Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Firestarters and Other Camping Tips

by heather

Here’s a riddle: What do old candles, empty egg cartons, used popsicle sticks and dryer lint have in common? Hint, the answer is not that they’re garbage.

The answer: they’re ingredients to make great fire starters!

I learned how to make these several months ago at an emergency preparedness class, and was reminded of them by a few people who suggested bringing lint for a fire starter as a camping tip under the August giveaway. (Because dryer lint is the cheapest, quickest fire starter.) Whether you use just the lint or make my weird little craft, you’re finding a purpose for something that would just be thrown away otherwise.

Instructions: 1 Cut lid and latch flap off egg carton 2. Fill egg cups with dryer lint. 3. Break Popsicle sticks into little pieces. (I used a pair of pliers, some leverage and my concrete steps for this. The ones that they showed in the class were made with wood pellets, which they said you can get a large bag of for $3, but then what would I do with the rest of the bag of wood pellets?) 4. Pack broken Popsicle sticks into dryer lint. (I used about 2 dozen sticks.) 5. Pour enough hot wax over the whole thing to hold it together. (I melted my candles with a candle warmer.) 6. Cut into individual egg cups once wax has hardened. Each fire starter will burn for approximately 12 minutes. (Every one will vary depending on how much wax, lint, etc was used.)

Pretty much the weirdest, ugliest craft ever.
We tested them over Labor Day weekend. They worked pretty effectively.

Here are some other great tips that were mentioned.

  1. Bring your dutch oven
  2. When it rains do not push on the tent as you are laying inside because it will leak even if it is water resistant!
  3. Bring tweezers. The ticks will always find you!
  4. Have a really great Swiss Army Knife on hand.
  5. Always have WAY more matches and kindling than you think you’re going to need. 
  6. Bring a clothesline to hang wet towels.
  7. Cook your first meal at home and bring with when camping.
  8. Always pack toilet paper and bug spray.
  9. Pack everything in individual bags or lidded containers and then pack those in a large lidded bin. No more rummaging, plus everything stays clean and dry. 
  10. A Frisbee will add support to paper plates when the plate is placed inside the Frisbee.
  11. Take along some of your old extracts and use as a fire starter-sprinkle some on the firewood and it will help get it started and smells great too.
  12. Save all the sample shampoos that you get from the mail and use those while camping.
  13. You can never have too many socks. a couple extra pair can be a lifesaver.
  14. Try out the bug repellent candles, they work amazing!
  15. Bring extra trash or grocery bags with you that you can carry when you go hiking or to the lake. You might end up saving an animal or to by removing trash. 
  16. Check the weather before you go so you can pack the appropriate clothing.
  17. Make sure that you bring appropriate shoes.
  18. An old rolled-up memory foam mattress topper makes a great sleeping pad. Just cut to size.
  19. Always take lots of paper towels. You never know when you are going to need them!
  20. Pack a bottle of dish soap in a zipper bag- you’ll always find a use for the soap, but will not be happy if it explodes on all your camping stuff & it’s not contained in a bag.
  21. Take baby wipes. They work great to clean up any thing or any one!
  22. Use an old towel as a door mat for wiping off feet before entering the tent.
  23. Put up a tent back away from the wooded area and lake beds if possible be cause when night falls–in come the bugs and mosquitos–learned that the hard way :) 
  24. One from a friend- wrap your tin-foil dinners in cabbage leaves before wrapping in foil, this will prevent the potatoes from burning to the foil.
  25. And I’ll add, make sure you have an EXTRA flash light. It may come in handy when you need to run to the loo in the middle of the night. 

Thanks to everyone who contributed tips.

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