AROUND THE KAMPFIRE (Tips on livin’ outside.)

How many of you have had trouble building a campfire? OK, OK, I don’t mean to embarrass you; we’ve all had trouble building a fire now and then and I want you to know that it isn’t easy if you don’t know how or I should say, “Anything’s easy if you do know how. It’s just a matter of, (here goes the old Boy Scout motto again), Being Prepared.

You wouldn’t start out on a long car trip with an empty gas tank; why start out on an outdoor adventure un-prepared. Any time you go into the woods prepare yourself ahead of time: (1) have materials to start a fire, (2) have a signaling device, (3) have drinking water with you, (4) have the proper clothing, and (5) have a first aid kit, and (6) be prepared to stay overnight in case you get lost or incapacitated (broken leg, etc). I could go on and on about safety and being prepared but let’s start with what the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts call ‘buddy burners’ or simply this is how I make fire starters the safe, easy way.

When I was a Boy Scout many years ago, we made fire starters by collecting sawdust, packing it into a wax paper Dixie cup until it was half full, and pouring melted wax over it until the sawdust was saturated. We’d let them cool off and turn the edges of the paper cup down inside. When we’d go to light it we’d turn the edge back up and light it with a match. The edge acted like a wick to get the sawdust/wax to ignite. Yes, it was dangerous if you didn’t watch what you were doing. We’ve had many a blaze up from the wax catching on fire when we were making them.

I don’t make fire starters like that any more but I have come up with something just as good and a whole lot safer. I buy the wax impregnated sawdust logs that they sell in almost any hardware store, drug store, and Menards. On sale they will cost anywhere from a dollar to a few dollars each and they weigh anywhere from 2 to 6 pounds. Open one and crumble some of it up and fill a small Dixie cup half full with it. Pack it down and turn the cup edges down inside. These can be made by the dozens and they make great gifts for Uncle Bob or Grandpa to use to start fires in their fireplaces, to light charcoal, or to get a fire started in their wood stove. No one gets burned from melted wax catching on fire and maybe mom or dad will enjoy making them with you. Throw a few in your backpack the next time you plan a hike, a camping trip, or an outing where a fire is planned; it will make starting one so much easier.

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Ray McCune

He has lived in Waynedale for over 45 years. He has taken to his lifelong dream of being a full time Outdoor Freelance Writer and author. Ray has authored one book and has written Kampfire Kookin' as well as other outdoors articles for the newspaper. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer