If you’ve read a few posts on this blog, you know the emphasis I place on the ability to start a fire. I believe it’s wise to master a variety of techniques and posses several tools to start a fire. Regardless of how you chose to start your fire, I strongly recommend something to aid the process, which is why I’ve developed a powerful and inexpensive fire starting gel from basic household chemicals.
A knowledge of basic chemistry and a few experiments helped me perfect this handy fire starting gel that I’m about to share with you.
You’ll only need three simple ingredients, a digital scale, and a plastic bag.
- Potassium nitrate (KNO3) can be purchased at Amazon.com and many hobby stores, but you can also find it in any hardware store or garden center packaged as stump remover. This acts as an oxidizer.
- Powdered sugar can be found in any grocery store. This acts as a fuel.
- Petroleum jelly, also known as Vaseline is available in grocery and drug stores. This acts both as a binder and as a fuel.
Combine 70% potassium nitrate and 30% powdered sugar by weight and mix well. Pour the mixture into a plastic bag and add a blob of petroleum jelly about half the size of a your powder mixture, and knead the bag until you achieve the consistency of paste. You want it to feel a little dry and gritty, but still stick together.
You have a few choices for storage. You could leave it in the plastic bag, squeeze it into a pill bottle, or even force it into an empty toothpaste tube.
Using it is easy; just form a ball about 1″ in diameter, surround it with your tinder and kindling, and then ignite it with your preferred method. A single spark from a strike fire starter works like a charm, but a magnifying lens, matches, or any other method will work nearly as well too. Just don’t get too close—it will burn hot and fast, and may spatter hot liquid.