Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Girl Camping Necessity: Fire Starters

Nothing creates the aura of camping faster nor better than a real wood campfire. If you intend to have one on your next trip or Girl Camping sleepover, be sure you have....

....the means for getting a fire started, if not the wood itself! (Many campgrounds and nearby supermarkets sell bundles of campfire wood, but the dry kindling material and lighting device are generally up to you.)

You can buy parafin-based fire starters to help kindle up your fire, but you can make your own, too. Girl Camping Girl is in the process (above) of making some right now.

Supplies are paper cupcake liners plus tin; a bowl of wood shavings;  a source of parafin that you'll melt; and a safe way to do the melting.

GCG uses an electric 'buffet warmer' with ceramic top, and puts her parafin pieces in a tin can with paper removed. A double boiler will work, too. Just be aware that parafin is highly flammable--the point of using it for a fire starter--and use low, slow heat that you supervise constantly.

You can use new parafin from the canning-goods section of a store, or...if you hoard candle-bits like GCG seems compelled to do, you can melt them down.  Pour melted parafin over the shavings sprinkled at the bottom of each cup. (Use two liners per cup--they'll burn hotter than just one paper when you light it up.)

Top with another shavings sprinkle and tap down into melted wax with a spoon. Allow to cool and set, and you're in business--you have fire starters!

How they work:

**Set a 'muffin' beneath kindling sticks. Light the paper, which will ignite the top shavings layer, which will set off the highly flammable parafin, which will burn down to the bottom layer of shavings, which will help ignite the kindling sticks, which will then be hot enough to kindle your firewood.

Don't count on being able to pick up twigs and sticks for the rest of your kindling materials. If you can't bring chopped kindling pieces from home, include a hatchet in your camping tools. Then you can break up a piece of firewood to make kindling sticks on the spot.


  1. You can keep ypur dryer lint and use that also. When I was a girlscout we would use paper egg cartons with dryer lint. Pour melted wax over the lint in the egg spaces. You can rip off how many you need for the fire,

  2. I was already planning to make some of these as a gift and just picked up the last of my supplies today. I'm making the egg carton ones.

  3. wooooo....thats what you call a real delight....

    Camp Stove

  4. They are also awesome for lighting charcoal in a charcoal chimney! I use the dryer lint/egg carton ones

  5. I use garage sale candles for wax (much cheaper than paraffin, and occasionally nicely scented), cardboard egg cartons and dryer lint. They're virtually cost free. I melt the candles in a metal coffee can inside a pan of water on the stove top. It takes quite a bit of time, but it's worth it. Each wax "egg" burns ten minutes, which is enough to get even the most stubborn fire started. I also use them in the bottom of my charcoal chimney to get my grilling charcoal started. I routinely hand these out to people at campgrounds. I have seen people dip those flat, round facial cotton pads in leftover Scentsy wax and use those to start fires, but they don't burn as long.