This is one of the best and most convenient fire starters that I’ve come across in a long time. Many of us know that cotton balls rubbed with petroleum jelly make great fire starters, but they are messy and not real convenient to carry. This method makes it easy to carry these little fire balls and they won’t leak and get on your clothing or other gear. All you need to make these is some cotton balls, petroleum jelly, a plastic drinking straw, a pair of scissors, and a small stick.
Start off by taking a cotton ball or two and rubbing them thoroughly with petroleum jells. While you’re at it go ahead and pull apart the cotton into thin shreds. Pictured below: top, Rubbing petroleum jelly into cotton balls: bottom, shredded up cotton.
Now take the drinking straw and cut it into two 3 inch tubes, and four ½ inch tubes. Pictured below: Cut up drinking straw
The next part is a little hard to describe, but the pictures should make it easier to understand.
1. Use your thumbnail to crimp across the straw about ¼ inch from one end, then fold that end down.
2. Now use your thumbnail to make a length-wise crease in the part that you folded down. Then pinch the end together.
3. Now take one of the ½ inch pieces of straw and slip it down over the end to hold it closed.
4. Turn up the open end of the straw and start stuffing it with the soaked cotton. I find that it is easier if I kind of roll the cotton between thumb and fingers to make a string out of it.
5. Use the stick to tamp the cotton down tight in the straw.
6. Fill the straw to about ½ inch from the top, then fold the top end down the same way you did the bottom. Crimp it, put a ½” collar on it, and you’re finished.
Wipe off any petroleum jelly that you got on the outside, and you now have a leak proof, waterproof, convenient fire starter that you can add to a survival kit, put in your glove box, or drop in your pocket. To use the fire starter just cut it open, fluff up the cotton and light it up. This stuff will ignite easily using a metal match type fire striker.