Simple & Cheap Fire Starters for Outdoors - How to Make

Views 7 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful

Click here to be taken to the Rocky Mountain Home Solutions eBay Store !!

How to Make



Camping, Hunting, Backpacking, Outdoors, Emergency Preparedness, Wilderness Survival, Disaster Survival & More!!

This article Copyrighted August 2009 by Rocky Mtn Home Solutions

To help you enjoy your favorite outdoors sports, whatever the season, here are some tips explaining how to make and use . . .


CAUTION AND NOTE, for the less-informed:  Fire starters are designed, naturally, to start fires.  Store them VERY carefully, in cool places away from ANY flames or heat sources.  Take precautions to keep these fire starters away from children!!  If misused or improperly stored, these can be just as dangerous as any other fire starter, matches or liquids or devices.


  • Petroleum Jelly (found at Wal*Mart, any drug store, KMart, etc., in the "healthy & beauty" department).  Most popular name brand is "Vaseline" (tm), but good old store-brand "petroleum jelly" will work just fine. 
  • Simple cotton balls, available at the same places. 
  • A small stainless steel or sturdy/thick plastic can or tube with a tight-fitting lid (for storage).
  • A safe workplace, with plenty of ventilation and away from heat or fire sources of any type. 


  • Grab a large dollop of petroleum jelly and "mush" it firmly into a cotton ball.  Saturate thoroughly.
  • That's all there is to it...really!


  • Store your fire starters in a small, air-tight stainless steel or sturdy/thick plastic tube or small container, with minimal air within the container (e.g., make it small and fill it up).
  • For SHORT periods only (e.g., while camping), you can store them in a tight-fitting plastic case, BUT DO NOT store them in a plastic container for longer then a few days, as the plastic may degrade.  Also, NEVER use them in any containers that you will later use for food or water.


  • Pull one of the saturated cotton balls out of your can or jar, and place it into position in/on the firewood you're trying to start.
  • WIPE YOUR HANDS clean of excess petroleum jelly with a paper towel, and toss it onto the the fire, as well.
  • Carefully light a match and touch it to the cotton ball--it should light quickly but gradually, giving you a steady, intense flame for at least several minutes.

We make, store and use these fire starters part of our own family's home emergency preparedness storage program, and for camping and backpacking. 

  • We make new ones annually, after which we burn the previous years' supply. 
  • We also use this as an opportunity to teach the kids about our emergency supplies, fire safety, and our family emergency reaction plan.
  • We store the firestarters in an air-tight container, well-sealed and well away from any heat sources or flames.

Further notes on safety: most folks already use cotton balls and petroleum jelly in their home for a variety of cosmetic and health reasons.

  • Most people simply don't realize how flammable either cotton balls or petroleum jelly are, naturally.
  • In most homes we've seen, they usually are stored right next to the other in their bathroom vanities or closets!!! 
  • Fundamentally, these fire starters are no more dangerous than cotton balls and petroleum jelly that you already have stored in your home.
  • Still, you MUST exercise appropriate caution and prudence in preparing/storing/using these items.
  • And, as you might expect, anyone who makes, uses or stores these fire starters does so at their own risk--we are not liable for your use or misuse of these home-made firestarters. 

These firestarters are simple, inexpensive and easy-to-make; handled with appropriate safety precautions, you'll be able to use them for countless camping, backpacking and/or emergency situations.

Best of wishes to you and yours.

Jim & Lisa
Rocky Mtn Home Solutions 

p.s.:  we'll soon add pictures of the above process for your edification...please come back to this guide soon to see these actually being produced!

p.p.s.:  Obviously, we're NOT selling these fire starters...they're too easy and cheap to make.  We just wanted to share a smart tip with fellow thinkers, brought to you courtesy of Rocky Mtn Home Solutions!  Please visit our Rocky Mountain Home Solutions eBay Store!!

Please, take a moment to vote YES on the "usefulness" button below left.  Thanks!!

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides