I’m sure you’re already familiar with cotton balls and Vaseline being an excellent tinder for starting fires. That in combination with a ferro rod (FireSteel) is typically my go-to method for starting fires in an emergency.
Recently though, I’ve been updating/upgrading my EDC kit and wanted to make a more compact and comprehensive one. Since the cotton balls were a little bulky/greasy for my new kit, I needed something flatter and drier.
Enter fire cloth.
At a recent food-storage conference, Leon Pantenburg from CommonSenseSurvival.com (be sure to check out his site, he’s got some great articles there) recently gave me some of his homemade firestarter — what I like to call fire cloth — that seems to consist of a mixture of waxes and cotton cloth.
Here’s a video I put together on how you can make your own (if you want a written description, just skip the video and go directly to the article below it):
How to Make Fire-Cloth
What You’ll Need
- Paraffin Wax
- Beeswax – Instead of purchasing expensive commercial beeswax, you can just buy a toilet wax ring (found in most hardware stores). They’re typically made from beeswax and are under $2).
- Cotton cloth or cotton balls
Making Fire-Cloth: Step-by-Step
|Step 1: Melt some paraffin in a double boiler. I made a make-shift double boiler by placing a glass Pyrex bowl in simmering water.
|Step 2: Melt an equal amount of beeswax.|
|Step 3: Dip cotton strips in wax and let cool. The thicker your cloth strips the more wax it’ll absorb and the longer it will burn.
|Step 4: Light with matches or lighter.|
Negatives of Fire Cloth and How to Get Around Them
The cloth strips are very effective…if you have a flame source like a lighter or matches. The downside is, unlike cotton balls and Vaseline, it’s tough to use a ferro rod with the standard fire cloth.
Here’s an alternate method I came up with:
|Step 1: Dip a cotton ball in the above mixture. It’s better to quickly dip so the cotton isn’t completely saturated.|
|Step 2: Place wax-impregnated cotton ball in folded parchment or wax paper.
|Step 3: Flatten cotton ball with a roller pin.
|Step 4: Fluff up and light with ferro rod. Once cooled, remove the cotton from the wax paper (it should be completely flat. When you’re ready to use it, just tear off a piece and fluff it up so that the ferro-rod sparks will ignite it.
Having a really flat piece of effective tender is an excellent option for the fire portion of your EDC kit. Try it out and let me know in the comments below how it went!