A Few Unusual Fire Starters To Get A Fire Going

Fire can be thought of as a versatile tool for outdoor activities due to its numerous uses. It serves as a source of warmth on chilly nights, dries wet clothes, purifies drinking water by boiling it, and enhances the flavor of food through cooking. Additionally, fire provides illumination during nighttime, dispelling any fear or anxiety brought by the darkness.

Moreover, fire also has a strong psychological impact on people. Being able to start a fire, especially under difficult conditions, gives one a sense of control and stability in an otherwise chaotic situation. This can help overcome feelings of fear or helplessness, providing a psychological edge.

There are many tinder products available in the market, but Fireflame Quick Instant Fire Starter are one of the best options. However, there are also alternative options that work just as well and are more budget-friendly.

Waxed string

This project is great for parents who want to involve their children. All you need are some twine (jute or cotton works well) and paraffin. If you don’t have any twine at home, it can easily be found at any hardware store. As for the paraffin, I usually find a box at a thrift store like Goodwill for a low price. In a pinch, old crayons can be used, but it’s best to stick to brand-name crayons as they have better-quality wax.

To avoid any kitchen mishaps, it’s important to take precautions when working with wax. A simple solution is to create a double boiler by using a cleaned-out soup can. Fill a saucepan with about three inches of water and heat it up. Break up the wax into small pieces and put them into the can, filling it about halfway. If using crayons, be sure to remove the paper first.

Keep the water at just below a boil; otherwise, the can might bobble around too much. Use a small twig to stir the wax and break up the chunks as it melts. While you’re waiting for the wax to fully liquify, cut off a few lengths of twine, each one about a foot or so.

Once the wax is melted, dip the twine into it, using the twig to push the twine down, so it is fully immersed. Slowly pull it out, let it drip for a second into the can, then lay it out on a piece of waxed paper to dry. Repeat with each length of twine.

Cut each length into smaller pieces, about three inches long. This store great in the ever-popular mint tins many preppers and survivalists like to use for their fire and other kits. Because they’re covered in wax, they are virtually waterproof.

To use, pull the end apart a bit to fluff it up, then light. It will burn steadily for several minutes. As a variation, you can twist and reverse-twist the twine to make it thicker before dipping it into the wax.

To prevent the can from bouncing around too much, keep the water just below boiling. Use a small twig to stir the wax and break apart any chunks as it melts. While waiting for the wax to fully liquefy, cut several lengths of twine, each about a foot long.

Once the wax is melted, dip each length of twine into it, using the twig to ensure it is fully immersed. Slowly remove the twine, let it drip for a second, then lay it out on a piece of waxed paper to dry. Repeat this process with each length of twine.

After the twine has dried, cut each length into smaller pieces, about three inches long. These pieces can be stored in mint tins, a popular storage option for preppers and survivalists. Because they are covered in wax, they are virtually waterproof.

To use, fluff up the end of the twine by pulling it apart, then light it. It will burn steadily for several minutes. As a variation, you can make the twine thicker by twisting and reverse-twisting it before dipping it into the wax.

Cotton balls and petroleum jelly

cotton balls as fire starters

This simple yet effective fire starter is perfect for those who want to make a quick and easy DIY fire starter at home. The ingredients are easy to find, and the process is straightforward, making it a great option for those who want to involve their children in a fun and educational project. All you need is cotton balls, petroleum jelly, and a plastic sandwich bag.

To get started, you will need to add a generous amount of petroleum jelly into the bottom of the plastic bag. Then, take a handful of cotton balls and add them to the bag. Begin to smush the cotton balls and petroleum jelly together, making sure that each cotton ball is thoroughly infused with the jelly. This mixture will serve as the main component of your fire starter.

Once you have the mixture ready, you can stop there and consider it done. You can simply store the bag in your kit, ready to use whenever you need it. However, there is always the risk of the bag tearing and petroleum jelly getting all over your gear. To prevent this, you can purchase a waterproof match case and store your cotton ball fire starter there.

Another great option is to tie a string to the first cotton ball that goes into the case and then pile in the rest. The string should be long enough to reach outside the case so that when you need a cotton ball, you can simply open the case and tug on the string, pulling the stack upward, and pluck off the top one. This makes it easy to access your fire starter without any mess or fuss.

When it comes time to use your fire starter, simply fluff up one of the cotton balls to increase its surface area, and then light it. Each cotton ball burns for several minutes, providing ample time to get your fire started. With its ease of use and simple ingredients, this is a great fire starter to have on hand, whether you’re camping, hiking, or simply preparing for emergency situations.

Hand sanitizer

nwlwbnrHand sanitizer has become a staple in our daily lives due to the ongoing pandemic and the need for keeping our hands clean and germ-free. You can find bottles of hand sanitizer in cars, bags, and just about anywhere people go. But it’s important to be cautious when using hand sanitizer near an open flame. Most hand sanitizers contain a high percentage of alcohol, which is highly flammable, and, therefore, can be a fire hazard.

