How to make your own campfire starters

Collect lint in egg cartons

Collect lint in egg cartons

One of our traditions here in the Scribner household is making our own campfire starters by collecting lint from the clothes dryer in old egg cartons. We have found that this not only makes for a quick and easy way to start campfires at the campsite, but it’s also a good use for both egg cartons and lint!

Each slot gets sealed with candle wax

Seal with candle wax

Family camping is all about opportunity – being ready to go when the opportunity presents itself. Making our own fire starters and having them on-hand is just one of the little ways that we can cut down on those last minute dashes to the store, in order to get things that we don’t have.

Ready to go – just tear off 4 eggs

Ready to go – just tear off 4 eggs

We have found these homemade campfire starters work every bit as well as store-bought ones. As long as we have plenty of good kindling, it only takes four “eggs” to get the fire going and there is no messy ashes blowing around, like you get using newspaper.

I like finding new uses for old stuff, particularly stuff that I would otherwise throw away. The fact that an old egg carton, some dryer lint, and a little candle wax can do the job every bit as well as something I would buy, is just icing on the cake!

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27 thoughts on “How to make your own campfire starters

  1. Good idea! We will have to try this. Have to remember to get eggs in cardboard instead of Styrofoam.

  2. These make great gifts for your camping enthusiast friends! It’s something cheap, easy and kid friendly to add to an existing gift or to bring as a token of appreciation to a get together.

    To “pretty” them up I cut out individual egg cups, take a couple layers of newspaper about 6″ square and wrap the cups, securing with some twine or other natural fibers. You can make them look however you want… folded over like a box-shaped present or (my favourite) with a puff of newspaper sticking out the top. It also makes it easier to light!

  3. I use the dryer lint and pack it into a cardboard toilet paper roll. Some times I use melted candle wax on the end both ways have worked for me.

  4. I make mine similarly. I layer lint and wood shavings and smash as much as I can into each egg. Then I take an old candle completely coat the entire top with a nice layer of wax. It takes a while but its fun to do while watching tv. I’ve gotten 2 dozen out of one candle so far and can probably get another 2 dozen before its gone. It only takes 1 egg to get the fire going!

    • Nice! I’ve always wondered how much better it would work if I compressed the lint – I think I’ll give that a try.

  5. Nice Tip! Will definatly try this on my next camping trip. Always looking for ways to save on the pennies.

    • I comb the ends of my locs out all the time. Mostly to get lint out. It’s become acdidtive lately. Most of the ends don’t look like they’ve been combed out. I got carried away with one loc so it looks kinda funny.But I hate that two strand look in the middle of mature locs too. I usually don’t combine all the way down and just have 2 headed dragons.

  6. I wish 🙂 saw Les Stroud use petroleum jelly and cotton balls on one of his episodes, last year. It looked like it burned really good.

  7. Wow, that is one that I had forgotten. Also the petroleum jelly is a good one also. Thanks for the reminder. Got any S’mores left?

  8. Pingback: How To: Make Your Own Tinder | Dan Bauer

  9. Absolutely! Let us know how it goes – we’re roasting some marshmallows this weekend, too 🙂

  10. Another idea that I do is to get one of those big fire logs you use for fireplaces, cut it into small pieces. You can make 15-20 fire starters out of one large fire log.

    Camping Tips

  11. @Eric – Ha! Sure does… Just thumbing a chapter of Les Stroud’s Survive! book last night, he has a whole segment on “My Favorite MacGyverisms”. Fishing with gum, making flashlights from car parts, and hunting…with underwear…are a few of the highlights! lol

    Dan’s last blog post..Stimulating the Economy – Camping Gear

  12. Love it! My Girl Scouts just used this on a recent campout. I also like to have a ziploc of cotton balls and a tube of vaseline lip balm which is petroleum jelly in a small tube. Makes a fast-lighting, long-burning fire-starter.

  13. Very clever, very useful!!! I’m going to start using it!

    “I like finding new uses for old stuff.” – Hey Scrib’, I’m getting kind of old, could you come up with a new use for me??

  14. Hmm, maybe we’re stalking each other? LOL I think the cardboard (or whatever that egg carton stuff is called) does burn hotter than “regular” cardboard.

  15. Ok, now that’s uncanny! I have pics in my camera from 2 nights ago doing this same project. I melted Gulf wax in a pan and used its’ own box for the “mold”, so that it’s a solid brick when it cools. I’ll try your method out, I like the fact you incorporate more cardboard in each starter (and it’s less messy). I’ll post my pics when I upload them.

    Dan’s last blog post..Quick Tip – Repeatably (Really) Good Rice

  16. I do some woodworking, so I always have cypress shavings that I use. Little bit of wax, those little paper muffin wrappers, and that’s it!
    I’ll have to try the lint fire starter, thanks!