Frequently Asked Question
For starting campfires, especially with damp or wet wood.
- Cardboard Egg Cartons
- Cardboard, Sawdust, or Dryer Lint
- Paraffin (used for canning)
- Old Stovetop Pot
- Wax Paper or Aluminum Foil
1. Place the paraffin into the pot. Be sure the pot's old, because you won't be able to use it for cooking anymore. Heat on stovetop at the lowest possible setting. Watch the paraffin continuously to be sure it does not get too hot - it should melt slowly.
2. While the paraffin is melting, tear the egg carton in 2 halves. Tear the cover into bits and fill the egg compartments. Fill the remaining spaces with small cardboard pieces, sawdust, or pack with dryer lint.
3. Cover your working surface with aluminum foil, wax paper, or other protective material. Place the prepared egg carton on the working area. When the paraffin is completely melted, carefully pour it into each section of the carton. If you completely fill the compartments right away, they will leak somewhat, but as the wax cools, the leaks will stop. If preferred, you can fill the carton a bit at a time so that each "layer" of paraffin has a chance to cool.
These fire starters work great, but are too heavy for some backpackers. A lightweight option is to carry a ziploc full of dryer lint and a tube of petroleum jelly. This will have the same effect, but on a smaller scale.