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5 Homemade Fire Starters for Winter Camping Trips
Fire starters are great to take with you on a winter camping trip. They are also easy and inexpensive to make. All you really need to create a batch is melted wax and some incendiary materials from around your house. Examples of incendiary materials include dryer lint, fabric scraps, cotton balls, cereal boxes, and pencil shavings.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A Word About the Wax
There are many different types of wax available and not all of them melt at the same temperature. Because winter winds and snow can make a campfire hard to start, you will want to look for a wax that has a low melting point. Wax that has a low melting point typically needs little heat to catch fire. For these fire starter projects, you may opt to melt the wax using the classic double boiler method or heat it in your microwave. Whichever method you choose, just be sure not to leave the wax unattended while it melts. Otherwise, it could start a fire. I should also mention that not all wax is microwave safe, so be sure to read the label.
1. Toilet Paper Roll Fire Starters
Start by sealing one end of the toilet paper roll with a cupcake liner. Stuff the toilet paper roll with dryer lint, pine bedding, pencil shavings, saw dust, rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton balls, scraps of fabric, or scraps of paper. Once you are done, seal the toilet paper roll with the second cupcake liner. Then tie a piece of natural twine to the toilet paper roll and dip the whole thing repeatedly into melted wax. Set the completed toilet paper rolls onto a piece of waxed paper to dry. Don't worry if the waxed paper sticks to the rolls; it will only add more fuel to the fire.
2. Cereal and Juice Box Fire Starters
Save the small boxes and liners used to package individual sized servings of cereal. Fill the boxes with pine bedding. Seal the boxes shut and then coat them with melted wax. If you don't have pine bedding, other flammable items will do. You might want to consider placing a charcoal briquette in the box along with some dryer lint. Juice boxes will also work. In order to use the juice boxes, cut open, but do not remove, the tops. Make sure that the inside of the boxes are dry. Stuff the boxes with a mixture of wax and pine bedding. Afterward, seal the boxes shut and cover them with a coat of melted wax.
3. Newspaper and Pine Needle Fire Starters
Roll up old newspaper but leave an opening in the center. Seal off the bottom of the newspaper roll with duct tape. Fill the center of the newspaper roll with old pine needles or pine straw. When you are done filling the center of the newspaper roll, duct tape the open end so the pine needles won't fall out. Wrap a piece of waxed paper around the newspaper roll and secure it into place with natural twine.
4. Sticky Bun Fire Starters
Cut an old cardboard box into thin strips. Grab an aluminum pie tin. Roll the cardboard box strips into pinwheel shapes and place them tightly inside the pie tin. When you are finished, it will resemble a tin full of sticky buns. Fill the pie tin with melted wax and let it harden. After the wax has hardened, cut the pinwheels into individual chunks and remove them from the pie tin. Package them up inside small brown paper bags.
5. Gauze Pad Fire Starters
Looking to travel light? This fire starter may work better for you. Take a small to medium sized cotton gauze pad and set it onto the table. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and let it dry. Once it dries, coat the cotton ball with petroleum jelly. Place the treated cotton ball inside the gauze pad and sew the pad shut with a needle and thread. Afterward, place the gauze pads and some Hurricane matches into a waterproof plastic bag. In most cases, the bag will fit nicely into your backpack and it weighs very little.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports with her family and has traveled extensively.
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