When hunting in the backcountry of Colorado and elsewhere, you sometimes get caught in a rain shower and need to get warm and dry off quickly, or you might discover that you’re lost and need to start a signal fire. I started making these fire starters about ten years ago, and have found them to be very effective at starting a fire quickly, even when all you have to work with is damp or wet wood.

Fill each compartment of a paper egg carton with wood shavings or sawdust. Use an old pot or teakettle–I found mine at Goodwill–to melt some canning wax or an old candle. Pour the melted wax into each compartment and allow it to cool completely. Tear or cut the carton to make individual fire starters. There is no need for a wick; simply light the side of the carton. One of these fire starters burned very hot for thirty minutes without any added fuel! The flames were about 12″ high. That gives you plenty of heat to get a larger fire going without any trouble.