6 Emergency Firestarters You Might Not Think Of

Paul Pinkerton

We all love fire, well, I do so that’s got to mean everyone does! I drive the rest of the office a bit mad here at Outdoor Revival with my regular waffling on about fire, getting them lit, different types, best fuels and at the moment I’m listing different unexpected items that are good as tinder and kindling.

Usually, you would have items on hand that you’ve gathered or taken with you on your outing, but what happens if you’ve not got them? What do you do to get your fire going if you’ve only got a match, a lighter or even just something that can make a spark?

Paper & cardboard – This may seem an obvious one, but it’s got to be in here, any paper will generally burn, if it’s thick you can tear it or delaminate it so that you can get some fibers to stick out and take a light easily, it can be the cardboard off of a package, delaminate it and expose the middle and light that. Newspaper, toilet roll, old packaging, boxes, old receipts, etc.



Snacks and oil cooked Chips – Chips like Fritos or Pringles are high in fat – which means there’s lots of fuel to burn. Use a match or lighter, get one lit and use that to light others and progress to proper fuel. Ultimately, the greasier, the better for starting them off and how well they burn.


Duct Tape – It’ amazing stuff for all sorts of uses that we’ve written about before and it’s also great for starting fires as well. Pull some tape off, scrunch it up and get it lit with a match or lighter, it will melt and burn and be a good base to get the rest of your fuel lit.

Chapstick – Wax is a real help when you want things to burn a bit longer, with a Chapstick you can create a candle by finding something to be a wick and pushing it into the stick, or you can use the chapstick on other flammable items to promote longer burn time, if you had, say, a chapstick and the tampon you could take some cotton, rub the waxy chapstick on it and it would burn longer.

Tampons – Are usually made from packed cotton fibers, a lot of them all squeezed into a small package; they’re great for getting a large amount of tinder that can take a spark as well as be lit with a match. You need to tease the fibers apart so that there’s exposed fibers that can ignite. Always carry a tampon in your emergency kit, they’re good for all sorts of things.


Lint from your Dryer – Collect it up, it’s usually very flammable and nice and dry. It will often take from a spark making it a great firestarter when mixed with some longer burning material like paper.



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jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival