by Regina Wu
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During your years and years of hiking and camping you, and all of us, start to learn a few short-cuts. A means to make things just a little bit easier while out in the wild. These are usually simple ideas, executed in an intuitive and clever way. These 'hacks' are a great way of letting our experience and know how aid us. In this, the first part of the Camping Hacks Series of three, we'll be going over a few hacks for making and keeping a fire.Campfire Hacks - Camping Hacks


There are a couple things you can prepare in advanced if you think you may have trouble finding some kindling while at the campsite. You can make your own fire starter! Before you go out camping, at home, take an empty roll of toilet paper and visit your dryer. In the lint trap is one of the best ignites for a fire. The roll of toilet paper stuffed with the dryer lint will burn nice and hot. This gives you a chances to add your twigs and sticks and build your fire from there. If you haven't really prepared in time, but still need to find something to act as kindling, look to your snacks. Most kinds of potato chips burn really well for a little bit, and very hot, giving you a good chance to start up a fire. But chips are for eating, prepare in advanced.



Making sure you have some dry matches with you is imperative to camping. Nothing can ruin your time like a wet match. There are a few things you can do to make sure your matches stay dry and ready for when you need them. One, is you can take a small plastic case (or even a prescription bottle) and keep your matches in that. Then, glue sandpaper to the inside of the cap and you will always have a dry place for your matches and a place to strike it. Another thing you can do to your matches, if you're overly cautious, is you can put a thin layer of nail polish over the match heads. It will be enough to keep water off of it, but still be thin enough that it will light when you strike it.



A newspaper log is another great way to ensure that your fire starts every time. A newspaper log is basically a roll of old newspapers that have been soaked in water, then dried. This is used to make a very hot initial flame so your fire can start off hot and roaring. In order to make a newspaper log, simply collect a few weeks worth of newspapers. Lay out the sections on top of each other, about 12 sections, and roll it over itself as tightly as possible. Tie off each end with a knot. Then soak in a tub or a bucket of water for two days. Then, remove from water and let dry for 2 or three days. This will make the paper dry for an easy ignite, and the perfect size for a campfire. Add some twigs to the bottom, light the newspaper, and slowly add some logs and you should be good to go.



The cotton pad is another great way to start up a fire. I would say that the newspaper log is great for big fires, and the cotton pad way is better for smaller, more manageable fires. Now, if you have ever lit a cotton pad on fire you would have noticed that it burned very, very fast, which is not what we're looking for. But if you coat the cotton pad in wax first, let it dry, it can burn hot, but slowly, which is exactly what we want. To do this, you need cotton pads, wax, and a place to work. Simply coat the cotton pads in melted wax and let it dry. When it's time to use, squeeze the pad in your hand, breaking the wax coat. Find a spot where the cotton is showing and light it, maybe with one of our dry matches we brought with us. The cotton will burn hot and the wax will keep it from spreading too quickly. On average, one cotton pad will last you about four minutes.
Here are some pretty clever, mostly easy, and very effective hacks to make sure you are never left out in the cold. As a camper knows, the fire is one of the most important things to get going at a campsite. Especially if you brought marshmallows. And you did, right?
We'd love to hear any camping hacks you may have! Share them with everyone in the comments below!

by Regina Wu


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