Monday, January 21, 2013

"Prepper" DIY fire starters

I like looking at "Prepper" sites, not because I believe the "shit hits the fan" moment is coming, but I just love to be ready for all situations. I came across an idea of using a toilet paper tube and drier lint to make a fire starter and thought, gee those would be great to use when we go camping. So I pulled a couple tubes out of the bathroom trash, visited the basement to collect lint, and got to work.

My hubby had commented on my project, which made me think about the fact that lint is said to burn fast. How was I going to make the fire starter last a bit longer if need be? So I grabbed some vegetable shortening and with a paper towel, coated the inside of one of the tubes before stuffing it with lint. So I was now in the possession of two finished fire starters, one with and one without the vegetable shorting. Now I needed to test them and see if they really worked and how well.

As I headed out into the dark night I grabbed the phone to alert my neighbor I would be setting a few fires so she didn't freak out if she looked out the window. Needless to say, she soon joined me in my adventure. We started with the "regular" tube, which was hard to get to stay lit! So we tried the "other" tube, which also had a hard time staying lit!!?!?!?! Maybe I had bad lint, or off toilet paper tubes, but neither fire "took off" as I thought they would

After some giggling, we each took a tube and pulled the lint out. It would appear that there was TOO much lint in the tubes. As everyone knows, fire needs oxygen and well, our firers were not getting enough. Once lightly repacked we tried again. The "regular" tube did okay, nothing to write home about. The "other" tube burned much better and longer then the first.

What I did like about this project was I had everything I needed already in my home to make them. They are super easy to construct and I think will do a nice job on our camping trips now that I have tweaked my design. I have also learned, always try things for yourself. Just because it is online doesn't mean it will work the way someone says. It would have been nice to know to LIGHTLY pack the lint in the tube. Of course, my neighbor and I wouldn't have had as much fun in the dark if we had got it right the first time!

In just one night of giggling in the dark, I have learned a lot about these fire starters. First, always rub the inside of the tube with vegetable shortening. Second, go light on the lint. Third, always have more lint handy to add to the starter like kindling to make it burn better. And fourth, burning dryer lint STINKS! LOL

So now to get some more tubes and lint......... I can't wait to take these camping with us this summer!

Like fire? Wanna watch it burn? ......




  1. If you can collect your lint after drying cotton (such as your whites), then you won't have such a problem with the smell.

    1. Thanks Jim! I will keep that in mind!! :)

  2. I created a little 'emergency bag' for those just-in-case situations. I keep a few 9v batteries (contacts taped over for safety), some steel wool and the paper tubes in there. Even if the battery is almost dead, it will start a fire when put against the steel wool. I only have to worry about making sure my paper tubes don't get wet :) Now I may add a bit of lint too, for something that'll make my tube burn a wee bit longer.
    Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    1. Interesting tips! I had no clue about the batteries!

  3. Sounds like a fun night, this is great to know, pinned, shared, following on g+. Thanks for sharing on Tuesdays With a Twist.

  4. This is a great idea and tutorial. I have seen it before, but I'm really happy that you tried it and changed it so that it would work. Do you think they would work in a fireplace, or would they be too stinky?

    Thanks for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party. We are featuring this post at this weeks party.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly
    Adorned From Above

    1. I personally wouldn't use it in the house. We use them for camping and backyard fires.