Best Kept Secret To Start a Fire

School is almost out. Summer nights bring camping and nights around a fire in the back yard. We love roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. In the past I always struggled with how to start a fire. So I wanted to share this best kept secret!

If you’re like me, starting a fire was never your responsibility. There was always a Dad, Uncle, Boyfriend, Husband…someone else that would be in charge of getting a fire started. While I did learn in my girl scouting days of long ago, it wasn’t a skill that I had ever perfected. Then we moved to the country. I quickly realized it was something that had become a necessity.

We have a small fire pit in the yard and a big bonfire pit in the field. My first few attempts at lighting those were a fail. No sooner did I get something started, it would fizzle right out. That’s when I happened upon my best kept secret!

Fire 3


Start out with the basics. You will need some kindling on the bottom. Small sticks. Dry leaves. Cardboard or paper that is crumbled/cut up. These all work great. Basically anything that is small and will easily catch fire. On top of that, you will stack your firewood. Set each log up like a tee-pee (triangle). Lean the logs together at the top with the kindling under it in the center.

In the past, this is where I would fail. I would simply try to light the kindling. It would quickly burn out. So here is the secret.

start a fire


Dip a cotton ball in Vaseline/petroleum jelly then place it into the kindling. Depending on the size of the fire, you may want to use more than 1. For our small firepit, I use 1 or 2. For a large bonfire, I use 3 or 4. Just spread them around so they are spaced out.

Once you are ready to go, simply light each cotton ball. They go up quickly and burn for 5-6 minutes. Just long enough to get everything else started. Then, voila! You have a fire started.

This little trick has saved me so much frustration! So if you’re heading out camping for the long weekend, make sure to pack cotton balls and Vaseline! Then have a s’more for me!

4 Comments on “Best Kept Secret To Start a Fire”

  1. Glad to hear this works well! We just crumple up old newspaper underneath the kindling and light the paper first – quick and easy! 🙂

    1. My paper used to go out before the rest of the stuff would really take. I felt like I was constantly shoving more paper in. 😉

  2. we always would pick up pine cones & use them since there was always a lot around our house & they worked great.

    1. Not a bad choice. We don’t have pine cones around our house. I had to find something that was fail proof for wherever we were. 🙂

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