Picture this: you’re camping with friends and start to get hungry. When you pick up a log to start a fire, you discover it’s damp from the previous storm.
Some questions you may want to ask might be: Besides traditional and well-known firestarters like wood and flint/steel, what other survival fire starters do you think are available in this situation? What are fire starters usually made of? Which fire starter is the best?
Despite what you may have heard, duct tape can be used as a homemade fire starter and is the ultimate survival technology for almost any situation. Nearly every retailer carries heavy-duty duct tape, from Amazon to CVS.
Even if, for some reason, you cannot find duct tape anywhere, I am confident that if you look in your basement or a random drawer in your house, whichever option you choose, you will indeed find it.
How to Make a Duct Tape Fire Starter?
Firstly, duct tape can be a great fire starter because it is both affordable and reliable. The science behind duct tape as a fire starter is that it is easily flammable and burns slowly when ignited.
If this is not enough to convince you, you will also be very excited to know that duct tape ranges from 4-8 dollars in regular price; therefore, you will never have to break the bank.
Next, while this is the “duct tape fire starter” hack, you need other materials to succeed. Some other materials you may need are scissors, a ruler, dryer lint, and a char cloth/cotton.
Once you have all the required materials, the first step is to cut off 4-6 inches of duct tape using the ruler. Next, you roll the duct tape into a canister shape, ensuring that the non-sticky side is facing inward.
After this step, you should put as much dryer lint as possible inside the duct tape canister. Lastly, you wrap the char cloth around the sticky side of the duct tape. After completing this step, all that is left to do is light it up with a match or lighter, and you are ready to start a fire!
Traditional Ways to Make a Fire
When trying to make a fire, if you decide to fire a huge piece of fuel immediately, you’ll probably only scorch it and go. In this case, you’ll want to make a tiny mess of tinder to take as a starter.
Using waterproof matches or the lighter, you should ignite the tinder and burst softly onto the fire. Bring more kindling and fuel onto the burning as it progresses.
Additionally, people can use cotton balls drenched in oil as a burning starter, and anyone can find these materials in almost all households and retail stores.
This is the perfect example of how there are various methods of starting a fire and the diverse range of materials used to make one.
History of Fire Starting Methods
Regarding the history of fire starters, the practice of fire-making existed as early as almost 2 million years ago and has been the backbone for all significant settlements and communities through all stages of evolution.
People utilize fire for many things, such as warmth, food, and light; therefore, without fire, we would not be able to survive or develop. However, not only have we as human beings evolved throughout the centuries but also the various fire-starting methods I will discuss in more detail.
For example, hundreds of thousands of years ago, many early settlements used flint or pyrite to make a spark. As time passed and the population increased, trading became more popular, and new ideas emerged.
As a result, people had to learn how to handcraft various friction tools, including hand drills, bows, and saws.
Fast forward to the 21st century or present, we do not have to work nearly as hard as we have matches and lighters to spark a flame. Unlike the tools I mentioned, lighters and matches use different chemical processes to create fire.
Another critical point to add, an old-fashioned match relies on friction, which is needed to ignite the highly reactive chemicals in the match to start a fire.
Alternative Ways to Make a Fire
An additional perk is that matches are cheaper than duct tape, so you can rest assured that all the materials you need won’t leave you broke.
Next, for the different types of fire starters, there are so many options to choose from. It is mind-blowing that there’s a diverse selection of potential fire starters in everyday places like your household or car.
Besides duct tape, some other fire starters are cotton balls, chips, paper, chapstick, and a guitar pick:
- Cotton balls and petroleum jelly are good fire starters because petroleum is waxy, and as we have previously stated, wax is highly flammable (think candles, for example).
- The chips can be a perfect fire starter because of their high-fat content. Therefore, the greasier it is, the more flammable it will be, so if you can give up a bag of chips for hours of warmth, you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.
- You can use chapstick as a potential fire starter as well. The process is that you would have to rub the chapstick against a flammable surface (wood, paper), which will prolong the time it will burn.
- A guitar pick can also be a good fire starter because it is made of a highly flammable celluloid material.
With all these options in mind, the possibilities are endless, affordable, and honestly very fascinating. You can be sure that you won’t have trouble starting a fire.
So can duct tape be used in making an effective, cheap fire starter? The answer is yes, and overall it is pretty put together to make if you have all the required materials.
While there are many other methods mentioned previously that are also readily available, this fire-starting process seems the most simple and uncomplicated one out there.
Now that you have this formula, you will never be left stranded in the wilderness, cold and freezing. Happy camping!