  1. Open the flue for ventilation.
  2. Use newspaper, kindling and dry firewood to start the fire.
  3. Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or other accelerants.
  4. Use a fireplace screen to stop sparks from escaping.
  5. Don't leave the fire alone. Make sure it's fully extinguished before leaving the room.

Pro tip: To start a fire easily without lighter fluid, fill an empty egg carton with charcoal briquettes and light the corners. This will make the briquettes light evenly and give you a clean, smokeless fire.

Written by a renowned camping and hiking guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the best materials to use for starting a fire?

Some of the best materials for starting a fire include dry kindling, paper, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, and dry leaves or grass.

2. How do I ensure my fire stays lit?

To make sure your fire stays lit, make sure your kindling is dry and well-arranged, place larger pieces of wood on top of the kindling, and avoid smothering the flames with too many logs at once.

3. What are some creative firestarting hacks to try?

Some creative firestarting hacks include using Doritos or Fritos as kindling, or even a tampon dipped in alcohol, as the cotton acts as great fuel for the flame.

4. How do I start a fire in wet conditions?

Starting a fire in wet conditions can be challenging. Try using dry kindling and sheltering the fire from the wind, or use birch bark, which has natural oils that make it easier to ignite even when wet.

5. What should I do if I accidentally start a forest fire?

If you accidentally start a forest fire, call emergency services immediately and try to contain the fire if it's safe to do so. Avoid using water to put out the fire, as this can exacerbate the problem.

6. Can firestarting skills come in handy in everyday life?

Yes! Being able to start a fire can come in handy during camping trips or outdoor adventures, but can also be useful for emergency situations or power outages.

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