Something deep, deep inside me squeals with primal joy every time I successfully build a raging fire out of nothing more than my wits and sheer determination. Alternatively, failing to build a fire with burning eyes upon you as you strike match after match only to have the small flame whimper and fade into the depths of submission, right when you need it most can really take a drink from your moral pool when it’s cold and rainy out.
I have a tip for you.
A simple do it yourself fire starter that is light, dirt cheap, and near fool proof is what you need. This simple fire starter can burn up to a few minutes and weighs very very little.
What you need:
1. Cotton balls.
2. pure petroleum jelly (Vaseline). No additives or scents.
3. a water proof container such as a film container, pill bottle or even a waterproof match container. As long as it’s plastic you should be fine. I use a Coleman match holder as it is waterproof and has an extra flint attached to the bottom. Usually available for about a buck.
4. A fire source. Flint, waterproof matche, lighter, etc.
How to make it:
Take a cotton ball, and roll it in the petroleum jelly. Really slather it on there. Make sure the entire surface is coated. Stuff as many as you can into your container and seal it up. You’re done! Just make sure your container is sturdy and won’t break, which could cause a flammable mess. Also keep in mind you’ll have to dig these out of your container somehow. Small containers I recommend using twig or similar instead of your hands, as the petroleum will get on your hands.
How to use it:
When you are ready to use it, simply put it under your tender or whatever you are using to get the fire going. Small sticks and other small, as dry as you can get wood, should be on top of that. Set it on fire. Matches, lighter, flint, or even a magnifying glass if it is sunny out can get this burning easily. They will burn in the rain and in windy conditions for up to a few minutes depending on the size and amount of petroleum jelly. If one starts to burn out, slide another in beside it to catch the flame and keep the fire going until you get rolling. Blowing into the fire as it builds in steady on off gusts can help in cold or wet conditions. Practice makes perfect!
These are not toys! If you have the petroleum on your hands, you may be flammable yourself. Take care when igniting and using these, as they burn very hot and can be hard
to put out.