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Campfire Hacks

Group of backpackers relaxing near campfire after a hard day, tourist background.
After a long day of adventure, there’s nothing like coming back to your RV campground to relax by a fire. But if you forgot a traditional fire-starter, you might have a bit of trouble getting one started. Check out our list of campfire hacks that will have your fire blazing just in time to break out the s’mores.

Corn Chips

Burning your food usually sounds like a bad thing, but not when it comes to starting a fire. Many chips are made of hydrocarbons and fat, both of which are highly flammable. Kind of makes you wonder why we eat the delicious snack… but to each their own!

Toilet Paper Rolls & Dryer Sheets

When you fill a toilet paper roll with dryer sheets, you will have a perfect DIY fire-starter ready to go. You can also use dryer lint instead of sheets. Think twice before throwing out those supplies!

Wine Corks

Don’t throw these away after happy hour. Give them a new purpose by tossing them in a sealed container and soaking them in rubbing alcohol. Leave them in the container until you need to light a fire. They are super small and lightweight to carry if you’re on the go.

Birthday Candles

No cake required here. Head to the store to stock up on inexpensive birthday candles and wax paper. Wrap each individual candle in wax paper and twist the ends to close. Light the ends of the wax whenever you’re ready and you’ll have a sizzling fire in no time. 

Duct Tape

Everyone has duct tape lying around somewhere, but if you don’t already have a roll in your RV, it might be time to head to the store. Duct tape can be used for a huge variety of things, including starting a fire. Just rip up a few small pieces of tape and light them on fire to be used as kindling. 

Petroleum Jelly & Cotton Balls

Cover a few cotton balls in generic or branded petroleum jelly and (when lit) you’ve got yourself a guaranteed fire. Cotton alone burns very quickly, but the petroleum jelly slows down the process significantly, allowing your fire to build strength. 

Hand Sanitizer

When you’re in a camping setting, having hand sanitizer should always be a packing necessity to keep clean in the great outdoors, but it can also be used as a fire starter. If you put just a little hand sanitizer on a cotton ball or tinder you will see flames quickly due to its alcohol content.


*Disclaimer: Please follow all state and local laws and regulations regarding fire restrictions and safety. Be aware of drought and brush conditions, always monitor your campfire, and be prepared with a bucket of water to extinguish it fully at the end of enjoyment.


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Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the recreational brands RV Trader and Cycle Trader. Her mission is to provide thoughtful, practical content to those who are always on the hunt for their next adventure.

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4 Responses

  1. I cringed when I saw the headline for this post. I live in Colorado with many massive wildfires going on; most human caused. The problem is the whole state is in drought conditions and most areas have been under Stage 2 fire restrictions since mid-July. And yet most of our fires started after those restrictions were implemented. The Grand County Sheriff ordered all convenience stores to cease firewood sales. I love a good campfire but most people don't follow the "rules" for safe campfires or heed the fire bans. Right now I'm waiting for evacuation orders. It would be nice if this article mentioned checking for fire restrictions BEFORE lighting any campfire AND DO NOT leave that campfire unattended.

  2. Cut corrugated cardboard into 6” X .5” strips. Put them in a zip lock bag with a tablespoon of cooking oil. To start a fire, just fold a strip into a “W”, put it under your tinder and kindling; or, regular charcoal. Light it with a match, lighter, flint & steel…

  3. PLEASE be very careful when using flammable liquids!! Alcohol residue on your hands will ignite and YOU might become the fire. Wash hands THOROUGHLY with soap and water, as well as any jewelry or wristwatch.

    -Your friendly neighborhood RV’ing paramedic

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