Fire Starters Useful for Camping

Stay warm and have a meal.

Carrying a campfire fire starter is probably considered required gear for any seasoned camper. Nothing beats the warm glow of a fire to keep you warm and lift your spirits. However, building a good campfire can be quite a task, especially if you are inexperienced. This task is made almost effortless through the use of a good campfire fire starter.

Traditional Fire Starters

Traditionally, campers and hikers have relied on matches or lighters to get a good blaze going. Any outfitter or sporting goods store will carry small, watertight containers in which to carry matches. Waterproof matches are great to have on hand even if you are in camping in the desert. All it takes is one leaking water bottle to ruin your attempts at lighting your fire.

The downside of using matches is that they tend to break or just plain not work. If you are not skilled at starting a campfire, you may find that you go through several matches to get one fire started. This may be a problem if you are on a long trip and run out of matches.

Lighters have a downside as well. They may break, run out of fuel or be affected by the weather, be it rain or just humidity. These disadvantages have led many campers and outdoors enthusiasts to find a more suitable campfire fire starter that will work in a variety of conditions while still being lightweight and portable.

Magnesium Campfire Fire Starter

Magnesium fire starters are a flint-and-steel fire starter tool. They are small enough to fit in your pocket so they are even a great option for ultralight backpacking enthusiasts. In addition, they are unaffected by wet conditions or high temperatures and they last a very long time.

The way they work is simple. Strike the flint on the magnesium to create white-hot metal shavings that will quickly ignite your fire starting materials. Because these shavings are far hotter than a match, they can even ignite tinder that is damp from rain or dew. This will allow you to get a fire going in any conditions so you can keep warm or enjoy some Dutch oven cooking.

There are several places to find magnesium fire starters. One to try is the Magnesium Fire Starter from This little kit weighs less than two ounces and retails for $15.95.

Cabela's has a great fire starter and a great price; only $5.99 for a magnesium starter that is simple to use with just your pocket knife. Great to keep in your emergency kit as well. Buy several; you never know when one might be needed.

Fire Starting Materials

It is always a good idea to carry some fire starting materials along on you camping trip as well as your fire starter. Sometimes it is difficult to easily locate tinder. Bring your own and save yourself some hassles. Here are a few examples of easily obtained fire starting materials.

  • Lint: You knew there had to be some use for the stuff, right? Save it in zipper bags to use as is to get your campfire going quickly. It can also be stuffed onto toilet paper tubes or mixed with melted wax and poured into egg cartons. This is a nice little craft project that can make your camping trip a little easier.
  • Cotton balls: Just coat some cotton balls with petroleum jelly and store in a zipper bag. These are another easy way to get a fire started fast.
  • Wood shavings: You can easily make your own fire starters by melting some wax (this can be from old candles, crayons, etc.) and mixing in some wood shavings and lint. Now pour the mixture into some cupcake papers and allow it to harden. When you are ready for a fire, just place one in the center of your fire ring along with tinder and firewood and light the paper. It will burn long enough to get a good campfire going with little effort.
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Fire Starters Useful for Camping