Finally! I was old enough to sign up for Out Post! The 2nd most exciting camp program that was offered! (The first was a canoe trip down a river, for obvs reasons) I went with my childhood best friend. (She turned out to be a nasty girl once entering high school though) We shared a tent. An honest to goodness tent. Because we were outposting it.
Out Post meant you got to have your own tents, you made your own meals outside, all of your activities were outside, and you were really roughing it. The pinnacle of the whole experience was the survival night. We could not wait for this survival night! All you got was your backpack, a length of rope, tarp, a small box of matches, food and sleeping bag. In the backpack, you could put whatever you thought you might need. Change of clothing, bug spray, sunscreen, hat, etc…. You were by yourself in the woods. Your mission was to prepare your meal and place to sleep for the night and survive until morning.
Survival night started off with the preparation of the tarp. I put my rope up between two trees and draped the tarp over it. Going downhill, of course, in case it rained, so the water would go under me. I set up my sleeping bag on the tarp and sat and pondered for a while.
The next thing on my agenda was to get my fire going. I set up the fire pit to ensure that my fire would be big and bright and cook my food thoroughly. I started trying to light the fire. The matches would light the dry items quickly and then quickly sputter out. I got nowhere. Then, I came up with the bright idea to use something in my backpack. Bug Spray. It was flammable and would light that mother up. I sprayed down the dry items with bug spray and the bark of the larger pieces of wood. It burst into flames and kept going! Success! Right?!
I prepared my foil dinner. Quite simple. A hamburger patty, potatoes and carrots all wrapped up tight in the foil. I put that in the flame to cook. After I was satisfied with the color of the meat, I sat on the ground to eat my prepared foil dinner. The first bite….it was OFF. Like OFF bug spray. MY FOOD TASTED LIKE BUG SPRAY! What I used to start the fire with was so potent; it carried itself into my food.
Moral of the story: DO NOT USE BUG SPRAY AS A FIRESTARTER.
Here are some better ideas for Firestarters:
Doritos and Cheetos: The caloric value is so high they just burst into flames.
Dryer Lint: save all of it for flammable goodness
Tampons: the fibrous products burns and burns.
Cotton Balls dipped in Petroleum Jelly: They burn up to five minutes, so plenty of time to build the fire.
Crumbled paper products for the obvious ones.
And the easiest one of all: one of those firestarter logs. Their only purpose on this earth is to start fires.
What are some of your favorite fire starting methods? How about foil meal recipes? Do you have some good ones to share?