Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fire starters

In the winter months, when it's too wet and rainy to hang our wet clothes outside on the line to dry, we end up stockpiling a literal ton of dryer lint. So much so, that we've taken to storing it in a 50lbs. potato bag.

While there are many wonderful uses for lint, we have just too much of the stuff to use up. We did, however, discover that lint is a wonderfully flammable substance; just throw a bunch in the fire pit and get blazin'.

We've tried taking lint on backpacking trips for an easy fire starter and have had mixed results. It holds up wonderfully in the sun and shine but if the weather is torrential, which it regularly is as deluge and storm are inconvenient realities when you're backpacking in Oregon and Washington, lint will get icky and nasty in your pack and hands. So we brainstormed, researched and today we experimented. With my trusty assistant Stella, we tried making three different kinds of lint fire starters. The first was lint, wax (I save all the wax from expended candles and whatnot) and molds. This worked really well and created a nice, compact little fire starter. As the wax still smells nice, we've decided to use these little fire starters as gifts to our backpacking friends. Next, we decided to jam a whole bunch of lint in an expended toilet paper role. It's a little too large for backpacking, but great for home usage or car camping. The last one we tried is my favorite and the one I'll most likely use in the future. Stella, with her expert tearing hands, ripped apart an egg carton and we stuffed lint into each little cup. We then poured a thin layer of wax on top to keep the lint in place. This method worked the best! The wax will keep the lint dry in the rain and the egg carton ignites easily.

Although we enjoyed this project and in the process, reused unwanted items, there is a better fire starter out there. Lighter, smaller and more accessible, with less work. I'm speaking of course, of a Nacho Cheese Dorito. Flames' up like it's soaked in napalm. And the Dorito is marketed as food!!! Question the establishment!

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