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Common cottonballs smothered in Vaseline, in a little baggie. As soon as a flick of the Bic touches them, you are in business. There are alot of gimmicks and good ones, but a regular old Zippo ligher is tough to beat. You can light it, put it down and put your tinder on top of it, remove it when you have a fire, and never hurt it.
 

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A book of matches, a couple strike anywhere matches in a little waterproof case, a lighter or a zippo. Now if you want to talk about the non-conventional? Steelwool and a 9 volt battery. Hand sanitizer (you need to light it though). Those starking stones and rods. Their are many things that will work.
 

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My son's boy scout troops typically collect dryer lint and keep it in ziplocks as mentioned above.

Another thing they have done is take an egg carton (bottom compatrmental side) and fill it with sawdust and wood chips. Then melt wax over the top until it is smooth. Let it harden. Then you can break off the little individual compartments as you need them.
 

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A ferro rod is great because it always works and lasts a long time, but starting a fire with sparks is much different than using a flame.

It's really hard to beat a Bic.

Zippo's are good but require flints and fluids to keep them operational. Also I've already had them leak and dry out after sitting for a while.

When backpacking, hunting, canoeing, etc I keep a Bic in my pack and almost always have a ferro rod on me.
 

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I carry a ferro rod on my key ring, it has helped me out a few times in the past.

Similar to the egg carton idea, I took some empty snuff cans and filled them about half full with hot wax, then filled the rest with dryer lint, and then allowed it to harden. The lint takes a spark pretty well, and the wax keeps the flame going for a bit.
 

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I carry a fire steel. You can get them off of amazon and they throw a great spark. I bought the biggest one I could find to give me more room to grip it. It works really well and when we camp my kids take turns starting the campfire with it. If it will work for a 6 year old it will work for anyone. When I camp I also carry a small bag with cotton balls dipped in Vaseline and dryer lint. In the bag I also have really fine steel wool. I have 9volt batteries but make sure you keep the batteries in one compartment of your bag and the steel wool in the other you wouldn't want them to light up in your pack.
 

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I was out collecting some fat wood today.
 

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PAlimbhanger said:
Try lint from your clothes drier screen
Lint works great. I keep a 35mm film container filled with it in my pack at all times with some waterproof matches. I've never HAD to build a fire, but have done it enough for fun that I can honestly say it's NEVER failed me.
 

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forget all that stuff. ya dryer lint and steel wool batteries, etc work, and that is what we teach our scouts, the best thing to pack are the fire starter sticks you can buy at walmart. coleman makes them and probably some others. they look like a thin granola bar. break off a piece about the size of a quarter and light it. it burns for a long time and will start wet twigs. after i show all the Tenderfoot scouts the steel wool, battery, vaseline cotton balls, dryer lint, etc, i break out one of these sticks and a bic lighter and tell them to have their parents buy this stuff. costs a couple bucks. i have them in all my hunting outfits. i also take some strike-anywhere matches and a peice of striker from the box, roll it up in a lunch baggie and put it inside a empty 20 gauge shell and then stuff that into any empty 12 gauge shell. put it all in a gallon ziplock bag with some newspaper and you're set.
 

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That's basically fat wood and it can be found for free, not that it's expensive

I got about 10# on saturday just walking around in the woods, be a good lesson for scouts
 

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Cotton Balls soaked in Vaseline are the best, hands down......

Easy to light, and they burn hot, and they will burn for 5+ minutes a piece....

I use them every time I am backpack camping, so easy to start a fire with them.....

I can get 4 of them in a 35mm film canister, and I carry several canisters with me.....

Dryer lint is not a bad alternative either...
 
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I'm suprised nobody mentioned Birch Bark!

It is easy to find and will start a fire inthe rain, I've done that several times back when I backpacked.

The last day at camp for rifle, I lay a fire w/ a strip of bark. When I return after Christmas w/ the flinter, one match and I have a fire in the stove. I leave the draft open while I carry in my gear. Fastest way I know to get the fire going when the building is colder, or as cold, as the outside temp.
 

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wis bang said:
I'm suprised nobody mentioned Birch Bark!

It is easy to find and will start a fire inthe rain, I've done that several times back when I backpacked.
I watched a guide in Canada start a fire with Birch bark during a hurricane. No gas needed. Works very well
The last day at camp for rifle, I lay a fire w/ a strip of bark. When I return after Christmas w/ the flinter, one match and I have a fire in the stove. I leave the draft open while I carry in my gear. Fastest way I know to get the fire going when the building is colder, or as cold, as the outside temp.
 

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Buckshot1822 said:
Cotton Balls soaked in Vaseline are the best, hands down......

Easy to light, and they burn hot, and they will burn for 5+ minutes a piece....

I use them every time I am backpack camping, so easy to start a fire with them.....

I can get 4 of them in a 35mm film canister, and I carry several canisters with me.....

Dryer lint is not a bad alternative either...
Agreed. Used cotton balls and Vaseline while in Colorado last year camping. Works great, easy to put together and to pack.
 

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wis bang said:
I'm suprised nobody mentioned Birch Bark!

It is easy to find and will start a fire inthe rain, I've done that several times back when I backpacked.

The last day at camp for rifle, I lay a fire w/ a strip of bark. When I return after Christmas w/ the flinter, one match and I have a fire in the stove. I leave the draft open while I carry in my gear. Fastest way I know to get the fire going when the building is colder, or as cold, as the outside temp.
Just used birch bark last year. It rained most of the day hiking and the camp site had a few down trees. Pealed strips right off and started the fire. Everything else was pretty wet.
 
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