9 Sure Fire Campfire Tinder Hacks ( Includes Dryer Lint Hack )


Campfires start with good tinder that catches fire easily and burns fast. Different materials that work well as tinder are dry leaves, wood shavings, grass, or bark. The savvy camper often brings their own tinder to start campfires. Tinder brought from home can be dryer link, anything covered in wax, char cloth or even a commercial firestarter.

What are some good campfire tinder hacks?

Tinder helps you start a campfire under a shower of sparks and keeps your fire going. Tinder is one of the necessary ingredients in making a successful campfire. Tinder should light easily, be finely divided, and be made from any easily combustible material. Usually, tinder is placed under logs or wood to start a fire. When using tinder, make sure the spark on the tinder gets plenty of air to help it burst into flame. Tinder is lit by sparks rather than with a match; it is the material that catches the spark.

There are many different materials you can use to make tinder and some common materials include dryer lint, cloth, or plant fiber rope. Use cotton balls, paper, newspaper, dry bread, charred wood, bird down, small twigs, or corn chips. Anything dipped in wax will make a great fire starter. When you are out in the wild, use leaves, pine straw, wood shavings, and even cattails.

When you clean out the lint drawer of your dryer, save that fuzzy pile of the link that comes off the screen. Clothes get knocked around, and fibers break down and fall away from clothing. These fibers eventually make their way to the exhaust vent and are pushed through to the lint trap. Don’t throw away this link in the garbage but save it in an airtight container or Ziplock baggy. Lint is one of the best tinder materials for a campfire starter. Lint is highly flammable and when paired with a toilet paper or paper towel roll, works as awesome tinder.

Another way to use dryer lint is with egg cartons. Place a piece of lint in each compartment of an egg carton. Light the lint on fire, and as it burns the egg carton, many sparks will be generated.

Lint from synthetic fibers are difficult to light, but lint from cotton clothing and jeans will light easily. Plan ahead. If you want to use lint for a campfire tinder, put it in an airtight container as you clean out your lint drawer.

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  • Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly Campfire Tinder Hack

Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly burn strong for up to four-minutes and petroleum jelly cotton balls will almost guarantee you a fire. Do note, however, that petroleum jelly and Vaseline products don’t burn. They are designed to be safe and won’t just ignite immediately. However, once petroleum jelly starts melting when lit by a match, it produces a gas that burns. Saturate your cotton ball with petroleum jelly, and when lit will give off a flame as long as a pool of melted petroleum jelly is available.

Make sure you use cotton balls – if the cotton ball has any synthetic fibers in it, it won’t spark and burn.

  • Paper Campfire Tinder Hack

Just about every camper uses paper in some form as tinder for fire starting. You can twist the paper into a tube or tie it into knots or even bundle the paper into balls. You can use any type of paper that doesn’t have a glossy finish. Use your local newspaper, the inserts that come with your newspaper or even junk mail. Making a campfire is a great way to recycle your paper.

You will need to bring paper with you to start a fire. Carrying around paper can be inconvenient when you don’t have tons of room. Paper does work, well, however, but be careful when you use paper as tinder. It can burn rapidly and get out of control.

  • Corn Chips Campfire Tinder Hack

Smart campers and scoutmasters say that you can use just about any type of corn chip as fire tinder. One user, a trusted Scoutmaster, says, “Cheetos work even better,” and “So do Fritos,”  claims a survivalist. When you think about it, chips are hydrocarbons soaked in fat. You may not have dryer lint or even cotton balls and Vaseline sitting around your campground, but chances are you do have tasty, salty,  oily, and fire-friendly corn chips sitting in your pack.

  • Wax Covered Tinder

Ways to make tinder are plentifully, and it’s recommended that you research and experiment with many of them until you find one that is best for your purposes.

