I’m the firestarter

You have that song in your head now don’t you?  If not that’s OK, you aren’t missing much… it just reminds me of my 20’s long long ago 😉

So today I didn’t feel so much like the hike I had planned. Instead I wanted to tackle a project that was inspired by another blogger. Camperchristina.com. Make sure you check her out! She has tons of good information! Even if you don’t like camping there’s a lot of really awesome nature pictures to have a peek at.

I stumbled on her post the other day about making homemade fire starters and although I don’t have the same ingredients that she used, I do have an obscene amount of dryer lint and toilet paper rolls. I never throw out dryer lint for some reason? I guess I just knew deep down that someday I would have some sort of use for it… Well today is the day! (And this is nothing… I’ve got 10 times more in the laundry room!)

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Originally I figured I could use it as stuffing for something like a knitted teddy bear or what have you… But I’m glad I didn’t go in that direction because of all the chemicals dust and dog hair I encountered when I pulled the dryer lint out of the box I was keeping it in. And speaking of chemicals, I’m not too sure that this is a good idea for camping, but I also have a ridiculous amount of scented candles that I used for the wax.
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I would prefer to use unscented wax but I figure there’s a lot of scents in my dryer lint anyways, so I decided to just go for it. And this way I get to reuse things that I’ve kept around the house and they won’t go to waste. I LOVE repurposing things! However it’s good to note that if I ever do take any of these to the backcountry, I will be storing them in the bag that I hang with my food so as not to attract any bears. After all, one of the candles I used was skittles flavored!

I spent part of my morning Googling a few different recipes and wound up using little bits of information from all of them. I cut up 4 toilet paper rolls into thirds. (I don’t throw those out either… Thank you pinterest). Then I put tiny little slots on both sides for the yarn. Then I stuffed them full of the dryer lint and I tied them up and dipped them in candle wax. To warm the candle wax basically all I did was put a candle in an old pot (because quite frankly it’s going to get yucky so you don’t want to use your nice pots), fill it with enough water to boil but not enough that it will tip the candle over, and let it melt.
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I tried the strings long enough that I could dip the fire starters in the wax and then I set them out to dry on a sheet of newspaper. I figure if they stick to the newspaper that doesn’t really matter since that will burn anyway.
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Then we wait for them to dry… The real test will come later when I check to see how long they take to burn. If they work, I think I’m going to try them out the next time I go car camping. Worst case scenario the campsite smells like lime green Skittles! I read on one of the blogs that dog hair sinks pretty bad when it’s burned, so maybe the smelly candles will balance things out 😊

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Final verdict
I’m sitting in the backyard in 100° weather, intentionally starting a fire. Thank goodness for the shade under the trees.
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So I couldn’t start it with a lighter since it took a moment to catch. And had I really thought about this better the egg carton idea sounds like it would work better since there would be pieces of the cardboard sticking out to catch the flame. I wound up using one of those strike anywhere wood matches and just sitting it on top. That caught just fine. I set the timer on my phone and found that it burned for a good 20 minutes solid flame. Then it flickered for another 10 minutes. All together I timed it at 31 minutes. It’s not a very clean or pleasant smelling burn. It gave off a lot of black smoke, but unless you’re having your campfire inside you should be ok. (You probably shouldn’t do that). Suppose I’d just wait until it was out and the rest of the fire was going before cooking anything 😊 I think a little wick would help as well to give it something to catch, but the yarn seems to do the job.

Oh and you might want to keep these things to the fire pit. Just saying…
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When I was a teenager a toothless drunk woman wandered over to our campsite as I was starting a fire and gave us one of those pre-made ones that look like a candle made of saw dust. I’d never seen one before and thought they were a super cool idea.

On my recent trip I decided I was going to wing everything. I figured I’d just use my knife and saw and I’d be fine. I would have been, but doing all the paddling, portaging, setting up, cooking etc solo, I was so tired I didn’t even bother with a fire. Actually a fire probably would have extended the trip since I had left early because I felt bad for my cold, tired pup.

Thanks so much Christina for the idea! I’ll never be without a campfire again 😆

I’d love to hear about what others have used! Especially if it involves dryer lint 😆 I’ve got to get rid of my stash somehow!

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