Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fire Starting aids on a boondocking trip

When out boondocking, you will find a need to start a wood fire under many different conditions. One of the worst things to do is try to use the weekenders method of starting a fire. They always seem to take the biggest log and soak it with charcoal starter. Soon, they have used a whole container of starter and have a bonfire. You can smell the starter everywhere. The best way to start a fire is to start small with kindling. Don't get in a hurry but just let the fire grow.

When it is wet, I always have dry kindling stored for use in the wood gas stove. If it looks like rain, gather wood and put it under a tarp for later. Here are a few methods for starting a fire easier than using a match.

I have alcohol for my alcohol stove but I rarely use it as a fire starter. If you do use it, just use a small amount and remember it burns with an almost invisible blue flame. For me, I like to use a lower cost alternative to alcohol. However, if you don't often use a wood fire, it is very convenient and works well.

Small birthday candles or any candle can be used to start a nice fire. The birthday candles work best for starting small kindling in a wood gas stove. I have even used a wood gas can stove to start some large pieces of wood for an open wood fire. I skip the large fire, except in case of a cold morning, because it just burns up too many resources. It doesn't take a very large fire to cook a meal. Smaller fires are easier to extinguish anyway.

Dryer Lint or Saw Dust
Homemade starters can be made with dryer lint or saw dust. The paper containers can be anything from a ketchup cup, toilet paper rolls, or paper egg cartons. The lint or saw dust is used to fill the cup and then coated with way. These make handy fire starters from throw away materials.

Firesteel Starter
I always carry one of the Swedish Firesteel starter. You can get a spark that burns over 5000 degrees to start most fires. These can be purchased from most camping stores and are part of my emergency kit. Once you try one, you will love them.

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