One example of a good fire starter is jute twine dipped in melted wax and sealed in a waterproof container. This type of firestarter is easy to make and carry. Jute twine is cheap and widely available, and paraffin wax can be obtained at grocery stores. Store your wax-covered twine in an airtight plastic container.

An idea from Hunting Outdoor News gives an interesting idea for making campfire tinder. Save your old cardboard, cut in 3×3 pieces and dip it in melted wax. Let the pieces dry and stack them for storage. You can keep carboard wax covered squares it in your camping equipment for a quick way to start a fire.

Cotton string soaked in wax works great for an inexpensive and lightweight campfire tinder. Take a length of cotton string, dip it into melted wax and let it dry. Once dry, cut the string into short lengths and store in an airtight container. Great for backpackers.

  • Leaves Campfire Tinder

Leaves can be great campfire tinder since they are plentiful in the woods. Just gather them up and use as tinder for your fire. You should have little problem in finding dried leaves to use as tinder for a fire. Make sure the leaves you use for tinder are dead and dry. If it’s been raining, you are not going to find dry leaves on the wet ground. Don’t however, reply on leaves as tinder. Leaves might not be dry and plentiful.

  • Pine Straw Campfire Tinder

Pine straw is dead pine needles that have fallen from pine trees. If you are in the pine forest you will this pine straw under most pine trees. The prevalence of pine needles is great for tinder, and pine straw is usually plentiful. Pine straw will save you from having to use more expensive items for tinder.

Make sure your pine straw is dry. If you are in the woods, gather wet pine straw and put it somewhere to dry out. You will need to have a plentifully supply of pine straw since it will burn out quickly. You might need to blend pine tinder with leaves or some other tinder to make sure you have enough to start a spark.

  • Wood Shavings

Wood shavings are wood you scraped from dead branches. You can scrape wood shaving from firewood to get the tender you need. You can always bundle shavings to use as tinder. Be careful when using wood shavings, however. You are using up firewood that you might need. However, if you have enough firewood, you can use wood shavings. Remember that trying to get little pieces of wood saving is labor-intensive. You will need to spend time with a knife or small ax shaving the wood to create tinder.

  • Cattails

If you are staying near marshy areas, cattails are abundant. You can gather up the fluffy part of the cattail to be used as tinder. It is naturally flammable and can be packed into a tin can and set on fire to be turned into charcoal. Be careful when using cattails as tinder. Unprocessed cattail fluff catches fire easily. One spark will case the entire bundle of cattail fluff to burst into flame. Once the entire fluff is burnt, your fire is gone. There is usually only a few seconds of embers in the cattail fluff, and you need to be quick to take advantage when you start your fire.

  • Dried Grass

Use dried grass bundled or in a ball shape and use as tinder. Dried grass can take a spark and turn it into a blazing fire. When the dried grass is glowing, set it under the firewood. Feed it more dried grass until it makes a respectable fire. Do be careful when using dried grass. Forest fires are often started by a camper using dried grass as tinder. Block the wind from your fire when using dried grass.

There are other methods you can use as tinder to start a fire: Pitchwood or the resinous wood that decays from dead conifers or the knots in trees (places where branches entered the trunk), char cloth, or magnesium.

Do be careful with whatever type of tinder you use to start a campfire. Sparks that are lifted by breezes or wind can be carried quite a distance and will start a forest fire. If it is found out that a spark from your campfire tinder started a forest fire, you will be liable for the costs of fighting the fire. With that warning in mind, have a great time in the outdoors making campfires.

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Rickie Arms

Hi, I'm Rickie Arms, owner of Glampingorcamping.com. I am so invested in writing the best and most informative articles for you that I went out and bought a travel trailer just so I could write about it for you. I spend just about all of my off time both camping and glamping so I can share everything I have learned and will learn with you. I have spent my whole life camping and over the last 10 years, I have spent a large amount of time checking out glamping experiences with my wife and kids as well. Thank you for coming by and we hope to see you back here getting great information in the future. Rick Arms-

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