When you apply hand sanitizer to your hands, it evaporates quickly. However, if you put a generous amount of it on a surface, it can burn for several minutes. That’s why it’s essential to avoid lighting a cigarette or any other flammable object right after applying the sanitizer. It’s also recommended to keep hand sanitizer away from heat sources, such as stoves, candles, or lighters.

In addition to its flammability, hand sanitizer also has a strong odor that can be unpleasant and even overpowering, especially if used in large amounts. It’s always best to follow the instructions on the bottle and apply only the recommended amount of hand sanitizer.

Potato chips

In an emergency situation, fire can be a matter of survival, and sometimes finding fuel for a fire can be difficult. If you find yourself in a bind, you can always resort to using your lunch as fuel. Many snacks, such as potato chips and nachos, contain enough oil to burn for several minutes. This can make them a useful source of fire starter in a pinch.

Just be aware that if you only packed baked chips, they may not provide much fuel, as they typically contain less oil. If you’re considering using your food as fuel, make sure you weigh the importance of starting a fire against the importance of keeping your food intact.

Feminine hygiene products

While it may not seem like an obvious choice for fire-starting, feminine hygiene products can be a lifesaver in a survival situation. With their cotton content, they have the potential to ignite and provide a steady flame.

Tampons, in particular, have a reputation for being absorbent and versatile, making them an ideal option for starting a fire. It is essential to remember to fluff up the cotton inside the tampon before lighting it, as this will increase the surface area and create a better burning experience. The cotton will ignite quickly, producing a flame that will burn for several minutes, providing enough time to light a fire.

So, next time you pack for a camping trip or an emergency preparedness kit, don’t forget to pack a few tampons, they might just be what you need to start a fire in an emergency situation.

Duct tape

using duct tape as a fire starter

Duct tape is one of the most versatile tools in any toolkit, with a seemingly endless list of applications. One of its lesser-known but highly practical uses is for starting fires. Given the fact that it burns hot and is a common material used for repairs, it is likely that you will be able to find some duct tape in the vicinity if you find yourself in a survival situation.

However, it is important to keep in mind that while it is an effective fire starter, it is also very dangerous to handle. As it burns, the tape will melt, and if it comes into contact with your skin, it will be very difficult to remove, leading to potentially severe burns.

Additionally, it is essential to handle duct tape with care, as it can cause serious harm if it sticks to any part of your body. In conclusion, while duct tape can be an effective fire starter, it is crucial to use caution and handle it carefully to avoid any potential harm. It’s always recommended to have a well-rounded fire-starting kit with a variety of materials rather than relying solely on duct tape.

Other recommendations

Firestarter sticks are a great alternative to traditional matches or lighters, especially for camping, hiking, or emergency preparedness kits. These sticks are made of a special formula that allows them to ignite quickly and burn at a high temperature, making them ideal for starting a fire even in tough weather conditions. They come in a compact, waterproof container, making them easy to carry and store, and they can burn for several minutes, giving you ample time to get your fire going.

In order to use a firestarter stick, simply strike the end of the stick against a rough surface to ignite the specially formulated material. Hold the stick close to your kindling and gently blow on the flame to get it going. Once the kindling is burning, add more wood to keep the fire going. Firestarter sticks are also great for lighting power eff banner 200stoves or grills, as they are safe to use and will not emit any harmful chemicals or fumes.

Alcohol wipes are another useful option for starting a fire, especially if you are in a survival situation where you don’t have access to traditional fire-starting materials. These wipes contain a high percentage of alcohol, which is a highly flammable substance, making them an effective firestarter. Simply take the alcohol wipe, ignite it, and use it to light your kindling. The alcohol will continue to burn for several minutes, giving you ample time to get your fire going.

One of the advantages of alcohol wipes is that they are easy to carry and store. They come in a small, compact container that fits easily into a backpack, camping gear, or emergency kit. In addition, alcohol wipes are safe to use and do not emit any harmful chemicals or fumes, making them a safe and effective option for starting a fire.

These are two highly effective and easy-to-use alternatives to traditional fire starting methods. Whether you are going camping, hiking, or are simply looking for a reliable way to start a fire in an emergency situation, these options are worth considering. They are easy to carry and store, safe to use, and will give you the fire you need in no time.


In conclusion, starting a fire can be crucial in survival situations, but having the right materials to do so is essential. There are many traditional fire starters, such as kindling and matches, but there are also many unconventional options like chips, tampons, and duct tape. The use of fire starter sticks and alcohol wipes is also a popular choice among outdoors enthusiasts.

Regardless of the method chosen, it is important to always be prepared with multiple options in case of an emergency. Additionally, it is recommended to practice fire starting techniques regularly to ensure you are able to start a fire even in challenging conditions. In any case, having a fire can provide warmth, light, and security in the great outdoors.

Suggested resources for preppers:

Harvesting and canning wild greens

The #1 food of Americans during the Great Depression

How to make Oil from Seeds and Nuts

If you see this plant when foraging, don’t touch it!

Leave a Comment