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Even when you’re camping, you don’t have to rub two sticks together to get your campfire going. You can choose that method of course, but most fire-starting begins with a good supply of wooden matches. Use them to ignite any of the following:
  • Commercial firestarters such as fire ribbon or petroleum-based tablets (Esbit by MPI Outdoors, for example) work very well.

  • In an old egg carton, fill each egg slot with finely shredded newspaper and a few spoonfuls of sawdust. Pour on melted wax to bind the sawdust and paper into a solid lump. After the wax hardens, you have a dozen little firestarters.

  • Fill a film canister with lint from your clothes dryer. Be sure that the lint is from wool, cotton, or fleece garments — not fire-retardant fabrics (of course). Lint ignites readily and starts big-time fires.

  • Look to nature. Even in the worst storm, you can find dry tinder around the base of tree trunks, under rock ledges, in tree hollows, and next to downed logs.

  • Make your own kindling by whittling a small log down to the dry center and then whittling dry shavings from this piece. Who brought the marshmallows?

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Paul McFedries is a true renaissance geek. He has been a programmer, consultant, database developer, and website builder. He's also the author of more than 90 books including top sellers covering Windows, Office, and macOS.

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