No-Cost, No Fail Campfire Starters

We make them using some household items we’d normally toss in the trash

It’s soon going to be campfire season, if it hasn’t already begun in your area of the world. There’s nothing like a roaring campfire to make chilly Spring evenings at the campsite feel cozy and warm.

If you’re like us, we have struggled at times getting a campfire going.  

It’s either that the firewood we bought is split into huge chunks that aren’t going to easily catch fire, or the fire pit is soaking wet. Maybe we forgot the kindling or hatchet and there are no downed, small branches anywhere to be found around the campgrounds to use.

We have even been desperate enough to have squirted liberal amounts of charcoal lighter fluid onto the firewood, only to create thick, stinky smoke and see the fire go out as soon as the lighter fluid had burned away.

Whatever the reason, building a good campfire can be frustrating. And having trouble getting a campfire going can take the fun out of the camping experience.

We learn from YouTube too.

By chance, we happened upon a popular YouTuber called Crazy Quady. He’s a truck camper from Nebraska who loves going out camping in any kind of weather and building a campfire each time he camps.  Check out his channel here:

Part of his on-camera campfire ritual is pulling out one of his home-made fire starters from a water-tight ammo box. He lights a fire starter then places his kindling on top of the flame. Within minutes he has a nice fire going. He never has had a failed campfire attempt that we’ve seen on YouTube.

So, what is Crazy Quady’s secret? Let us show you our own “no-cost” version of the Crazy Quady fire starters.

It all starts at the grocery store and the laundry room.

When buying fresh eggs at the market, occasionally buy ones that are packaged in the paper pressboard containers. Once back home, we store our eggs in a locking 18-count egg container in the fridge and save those empty paper egg cartons.

The other item to collect is…of all things — Dryer Lint! We save the thick blankets of dryer lint in a zip bag and store it above our dryer at home along with the egg cartons.

If you love burning candles, you probably have a bunch of nearly finished glass containers sitting around the house. You’ll need several of these depending on how much candle wax is left in the jar.

Sure, we could just go out and buy wax, but this method is free and helps get rid of all those old candle jars that are clogging up our cupboards.

That’s all you need to make these fire starters.

Let’s show you how it’s done.

Begin by making sure the paper sticky labels are removed from the bottoms of the glass candle jars.

You can either light the candles and let the wax that’s left in the jar melt, or you can carefully place the jars on a flat top stove at the lowest heat setting and allow the wax to slowly melt.

You could also use a plug-in cup warmer or other wax warming device to safely melt the remaining candle wax.

While the wax is melting, prepare the paper egg cartons. And by the way…Don’t use the Styrofoam cartons for this! We cut the lids off of the carton bottoms, then fill each egg cubby with a good blob of dryer lint. We also use the carton lid. Waste not, want not!

We line up the filled egg cartons on a heat proof board or on a foil covered kitchen counter.

Once the candle wax is melted, we carefully, wearing heat-proof gloves or using oven mitts, pour the melted wax over the dryer lint.

Not much wax is needed.  We pour just enough melted wax to cover the lint and lock it in place within the egg carton depression. Set these aside to cool and harden the wax.

WARNING: These don’t look pretty. As a matter of fact, they look kind of gross depending on how many different colors of dryer lint and candle wax you use! Lol

Once the wax has set, we use an old pair of scissors to cut the egg carton into sections.  We’ll do two egg carton sections per fire starter.

With a good pile of the fire starters made, we’ll store them in resealable zip bags or a sealable old Tupperware container. We pack our fire starters into a waterproof ammo box. That goes into a bigger sealable tote with our box of kindling, lighter, and foldable fire pit. We store this tote in the back “garage” cargo area of our van.  

Let’s make a campfire.

To use these fire starters is easy. Have some dry kindling ready at the firepit. Light one of the fire starters and place in the firepit. Carefully arrange some small pieces of kindling, small twigs, or wood shavings on top of the flame and allow it to all catch fire.

Continue to add larger pieces of kindling until the fire is going, then begin adding your firewood and enjoy!

Remember to have all your S’mores supplies close by as well!

Be sure to watch all our van camping adventures on our JK and Kim in the Camper YouTube channel! Please subscribe to the channel. That would be awesome!

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Thanks again for following along with us on our travels.

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