Friday, April 6, 2018

#atozchallenge : F is for Firestarter

Camp Oakledge Girl Scout Camp  -- summer 1995

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. 


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?


  1. I've never camped outside, but I'd love to one day. I'll keep this in mind if I ever need to start a fire!

    Fight For This Love by The Wanted

  2. Great fun, took me back to my childhood camping days in the Scouts. These days, I would maybe think twice and find a comfortable hotel instead :-)

  3. That must have been one hell of an experience; of course, adding to the fun of camping out. A good lesson, nevertheless.

  4. The scout leaders must have missed a training. LOL.

  5. I don't like camping but thanks for the tips about fire starting. Good thing it didn't cause a much bigger fire!

    Janet’s Smiles

  6. I remember making tin foil dinners. Good times I tell ya ... well when not cooking in bug spray :)

  7. Had to laugh at some of the things you recommend for starting fires. I would never have thought about using doritos, Cheetos, and tampons. :) My daughters and I made the meal-in-tinfoil bag once. We realized after we opened the packets that it probably would have been good if we waited until the fire died down a bit and/or not placed the packet right in the fire. We need to try them again and see if we put the packets in the coals and not direct fire if we have better luck.

  8. Oh wow. My daughter (now an adult) was in Girl Scouts. She enjoyed cooking those foil meals.

  9. I never have tried using bug spray as a firestarter . . .thanks for the warning. I haven't tried chips or cheetos either, but will keep them in mind for future reference, though I'm not sure the family would appreciate using them as firestarters. They much prefer eating them!