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David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Fire starters on 10/18/2013 17:50:28 MDT Print View

"I make firestarters with wax. Take one egg's worth of an egg carton, . . . blah, blah, blah"

Jerry: I like that idea a lot as a disposable mini-cooker. But for simply fire starting:

Two words: Wax Paper. Available at all stores and it makes a great fire starter. I used to save graham-cracker and wheat-thin inner liners, but most everything has gone to plastic liner bags now.

Two more words: Produce Boxes. Behind every grocery store are wax-impregnated corrugated cardboard boxes. I slice them into squares and strips for use as fire starters*. Carve a few edges with a razor knife to make a projecting sliver - those will light quickly from a mini Bic or match.

For car camping and sled-based winter camping, I bring dry kindling along. I always include some strips of those waxed produce boxes.

*In vehicles with faulty or nonexistent thermostat, a hunk of that waxed cardboard makes a great radiator cover to keep your coolant temp up during cold weather (like those zippered Naugahyde covers the truckers have). Just slip it behind the grill, in front of the radiator. Remove it before summer!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Fire starters on 10/18/2013 18:00:39 MDT Print View

David, up there in Alaska, what do you use for starting a whale oil lamp?

When exploring the Alaskan Peninsula, I saw whale oil lamps, but I could not figure out how the Aleuts got them lit. I doubt that they used Bics.

--B.G.--

Marty Cochran
(mcochran77) - F - M

Locale: Southern Oregon
Fire starters on 10/18/2013 18:12:47 MDT Print View

My favorite fire starter is bees wax impregnated tack cloth used for finish carpentry.
A 3"x3" rolled into a cigarette makes a fire starter. A half inch square is nice for starting Esbit in a breeze.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Fire starters on 10/18/2013 18:21:16 MDT Print View

I think the BTUs per pound (or whatever units you prefer) is less for cardboard than wax

I think you want most of your weight to be wax

And then you want the right amount of wick, like that article talked about

Wax in egg carton is mostly wax, good amount of wick

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Fire starters on 10/18/2013 19:00:47 MDT Print View

>"David, up there in Alaska, what do you use for starting a whale oil lamp?"

Bob: You rub two Eskimos together. Very quickly.

Seriously, I know they had driftwood. I assume they used a fire drill to get an initial flame and were then motivated to not let it burn out. I can ask. The local JC has a very good anthropology prof:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Boraas

I'll ask him if he knows.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Fire starters on 10/18/2013 19:10:19 MDT Print View

Jerry: I agree wax has more BTUs/pound (kJs/mole; troyouncemass-furlongs^2-fortnight^(-2); whatever) than cardboard.

Your egg-carton based solution is a wonderful low-price, disposable mini-cooker. Or a fire starter in really bad (wet, cold, frozen-wood) conditions. I'm going to try some out in my next round of experiments.

My practice of scavenging waxed cardboard produce boxes is better suited to fire starting only, not cooking. But, if cost or time were an over-riding factors, dumpster-diving trumps MYOGing.

Someday I'll try posting a zero-dollars gear list.

D S
(smoke) - F
Wax Cookers on 10/18/2013 20:33:17 MDT Print View

There's a variation out there that involves cutting strips of cardboard (width depends on depth of end container), rolling it up and stuffing it, edge up, into some type of can/metal container. Then pour melted wax to fill the spaces in the cardboard and the rest of the can. Light like a candle & use it like an alky stove.

Lots of vids on youtube, they're called survival candles.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Wax Cookers on 10/18/2013 20:40:49 MDT Print View

That's like Davids's and the spiral and circle stoves in that article

In the article they perfected that a bit - cross wick - basically just two pieces of cardboard in "cross" shape - much less wick which makes it consume less wax

You have to read the article

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Wax Cookers on 10/18/2013 20:43:14 MDT Print View

I remember making the spiral cardboard in tuna fish can version in boy scouts aeons ago. Maybe it was a product we sold to people that bought it just to be charitable?

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
OMG - That's the BEST idea for a thread on 10/19/2013 11:15:31 MDT Print View

David, you wrote:

>> Someday I'll try posting a zero-dollars gear list.

That's the BEST idea for a new thread!!! It would be unseemly for me to start it, since it's your idea -- so let me be the first to HIGHLY encourage you to develop this! It would be fun, AND it could be really helpful to those who are interested in camping/backpacking but who truly have very little disposable income... (not to mention issues of ecology, etc.).

Edited to say: Perhaps we could have one rule -- no stolen stuff (scrounged is fine)?

Edited by Wildtowner on 10/19/2013 11:24:13 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: OMG - That's the BEST idea for a thread on 10/19/2013 11:22:10 MDT Print View

thrift stores are close to zero dollars

the roll of Tyvek left over from a construction project cost something initially, but is now zero dollars

I like zero dollars, just for the fun of it, not so much that I couldn't buy something

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Your best gear hack/mod/invention/alternate use/improvisation? on 10/19/2013 14:03:45 MDT Print View

Improvised gear or the fine art of "Applied Junque. " Not my ideas by any means, but the best I have used:

Trash compactor bags for pack liners

Report cover spines for knife edge covers

Tyvek and window film for ground sheets

Recycled water bottles

Turkey roaster pans cut up for pot lids and wind screens

Milk jug bottoms for bowls or sinks