Camping wouldn’t be complete without a cozy fire and s’mores. A campfire starter gets things roaring quickly and easily! We searched high and low and found the best fire starters for your outdoor adventures.
Keep reading to learn more about how to use a campfire starter and which fire starters you should stock up on before your next camping trip.
Let’s get those flames going!
What Is a Campfire Starter?
A campfire starter is similar to tinder or kindling. It’s a highly combustible material that can ignite a fire quickly and easily. Fire starters are typically made from flammable scrap material like sawdust, fabric fibers, wax, or recycled paper. You’ll still need to carry a lighter or safety matches, but you won’t have to worry about whether or not your fire will light even in damp conditions.
However, the use of campfire starters does not negate the need to gather kindling for a fire or supply larger logs to keep the fire going. A fire made completely from fire starters will burn bright and fast, and would be very expensive! While you don’t need much kindling, it still helps to get your fire going without having to use multiple starters.
We would like to add a note here to use these starters with discretion. With the surge of wildfires over the last several years causing more damage and impacting more people’s lives, be sure you are using these starters where there are no fire bans and in a contained fire pit, grill, or stove. One stray spark is enough to burn thousands of acres.
Pro Tip: Enjoy a campfire no matter where you camp with these 7 Best Portable Fire Pits to Build a Safe Campfire Anywhere.
What Is a Natural Fire Starter?
Natural fire starters are highly flammable items found in nature. Pine cones and needles, birch bark, dry grass, and pine resin are a few good examples.
There’s no need for any other man-made aids to get a campfire going when using these components. Simply light them under your wood and watch your fire take off. However, these valuable resources can’t be found everywhere, so you might want to bring your own fire starters along.
When Do You Really Need Fire Starters?
Fire starters are useful for a wide number of situations. Any time you need to start a fire they ease and speed the process. However, not all scenarios are the same, and there are special fire starters that work best in certain situations.
Many people use fire starters for camping, fireplaces, backyard fire pits, charcoal grills, woodstoves, wood smokers, carrying in their hiking daypacks for emergencies, and more. Depending on your situation and needs, a particular type of fire starter or certain features might be best.
Pro Tip: Make starting your campfire easy with these tips on How To Start A Fire Like An Expert: The 5 Best Techniques.
How To Choose a Fire Starter For Outdoor Adventures
Starting your campfire doesn’t require striking rocks or rubbing sticks together to create a spark. These days, companies make convenient, individual sticks or pouches that you can easily light and build around. However, if your camping trip requires packability, ferro rods are handy tools that can be stowed anywhere and can create a 5,000-degree Fahrenheit spark with ease.
So for your outdoor camping adventure, you’ll first want to think about space and packing requirements. RV camping and backpacking will have different requirements here. Second, check out how the fire starters are made and which chemicals are being used.
Some chemicals can cause odors that are unpleasant for sitting around the campfire. If you’ll be cooking over your fire, you’ll want to make sure the fumes don’t contain any nasty taste to your food.
8 Best Campfire Starters to Bring on Every Outdoor Adventure
Make sure your outdoor adventures are done right with cozy campfires. They’re great for gathering, keeping warm, and cooking. So let’s check out eight campfire starters that you can be sure to have on hand during your next trip.
1. EasyGoProducts Eco-Stix Fatwood Fire Starter Kindling Firewood Sticks – 100% Organic
The EasyGoProducs Fire Starter Kindling Firewood Sticks are 100% natural and sustainable. It’s harvested from leftover stumps of pine trees. Therefore, there are no petrochemical additives or Methyl Bromide fumigation.
These starters are best for campfires, backyard fire pits, woodstoves, and even work well in fireplaces.
- 🪵🔥 Branded - Eco-Stix is the best resin rich Ocoee Pine all...
- 🪵🔥 All natural - our fatwood is 100% All natural fire stick...
- 🪵🔥 Variety of Boxes – Whether you are just looking for a...
2. TRULite 20 pcs Natural Fire Starter Sticks – All-Weather Odorless
TRULite Natural Fire Starter Sticks are beneficial in any type of weather. They are composed of renewable, recycled natural wood and paper chips compressed in food-grade wax. Additionally, these sticks are tasteless, smokeless, and odorless.
- LIGHTNING SOLUTION TO INSTANT FIRE: You can now start a fire...
- ALL NATURAL & GREEN: Our fire starters are purposely made with a...
- TASTELESS, SMOKELESS, ODORLESS: These untreated fire starter...
With their all-weather rating, these starter sticks are great for use outdoors in damp conditions. Tip: once the fire is roaring, prop firewood up next to the fire to warm and dry it out before adding it on.
3. All-Natural Fire Starters
About: All Natural Fire Starters are composed of wood shavings and food-grade wax, so they don’t smell or let off smoke. You just need one pod to start a campfire. And since they take up very little space, they’re ideal for taking along on a camping trip.
They claim to burn 15-20 minutes to make sure your campfire, backyard bonfire, or woodstove is burning smoothly by the time they’re spent.
- EFFICIENT KINDLING: Superior Trading Co.'s fire starter pods are...
- SAFE FOR COOKING: As our customers will need kindling starter,...
- INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE: No matter what your fire-starting needs...
Pro Tip: Start your campfire with ease by uncover What Are Safety Matches and How Do They Work?
4. Melt Candle Company Fire Starter – Pack of 160 Charcoal Fire Starters for Campfires
About: Melt Candle Company Fire Starters are water-resistant and odorless fire starter squares. These cubes are composed of a wood blend and wax. They can burn for up to 10 minutes and are perfect for camping or hiking.
These are also great for using in your smoker or charcoal BBQ. They resist flare-ups and don’t add any odors or tastes to your food.
- SAFE TO USE - Not a fan of lighter fluid or electric torch? Made...
- BURN WHEN WET - Don't let rain put a damper on your good time!...
- CAMPING ESSENTIALS - Whether you’re out camping or hiking,...
Pro Tip: Make starting a fire quick and easy with this guide on How to Start a Fire With Magnesium: A Beginners Guide.
5. FireFlame Quick Instant Fire Starter – 100% Waterproof All-Purpose Indoor & Outdoor
About: The odorless and non-toxic FireFlame Quick Instant Fire Starter is waterproof and ready for use both indoors and outdoors. They are small pouches that have a wick you light like a candle.
As a result, they are easy to use when camping! The product is compressed vegetable oil in an environmentally-friendly foil.
- SAFEST WAY TO LIGHT FAST ANY FIRE – FireFlame firestarter makes...
- 100% WATERPROOF – Our individually packaged pouches which...
- NO ODOR, NO SMELL, NO CHEMICALS, NON TOXIC – FireFlame fire...
6. Hot Snot Fire Starter Fire Paste – Instant Fire Starting Without Kindling – Fire Lube in a Tube
- 🔥 IDEAL FOR: Emergency fire kits, survival kits, campfires,...
- 🔥 QUICK & CLEAN: Easy to use and will start fires quickly and...
- 🔥 EASY APPLICATION: Simply squeeze out the product like...
The paste is odorless and clean. For example, if you’re ready to start up your campfire all you have to do is simply squeeze out the product like toothpaste and light it with a match or lighter.
Due to the chemical nature of this product, we would recommend not using this in food cooking circumstances just in case. It is best for starting fires in emergencies, with very damp or even icy firewood, and lighting logs directly without the need for any kindling.
7. Bushcraft Survival Ferro Rod Campfire Starter Kit
About: The Bushcraft Survival Ferro Rod Fire Starter Kit throws 5,500 degrees sparks to instantly start a campfire. It can be used in any type of weather, as its wax-infused natural hemp tinder is waterproof. This is easy to use and will last over 15,000 strikes.
- FERRO ROD FIRE STARTER by BUSHCRAFT SURVIVAL | Our ferro rod fire...
- EXTRA LARGE TINDER FIRE STARTER ROPE INCLUDED | Includes a...
- 15,000 STRIKES | Composed of a high quality ferrocerium and...
The ferro rod can be used separately from the included hemp rope and can be used on any other tinder you want. This handy fire starter is best for hiking, backpacking, and emergency situations. Slip it into your pocket or hang it around your neck when you set out of your next outdoor adventure.
8. Tumbleweeds Fire Starter, 70 Pieces
About: Tumbleweeds Fire Starter is an easily combustible eco-friendly product. It’s composed of non-toxic wood shavings and wax, and it is odorless for campfire cooking and grilling. Additionally, the starters are weather-resistant, and you can use them indoors and outdoors.
These starters experience no flare-ups or smoke, so they are great for indoor fires in the fireplace as well as your outdoor fire needs.
- ALL-PURPOSE & VERSITILE – Get a fire going anywhere fast....
- EASY TO USE & HASSLE FREE – Quick, easy and ready to use with...
- NATURAL FIRE STARTER – Ecofriendly product made with non-toxic...
Pro Tip: Build a campfire wherever you go with these 7 Best Portable Fire Pits to Build a Safe Campfire Anywhere.
How Do You Make Your Own DIY Campfire Starter?
You can make your own DIY homemade campfire starter at a low cost and with a low impact on the environment. For example, you can create one out of dryer lint or cotton balls. A typical household item to use as a holder is a cardboard roll of toilet paper or paper towel. Or you can use wax paper and dryer lint.
You can also make homemade campfire starters out of the natural materials we mentioned above. Simply collect these items ahead of time and pack them in a dry bag or container.
Duct tape may seem to be an unlikely fire starter, but it’s actually an option when in a pinch. It’s highly flammable. You can put bug repellent or hand sanitizer on it to help the fire start faster. Another DIY idea is to put charcoal in an egg carton. It will flame up quickly.
Is a Campfire Starter Worth It?
A campfire starter is worth taking with you on a camping trip or other outdoor adventures that offer an opportunity to snuggle up by a fire. Especially when your forecast may call for a little rain and you need a boost to get damp wood ignited. Above all, it starts a fire swiftly, maximizing your time to relax—and who doesn’t want that!
Lastly, fire starters are also a welcomed resource when hiking or fishing. In addition, the convenience and lightweight options make them ideal when you’re on the move.
What fire starter do you use? Tell us in the comments!
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